Jun 20th 2002, 17:09 GMT

Well, Crap

Bioware does not support 3DFX cards with Neverwinter Nights. I figured that would be a problem, since I still have a 16mb Voodoo 3 – but I decided to try it anyway. No go. Very bizzare display problems, couldn’t even navigate the menus to get into the game.

Fine – no problem, I’ll just go out and buy a new nVidia card. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, now’s as good a time as any.

So I head out to my local Best Buy and pick up a GeForce4 TI 4200, (the 4400s were out of stock and the 4600’s are a bit expensive.)

I get home, (well, upstairs – where the computer is right now,) and begin to install my nifty new piece of technology.

Meanwhile, my friend has created a dwarven warrior and is happly plunkng away at all manner of wonderful creatures.

I install the card and boot the machine, only to be greeted with 2 beeps and a Dell spash screen. The computer has failed it’s POST. No problem, I’ll just put the voodoo3 card back in. Reboot – 2 beeps and a splash screen.

Son of a…

Paul’s got a second machine with net access, (he likes to play EQ A LOT,) so I hop on Dell’s website to try and figure out what’s wrong. Pouring through the tech support site, I find out that the double beep indicates a video card problem, (gee, you think?) I pull the card out and re-seat it as suggested. No go.

Hmm, what’s this about POST LED dispays? Oh look – 3 greens and a yellow – “This configuration of lights indicates some other problem with your system, please contact Dell customer support at…”

I’ve begun to suspect that my system, purchased in late 2000, is only AGP 1.0 compliant.

I get on the phone with tech support, explain my problem, and the steps I’ve already tried. The lady was very nice and tries to tell me that since it’s a 3rd party card, I need to go back to Best Buy for help.

Not so fast lady, the problem is also occuring with the original card now.

“Oh, well the new card must have done something to the bios when you installed it…”

“I can’t even get AT the bios config right now.”

“Okay. Well, reboot and when you see the splash screen – hit F2”

(I’ve aleady tried this – but okay, computers are notorius for working again once you’ve called tech support.)

“No go – the bios screen doesn’t come up.”

She asks about the double beep and the POST led indicators again, puts me on hold for a couple of minutes, and then comes back. She asks me to go through the system and re-seat everything on the motherboard, RAM, video card, modem, ethernet, sound…

So I begin. I tell her I’m going to put he phone down for a minute while I do that. I disconnect and reconnect everything, then pick up the phone again… and I hear a dial tone.

Duh Robert, the phone was connected to the computer thru the modem… when you unplugged it, you basically hung up on the tech.

So I call back. Igeta different person, but he’s able to access my support ticket. (yea CRM) I briefly explain the problem again, and the steps taken. He has me reboot again, this time hitting F8. Still nothing, so askes me to verify the POST LEDs one more time. (Still 3 greens and a yellow.)

This new tech thinks there is a problem with the motherboard, since my machine is still under warranty, he will be able to order a new MoBo, and send a tech out to install it. I should be getting a call in a few days from the service rep to set up an appointment.

Paul was nice enough to let me start a game on his computer last night. After I got off the phone with Dell. I got through the training/prelude before going to bed. So far the game is sweet.

This morning, I took another look at the Dell website, trying to find out the exact specs of my machine. I didn’t have any luck finding out last night, but today — yep that’s an AGP 1.0 compliant slot.

Long story short, my PC is hosed, and won’t get fixed for a few days. But at least the techs were somewhat helpful. I’ve barely gotten into NWN, but what I did see so far was nice. I’m looking forward to playing with the world builder tools.

I’m hoping that the new MoBo will have AGP 2.0, (I doubt they STILL have hardware from 2000 laying around.) I’ll be sure to double-check before installing my card again.

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Robert Belknap has been writing online sporadically since 2001. See the colophon for more details.

16 thoughts on “Jun 20th 2002, 17:09 GMT”

  1. Man, sorry, Hooloovoo. The continuing chase of the hardware-software-compatibility complex…. What joy.

    I hope you don’t get a duplicate motherboard from the service dept. You’ve already reasoned out that you need an AGP 2.0 slot – you ought to be able to get a totally new board for a reasonable price.

    Guess in the great scheme of things it was time for you to upgrade…. 🙂

  2. Well, I am going to verify with the tech what version AGP slot the new board has.

    I suspect that it will be AGP 2.0 just because I don’t think AGP 1.0 boards are made anymore, and based on Dell’s business model, I doubt they keep a back stock of old, out-of-date components.

    It might all just be wishful thinking on my part. We’ll see in a couple of days.

    I may have to return my GF4 and either get a pci-based card, or try yo find an older AGP 1.0 card somewhere. Bleh.

  3. No, no, no! The rule is always upgrade to fit the capability already acquired! 🙂 You have the GF4, keep it. The goal now is to bring the motherboard up to minimum spec!

  4. ugh. tech support call stories give me the shivers every time… and i used to work as one for an ISP 🙂

    man, what a nightmare. i hope they get your ‘puter all hooked up soon.

    i hear ya about upgrading just to play a game. hell, i went and got a ti4600 just so the water would look cool in Morrowind. *smacks self* i really gotta stop that.

  5. :-p Lemme tell ya. Between my graduation money and my new job, I am so buying a new video card. Its the only thing I need to be able to play the games I want (Dungeon Seige, Morrowind, NWN, Civ3, Empire Earth).

    Recommendations? Would prefer to keep it under $200, but if there’s nothing I’ll go higher.


  6. We’ve talked about this in like 10 places if i recall correctly, but of course everyone likes their own thing.

    The Ti4400’s are supposed to be GREAT for the cash.

    check out this thread

  7. Zhan, I found the VisionTek Ti4200 for about $250 with rebate at the Best Buy in Union City.

    (Just off 880 in that Cinema/Shopping complex whith the REALLY poorly designed parking lots.)

    Just make sure your PC is up to spec. :

    Edited on Jun 20th 2002, 20:27 by Hooloovoo

  8. I just got a new MoBo and processor so I’m not worried about that.

    Thanks for the link, ekoo. I knew you guys had talked about it, but I wasn’t sure where the thread was.

    Hrmm… should remember that search function.


  9. And THAT, ladies and gentelmen, is THE reason, I make my own damned computers.

    pets Ambrosia

    Edited on Jun 21st 2002, 02:24 by Poseidon

  10. Well as far as tech support calls go – it wasn’t too bad, I’m just frustrated with the fact I don’t have a PC (of my own) to use at home right now.

    I still have a work PC, (3 actually,) and my friend and upstairs neighbor is pretty cool about letting me use one of his if I need to. Oh yeah, and the three email addresses I use most often all have a webmail interface in addition to POP3.

    I’m not totally cut off from the world, but it would be nice if my PC was working.

    I know I COULD just go out and buy a new MoBo, but a free replacement part is a good thing right now. I splurged a bit on the GF4, and there are some other things that I need to make sure I have the money (or space on the credit card) for.

  11. My problem (I ended up getting a TI 4200 myself this weekend) was that PNG had provided a completely crappy drivers disk. No big deal, if you have internet access. Which I don’t I at home. And I wasn’t coming into work on the weekend to get drivers.

    I was able to get them (eventually) and FanBoy (wonderful boy that he is) got my video card working and everything is now wonderful.


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