broken VGA output from motherboard

dkline201

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I have an old SuperMicro X9DRL motherboard running FreeBSD 10.3, with a broken VGA output port. The system boots OK, and can be accessed through PUTTY and the WEB pages, so I know the system is still functioning. But I 'need' the system console screen for local management connected to the builtin VGA port. I am looking for a PCIe to VGA board, which, hopefully, can be redirected as the main Console port. (NO graphics necessary, just 80 x 24 text).

Finding a PCIe VGA board is the first hurdle. And then switching the text output to the VGA PCIe board is the next problem.

Anyone have any experience doing this?

Thanks...
 

SirDice

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Most modern graphics cards have HDMI and/or Display port. But there should still be some cards around that have DVI-I. DVI-I is easily converted to VGA, you just need an adapter. DVI-I has both digital and analog video signals. The analog signals are VGA, just with a different connector.
 
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dkline201

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Good point. I think I saw some DVI PCIe boards that might work. It has to be a half height board for a 2RU Server. But question remains on FreeBSD drivers for that board, and then redirecting the FreeBSD console text from the built in VGA to the PCIe board. What happens when I hit 'Delete' during boot to get to BIOS?
 

SirDice

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But question remains on FreeBSD drivers for that board
Don't need drivers for it. Console only just uses the VBE (assuming a CSM boot). You would only need drivers if you want to use X (but even that could run on vesa(4) or scfb(4) without a proper driver).
and then redirecting the FreeBSD console text from the built in VGA to the PCIe board.
That's what the BIOS will do. Not FreeBSD.
What happens when I hit 'Delete' during boot to get to BIOS?
It will detect an external video card is active and use that. The 'internal' graphics will just be disabled.
 
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dkline201

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WOW! Seems 'too' simple. :) We are still using straight legacy BIOS boot on the older systems. Learning how to build UEFI boot systems now...

Full steam ahead to find a suitable half height PCIe board... And no problem with the DVI to VGA cabling - I have those in my 'spare cables' drawer. I'll let you know how it works out.

You, SirDice, are a gentleman and a scholar! Thank you!!!
 

astyle

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Y'know, there are PCI-e extender cables. You plug one end into the PCI-e slot on the mother board (Most server motherboards have PCI-e slots), GPU to the other end. And then you can position your GPU however you want. This cable is aimed mostly at miners who need to position a heavy GPU, but it can also save you from needing a half-height GPU. Having said that, most 'half-height' GPU's on the market do have VGA ports. I don't think you can even find a GPU that doesn't have a PCI-e connection.
 
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dkline201

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DVI-D PCIe.PNG


Found this online for $5 - PCIe x16 video w/ DVI-D output, plus $10 for a DVI-D to VGA cable. I'll have it in a few days to test. :)
 

SirDice

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DVI-D is digital only. You will need an active converter to make that into a VGA signal. Not impossible but if you're going for an active scan converter you might just as well pick a card with HDMI. You need to look for DVI-A or DVI-I (which is a combined DVI-A and DVI-D). DVI-A has the same analog signals as VGA, and thus can be easily converted from one connector to the other (it's only the connector that's different, the signals are the same).
 
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dkline201

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Y'know, there are PCI-e extender cables. You plug one end into the PCI-e slot on the mother board (Most server motherboards have PCI-e slots), GPU to the other end. And then you can position your GPU however you want. This cable is aimed mostly at miners who need to position a heavy GPU, but it can also save you from needing a half-height GPU. Having said that, most 'half-height' GPU's on the market do have VGA ports. I don't think you can even find a GPU that doesn't have a PCI-e connection.
Interesting idea, but these systems are in a Server rack (only one that needs the video fix), and the 'external Video card' would need an enclosure and a place to mount it. And I don't want to spend $ for a high powered GPU when all I need is 80 x 24 text. But thanks for the suggestion.
 
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dkline201

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Not really, just a cable with the appropriate termination that fits into the plug. 🤷‍♂️
Correct. Either an 'active' adapter, or a cable with the 'active' parts molded into the plug, (which I also bought).
 
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dkline201

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I hope it is OK to post the pictures of the items that I found with your helpful suggestions. Hopefully these will help someone else down the line who comes up with a similar problem?
 

SirDice

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Either an 'active' adapter, or a cable with the 'active' parts molded into the plug, (which I also bought).
Yes, it's an active converter. Meaning there's some electronics inside that convert the digital signal to an appropriate analog VGA signal. With DVI-A (or DVI-I) you can use a passive converter (no electronics, just some wires from one connector to the other). With DVI-D (or DVI-I) you can, for example, use a passive converter to HDMI because they're the same signals.

Are you telling me that the converter plugs don't include signal conversion circuitry right inside the plastic/metal case?
There are passive and active converters. A passive converter just has wires, an active converter uses chips and other active components to translate the signal.
 

astyle

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Interesting idea, but these systems are in a Server rack (only one that needs the video fix), and the 'external Video card' would need an enclosure and a place to mount it. And I don't want to spend $ for a high powered GPU when all I need is 80 x 24 text. But thanks for the suggestion.
yeah, those extender cables can take any GPU. You can first comfortably mount the GPU inside the case, and then run the extender cable between the GPU and mobo.
 

Criosphinx

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The four pins to the left in a DVI connector are the VGA signal:

ff9bbc53134ddf2908557e0731a35e4e.jpg

You will notice that almost all recent video cards only have one DVI-D connector if at all, you will need and active converter, at that point better to use a HDMI-to-VGA adapter.
 

astyle

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There are passive and active converters. A passive converter just has wires, an active converter uses chips and other active components to translate the signal.
Yeah, that can help in troubleshooting an occasional monitor that stubbornly refuses to show anything, but most of the time, a converter plug is all you really need. 🤷‍♂️
 

astyle

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You will notice that almost all recent video cards only have one DVI-D connector if at all, you will need and active converter at that point better to use a HDMI-to-VGA adapter.
Just how recent? Anything made since start of the pandemic has DP and HDMI, but not DVI. Some industrial mini-PCs have VGA connectors.
--
Also - your pic only reinforces my point about proper physical terminations that fit correctly. A male DVI-A connection can be plugged into any female DVI-I plug, but not into female DVI-D plug. If you have a male DVI-I connection - a Single Link can plug into both Single Link and Double Link female plugs. But a male DVI-I Dual Link plug can only fit into the same female plug. Gender of the plug kind of matters, y'know. 😏
 

covacat

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this board supports ipmi and serial over lan console
so once you configure it you may get away without vga
you can access the bios from putty
 

astyle

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you can access the bios from putty
really??? I thought the SSH server just doesn't allow you to get THAT deep... links, please.
Edit: Did some quick googling - realized that enabling that is frankly a security risk.
 

sidetone

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The four pins to the left in a DVI connector are the VGA signal:
ff9bbc53134ddf2908557e0731a35e4e-jpg.12246

I was wondering if on the DVI-I Dual Link connector, could there theoretically be a cable that attaches to it, that has 1 or 2 DVI monitor attachments and 1 VGA monitor attachment. Then, I came across that either an analog or digital signal could be used, but not both at the same time, so that would mean only a VGA passthrough or DVI passthrough could be used.

If I understand correctly, DVI Dual Link allows for a cable that splits into 2 DVI attachments for 2 separate monitors, or allows a single DVI output with higher monitor resolution.
 

Criosphinx

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The pinout:

1869px-DVI_pinout.png


Maybe recent is not the right word, for example the cheapest cards available here (not counting Nvidia 730's) are 1030 models and only a few still have the Analog Data, you will not get a VGA signal without a converter, DVI-I and DVI-A cables won't fit.
 
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