VA-503+ IRQ sharing

Discussion in 'FIC' started by Brad Clarke, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Brad Clarke

    Brad Clarke Guest

    I read somewhere that the AGP slot, and PCI slot #1 share the same

    Does anyone know if any of the other slots share interrupts? (i.e. PCI
    slot #3 and ISA slot #1)?

    I'm debating on whether to spend more money on this board (Promise
    ATA/100 card and USB 2.0 card), or to just invest the money on newer
    components and sell this one off.

    Brad Clarke, Jan 15, 2005
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  2. Brad Clarke

    Jean Cole Guest

    Yep. It's in the FIC FAQ:
    Isn't that pretty much academic, since you can't physically use both of
    these slots at once?
    I doubt you'll get rich selling off components of this vintage. What's
    the intended use for this machine? How many cards would you need to
    cram into the case? What OS do you envision using?

    I'm reading this group because I'm in the final stages of upgrading my
    wife's 503+-based machine (1.15JK35 BIOS, PCB rev. 1.1A, K6-2/450, AT
    PSU) from W98SE to Windows 2000 SP4. If you want to know how I got it
    working, read on! Hardware: ATI Rage AGP-2X video, Creative SB PCI64
    sound, Netgear FA311 10/100 ethernet, ACARD AEC6880 ATA-133/RAID
    controller with mirrored IBM Deskstars as boot device. No ISA cards.

    It was a struggle getting all three PCI cards to function in Win2K with
    the AGP video adapter present--the slot order I used for Win98 did not
    work at all, and in fact FIC's FAQ advises leaving PCI #1 empty.
    Several times I would get the network card "installed" but couldn't ping
    anything; and adding the third PCI card usually meant a hang just after
    the logon screen.

    I almost gave up in frustration, but I put in a few more hours of
    methodical attempts, wrote down everything I did, and finally got it.
    It's no 3GHz screamer, and it could use some more RAM, but all in all
    it's a pretty snappy machine and entirely adequate for word processing,
    e-mail, internet etc. I'm certainly not sorry I stuck with it, and I'm
    sure my wife will be thrilled if I ever stop tweaking it and let her use
    it ;-)

    I have no idea if my solution is generalizable, but here's the synopsis
    I was planning to post; I might as well do it here as anywhere:

    --Swapped the two PCI cards nearest the AGP slot. I arrived at this
    much later after trying all sorts of permutations. The key was getting
    the same IRQ assignments that worked in Win98--which is hard to do
    because you can't just turn off automatic config and manually set them
    in Win2K/XP. I don't know whether the relative slot order or the
    characteristics of the individual cards are the critical thing
    here...but I got good results with the RAID controller in slot #1 (IRQ
    10, soundcard in #2 (IRQ 11), NIC in #3 (IRQ 5). I had #1 and #2
    reversed in Win98; the controller was a Diamond FirePort SCSI.

    --In BIOS: Set PnP OS to "No", kept the auto-assigned IRQs (you might
    have to go with manual if you have legacy ISA cards). I stuck with the
    10,11,5... ordering, which is what worked in W98. Turned off all power
    mgmt stuff. Disabled 'assign IRQ for VGA'. Disabled serial port #2,
    parallel port and USB, all of which seemed to be preferentially grabbing
    IRQs I thought I needed.

    --Installed Win2K (or XP) with the Standard PC HAL by hitting F7 (or F5)
    at first setup bluescreen when it asked for mass storage drivers. F7 is
    silent; F5 brings up a menu. (You can also then hit F6 if you have a
    RAID/SCSI/ATA133 controller to install).

    --Turned off IRQ Steering in Dev Mgr -> Computer -> Properties. What
    the BIOS assigns, stays. (I did this early, and now that everything
    works I'm too chicken to turn it back on to find out if this step is
    really necessary.)

    --I had USB disabled in the BIOS; when I turned it back on it took IRQ 7
    but showed up as "unsupported VIA USB host controller". I read mixed
    reports on getting USB functionality from this board--many reports of
    instability. I went for "update driver", "show all compatible drivers",
    and chose "VIA Standard USB host controller". It installed the usb root
    hub device, and my Olympus digital cam works now, at least. No
    noticeable instability problems thus far!

    Sorry to hijack the thread--but I hope this detailed account helps
    someone get a W2K or XP upgrade going on the 503+.

    --Adam Cole [posting from my wife's machine]
    Jean Cole, Jan 15, 2005
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  3. Brad Clarke

    Brad Clarke Guest

    I was referring to whether PCI slot 3 shared an IRQ with one of the ISA

    My PCI NIC would not work on this machine with W2K (but the NIC worked
    fine with Linux), so I have an ISA NIC in ISA slot 3 and all is fine.
    Considering I only paid for the board with 2 boxes of Tim Horton's
    timbits for it, I'm not asking much for it :)

    Brad Clarke, Jan 15, 2005
  4. Brad Clarke

    Jean Cole Guest

    I understand--I assume because of that physical limitation that PCI#3
    and ISA#1 have to be functionally the same slot, bus-wise, and share an
    IRQ. (I don't know for *sure* if either of the other ISAs shares
    resources with PCI #3, but I don't see how they really could, since most
    ISA cards weren't exactly cooperative in that sense.)
    See, I'd about concluded the same for my PCI NIC--worked in W98, M$
    upgrade advisor said "This NIC isn't supported", when I did get it to
    show in W2K devmgr (sans yellow '!'), it wouldn't ping anything.

    In my desperation I had actually hauled out my old 1989-vintage 3com
    etherlink II TP (a 10baseT full-length ISA board replete with jumpers,
    ahh!) and was contemplating using that instead. But when I resolved the
    other bus/IRQ/BIOS conflicts, the PCI NIC started working fine.
    Well, we don't have Timmy's in California, so I could only pay you in
    "Freedom" fries. Regular, or extra crispy?

    Adam Cole
    Jean Cole, Jan 15, 2005
  5. Brad Clarke

    Adam Cole Guest

    Embarrassing to admit--but upon returning this machine to the old Win98
    configuration temporarily the NIC stopped working again. After a lot of
    grief I found that the mainboard was poorly supported from beneath,
    which made it hard for the various cards (PCI #3 especially) to seat
    properly in the slots.

    This proved to be a subtler issue than I might have expected, since
    Windows may "install" (or at least recognize) a partially seated card on
    this board, possibly assigning it an IRQ--it just won't work, even
    though dev mgr shows no troubles! The DOS diagnostic utility that came
    with my NIC was helpful in troubleshooting this, once I remembered I had

    Anyway, it's likely that many of the "IRQ" problems and boot-up freezes
    I was dealing with in my first post were in fact intermittent mechanical
    problems related to this. So all that bit about swapping cards between
    slots was likely incidental: I was just lucky enough to get the NIC
    fully seated on the last go-round. _is_ possible on VA-503+ 1.1A to use AGP video and 3 PCI
    cards under Win2K with AGP/PCI #1 sharing an IRQ, whatever FIC's FAQ may
    say to the contrary.

    Adam Cole
    Adam Cole, Jan 16, 2005
  6. Actually, ISA slots do not share IRQs with anything. The ISA cards
    themselves determine the IRQ in use. This is why there is the PnP/PCI
    Configuration section of the BIOS has a place to reserve IRQs for ISA
    slots... so that the PCI cards do not try to use them!

    As for PnP ISA cards, the BIOS is supposed to assign them an IRQ, and
    automatically not allow any PCI cards to use that IRQ.

    Alex Zorrilla, Jan 17, 2005
  7. Brad Clarke

    Wblane Guest

    Interesting. I'm having problems getting a PCI USB 2.0 card working. It's
    recognized by windows but dosn't function because none of the optical mice I've
    used light up at all when connected to this card. I'll have another look and
    see if the card is fully seated or not -- especially now that I'm having
    problems w/my PCI NIC.
    -Bill (remove "botizer" to reply via email)
    Wblane, Jan 19, 2005
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