Voodoo/Dual Monitor Work Around

Mac OS X does not officially support Voodoo cards. However, many users have discovered that these cards do in fact work, though not with any enhanced performance. Other users have found that they can not boot up at all, especially when a Voodoo card is being used to power a second monitor. What usually happens for these users is that their Mac gets stuck on a blank screen with a spinning cursor that wonit move. We have found a work around that may help some people.

This tale begins with a surprise after having installed OS X and finding our second monitor, which is powered by a Voodo3 2000 card, working just fine, thank you. This was the case for a couple of weeks until we installed a newer, faster drive to run X on. After installing X on the new drive, we were simply not able to boot up unless we disconnected the 2nd monitor. At this point, we are not sure why it worked before and doesnit work now, but thatis life on a Public Beta release of an OS using unsupported hardware. After toying with settings, plugs, and video cards, and hours of lost sleep, we finally found something that worked.

We disconnected power to the 2nd monitor (it is on a power strip with individual power switches) until the Mac OS X splash screen appeared, and then turned the monitor on. It powers up and works fine from that time on (until the next startup), unless we attempt to change the resolution of the 2nd monitor. If we try that, it drops down to the blank screen with a spinning cursor. Perhaps we can call that the Spinning Cursor Of Death.

On a side note, grabbing information from the startup sequence gives us this information:

.Display_Video_Voodoo3: user ranges num:1 start:90f15000 size:ea680
.Display_Video_Voodoo3: using (800x600@75Hz,16 bpp)
.Display_Video_Voodoo3: user ranges num:1 start:90f02000 size:fd880
.Display_Video_Voodoo3: using (832x624@75Hz,16 bpp)

The second resolution is the actual resolution that the card is pushing. It seems as though Mac OS X is reading the attributes from the card iteslf. Whether itis attempting to support it directly or not is another matter. In any event, we hope that this tip helps you.