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Laptop VESA MODES 104/106h

May 25, 2011
9 (0.00/day)
Hi Everyone! I'm NEW here at techpowerup.

I saw you had a very good video bios flashing web page and so I thought perhaps here is a good place I can ask a video graphics related question.

I have two laptop machines currently, Toshiba A500 (NVIDIA GeForce 310M, recognized in \\\\dos as a GT218 card) and a Gateway NV5915h (Intel HM55 chipset, Intel graphics, not sure precise chip ID, possible "Cantiga" -- 128Mb )

MY PROBLEM is a DESPERATE need for VESA mode 104h -- the NVIDIA 512Mb video has support for mode 104h, BUT INTEL, AMD//ATI do not. So, what can I do??? I have been thinking about a very simple VESA TSR for DOS (the ENTIRE issue is for a DOS business program). . .

Historically, I've used LEGACY video PCI cards such as CIRRUS GD5446/40, TRIDENT, S3, S3 ViRGE, BUT NOT S3 TRI064! with my AMD K6-2+/500 and DFI K6BV3+/66 Super-7 motherboard and DOS710 . . . WITHOUT EVER bumping into the video issues I am now facing. After some thought, I feel that newer video designs have lost some of the things which older video cards still had, support for VESA MODES 104/106h and FONT support for 8x14 fonts.... (among others)

As a demonstration: I could put the two laptops side-by-side running the exact same DOS softwares, and the INTEL video shows the screen properly and the NVIDIA screen is messed up in unique ways -- usually I experience a kind of horizontal stretching effect and mis-alignment of screen objects' borders, especially the right-side border, but can can be both sides just as easily. And the most important (for me, anyways) that business graphics program, it is 100% perfect on the NVIDIA and I know it supports VESA 104h, but on the INTEL, no way at all as far as this needed program goes. Really upsetting for me. It is CERTAIN FACT the DOS DPMI-16 BORLAND BGI business program sending VESA video mode requests through INT 10h BIOS calls, NOT directly through the hardware. I would say the INTEL graphics show much more standard compatibility with a very wide range of legacy \DOS softwares; NVIDIA is.... perfect for some of my programs, but a disaster for others, especially non-complicated dos games like chess galaxians, pong, QuickMenu III... I can also say definitely result of testing that a part of the funny screen mess-ups I've experience with both the INTEL/NVIDIA laptop graphics is related to the video bios FONT SUPPORTS, since I tested this (using BTTR Software's 8x14 FONT TSR) in the INTEL environment and had drammatic screen improvment but not perfect with one important test program; NVIDIA -- the font issue is there but I don't think it is related to 8x14 font -- no screen improvemt -- just always stretched and objects somehow mis-aligned horizontally. Therefore, something in the NVIDIA video bios ... I just don't know anymore... getting tired of the video "standards" ... just isn;t any at all!!

I can provide SCREEN_CAPTURES to those interested in helping solve/understand this issue.

Anyways, I'm getting depressed again just articulating this whole under-the-hood issue which courtesy of WINDOWS, is by-passed for 99.998% of all pc/laptop users have no idea or could care less.

*** I have tried every version of UNIVESA by SciTech/Kendall Bennett -- does not work on ANY video hardware I am using -- this is usually recommended by good samaritans who have some info on the subject but never and real need or working experience. Or... possibly I just never figured out how to load UNIVESA after using microcomputers for 24 years now.... it always aborts immediately saying "no vesa found" (this on VESA 1.2/3.0 chips!!) or similar, no way to forcefully load it, it always checks to see if it is running on supported hardware, which I could care less since I only have need for VESA MODE 104/106h and absolutely nothing else like exotic hardware related features specific to all the many video chips/hardware out there: so a potential solution exists, I know, but it isn't available to me because of the way UNIVESA is designed/programmed.

I guess I should not expect anything, but if there is anyone who could help with the most important issue (GENERIC VESA MODE 104h ON ALL LAPTOP MACHINES:INTEL-ATI graphics -- as in a ***WORKING*** dos TSR or .SYS driver ?), I would be greatly indebted and thankful.

e-mail: no_mustard@rogers.com

Thanks for reading and sharing your time with me today.

Jul 26, 2010
1,655 (0.60/day)
System Name Primary Rig
Processor Phenom II X4 B50 @ 3.7GHz
Motherboard Biostar TA790GX 128M
Cooling Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm , 6x120mm, MOS-C1
Memory 2x2GB Kingston HyperX 1066 @ 800 4-4-4-12
Video Card(s) Sapphire HD 5830 800/1000 @ 885/1225
Storage 320GB, 400GB, 500GB, 1.5TB
Display(s) Hannspree HF259
Case CM 690
Power Supply OCZ 850W
Benchmark Scores 3Dmark06: 18545/5219 CPU Mark 7.0: 3911.2 Cinebench R10: 11826/3359 x264 HD 2.0: 75.6/23.9
Welcome to TPU!

I know this isn't what you asked but I'm having a hard time not saying it ;). . .
Any reason you're not using VirtualBox which supports VESA and allows custom video modes?

Also have you tried DOSBox (which emulates an S3)?


New Member
Jun 7, 2011
1 (0.00/day)
Melbourne Aust.
VESA mode 104

With Win7 on a L500 Toshiba I use Microsoft Virtual PC, running WIN98 and then I can use VESA modes, in a fairly practical manner.
A few quirks but it works.
This is in 102 mode.
Still trying to make the 104 driver work correctly. See stupid pictures. I want 1024 x 768.
800 x 600 is a pest.
I need to use bank switching in 104 mode, and am patching a disassembled driver.
It works on my old WIN 98 machine, which is getting flakey.
Still need to get the mapping right.....