Just fitted a new PCI graphics card (Radeon 9200) in my 4 year old Dimension 2400. The only way I can get it to work is to have both it and the on-board graphics chip running together - done this by selecting the Radeon as the default display and by not having the Windows desktop run over onto the Intel display. Problem: If I disable the on-board graphics chip as per the fitting instructions and then set my Bios to auto select, the computer boots and is active but all I get is a blank screen regardless of which output the monitor is connected to. Also, as I have the Radeon as the default display in Windows I don't see anything (no Dell boot screen, etc) when I switch my machine on until Windows log on screen as I have to have the Bios set to 'On-board' in the graphics option otherwise the aforementioned problem persists. Has anyone else encountered this problem, and if yes, has anyone managed to overcome it i.e. successfully disabled the on-board chip? Unfortunately there is no Bios upgrade from Dell that allows a user to select either auto, on-board AND PCI - the last one being ideal it would seem!
I just configured a 2350 with a PCI card (Sparkle 8400GS), and I left the BIOS setting at auto-select. (I could find no way to disable the onboard graphics.)
I found that if Windows installed a driver for the onboard graphics before the PCI video, the onboard graphics were used for the default monitor. Thus, I got no image from the PCI video. I connected a second cable to a spare DSUB port on the monitor to the onboard graphics and switched inputs until I got video. Then I downloaded the appropriate video driver for the onboard graphics, installed, and rebooted. Upon reboot, I switched the default monitor from the onboard graphics to the PCI video, after which I could remove the second video cable.
Hope that helps!
Some additional information that may be helpful:
1. The Dimension 2400 uses an on-board AGP graphics chip that cannot be disabled in hardware. It shares the interrupt for the first PCI slot which can give you trouble if you decide to place your add-on PCI graphics card in slot 1. My own add-on card wound up in slot 3, so it might be helpful to switch to another slot before giving up.
2. If you do have your card in slot 1, try resetting the NVRAM (CMOS) by removing the battery for about five minutes. You can find instructions for that here: Dimension 2400 Service Manual. Look in the section on Removing and Installing Parts, Battery. While the battery is out and everything still unplugged, push the power button and hold it in for about fifteen seconds to ensure the discharge of any storage elements. When you put the battery back in its holder and fire everything up again, the computer will take a new inventory of its devices and will sometimes finally find the PCI video card.
3. This next you've probably seen, but it bears repeating: Before attempting to install the new card, go to the Device Manager, Display Devices, and find the Intel Graphics Adapter. Double click it to bring up its properties, go to the bottom of the little window to Device Usage, and click the small arrow on the right to get the menu. Select "Do Not Use This Device - Disable". This will disable the onboard driver and cause the computer to load the standard VGA driver that works with all the video cards. Sometimes the reason you see nothing on the add-on card is that Windows is still trying to use the driver for its previous video adapter which is incompatible with the new card.
It might help to disable the onboard video in Vista, as ATI drivers can clash with it and cause BSODs. Under XP it'll co-exist.
There is a jumper on the mainboard for clearing the CMOS. It is marked as such, and the manual will point it out.
The default Windows driver for the add-on card will work, but without acceleration and with a very low resolution. Also, if Windows installs the driver for the onboard graphics first, it will mark the onboard graphics as the primary display.
Yes, I neglected to mention that if you get the card to work in the VGA mode you should be able to install the specific driver for the card. In the past I have recommended that no attempt be made to load the driver for the card until a VGA screen can be displayed.
Granted there is usually no conflict if the onboard driver is left in place; the problem arises when the BIOS sort of recognizes the new card but for some reason Windows fails to find a driver for it. In this situation you get video from neither the onboard port or the PCI video card port. This seems to happen a lot if the card is installed into slot 1. In the past I've corresponded with folks who seem to be able to get the card to work only by using the Windows multi-monitor capability; extending the screen onto the video card. The only irritation with this is that you get no video until Windows loads, so if you want to see the system setup screen you need to switch ports.
Naturally I realize that a jumper is there and is supposed to work, but removing the back-up cell makes certain that the NVRAM will be cleared.
The jumper definitely works, as I used it last week several times in dealing with a recalcitrant 2350.
Windows should find a driver for any VGA-compatible card; it'll be a default VGA driver. However, if Windows can find the driver for the onboard video, it will use that as the primary video, regardless if they are connected or not, and the user will get no video from the PCI card. I had this problem with the 2350, and had to temporarily install a VGA cable to connect the onboard video; after installing the drivers for the PCI card, I'd switch the primary monitor to it and all would be fine.
When I installed Vista on the 2350, I experienced BSODs on startup until I disabled the onboard video. I am not sure if this happens with nVidia cards as well as ATI ones.
I tried two cards with the 2350: an expensive HIS 4350 ATI and a much cheaper Sparkle 8400GS. The 4350 worked, but did not accelerate video playback (ATI said they did not support it over the PCI bus), so I RMA'ed it. The 8400GS installed without incident and worked perfectly and accelerates both standard and high-def video. Both cards were installed in slot 3.
I would like to join this discussion based on my present situation. I tried the Geforce 8400 GS in my DellOptiplex GX1 originally fitted with Nvidia Riva TNT2 mod 64 16 MB PCI graphics card and initially it was impossible to get any function at all on the new card. Through Googling I found answers leading in all kinds of directions but no real answers except in this thread.
I fitted the 8400 GS, restarted and received nothing no matter what i did. I put back the TNT2 together with the 8400 GS and put one monitor on each. Boot sequence and windows boot showed on the TNT2, 8400 GS showed nothing.
The onboard ATI video was supposed to be automatically disabled when a new PCI card was fitted. It was prevented from starting but not disabled. After doing a "do not use this device" command on the ATI I suddenly received videosignal on both graphics cards and found that the two displays were one desktop. I then removed drivers and disabled the TNT2. I got the same result, two displays, one desktop. When checking the TNT2 I found that it was running on a non plug and play driver vgasave. I disabled this and poof, the 8400 GS came to life with windows. No longer two displays, one desktop.
Bios boot though was shown by the TNT2 even though it had no drivers and was disabled. After bios boot it turned off and 8400 GS showed windows boot.
My situation is now that if I want to see bios boot and bios I must have monitor on TNT2, when using windows monitor must be on the 8400 GS.
To get bios boot through 8400 GS seems impossible, but really, it can't be. Seems like the PC in some way locks itself to an old grahics adapter.
Does anybody have some idea on how to attack this issue?
I expect that what you are seeing is normal for your computer. The BIOS is supposed to switch between onboard, your ATI Rage adapter, and an add-on video card. If you have two add-on video cards installed at the same time the only way both work usually is to have Windows extend its desktop onto the second card, which is what you seem to be describing in your paragraph about switching between the TNT2 and the 8400GS.
Computers made during the last ten years have been making it ever more easy to add hardware, most of it being plug and play. You need to think back to the old days when we had to fight to add every card to get an idea of why you think the computer is locked to the TNT2. If you replaced a video card twenty years ago one of the first things you needed to do before removing the old card was uninstall the drivers and return the computer to a standard VGA driver. The extended VGA adapters we have in this day and age must have unique drivers in order to work properly; if you try to operate it with the driver for the card being replaced, you get no video. In order to install the 8400GS you will first need to uninstall the drivers for the old card. This will cause the operating system to use a standard VGA driver that works with all video cards at what we now consider to be a low resolution; 640 X 480. Once you have the card working with that driver you can install the special driver for the 8400GS to achieve the higher resolutions that the card is designed to support.
Hey just want to say thanks for the info in this post and thread. It may be old but still useful I just installed a new graphics card in my computer and did not have any problems. The information here made it quick and easy to do. I'm certain if I did not have this knowledge in advance I would have become very frustrated with it not working. So thanks again to everyone who helps contribute on these forums, it is greatly appreciated.