Why does the screen go black and lose sync when I boot?

This is a known problem with the ATI Mach 64 video card. The problem is that this card uses address 2e8, and the fourth serial port does too. Due to a bug (feature?) in the sio(4) driver it will touch this port even if you do not have the fourth serial port, and even if you disable sio3 (the fourth port) which normally uses this address.

Until the bug has been fixed, you can use this workaround:

  1. Enter -c at the boot prompt. (This will put the kernel into configuration mode).

  2. Disable sio0, sio1, sio2 and sio3 (all of them). This way the sio driver does not get activated -> no problems.

  3. Type exit to continue booting.

If you want to be able to use your serial ports, you will have to build a new kernel with the following modification: in /usr/src/sys/i386/isa/sio.c find the one occurrence of the string 0x2e8 and remove that string and the preceding comma (keep the trailing comma). Now follow the normal procedure of building a new kernel.

Even after applying these workarounds, you may still find that the X Window System does not work properly. If this is the case, make sure that the XFree86 version you are using is at least XFree86 3.3.3 or higher. This version and upwards has built-in support for the Mach64 cards and even a dedicated X server for those cards.

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