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"Hatchet" Lines with a 4M S3 Virge 3d Video card.

Posted on 1998-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have an 4M S3 Virge 3D Video card (Cheap OEM model). The problem is that I get rainbow colored "Hatchet" lines on my screen when the following is true.

 1. In Windows95 in True Color (24bit) 1024X768 mode I get vertical lines (up and down) on the bottom of my screen that seem to follow my mouse.

 2. In Netscape and IE using certain Java applets I get the same as above even in just 256 color mode.

 3. In DirectX 3D games that use 3D in Hi-res mode I get these lines on the 3D polygons and they get worst the longer you play.

 4. In DOS 3D games that are made for S3 Virge (ie. Tombraider with S3 patch) In 640X480 mode I get these lines on the 3D polygons and they get worst
 (more appear) as time goes on. (it's fine in 320X200).

 I have a multisnyc monitor and it is not the refreash rate that is the problem. In 3D mode the lines follow the shape of and stay on the polygons. Do you think it is
 a memory conflict?? or could the card's memory be bad? I have tried re-seating the memory chips and the pci card itself.

 My system is VERY cheaply put togethere so any inexpensive advice will be very welcomed.

Cyrix 6x86L P200+
VX-Pro PC Chips motherboard (Like I said it's cheap)
Award BIOS
32M EDO RAM
Window95 B
Avance Logic Sound Card.
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Question by:smegtrek
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by:jhance
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These "hatchet lines" are caused by a poorly written video driver.  This often happens with cheap video boards from companies that don't have the time or staff to write and (especially) test their video drivers.  They will usually just use the drivers (usually demo or BETA) that are provided by the chipset manufacturer.  One approach might be to download updated drivers from the manufacturer's or the S3 web site.  You might find that a later version has improved.

BTW, I had this problem with a very expensive #9 Imagine 128 board with the drivers that came with it.  Their customer support knew about the problem and fixed me up with better drivers.
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by:lrazamat
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If the memory was bad, then the board would fail on it's powerup initialization.
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by:jhance
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No i mean not totally dead. Memory works not stable
This can happen in some resolutions when timing on the memory control signals are close to margin.
When you have cheap board usualy memory is not conditioned well
and memory timing may destroy some information in cells etc.
Regards
Lev

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by:lrazamat
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The OEM manufacture is unknown.

In it's two page instruction booklet it listed the S3 web site to download the latest drivers from, which it did right away. I just went and checked and the Driver I have is still the latest.

If it was the Video driver why would it happen with TombRaider running in native DOS mode??

 I appreciate jhance response but would like to know if anyone has any other suggestions.
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by:smegtrek
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S3 makes most of the chipsets for Diamond video cards, so I really don't think it's your video card that's doing it, S3 Virge is a very sound video card and I use them in both of my computers without the problem that your getting. I would reccommend using a Video testing tool that will test your monitor and what resolutions that it will support before you say it's not the monitor. I had to replace a Mag Innovision 17" with a different Mag model because my resolution was choppy at 1280x1024. You may be encountering a like problem with your monitor. Direct X drivers are not totally compatible with all video and audio hardware so this could be a like problem also. I reccommend getting some freebie utilities from WWW.NONAGS.COM and test your equipment to see if it's all in working order. This will help to tell you whether it's a software or hardware problem.

Good luck!
Mike
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by:mikecr
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Yes, I have tested the monitor and I do know what Resolutions it can handle.
No, it's not the monitor because the lines follow the shape of the polygons in TombRaider(DOS) and DirectX games. They are not "Ghost" signals created by non-compatible refresh rates.  Let me put it this way, It is like someone painted the line on the rocks ,walls ,etc. They zoom in and out and turn on the shape and become part of the polygon itself.

I will check out WWW.NONAGS.COM.

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by:smegtrek
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Are you using the actual S3 Virge drivers off of the installation disk or are you using the Windows 95 compatible drivers off the Windows 95 CD or disks?

Mike
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by:mikecr
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I am using the actual S3 Virge drivers off their web page. Windows 95, DirectX certified.

Remeber TombRaider is a native dos game and I run it for native dos NOT in a Window95 session (booted directly to command prompt). so there are NO drivers involed (other than the internal ones)  in the running of this program.  
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by:smegtrek
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So, lets think about this for a second. Your using the actual drivers, DirectX certified, and you get the same problem that your getting running the Dos based game drivers that aren't the actual drivers for the Video card. Guess what, it's a video card problem! The only way to check this is to get another video card "from a friends pc or maybe one that you have lying around" install it in you computer and set it to the same resolution that you were having problems with in Windows 95 and I guarantee you'll have your answer in a few minutes! Try it and let me know what happens if you can.

Good luck!
Mike
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by:mikecr
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Is video ROM shadowed in BIOS?
Ralph

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by:rmarotta
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Yes it is.
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by:smegtrek
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Try lowering the Video Acceleration under 'control panel' in the 'system' - Ithink it's 'video' or some thing like that, by one notch at a time and let me know if it help the problem.. it might not necessarly solve it (only if your lucky) but could indicate a memory address conflict. Are you running any video editing software on your PC? or what other cards do you have installed.. and which are PnP?
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by:Jez
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I do not run any video editing software. I have tried turning down the Video acceleration and it does help in Windows. I still have the problem but it is in a much lesser effect. The problem is in full force still in native Dos games that use Virge such as "Probe" and  "Tomb Raider."in 640X480 mode  I have tried turning off ROM shadowing in the  BIOS but that did help.  

the other PnP cards I have are a Jaton 33.6 modem and and Avance logic 100 Wavetable sound card

Turning down accreleration all the way help me in Windows although my pixel speed is VERY slow now. What can I do for native dos programs NOT running through windows?
Does this prove that the card is OK and is it a memory conflict?
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by:smegtrek
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I do belive it's a memory conflict, S3 chipsets seem to have this problem. Well all the cards I've used. I'll try and get hold of the memory address that normaly solves the problems with these cards, then post it. (As long as no one else has solved it..) In the mean time, try.. if your bios allows it. set the trigger level on your video cards PCI slot for 'A'. It might be set at the moment for auto. Also, I know it's not how it should be.. but try disabling the cards cache, just to see how it runs..
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by:Jez
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" set the trigger level on your video cards PCI slot for 'A'"
"try disabling the cards cache"

I don't seem to have BIOS setting for either one these?  Are these jumper settings? I looked in myt mother board and S3 card's sheets (you can't really call them a manual) and found nothing.

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by:smegtrek
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BTW jmcclell if you can find the memory address that normaly solves the problem. please put it as an Answer so you get the points. If anyone does post them before you I will reject it because you came up with the Idea first and I want to give credit where it is due.

Thanx.

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by:smegtrek
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Try excluding address range C000-C7FF.. Also do you have Dirext x ver 5 installed?
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Jez earned 120 total points
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Thanks jmcclell that fixed 90% of my problem. I still get some very small dots after a while,  but not nearly as much as I did before when I had the lines. I will play around with the exclutions some more on my own and hopefully be able to get rid of them completely.

Thanks again.

SmegTrek
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