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Blank Screen - mouse movement => see some graphics


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Hi Schrull,

Been scanning the board here for days with similiar problems to compare notes. Before I start, my specs:

System:

AMD Athlon64 FX-55

2 x nVidia Asus 6800Ultras in SLI (drivers 71.89)

Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI mobo (F7)

Windows XP Pro (with SP2)

DirectX 9.0c

Resolution: 1600 x 1200 @ 85Hz (22 inch IBM ThinkVision C220p)

No FSAA selected ("Application default")

MS Intellimouse (wireless) with Thumbprint Reader Keyboard (wired)

Relating to: CMBB + CMAK (both USA versions)

Problem:

I hear the intro music - screen initially blank/black, moving the mouse pointer around brings the intro graphics (selection menu screens at bottom) up in panels/stages, just enough for me to click and see the exit menu. The rest of the screen (top-half) is still blank/black. Alt-TAB does not work to get rid of this partially blank screen. Should I wait longer at intro screen, say 1 min as some has reported here.

I'm aware of the MS Hotfix 328310 issue, but WinXP Pro SP2 does not give the option to uninstall.

Both CMBB/CMAK exact same problem. I guess it's nVidia graphic drivers. If I have to do a rollback of nVidia drivers, to which version that's stable and how do I safekeep my current v71.89 for future reference - on dial-up access here, so do not wanna spend hours on getting MB's of OLDER nVidia drivers.

Many thanks in advance,

Charl Theron

WineCape

[ June 29, 2005, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: WineCape ]

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I haven't tinkered around with any SLI setups, but that could be an issue here. With SLI you have two videocards splitting the duties of drawing the screen. The videocards in a Nvidia SLI setup are diving the screen into two vertical sections, top and bottom. The drivers split up the workload for the two videocards, which can vary.

It looks like you're running into a situation where one of the videocards is not drawing its share of the screen. As a last resort, reverting to a non-SLI configuration (a single videocard running the screen) would fix this, though as a stop gap solution.

Unfortunately I don't know which driver will fix this issue. The latest is 77.72 (WHQL), so it may be worth a try. SLI is probably an area where Nvidia still needs to to work since it is fairly new. In fact no driver before 66.93 (at least in terms of 'official drivers') supports SLI. However newer drivers are more likely to be better and supporting different titles and fixing issues with SLI.

There is a slightly newer BIOS for your motherboard (F8), but it only adds support for Dual-Core AMD 64's, but nothing changing the SLI support/features.

There is a socket (that looks like a laptop memory socket) between your two PCIE-x16 slots with a 'board' that is inserted into it. This is the 'SLI switch module' and it is described on page 18 of the motherboard manual. Each side of this board has 'connectors' (like memory) that are labelled "Normal Mode" and "SLI Mode". You need to have the "SLI Mode" side inserted into the socket connector and firmly seated (there are clips on the side that should engage and hold the board firmly in place). You may want to unseat and double-check the connection to make sure nothing is interfering (debris) and/or that nothing is bent or twisted within the connection.

Next you need to have the 'SLI Bridge' connector that is located on the top of each card firmly seated on both cards. You may want to double check this connection to make sure it isn't defective or that there is any debris/'gunk' on the connector edge or within the connectors themselves. Also double-check to make sure both cards are seated well within the PCIE slots.

You can hook up the monitor to either videocard, but you'll have to make sure that if you change which card (designated by the slot that it sits in, not the actual card itself) you hook the monitor to that those changes are reflected in the BIOS for which display initializes as the 'primary' (see page 20 in the manual).

When you've booted up go the the Control Panel > Display control panel > Settings tab > Advanced button > GeForce 6800 Ultra tab > in the 'pop-out' menu go to SLI Multi-GPU listing > make sure that the 'Enable SLI Multi-GPU' checkbox is marked (if it wasn't, then you'll need to reboot after checking it).

If you've done all this and the problem persists (including using the newer driver), then turn off your system and swap the cards around and see if the 'undrawn half' of the screen switches places. If it does, then it is following one of the cards, which is probably defective. At that point you would need to configure your system for single-card operation and try them one at a time to confirm the defective card. It's possible that the card may only be defective in a SLI mode and may operate fine as a stand alone card. At this point you may want to contact who you purchased the system (or at least the videocards) from and possibly have them check it out and possibly exchange videocards.

[ June 29, 2005, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Schrullenhaft ]

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Many thanks for taking the time to reply Ian,

My computer was assembled by a professional, and I mean a pro aka a computer junkie. smile.gif He delivered/assembled my the system with SLI working 3 weeks ago.

I tested SLI mode 2 weeks ago in the latest 3DMark2005, where this program, I think (can't remember if it was AguaMark maybe) split the screen horizontally in 2 during its test runs so you can actually see the workload on both 6800Ultras on 2 parts of your monitor. Worked fine then. Let me test it again tonight to make 100% sure. I suppose if there was a bad connection then with 2 cards/SLI connector this software splitting would have not showed up?

And yes, SLI is enabled on my nVidia Propert Disply panel. Guess I'll download that certified ForceWare 77.72 drivers first. Doing that now and if done, will report later here.

Stay well,

WineCape

[ June 30, 2005, 05:56 AM: Message edited by: WineCape ]

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Originally posted by rune:

Winecape,

I could go out and buy a nice AMD X2 system with the SLI to test for you. please send the money ASAP so I can begin testing. smile.gif Shouldn't be more then 3000.00 smile.gif

Rune

Oi, Check your tnt 9-digit tracking number - some liquid was send in lieu of your requested donation ;)

3000.00? US Dollars you mean? Lucky Americano Bastiches. I had to pay the equivalent of $7000.00 do get my specified hard-/software system on my desk 3 weeks ago. And what a system, hehe.

Even running 2 x Raptor drives in RAID 1 with APC UPS system, just in case the power outlets here fries my spiffy harware. Also Running Silent Hunter III like a knife through butter. Alas, CM is my benchmark for computer enjoyment. What we will do just to keep playing CM, ehh?

[ June 30, 2005, 06:15 AM: Message edited by: WineCape ]

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Reporting back,

The latest certified (WHQL) nVidia 77.72 drivers for my 6800Ultra's in SLI mode did the trick. Hurray! The previous certified drivers (71.89) is a no-no with regard to SLI mode if you want to play CMAK/CMBB.

Sincerely,

Charl Theron

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