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Date:      Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:17:20 -0800
From:      Dieter BSD <dieterbsd@gmail.com>
To:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   video hardware support question
Message-ID:  <CAA3ZYrBoirMepZ+hA4eGe3y_2GruWi_++tkEeSFcTdN5RRRXJg@mail.gmail.com>

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I have a shiny new Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 (rev. 1.0) mainboard,
which refuses to print anything on the display except solid blue.
The video card itself (Number Nine S3 PCI dated 1997) prints its own
message briefly, as does a JMB363 SATA/PATA card.  The display
does not complain about the input signal.  The UD5 seems happy with
the video card, giving the "POST succeeded" single short beep.
No video card, or a video card it doesn't like gives an error beep code.
I have no clue why this isn't working.

My plan: try a recent video card:
Sapphire Radeon R7 240
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202055
http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?pid=E717FBC3-11C2-43E3-A216-291B8BCBC5F4&lang=eng

Why this card?  It fits in a single slot, with no overhanging fan
like some "single slot" video cards.  Meaning I don't lost a
valuable expansion slot due to an obese video card.  It claims
to support 4K.  Has 3 outputs (dual-link DVI, vga, and hdmi)
Not perfect: it does have a (skinny)fan, it isn't on the list of chips
that support Freesync, and it doesn't have displayport.  I want a good
framebuffer, but do not need or want a powerful gpu.

The card is PCIe gen3, I assume it will work ok in the PCIe gen2 UD5.
My question is, will this card work with FreeBSD 8.x and 10.x?
I shouldn't have to ask, but I tried to update my current machine
to 10.1 and X11 does not work (at all), so it is stuck with 8.2.
And there is a LOT of common hardware that FreeBSD does not support
properly, or at all.  :-(

I have never heard of Sapphire before, so question #2 is, do they
make decent hardware?  R7 240 cards from Diamond, HIS, Gigabyte,
and MSI have fans that stick out.  Asus only supports
"Max Resolution: 1920 x 1200".  PowerColor is said to require
PCIe gen3.  VisionTek seems long on cost but short on features.
XFX has single-link DVi.

I'm sure I haven't looked at every card available, I'd be happy to
consider other cards if they have something useful, such as higher
quality, more resolution, Freesync, displayport, ...  I haven't
really looked into the R7 250 cards, since they appear to be more
gpu (which I don't need), without more framebuffer.  Anything newer
than R7 250 seems to be strictly 2 slots (or wider).

The UD5 doesn't open the RS-232 port, so no console access there.
I haven't found any FLOSS firmware for the UD5.  I've tried to boot both
FreeBSD and NetBSD, but no joy.  Without the console I have no clue why.

:-(



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