Mac IIfx video problem

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Mac IIfx video problem

Hi, I picked up a discarded Mac IIfx that powers up but gives no video output to the 16" Apple Display I've got it hooked up to. The display is one of those with the speakers on the sides that came with the PM 6400/6500 models. The video card in the IIfx is a 1987 Mac II Apple Nubus video card with the standard Apple DB15 port. When the computer powers up it sounds like the harddrive is working and the system loads into the RAM, but there is no video output at all. I put new PRAM batteries in the machine, and everything looks fine otherwise. The ROM card is intact. The ROM card number is 341-0811. The machine is actually a IIfx motherboard in a Mac II case. I don't know anything about the regular Mac II's. Did they have ROM cards? I didn't see the ROM number above listed on other sites that list IIfx ROMs, so it's not possible that the ROM card is from a Mac II, is it? I tried moving the video card to another of the Nubus slots, but no difference. Is it a case that the old video card puts out a signal which is not synced with the display, or is it more likely that the video card is dyfunctional? thanks for your help

Jon
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I also have had unresoled [ur

I also have had unresoled display problem with a IIcx and an original NuBus display card. It would't work at all with a 1710av and would only blink off and on with a VGA adater and my 19" LCD enough to verify that it did work and boot. It even peristed over a different NuBus card.

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Either it's the monitor of vid card.

First, try the monitor on another machine or try another monitor on the IIfx. Given the monitor is ok it's sounding like it's the video card if in fact that it's booting in the background by the sounds of the HD.

The ROMs from a Mac II and IIfx are different. The IIfx is on a ROM SIMM whereas the Mac II is on 4 descrete IC's rear the clock batteries.

Good luck Smile

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sync on green issue?

Try a different monitor. I seem to remember my 17' Apple display having a problem with a LC...

Good luck Wink
Mak

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Hey, I'll add my experiences,

Hey, I'll add my experiences, for what it's worth.

In a Mac IIcx, with original Apple NuBus display card (from like 88 or so), it will ONLY work on fixed-resolution monitors, like the old 12" Apple displays, the Performa 14" displays, etc. That's what I'm using. I tried it with my nice CTX 17" multisync display, and I get nothing.

If you can find one of those fixed-frequency Mac>VGA adapters, you could possibly use a VGA monitor, too.

I am using a RasterOps board in my newly-revived IIfx, as the Apple video card would not let the cursor move. I found that it has a pin broken off the NuBus connector. Anyway, enough rambling.

Anyway, that's my personal experience. I also have an e-machines board, which I have yet to test.

Kyle-

Jon
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Ah, good point! I do have se

Ah, good point! I do have several VGA dongles, and I guess I should play with the DIP switches to see if any thing turns up.

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yeah, some of the older macs

yeah, some of the older macs dont like the multisync displays. i have a iisi that wont work on any newer display. only works with my 14" performa display from like 1993-1994.

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I don't think that the mac ii

I don't think that the mac ii series supports vga monitors.

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I have scads of 13" Apple monitors

I'm in Atlantic, IA (about an hour east of Omaha). If you're nearby, PM me and we'll arrange for you to pick one up.

Jon
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The IIsi and IIci don't suppo

The IIsi and IIci don't support VGA, IIRC. There is also a special adapter for them to use a Multi-Sync display. I had to use a NuBus card to use a VGA display with my IIci.

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Thanks, but...

Cwsmith, thanks, but it's a little far to swim, not to mention the hike afterward. Guess I'll have to wait for one to show up on the side of the road or pick up one of the later Nubus video cards. Too bad, I sold all my Nubus stuff years ago. I should keep a minimal collection of old Mac stuff just for support for these random finds. My old 21" Radius monitor is fixed frequency, but at 1052 by 880, or something like that, but I might get some kind of video signal into it. Unfortunately at the moment, it's buried under a pile in my office. I'll post when I can get to it and try it out. Thanks for all the feedback.

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Re: I don't think that the mac ii

gobabushka wrote:
I don't think that the mac ii series supports vga monitors.

If I'm not mistaken, it's more or less the video card. The old school Mac 15pin was essentially a VGA, just different.

There are some NUBUS video cards out there that have a standard VGA output but don't ask which ones, I know I've seen 'em from time to time.

-Dk

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adapter vs. display

The adapter only supports 512x and 640x resolutions, the 16" Apple display is fixed at 832x only. You need a display that can do the original Apple 640x res and synch rate (67hz IIRC), or a nubus adapter that can handle the 16" display.

I'd look for a high-zoot nubus adapter meself, quite cheap these days, rather than mess about with a dongle-type-VGA-to-Apple-style-thing-a-ma-bobbie.

dan k

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Spare NUBUS video cards

If you need a video card I've got 2 NUBUS Radius Thunder IV card's available. Tested and they use the Mac-15 pin connector for video.

Displays in Black/White, 16, 256, thousands and millions of colors. They can also handle the following resolutions and sync rates...

640x480 @ 67Hz
800x600 @ 60Hz
832x624 @ 75Hz
1024x768 @ 75Hz

$10 shipped if you're in the USA. $20 USD shipped worldwide. I accept PayPal or Cashiers Check/Money Order in USD.

PM me if interested.

-Dk

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re: Spare NUBUS video cards

There ya go! Perfect solution, the T4 was a top=of=the=line unit in its day and will work great right out of the box with an Apple 16" display.

dan k

SCR
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re MacIIfx video problem

What is it with all these Apple comments? Apple Display, Apple Nubus, Apple DB15. What ever happened to good old american apple pie? Now, that's a classic.

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Mac II video card not dysfunctional! but...

I finally dug out my old 21" fixed frequency Radius monitor from under the pile in my room and hooked it up to the 1987 Mac II Nubus video card, and yes, I do get video output, and the system loads up, but the resolution being pumped out by the card is not in the 1152 x 870 fixed range of the Radius monitor, so it's an indecipherable scrambled mess, but definitely a normal early Mac OS. Looks like the IIfx works just fine. It was probably mistakenly thought dead simply because the PRAM batteries were dead. A IIfx will not start with dead clock batteries.

Wasn't there a command in the early Mac OS's that you could push on startup which would run the video output through the different resolutions available, so you could find the one you need without going to the monitors control panel?

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re: different resolutions available

Some nubus cards had that in thier declrom (?), but it was never a feature of the OS itself.

dan k

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a question of values

I got the Radius Thunder IV card from Diego_Knyte. Works great! Thanks you, Dave! Nothing exciting on the IIfx harddrive, just OS 7.01 and some basic stuff, and the machine's got 16mb RAM. Hums along just like the good old days.
Let's see, the IIfx original 1991 retail price: $10,000. The Thunder IV card with attached graphics daughter card original retail price? Don't know, how much? $5000? And the machine-specific 4 x 4mb RAM must have cost a tidy sum as well way back when. And it all still works probably not much different from the day it was first pulled out of the box, if not better. $15,000 then, $15,000 today? Well, in spirit anyway. Value is such a constant cascade down to the rubbled bottom of the digital canyon. It's a historically very recent phenomenon difficult to grasp when you think hard about it. Why is something that was $15,000 then, only worth pennies today, even though its performance today is all the same? What changed over 15 years? It wasn't the IIfx itself. Was it mostly us? And was that a good change?

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Re: a question of values

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:
Why is something that was $15,000 then, only worth pennies today, even though its performance today is all the same? What changed over 15 years?

Out of curiosity I went to store.apple.com, selected the quad-CPU G5 tower, and optioned it up so the final price was in the $15,000 ballpark. For $15,522.00 you can have:

4x 2.5 Ghz CPU cores. (Vs. 1x 40Mhz core.)
16GB of RAM (vs. 16MB)
2x 500GB hard disks (Vs, what, 160MB or so stock?)
512MB Quadro FX4500 video card. (Vs. perhaps 4MB on a top-end Radius.)
2560x1600 30" flat panel monitor. (Vs. 1024x768-ish CRT)

Leaving the monitor and video cards out, the delta between the computers proper are:

CPU: 250x faster, based solely on aggregated clock speed. (In real terms each G5 *core* is probably at least 250x faster then a 40Mhz 68030, so the real difference is closer to a thousand times.)
RAM: 1024x as much.
Storage: 6000x increase.

So, just to guestimate what a IIfx is worth compared to its modern equivilent we do a little division:

$15,000 / 250 = $60 / 1000 = $0.06 / 6000 = $0.00001

So... "bang for the buck"-wise, a IIfx is worth 1/100,000th of a cent. Well short of a full penny.

(Admittedly it's not fair to stack the divisions on top of each other like that, but... even if you only go by one factor, CPU Mhz, the best value you could possibly arrive at would be $60. A free cell phone has a more powerful CPU then a IIfx.)

Anyway, that sort of gets the point across. There hasn't been a technology in recent times, if ever, which has advanced as quickly as personal computers. If we could have applied the same improvements to spacecraft that we have to computers in the last 20 years we'd have regular bus service to Alpha Centari by now. Ironically of course a lot of that speed improvement in the raw hardware has been soaked up by bloated, inefficient software, but... eh. The fact that you need a computer hundreds of times faster then one from twenty years ago to run today's software means that said twenty year old computer is worth hundreds of times less then it was.

Wait a few decades or so and computers will stop getting "better" at this pace. Barring some unforseen fundimental breakthroughs in physics eventually you'll probably be able to buy a machine and use it until it wears out, rather then having it become obsolete. In the meantime, well, enjoy the ride.

--Peace

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Glad to here

I'm glad to rear the vid card works for ya's. I'd say a IIfx is worth around $40-50 today if parted out. I've sold a IIfx motherboard a year ago for about $25 and 4 4MB 68pin SIMMS for it for another $20.

A computer is technically the worst "investment" one can make if you're going strictly by the resale value in a few years. A car is probably the second. It's just how it is. But it's what you intend to do with it that may yield a return. Some people gripe about it but it's one of those things to expect when making the purchase.

But you never know. LIke them original Star Wars action figures, they're worth big bux today. Like the Apple 1. Just under $700 back in the day, now it's so rare it's worth thousands. The problem is with collectables is that a lot of people (including myself at one time or another) had gotten into the mindset that "this widget will we worth a bundle someday" but everyone and their brother thinks the same thing. Now everybody's saving the one same widget and it hardly worth anything down the road.

The book "The Cult of Mac" has a sidebar (more like 1 page) about this guy David Hastings (page 213) who had an original Mac 128 box. It included the styrofoam, etc. The original 128 officially at -$0- but he sold the "empty" box for $536 (yes, Five hundred and thirty six clams) on eBay.

A simillar experience of my own, which doesn't come close to Hastings' take, was selling an empty Apple II floppy drive box for $45+shipping to some collector in Japan.

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Don't forget the ROM SIMM

I had a couple of IIfx's that I treasured before. A IIfx with OS 7.6.1 is a very happy machine. I loved mine. I finally parted them about three years ago. Usually, the most valuable single part in a IIfx nowadays is it's "32 bit clean" ROM SIMM--highly covetted by the SE/30 enthusiats. Someone on Fritter recently had a bunch on sale on eBay and sold them as high as $50 a piece. Any large RAM stick for a IIfx is valuable too since the RAM in a IIfx is IIfx-only compatible.
Thanks for the input, it was enlightening.

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