This page has responses to a reader request in the 6/28/98 news.
Original Reader Request on the issue:
I just bought a Supermac s900/200 from macwarehouse.
It was a good deal for $999, but I have a problem. I put my techworks
power3d in it and it will not work. It brings up a blue "scrambled"
screen and blinks the monitor on and off (sometimes I can get a glimpse of
"scrambled quake", and the sound does play).
I have moved it to all six
different pci slots, used two different monitors, tried three different
pass-through cables, changed 2-d cards and even the processor card. For
the life of me, it will not work. I have installed os 7.1 and 8.1 with
the techworks drivers, but none work.
I thought my card was bad, but I
put it back in my powercenter and it works like a charm. Umax and
techworks are both baffled...I will try to round up a pc 3dfx card to see
if the machine is compatible, but for the time being, if anyone has a
simple suggestion that I may be forgetting....
Reader Responses (most recent first):
I'm having a similar problem to the one your user described.
In my case, I'm using an ixMicro Pro Rez card on an 8500. Whenever I play
Quake, the screen goes black, and the monitor switches off (the same way it
always does when there's no video signal flowing through it--it's Energy
The same thing happens when I play Marathon Infinity, only in reverse--the
monitor auto-switches to 640x480 during gameplay, and all is well, but when
I try to save a game and bring up a dialog box, the monitor switches back
to 1024x768. This behavior is normal, but ever since installing the Pro
Rez, the switch back to 1024x768 blacks out the screen. The game is still
okay, though. If I click "Enter," it'll save my game even though I can't
see anything, and then it'll switch to 640xz480 and the screen comes back.
Here's my theory on why this is happening (in my case at least): The Pro
Rez increases the number of available monitor resolutions to several dozen.
My monitor, however, doesn't support most of them. I know that Quake and
Infinity have auto-switching capabilities, and that Quake needs to run in
thousands of colors to access 3Dfx. So they're both going to switch your
screen settings on startup. I'm guessing that these programs aren't being
very smart about which resolutions they're switching to, and they're
picking one of the unsupported ones.
In the case of Quake, I got around the problem by trashing my preferences,
and switching my monitor to 640x480 *before* I started. The screen did not
go black, and I was able to fiddle with the auto-switching settings until I
found one I liked.
Bungie's Weekend Warrior is the worst offender. It doesn't offer any
configuration to the auto-switching settings, and so the game is unplayable
as long as I have the Pro Rez.
Keep in mind, this is just a theory. Your reader said the card worked fine
in his PowerCenter, and I have no explanations for that.
Hope this is helpful,
I am using a Umax S900 with Power3D.
My Umax has 144meg of RAM, 4 meg Twin Turbo, Initio Miles U/W card, Korg
1212 digital audio card, Power3D and PowerLogix 275/275 1 meg processor
card. My monitor is a 20" Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 91TXM.
Initial installation of the Power3D was a bastard.
Operation of the card was intermittent with occasional correct function
interspersed with "out of sync messages", black (and unrecoverable)
screens and loss of most resolutions.
I tried original 604e processor card, messed with extensions as
suggested by TechWorks tech support and removed all but the twin Turbo
(there is no on board video on a Umax S900) and Power3D with no reliable
I also swapped cables and Power3D cards with a friend with similar
He had experienced similar problems with his 9600/300 but shorted some
pins on the card and everything went fine (for him). We tried the same
on mine with no luck.
When I bought a G3 266 Mac and installed the card it worked straight
away, I even recovered my lost resolutions.
After selling my G3 Mac I went back to the Umax and started again with
the Power3D card.
This time - after a couple of card/slot swaps and Cuda resets -
everything works fine.
I am running a (very) full set of extensions with no special exceptions
for the Power3D.
My current slot config is: A -Miles U/W card, B- Korg 1212, C - empty D
- Twin Turbo, E - Power3D, F - empty.
Perhaps it was that "Voodoo" chip set causing the problem:)
Hope this helps and very best regards,
Just a comment on the qestion regarding the Umax s900/200 and the 3DFX
card. I have both, in fact bought mine from MacConnection in the recent
selloff as well, and have run my 3DFX card with no problem with both the
stock 604e and now a railgun 250/166. I am using a ViewSonic P770
monitor. BTW, I had the card running previously in a Catalyst design
machine (PowerTower). There must be another factor involved. The video
is supplied by a Twin Tubo 128M that Umax beefed up to four megs.
As always, thanks for your great service to the Mac community.