Additional Graphic Card needed in Dell Server with ATI ES1000

Dear Experts,

I have a Dell Poweredge 2900II with on-board ATI ES1000 graphic chip. Unfortunately, this chip only gives me a max. resolution of 1280x1024, but I would like to have higher resolutions, e.g. 1440x900, 1680x1050 or even 1920x1200.

Now adding another graphic card is the abvious solution, but the server won't work with one, as

a) I am apparently unable to deactivate the built-in card in the BIOS,
b) the card I added for a test was based on NVIDIA-Chips, and Windows 2008 didn't like to work with chipsets from different vendors (i.e. NVIDIA and ATI).

Does anyone have a clever idea on how I can get higher display resolutions (under W2K8) out of this box?

Thanks for any ideas,
Thomas
StaudteAsked:
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
You are right, you can't disable the onboard video.  You should be able to use a 2nd video card.  Once in the OS, you can disable the onboard video card in the device manager.  We had the onboard and an nVidia Quadro FX 4600 used in a dual screen setup on a Dell 2950 and an HP DL380 G5.
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
Sorry my mistake, it wasn't the Quadro FX 4600, it was the GeForce 9400 GT.
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CallandorCommented:
Isn't the easy solution to get an ATI video card. instead of an nVidia?  It should play nice with your onboard.
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
Hehe, I was thinking it would probably be easier to get a real server like an HP.
(:
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StaudteAuthor Commented:
Hi Pber and Callandor,

thanks for the ideas. After Pber's promising suggestion to disable the internal video card in Windows (why didn't I think of that...) I just gave it a try and installed a Radeon 9200 based PCI card - doesn't work. It is detected (twice - don't know why this is, maybe because the card has two VGA ports), and I selected the standard VGA drivers, because there is no 9200 driver for W2K8 64bit - fine for a test. However, both ports can not start (error Code 10), although the ES1000 card is clearly disabled (and, yes, the server has been restartet). So I still work on the ES1000, although it's disabled, and the other card can not start, because the ES1000 is still in the system... weird...

BTW, fearing that W2K8 does not consider Radeons being the same chip as the ATI ES1000 (and as such won't start because of Code 10) is the reason I didn't get more of these cards... I'd end up with many useless PCI cards on stock ;-)

And I don't even start to comment Pber's last note :)

I have the feeling that there's little that can be done here... thought of buying an USB VGA adapter, but not knowing if that would work or if that, too, would end up collecting dust on a shelve...

Any other ideas?

Thanks a lot!

Thomas
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
I don't think it is a issue with ATI and nVideo, but the lack of support of video drivers for 2008 x64.  If you look at the AMD site, they don't support 9200 higher than XP.  So you either have to get a supported video card and not pursue using the old 9200, or look for 3rd party type drivers for the 9200.  
Probably best to search for Vista x64 Radeon 9200 drivers as Vista would be closest OS to Server 2008.  From the looking I've done, I don't think you'll have much luck.  You'll likely need to get a new video card.
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StaudteAuthor Commented:
Well, the 9200 was just there, good enough for a test, I thought. I have checked the Windows Catalog and ATI supports W2K8 64bit on the X1200, but the ATI web site doesn't offer any drivers at all for W2K8... question is, if W2K8 has the drivers for the X1200 built-in....? Any ideas?

Finally, I'd hate to buy even more graphic cards that would be sitting around, as Windows won't let me active the new one properly (with Code 10, because it still somehow "sees" the ES1000)....
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
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PberSolutions ArchitectCommented:
HP also has ES1000 cards as well.  You may be able to run the HP install on the Dell
Just download:
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=1121516&prodNameId=3288134&swEnvOID=4024&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-453dbf1a3f79443aade02849f5
The install may work.  If not, extract and try and update the driver from the device manager and browse to the folder where you extracted the files and it may pick up the drivers.
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CallandorCommented:
Pber is right, the ES1000 is capable of 1600 x 1200 in hardware, but you need a W2K8 driver that will let you use it. AMD's site doesn't list any Server 2008 drivers http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx, but perhaps the XP drivers will work? http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349460(WS.10).aspx
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StaudteAuthor Commented:
Thanks to both of you for helping here. I was able to install the HP drivers for the ES1000 as Pber suggested - I don't know anymore if I had the right drivers on the system or not... too much testing ;-)

Anyway, I can indeed select resolutions up to 1600x1200 and they do work. Two issues remain, but I assume that they can not be sorted out: I can't select the native resolution (1680x1050) of my monitor and I won't get a DVI output. (I am running several virtual machines on that box and would like to use RDP from the server's console to connect to and work on these machine. This is why having a "real good" resolution is important. DVI would be preferred as the server is connected to a switch and a Cat5 KVM extension to my desk, so DVI would improve the signal quality over the VGA. Both issues can be dealt with by just using another PC to RDP into the server's VMs, but I hoped that simply adding a decent graphic card with 1680x1050 resolution and DVI would solve all of these problems. Well, after all it's a server, not a PC or workstation...)

Thanks so much for the good ideas!

Thomas
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CallandorCommented:
For desktop-sized monitors, DVI does not offer any improvement over VGA if a good quality cable is being used.  When you increase the size to 30 inches or more, the quality difference will start to be visible.
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StaudteAuthor Commented:
Yep, I know... the server is in the basement, the office (with the monitor) is two floors above that, so I can only use a KVM extension via the CAT.5 structured cabling system that is installed in the offices to cover the approx. 60ft distance. While a VGA extension box produces a fairly good display (at 1680x1050) resolution (on another PC, which sits next to the server), I would expect better (i.e. near perfect) display quality from a DVI CAT.5 KVM extender. However, as these beasts cost a fortune, I have dropped the idea for the time being and will stick with standard VGA.
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