Nvidia 9800GT Flashable ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by vandersmissenc, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. vandersmissenc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #1
    Hi,

    I recently acquired a PNY XLR8 9800 GT 1GB PCI PC video card for free from a friend. http://www3.pny.com/font-color9999999800-GT-EE-1024MB-PCIe-P2860C396.aspx

    I was looking around to see if it was flashable and all I am really seeing is that a lot of people say that it is essentially a replica of an 8800GT and that you can flash it that way. I have seen pretty good flash guides like the one from Cindori but that is not applicable to this specific card.

    Does anyone know if there was any success in flashing this type of card or is it something that I should just give up on and pick up a different card ?

    When I put it in my mac pro 4,1 and tried to boot up with both the 9800 GT and the GT 120 in it started up and the chime came on, it then repeated over and over until I turned off the mac.

    I didn't spend much time on it, but I suppose it is possible I hadn't seated the new video card properly. Has anyone had experience with this ? Once I removed the card the system booted correctly.

    Thanks in advance and I'm sorry if there is an article already pertaining to this but I was unable to locate it.
     
  2. CaptainChunk, Oct 10, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

    CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #2
    That's hard to say. Early 9800 GTs were essentially rebranded 8800 GTs, re-flashed with different firmware. But later cards got a GPU die shrink to 55nm and use different PCBs. Reference NVIDIA PCBs generally work the best. You can usually tell that it's reference if the NVIDIA logo is silk-screened above the card's edge connector (this might be somewhat obstructed by the heatsink/fan assembly).

    But what matters the most is the size of ROM chip the card has. It has to be 1Mb in size, otherwise it's too small to hold an EFI-64 ROM. You can check this in nvflash using the command:

    Code:
    nvflash --check
    Unfortunately, there's a lot of 8800/9800 cards out there that have the smaller 512Kb ROM and those won't work at all.

    So assuming the card meets the requirements, you would use nvflash to flash Apple's 8800 GT ROM (it's easy to find; Google it).

    This might be because you don't have a PCIe booster cable attached. GT 120s don't require this cable (they're completely powered by the PCIe bus), but the 9800 needs a single 6-pin. And just FYI, these aren't the same cables that ship with PC cards. You would need a cable like this one.

    There are two PCIe power headers on the logic board for this. But I'm not 100% sure where these are located on the 2009/10 machines. On the 2008s, they're under the PCIe card guides, next to the AP/BT card sockets.
     
  3. vandersmissenc, Oct 10, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

    vandersmissenc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #3
    Thanks

    Thank you for the thorough reply. I was able to run the utility and the output was:


    Code:
    NVIDIA Firmware Update Utility (Version 5.100)
    
    Adapter: GeForce 9800 GT      (10DE,0614,196E,0719) H:--:NRM B:05,PCI,D:00,F:00
    
    The display may go *BLANK* on and off for up to 10 seconds during access to the EEPROM depending on your display adapter and output device.
    
    Identifying EEPROM...
    EEPROM ID (9D,007B) : PMC Pm25LV512 2.7-3.6V 512Kx1S, page
    I am assuming that the 512K is referring to the size of the rom. So in this case I will not be able to flash this specific card. I think I'm going to look into a 6870 in that case.

    Once again thanks for the reply! :D

    p.s. I am however still seeing that if both the 9800GT and the GT120 are in the mac pro at the same time it loops the startup chime noise over and over. It doesn't matter which pcie slots they are in. When it is only one card they work fine, either the 9800 or the 120 but together they cause an issue. Is this a known problem ?
     
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    Yes, that would be correct and yeah, you'd be out of luck there, unfortunately.

    Again, do you have a PCIe booster cable attached to the 9800 GT? You never really indicated whether or not you did. You can also branch off the Molex power in the ODD bays using an adapter, but it may or may not supply enough power to the card.

    Cable or no cable, you wouldn't be able to boot on that 9800 GT alone, as it would fail to initialize (no EFI ROM). I have seen cases where you can boot on one card (EFI) and have another (like your 9800 GT) in the second slot without a power cable (and probably even flash it once you get into Windows). But if I'm understanding you correctly, the machine never boots with both cards installed in any order, correct? Where you running nvflash on the card in a PC, by chance?
     
  5. vandersmissenc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #5
    Update

    Sorry about being vague. The 9800GT does not have any additional power connectors on the pcb. It runs straight from the power of the PCIe port so it is not the case of a missing power connector being plugged in. Additionally it operates correctly if I boot into windows with the single card (120 or 9800) in the machine; Just not together.

    What I did was set the target disk to Windows then I shutdown the mac pro (since I knew the video card would not work in OSX without being flashed). I took out both video cards and put in the 9800GT in slot 1 and booted up. It loaded windows installed the drivers and then I ran nvflash and saved the output to a text file. I then shutdown the computer and tried putting both cards in to see if I could maybe use the 9800GT under windows and the GT120 under OSX. It does not boot no matter the order of the cards. I can have the 120 in the first slot and the 9800 in 2,3,4 slot and no boot and vice versa. It just repeats on the chime at startup and no video output. I then put the 120 back in and moved it between slots 1,2,3,4 and it boots on all of them, I was also able to boot window using the 9800 on all slots.

    That makes me believe it is something about having those two cards in the system at the same time causing it to not boot.

    I'm stumped but I appreciate the help you have been providing. Please let me know if you have any other ideas I could try. Thank again! :D
     
  6. CaptainChunk, Oct 10, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

    CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    Okay, gotcha. I wasn't aware that this particular card didn't require auxiliary power, because NVIDIA's reference design certainly does. I suppose that's what PNY means by "30% less power consumption versus other 9800 GTs". Strange.

    Okay, wow. I'm kind of stumped there, too. Could be that the GT 120 doesn't want to play nice with the other card, or vice-versa. Sorry I couldn't be of more help here. I was actually in a similar situation, where a buddy of mine gave me his old EVGA 8800 GTS 512 (the card I'm using now) after he upgraded. But I lucked out - it had an NVIDIA reference PCB *and* it had a 1Mb ROM chip, so that flash went without a hitch.

    If you end up resolving this, let me know. I'd be pretty interested to see how you did it.

    Cheers!
     
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #7
    If you are running 10.6.8, instal the Quadro 4000 drivers from Nvidia's website, then install ATY_Init.

    You will then be able to set your Mac to boot from OSX and leave just the 9800GT in.

    Hit power and wait...you should see it appear at desktop.

    That particular card is unflashable, even with a 128K chip. But it can be used as I have outlined here quite well.

    This does not work in shipping versions of Lion but has worked in betas of 10.7.2
     
  8. vandersmissenc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #8
    Thanks

    Thanks for the advice. I actually went out today and found a pretty good deal on an XFX 6870 and brought that home installed and flashed. Boot screen works and everything seems to be great.

    Once again thanks for the tips! :)
     

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