My Formac, My New Radeon, and a Whole Lot of Cuss Words

3 minute read

Yesterday evening started out wonderfully. The video card had arrived and dinner was pastrami sandwiches. Delicious. I probably wolfed it down too quickly to actually enjoy it, but that’s what happens when I get a new toy. Ask Dana how much attention I paid her after I used her student status to get my Powerbook.

So I ran upstairs to my room and carefully installed the new card. I plugged everything back into my computer, removed the ADC to DVI adapter on my Formac display and plugged that in, and let her rip. The computer seemed to start up as normal. Good.

Then I realized, no, it hadn’t started up as normal. Nothing was showing on my monitor. It was acting like it didn’t get any signal at all. Damn it. I restarted. Still nothing. Now I was getting concerned. I unplugged everything but the essentials and restarted. Still nothing. That’s a huge problem. My mind raced. Was the video card defective? Did I not ground myself correctly, frying the card?

Luckily, there’s a couple old VGA CRT displays kicking around my house. I plugged one of those into the other port and restarted the computer. The CRT came on with perfect picture. Crap. Did I screw up the DVI port on the video card? I unplugged and replugged the Formac. The display disappeared from the CRT and came back like it would if it were recognizing a new display. Nothing showed still on my LCD though. I fired up various display and profiling utilities. They all came back with the same answer. No, there’s no display on the DVI port.

I was getting distressed. As a desparation move before trying my original video card, I plugged and unplugged my monitor in several ways. I tried inserting slowly. Then only halfway in. I unplugged the main power for the monitor while still in the video card. The little LED that blinks when the monitor is sleeping was on. I had the brilliant idea of plugging the monitor in while the power was unplugged. Once it was in, I plugged in the power. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. More precisely, I saw video come onto my Formac monitor. Well, that’s progress at least.

In order to more easily plug and unplug the monitor, I had moved my desktop. Well, I had to move it back. I plugged everything back in and… nothing. It was just working! My father came upstairs to see how things were going. I was probably a bit brusque with him. When I’m troubleshooting something, particularly something on my own computer that’s giving me a lot of grief, I’m not fun to be around. I get into total concentration mode and any attempt to talk to or help me gets a gruff response because I feel like it’s slowing me down.

Anyway, I plugged the CRT back in and restarted. Again, it worked. I then did with the LCD what I had done before. I unplugged it, detached the power, plugged it into the video card, and reattached the power. It came up. This was getting old, fast. I shut down the computer and then start it back up as was. The LCD worked. Then I tried disabling the CRT and disconnecting it. The LCD worked. I then shut down and started the computer again. The LCD came up all by itself. It was at this point I decided to leave well enough alone and went to bed. I left the power on to the LCD unlike normal (because it’s bright I turn it off). The computer shut down on its own like normal. This morning, I started it up to see if the monitor would work. It did.

The next step is to turn off the monitor before I go to bed to see if the display is still recognized in that state when it starts up. If it is, then I’m satisfied but I’ll be curious about why the order to plugging things in mattered.