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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flashing Old PC Cards to work with Macs

I need to add this to the wiki later here. Why am I doing this? You can't buy these anymore, and they make nice upgrades for older Macs. And I hate to toss them.

Heres my little thread:

Card: e-GeForce4 MX4000 64MB DDR P/N 064-a8-nv93-lx
Used nvflash 5.15 (get it from here) and the rom you can download from here. (Sorry, they don't want them linked.) It's the ROM entitled "For 128-bit TSOP RAM (nvflash), May work on 64-bit cards too". The unzipped file will be called fx128bit.rom

** If you are going to flash cards, know what you are doing. First thing is make a backup of your original ROM so you can restore the card when the new one doesn't work **

Cards looks a lot like this but longer heatsink and more ram chips. I bet it would work with variations.

Card specs here.

After nvflash writes the new ROM and compares it, it will complain (and I think this is verbatim, it says about the same thing on an MX420 and an Ultra 6800 Overclocked) "Error: Mismatch at Offset: 2 - Expected Value:05 Read Back:40". (You did backup your original ROM right?) I think this is because we are writing a Mac ROM and something isn't quite kosher to it. Don't worry about this error. It should be fine if the ROM will work.

Notes: Have a lot of airflow or add a fan. G4's with the fan blowing right on the AGP slot would probably be ok. In my G5 dual 2.7, it seemed pretty hot, but that slot is kinda far from a fan. Played a DVD image, an MP4 and Hulu at the same time. Hulu had some small glitches, but the other videos were smooth. Shows as an FX5200 in in 'More Info' on the Mac. World of Warcraft gave high teens to mid 30's around the auction house with details turned all the way down. RAM is listed as 133mhz, 266 effective. ROM notes from that wiki show a 200mhz speed. I don't know if that's the real clock rate or effective clock rate.


Card: BFG 6800 Ultra Overclocked (AGP). I had artifacting at GPU speed of 425Mhz in World of Warcraft. This is the card's speed from BFG. Using the 2130 ROM from Macelite's wiki and Graphiccelerator is how I set the speed up in the stock 2130 ROM. I went back to the 2130 OEM ROM with a 400 (stock speed for the Apple and most other cards) and it was fine. This is what I recommend. I'd like to hear different if anyone tries it. 6.25% either way is not that much. After nvflash writes the new ROM and compares it, it will complain (and I think this is verbatim, it says about the same thing on an MX420) "Error: Mismatch at Offset: 2 - Expected Value:05 Read Back:40".

You need to flash this with the ROM "DVI Enabled (Arti)" at http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2.

After you download that ROM, use Graphiccelerator to set the speeds to 400/550 which are the stock speeds for an Apple OEM 6800 Ultra. THEN flash it.

Card: ATI X800 XT. This is the ATI card with the red PCB and yellow connector below the power connector. You can get the 109 version ROM from the above site. I used Graphiccelerator (hereinafter referred to as GC) to load the ROM into the ATI Multi flasher and flash it under OS X 10.5.8. Yes, you have to use GC. I tried the PC atiflash tool on a PC, no dice. Also, you should safe boot your Mac by holding Shift during the boot. And then follow the directions. You will also need the drivers here as they are not included under OS X 10.5.8. They will manage the fan speed on the card and enable you to change resolutions. Of course, they do work under 10.5.8.

This card is noticeably faster than a 6800 Ultra.

If this helped you flash a card, consider a donation (look on the right side on my blog for the Paypal button). I just saved you a ton of cash if you were planning to buy the OEM Mac version.

:)






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