How to Upgrade the Video on an IBM eServer xSeries 345
Upgrading this IBM server to provide decent video performance presents problems. But the solution to the problem basically comes down to choosing the right video card. The eServer manual states that to upgrade the video all the user has to do is to add a PCI video card. After several attempts the user may become frustrated trying different slots, and different video cards to no avail. He turns on the machine: no video and no joy. He's back to an ATI Rage XL with eight megabytes of built in video ram.
But this guide provides one solution. Apparently, something in the video bios on the video card or the particular configuration of the card has something to do with allowing the eServer xSeries 345 to actually make the switch to the PCI video card. Various PCI cards such as the Voodoo III, ATI Rage, PCI Radeon 7000, etc. cards fail to work. But the one card that does work is the TUL Corporation's PCI Radeon 9200 SE. It's found on Ebay after doing a search using the following keywords: PCI-X, and Video. It's listed as an PCI-X video card. But really it's a universal PCI card that can fit in the 32 bit or a 64 bit PCI-X slot. Other cards that should work would be PCI video cards specifically advertised as PCI-X compatible, or an actual PCI-X video display card.
But this is the most important step in upgrading the video according to this guide: using a video card that is compatible with the motherboard BIOS. This is the only card that I've found to work. If you have others, please leave an e-mail so that this guide can be updated. But after having done several searches on the internet on upgrading this particular system, I could not find anyone who had success. Again. Use the PCI TUL Radeon 9200SE card listed under Ebay as an PCI-X card. In reality it's not a PCI-X card: it's a PCI card that fits in a 32 bit slot. But you may plug it in a 64 bit slot. 64 bit PCI-X slots are backward compatible with the Universal PCI cards (3.3V or 5V cards).
Unplug the power cords, remove the top cover by lifting the latch on the top left and pulling the cover up and off. For this particular configuration use one of the two PCI-X 64 bit slots on the PCI riser assembly. I moved the IBM ServeRaid 4LX controller to slot 4 or the middle slot of the riser. I then installed the Radeon 9200SE with 128 MB on slot 3 or the top slot of the riser assembly. I replaced the riser assembly into its original position, connected the power cords, video cable and turned the machine on. The video appeared and I received a message saying that the Planar video display was disabled due to the addition of an alternate PCI video card.
That's the first part of the battle to upgrade the video capabilities on this server. The second battle is choosing the right software. If you're running Windows 2000, that should be no problem. Use the latest Windows 2000 driver found on AMD's website. But if you're using Windows 2003, they don't list a Windows 2003 driver. Solution? Use the Windows 2000 driver. It works on Windows 2003. If you're using Linux, you can probably just use the stock kernel as it probably already has support for the Radeon chipset.
You don't really need the Catalyst software. Don't know that its features work on Windows 2003 or Windows 2000. But you can still install it. But to achieve full acceleration you just need to find exactly where to turn on the acceleration features of the card. On Windows 2003 they are by default set to a low level. To turn on all the features just right click on the desktop and choose the Properties menu. Click on the Settings Tab and then click on the Advanced button towards the bottom right. You should then see another form with several tabs. Click on the Troubleshooting tab. Look for the Hardware Acceleration and set all the way to the right to the Full setting.
And that should be it. To add sound I had to use a 5V PCI Sound Blaster sound card. The Universal PCI sound cards that I had didn't allow the system to boot.