Guide to flashing PC SIL3112 SATA cards for Mac

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by harrymatic, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. harrymatic, Dec 30, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014

    harrymatic macrumors 6502

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    #1
    To begin with, hello - I'm new to this board, although I've been a member of the 68kMLA forums for a while. I'm also a long time user of PowerPC Macs.

    I recently flashed a PC SATA card to use in my PMG4, which I am currently in the process of fully upgrading. I put this guide together for anyone who is thinking about doing the same, but isn't sure where to begin.

    You will need:
    • A PCI SATA card that uses the Silicon Image SIL3112 controller chip.
    • A PC that is able to boot from a floppy disk and has a spare PCI slot.
    • 2 blank floppy disks.

    1. Acquire a PCI SATA card that uses a Silicon Image SIL3112 controller chip. Most do. An eBay or Amazon search will usually turn up several results – you should not need to pay more than £10. I used this one : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400502065376

    2. Make yourself a Windows 98SE MS-DOS boot disk. You can get this from http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm. I use the “Windows 98 SE OEM” version, but it doesn’t really matter. Put a blank floppy disk in the drive then run the program. It will write the disk for you.

    3. Download this zip file : SIL3112.ZIP and extract its contents onto another floppy disk. You should have two files, 'updflash.exe' and 'firmware.bin'.

    4. Install the PCI SATA card in the PC, disconnect your hard drive (not essential, just makes your computer more likely to boot from floppy) and insert the MS-DOS boot disk.

    5. Once the PC has started from this disk and you have an A:\ prompt, swap the disk for the one with the two files you downloaded.

    6. Type “updflash firmware.bin” at the prompt. (Without the quote marks of course) Press 2 when it asks what controller type you are using. When the card is done, it will say “BIOS is loaded”.

    7. Shut down the PC, remove the card - it’s good to go in a Mac.
     

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  2. powermi macrumors regular

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    #2
    great post.. have you tried to boot osX from a sata HDD? for me at the moment the most reliable way to boot from sata are sonnet, firmtek or lacie pci cards. i have invested a lot on them and i can say that they are the best.

    if you want to go on the cheap is great to flash a SIL3112 card. but after years i have seen that the performance over the IDE drives is not so dramatic and i am fine booting most of my powermacs from the original IDE bus using PATA drives.
     
  3. harrymatic thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    For me, the performance increase was marginal - I'm using this in an MDD G4 which already had a pretty fast PATA controller, but it's much more convenient as I can use modern, really high capacity drives without the fuss of using adapters.

    The firmware which I am using is the same as on the FirmTek cards, and the Mac is quite happy booting from SATA drives connected to the card. So far it has been completely reliable, although for some reason it takes a bit longer to start up - I guess it scans the PCI bus for bootable controllers/drives last.
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #4
    I will be trying this in a couple of days. This is the card I got for $10.76 (MODS, this is NOT my listing, I am not advertising, just showing what I bought).

    I have a Quicksilver with a 1.2GHZ Sonnet upgrade and two drives from a G5 I had to take back to work. Once I get this I can flash it and hopefully it works. Be nice to get my two drives out of their USB cases and back in a Mac.

    I also got a Molex Y splitter that has the two other ends as SATA power leads. I have one more power connector in this Mac and when I hook it up I'll have four drives. Two IDE, which will be the non-boot drives and two SATA (one of which I will boot from). Also ordered two SATA data cables (3 pack). All for less than $16.

    Hopefully this all works out.
     
  5. jrsx macrumors 65816

    jrsx

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    #5
    lol, the listing says, "3 available, 8 sold."
     
  6. harrymatic thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    eyoungren,

    That card should work perfectly. The EEPROM chip on the card is an SST29EE010 with 128K memory size - exactly the same as my card.
     
  7. eyoungren, Dec 31, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #7
    I copied and pasted the topic of the eBay auction item you linked to into the eBay US store.

    The intent being to find an exact match of the one you got. Guess I succeeded, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Thanks!
     
  8. eyoungren, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #8
    Sheesh! Ordered all the parts on December 31st. Got the Molex power cable (Y-splitter molex to SATA power) on Thursday, Jan 2. The data cables didn't get here until yesterday and the card itself has been sitting in DHL's facility until this morning!

    Looks like I'll probably get the card today. Hopefully. EDIT: Yep! Out for delivery. About dang time!

    Do yourself a favor and if the seller is shipping DHL Global Mail, either pass on the buy or see if you can upgrade. DHL Global Mail uses the DHL system and then hands off to the USPS for delivery. But they let things sit in their facilities until they have a full enough load to deliver to the post office. Which means your item (like mine) sits (and sits) until that happens.
     
  9. eyoungren, Jan 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #9
    Done and done!

    After a bit of futzing with the cabling and disk on the PC, I got this to work. The boot disk I made was crap (not the data, the physical disk itself) so I had to dig out an old Win98 Boot disk from the garage.

    Loaded and flashed. Went beautifully. This card was a PC SATA card for all of about an hour.

    Both of my 500GB SATA drives are now working and I am back to booting from my main SATA drive. That makes 4 drives for this Quicksilver. 2 IDE and 2 SATA!

    Thanks for this! You saved me about $70!
     

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  10. harrymatic thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Glad it worked out for you :) . As much as I like being able to use SATA drives with my Mac, I never would have shelled out the £80 people want for the genuine Sonnet cards.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    That's what I was looking to do until I found your post. Since you made it easy, I would have been nuts not to try it. And if I bricked the card…well it was only $10.

    I avoid flashing if I can. I ruined a perfectly good motherboard on a PC once when I flashed the wrong BIOS. So, this being this easy I had to try.

    As I said, you saved me $70!
     
  12. G4fanboy, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

    G4fanboy macrumors regular

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    #12
    From the state of ...Sata

    Just found on ebay double sil 3112 card . Modders I am not selling them.

    Someones says it work in Mac Os X server ....
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAC-OSX-SERVER-SATA-RAID-CARD-XSERVE-G5-SER523-REV-B2-WAR-CHEAP-LAPTOPS-/120843577048
    It seems the most complete dual sil 3112 system
    For sure the serial number of mac os 10.4 server almost pays the card..
    Should be that a probe that sil 3112 on long pci works?.
    The firmware of that beast maybe is different from others SER523 from LSI
    On ebay there are lots of Ser523 not claiming to be MacOS compatible
     
  13. Laterne macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2014
    #14
    Hi, is there a ROM file for this SIL3112 PCI card that can be flashed making this card OS9 - bootable? I'd like to make some performance tests with this card in my constantly upgraded G3 beige :)
     
  14. harrymatic thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I don't think that there's a specific ROM for OS9 compatability, and I seem to recall people being able to use these flashed cards in beige G3s like yours. I haven't been able to test OS 9 myself though as my FW800 Power Mac cannot run OS9 natively.

    These cards aren't exactly expensive, so it's fairly minimal risk ;)
     
  15. robertdsc macrumors regular

    robertdsc

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    #16
    Could this be done with Virtual PC? I don't have a PC at all and the ones at work are restricted as to loading programs on them.
     
  16. harrymatic thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Sorry, but you'll need an actual hardware PC to do it as the flashing program needs direct access to the PCI bus.

    There does exist a Mac OS X utility which can supposedly flash the cards, but I couldn't get it to talk to the card so I gave up.
     
  17. robertdsc macrumors regular

    robertdsc

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  18. Laterne macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Yes it is. ;) So I purchased one of these 2-port SIL3112 SATA cards.

    I tested it first in a WIN PC and it works well delivering up to 100 MB/s average read speed according to HD Tune and HD Tach.

    Then I patched it successfully following your instructions.

    But the OS9 driven G3 sadly does not recognize it. I tried different PCI-slots, leaving out other PCI expansion cards.

    Also zapping the PRAM and removing the 3.6V Lithium Battery for several hours didn't help.

    Maybe it's the mainboard...

    I hope someone else may check that card for OS9-compatibility.
     
  19. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #20
    You probably need some sort of driver (System Extension). I got a USB 1.0 card once for a PC I used to own. Sat around for years as I killed the PC, until I got an OS9 Mac with PCI slots. I had to hunt down drivers because the card was not recognized under OS9. Once I found some extensions and installed them the card was recognized and that old PowerMac 6500 I have can now use USB.

    I'd start your search with a Google search for "OS9 SATA system extensions".
     
  20. gavinstubbs09, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014

    gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816

    gavinstubbs09

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    #21
    Success for me!

    Got it all flashed with a Dell Dimension with some floppy madness after I went through 3 different floppy drives and several floppies to find one that would actually format.

    Tested it with the G3 (since I don't get my MDD till tomorrow) and it refused to boot with the SSD, and a 500GB Seagate drive was detected however it only sees it as 74.5GB. Maybe something with the Rev. A board?

    Found this after looking at the pic, in the middle of the left side my iMac G4 makes an appearance!
     

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  21. robertdsc macrumors regular

    robertdsc

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    #22
    I'd imagine so. I had to install the Intech SpeedTools driver on my G4 400 to get my 500GB IDE drives to work properly.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2544
     
  22. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #23
    Same here. I bought my copy in 2009 when I got my 300GB HD for my TiBook, but never had to really use it on my 17" PBs.

    My QS demands it though. Didn't realized I was missing over 50GB on my IDE RAID until I really started thinking about it. Once I installed the HiCap driver all was normal again.

    @gavinstubbs. You may want to try swapping the cabling. That was suggested to me and it worked. Until I did that I was unable to see my boot drive when holding down the OPTN key when booting.
     
  23. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816

    gavinstubbs09

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    #24
    Well I'll be damned! The sata cable made all that difference.

    Now running Tiger on the SSD for the lol's till the mdd!
     
  24. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #25
    Right on!!!

    I think it's something to do with how the card perceives the master/slave relationship, but don't quote me on that.

    In any case glad to see it was an easy fix!
     

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