No Video During POST on Dual Radeon HD 6950's

alpha

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
4
Hey all, first post on this forum, and it comes with an interesting question.

I recieved my Aurora R4 ALX last week, I ordered it with the 3.2 6 core processor (OC to 4.1), 16gb of ram, the standard 1tb 7200 rpm HD (already upgraded with a matched set of drives I have here), and dual Radeon HD 6950's in Crossfire config. I got everything up and working with my dual 27 inch monitors, and its been working awesome. I loaded up the normal things (WoW, etc.) on the system in an effort to test everything, and get some benchmarks before I swapped out the factory HD with a matched set of 1tb Seagate 7200 rpm drives for Raid 0 config. As I was preparing to go thru that process, I noticed (had not paid much attention before) that there was no video displaying during POST. No Alienhead splash screen, no Windows 7 splash screen, first video that displayed was the login screen. I wondered if it could be cables (am using shorter DVI's for now), so tried a different set of DVI cables, tried HDMI cables, and none of that made a difference. The major problem there is that not being able to see any of the bios, f12 boot screen, or RAID config screen, there was no way to progress.

I got frustrated, and walked away for the night, shut the system back off, and decided to sleep on it and think. Woke up the next morning, pulled the dual 6950's and threw in a spare GTX560 that I have here. That worked like it should, all splash screens, etc. So I went ahead and did the RAID config, then installed windows using that video card. Once the base install was done, I decided to test every permutation of the 6950's. I tested one card in the top rail, that worked as it should, then tested that same card in the bottom rail, and again it worked. So then I tested the other card in the same manner, and again, everything worked in it's seperate functions. So I left the one card in, updated to the most current drivers using the solo card, updating the CCC and all. Once that was done, I went back to the 2 6950's in crossfire. Back to the no video during post, but once Windows was loaded, the video then would display.

My logical conclusions is it has to do with Crossfire, and the bridging, however once windows loads up everything is fine, the crossfire functions as it should, am seeing the proper GPU's, Vram configurations and such. Is there some setting someplace that I am missing that would allow the crossfire'd 6950's to display POST, or is this something that is normal given the configuration? I will be calling Dell for help, but figured I would see if anyone else here had seen this issue, or had any recommendations. Again, just to clarify, there is no video until the windows login. I am unable to see the bios, splash screens, raid config or anything. The first time a video signal is sent to the screens is at the windows login. Thanks in advance for any help!

Alpha

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX
Intel Core i7-3930k Six Core Processor @3.20GHz
16.0GB of RAM at 1600MHz
Dual Radeon HD 6950 in Crossfire Configuration
2x Seagate Barracuda 1TB - 7200rpm, 32mb cache in RAID 0 configuration (2TB total in RAID)
1x Western Digital 1TB - 7200rpm, 32mb cache in traditional non-RAID configuration
 

alpha

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
4
I figured I would update this just incase someone else comes looking for a resolution to the same issue. After several calls to Alienware Tech, it was discovered that with this particular setup, that instead of using the oh-so-traditional top card ports for the Crossfire, that instead, for some reason, Dell setup this board to use the lower card as the primary. This was confirmed by the tech's as a known issue, and something no one knows why it was done that way. Even the build and shipping teams missed the boat on that as the lower card ports had covers on them, indicating to use the top ports. Also I removed one of the two crossfire bridges, and that seems to have helped the stability immensely. So if someone else comes here with the same issue, I would suggest that they try running on the bottom card as the primary, and also try removing one of the crossfire bridges and just run with a solo one. So far with those things solved the system has been incredible, more than I could have wished for.

I am seeing 60 fps (max fps) on Ultra Graphics in World of Warcraft, even during raids. I am also able to run City of Heroes, Diablo III and even Microsoft Flight Sim X at max graphics performance, with little to no performance loss. Part of the reason I chose Alienware over building one on my own (I am a certified tech in many areas, MCSE, CNE, A+, Mac Genius, and many others, including working in the industries for more than 2 decades, at one time owning my own computers sales, repair and network company, as well as my own Dial-up ISP many years ago), was that I loved the case, the ALX chassis design, and most of all the warranty. Sure I could have built a system cheaper, however, had I done that, all repairs would have been on me. If a Motherboard went out, I would have to RMA send it in to get a replacement, being down for days on end, or even weeks. Plus advanced tech issues would be all on me as well. Frankly, while I can fix anything, and with the time and effort, could solve any issue, I just don't want to do that anymore. Years ago I was disabled, and so any of the advanced repairs, and problem-solving, frankly wears me out and frustrates me. So in this case, I was as much paying for the incredible support, on-site tech's, and nice long warranty.

My prior gaming rig was a Dell XPS 8100 that I bought a few years ago, and had it built with the top options on everything. That computer has been awesome, however early this year, there was an issue where the chassis and CPU fans were not spinning up, and I was starting to get some heating issues. Dell sent out a tech with a new Motherboard (fan controller was bad), as well as new fans for the chassis and CPU. Those were swapped, and that issue was solved, however just a few days later, the GPU fan on the HD 5770 card went out as well. This lead to a host of other issues, including some weird bluescreens and such. Dell once again dispatched a tech with a new video card, and they decided to just swap out the power supply while at it (thinking that may have caused the GPU fan to fail). That seemed better, but later the next day, while reinstalling everything off my network backup, another issue cropped up. I was seeing blue screens about every 20 minutes, related to a RAM issue, perhaps that RAM was damaged by the tech when he swapped things in the system. So once again Dell sent out the tech (same guy every time, LOL), who came out, replaced the RAM and they sent a new HD just to cap it off. That system is now almost new on the inside, all fixed by Dell at no cost to me, thank God I had the extended warranty! Now I will extend the warranty on that system (which I now use for Dual-boxing WoW and other games), as well as run a Personal Web Server, and am testing the Ventrilo Host Server software in hopes to soon replace our remotely hosted Vent with a locally hosted setup.

Anyways, point being that I paid as much for the warranty as for the system. Yes the Alienware systems are worth the money in my opinion (I have both my Aurora R4 ALX and an M17x R3 as well), but the sweet warranty and on-site service make it a no-brainer for me personally. Currently 3 of the 4 systems in my home are Dell/Alienware, with the one exception being my MacBook Pro 17 inch that I use for school, as its portability is better, and the Mac OS works better with my school. Otherwise I use my Alienwares for gaming exclusively!

Alpha

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX
Alienware M17x R3
Dell XPS 8100
 
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