Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 EFI ROM Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by zebity, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. zebity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Mac'rs,

    I recently purchased a Mac Pro 3.2MHZ Quad Core machine and in an attempt to save money purchased a separate Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 Graphics card on Flea-bay with the intention of installing this into my new Mac Pro.

    I have now learnt that the standard PC BIOS Nvidia Quadro does not have a Mac compatible EFI ROM installed and so I now have a very expensive video card with no use.

    So my objective is to flash the Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 with an EFI ROM so I can use it on my Macintosh.

    This seems simple in principle:

    1) Install Card Into PC
    2) Boot to command prompt from Floppy or USD
    3) Run Nvidia ROM flash utility (nvflash) to extract current ROM (for safety)
    4) Run Nvidia ROM flash utility to load new Mac compatible EFI ROM
    5) Put card into my Mac Pro and bingo.!!

    There are two problems with this...
    1) I do not have a PC with PCI-express bus ...
    2) I need to get the ROM from a proper Mac Pro Nvidia Quadro FX 5600

    I have read numerous "Hackintosh" threads on converted ROMs etc, but as I am not trying to get a 8800GT or other card to work as a Quadro FX 5600, I am not sure that these ROMs and techniques they are talking about are appropriate.

    I just want to get standard Apple/Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 ROM and copy it to my currently useless Quadro FX 5600.

    Has anyone here flashed a PC BIOS Quadro FX 5600 ROM to a Mac compatible EFI ROM?

    Thanks in advance.

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro & Mini Mac)
     
  2. Chilz0r macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    #2
    I have never heard of anybody flashing a PC FX 5600 to work in a Mac Pro, I have never tried though! you need to persuade somebody to provide you with the Mac EFI ROM, then once you have that it will be like playing russian roulette (well not quite) if you try to flash the card. It might work, it might not or you could have a dead Quadro on your hands.
     
  3. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    No risk compared to some other Aussie things ...

    Chilz0r,

    the risk is relatively low compared to battling the boxing kangaroos, man eating wombats, deadly snakes and spiders that we Aussies have to contend with on our regular walk to walk each day ;) .

    I am pretty confident that you can recover a dead Nvidia board as long as you have saved the earlier ROM image... so am willing to take the risk.

    First problem I have come up against is that most desktop PCs do not seem to have enough space to take the Quadro board, so I might have to get a temporary motherboard to use as experimental working set.

    Cheers,

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    You could always gut a PC you have lying around. Takes time to do it, but is still faster than waiting for an ordered part to show up. Cheaper too. :eek: :D
     
  5. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    NVIDIA ROMs infro

    Mac'ers,

    I have got a bare bones motherboard and booted it off USB.
    Here is what Mac Pro NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT reports...

    And FYI here is what a PC Bios Quadro FX 5600 reports...

    So yes Mac ROM is larger, but it is not clear exactly what size the Quadro FX 5600 ROM is. I think the ROM size if given by: "Atmel AT25F1024 2.7-3.6V 128Kx8S" which comes to 1024K , while the Mac 8800GT is: "MX 25L1005 2.7-3.6V 1024Kx1S" which comes to 1024K as well.

    So I speculate that both ROMS are the same size but have different layout..??

    If there is a person in Australia who is willing to experiment with Mac Pro Quadro FX 5600 then I could extract the ROM from this and try to put it into PC Quadro.


    Cheers

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  6. briquick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    #6
    A solution, maybe

    Hi Zibity
    I succesfully managed to flash a Nvidia Quadro PC card into an Apple card. In this case a Nvidia Quadro FX 4500.
    First than all, you need to know about the capabilities of your own card. The most important issue is the ROM size. Apple Mac's works with an EFI ROM with an amount of code superior at the usual 64k ROM size of regular PC cards.
    You can see this here:
    "Reading adapter firmware image...
    Image Size : 57856 bytes"
    See, 57856 bytes more or less 64k bytes. Instead your GeForce 8800 GT with this:
    "Reading adapter firmware image...
    Image Size : 126464 bytes"
    A 128k ROM, too large for most PC cards. You can deal with creating you own ROM (a slim version). Taking apart the original PC ROM chip and solding a 128k ROM chip (quite hard, but if you like to build planes models likes me, this works fine). Try to using HEX extensions in OSX works too. Well you can try hooking your monitor after the Mac boots, so you avoid EFI ROM load.
    All these are daft solutions, because I know that all you want to do is to use the power of your high-end card.
    I have to solder a 128K to my card because the original one was only 64k. But according your post you have an "Atmel AT25F1024 2.7-3.6V 128Kx8S" that means an 128k ROM, so you're lucky enough to put a regular Mac bios in your card.
    All you have to do is to find a Mac ROM of that card.
    You can see that the GeForce is using a "MX 25L1005 2.7-3.6V 1024Kx1S" or a 1024k ROM chip. But the amount of code in tha chip is 126464 bytes, only 1/8 of the chip.
    I'm pretty sure you can flash your card, the major difference between the 2006-7's cards of the Mac Pro and the 2008's cards is just PCIe 2.0.
    So get a ROM from an Mac Nvidia Quadro FX 5600, from a friend, internet, etc.
    Then try to flash your card, doing your homework (saving your original ROM, getting the latest NVFlash).
    Have luck, and remember WE DO THIS, BECAUSE WE CAN.
    Ciao and greeting from Venezuela.
     
  7. briquick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    #7
    A solution, maybe

    Hi Zibity
    I succesfully managed to flash a Nvidia Quadro PC card into an Apple card. In this case a Nvidia Quadro FX 4500.
    First than all, you need to know about the capabilities of your own card. The most important issue is the ROM size. Apple Mac's works with an EFI ROM with an amount of code superior at the usual 64k ROM size of regular PC cards.
    You can see this here:
    "Reading adapter firmware image...
    Image Size : 57856 bytes"
    See, 57856 bytes more or less 64k bytes. Instead your GeForce 8800 GT with this:
    "Reading adapter firmware image...
    Image Size : 126464 bytes"
    A 128k ROM, too large for most PC cards. You can deal with creating you own ROM (a slim version). Taking apart the original PC ROM chip and solding a 128k ROM chip (quite hard, but if you like to build planes models likes me, this works fine). Try to using HEX extensions in OSX works too. Well you can try hooking your monitor after the Mac boots, so you avoid EFI ROM load.
    All these are daft solutions, because I know that all you want to do is to use the power of your high-end card.
    I have to solder a 128K to my card because the original one was only 64k. But according your post you have an "Atmel AT25F1024 2.7-3.6V 128Kx8S" that means an 128k ROM, so you're lucky enough to put a regular Mac bios in your card.
    All you have to do is to find a Mac ROM of that card.
    You can see that the GeForce is using a "MX 25L1005 2.7-3.6V 1024Kx1S" or a 1024k ROM chip. But the amount of code in tha chip is 126464 bytes, only 1/8 of the chip.
    I'm pretty sure you can flash your card, the major difference between the 2006-7's cards of the Mac Pro and the 2008's cards is just PCIe 2.0.
    So get a ROM from an Mac Nvidia Quadro FX 5600, from a friend, internet, etc.
    Then try to flash your card, doing your homework (saving your original ROM, getting the latest NVFlash).
    Have luck, and remember WE DO THIS, BECAUSE WE CAN.
    Ciao and greetings from Venezuela.
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    The Flash on the FX 5600 is 1 MB, according to the chip ID. :)
    Atmel AT25F1024 Data Sheet

    Getting a copy of the ROM, will likely be the hard part. AFAIK, it hasn't surfaced yet. :(
     
  9. ale500 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #9
    The atmel part AT25F1024 is a 1 mega *bit* serial EEPROM, and not 1 mega byte, it is stated in the first page of the datasheet you linked to.
     
  10. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    Size of eeprom

    Briquick & others,

    thanks for update. bits, bytes whatever...

    1024 K = 1024 x 1024 = 1Mbit = 1M/8 = 131,072 bytes

    So I believe that the FX 5600 EEPROM is big enough for Mac code without need to solder.

    Only way to confirm this is to get a ROM and try it. So where is a volunteer with a Mac Pro FX 5600...

    If I can't find anyone is there any one looking to order a new Mac Pro with 8800 GT card? If they ordered with FX 5600 then I would do a swap of this for my 8800 GT and pay the CTO cost difference. Unfortunately this would only be viable for US based purchaser as price difference between the two in Australia is huge (around $4000) and so it is not viable.

    Oh finally it is not clear if the FX 5600 is PCI-express 2.0 or 1.x... all the technical material I have read does not make this clear. I do not think there is anything special about the Mac FX 5600 beyond the ROM image.

    Cheers from Oz,

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  11. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #11
    total aside....

    Mac'ers,

    total aside.. but I run nvflash version against the Hackintosh FX 5600 ROM files and it would not read any of them, so I am not sure what they have done with these. As a check I also run the nvflash version command over the extracted Mac 8800 GT and PC FX 5600 and it reported on these exactly as per doing it against the cards in my breadboard PC.

    Cheers,

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #12
    Oops. :eek:
    Nice catch, BTW. :) Something so simple can cause a lot of headache. :p
     
  13. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    Conclusion...

    Mac'ers,

    here is Mac Pro Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 nvflash output...

    Code:
    #nvflash --version
    NVIDIA Firmware Update Utility (Version 5.67)
    
    Adapter: Quadro FX 5600       (10DE,019D,10DE,0409) H:NRM B:01,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 (1F,60) : Atmel AT25F1024 2.7-3.6V 128Kx8S, page
    Reading adapter firmware image...
    Image Size            : 120832 bytes
    Version               : 60.80.24.00.00
    ~CRC32                : 3195E874
    OEM String            : NVIDIA
    Vendor Name           : NVIDIA Corporation
    Product Name          : NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
    Product Revision      : Chip Rev   
    Device Name           : Quadro FX 5600
    Board ID              : 500C
    Vendor ID             : 10DE
    Device ID             : 019D
    Subsystem Vendor ID   : 10DE
    Subsystem ID          : 0409
    Hierarchy ID          : Normal Board
    Sign-On Message       : Quadro FX 5600 VGA BIOS
    
    #nvflash --pciblocks
    NVIDIA Firmware Update Utility (Version 5.67)
    
    Adapter: Quadro FX 5600       (10DE,019D,10DE,0409) H:NRM B:01,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 (1F,60) : Atmel AT25F1024 2.7-3.6V 128Kx8S, page
    Reading adapter firmware image...
    Location        Size Type           
    000000:00CFFF  53248 x86            
    00D000:01D7FF  67584 EFI
    
    so no soldering required...

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  14. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #14
    I think if you wanted to save money it would have been more prudent to buy an Oct 2.8 rather than 3.2, since the speed is negligible and the cost is not.

    Has anyone tried flashing the GeForce card the FX5600 is based on to an FX5600? I think they do a few tweaks to the core too, but if not... I mean they're almost 100% identical cards, just do a few tweaks and jack the price up sky high.........
     
  15. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #15
    The 7 and 8 series GeForce cards can now be soft modded to Quadro cards and people have done so. You get good performance gains with some applications, nothing with others. You aren't really turning a gaming card in to a professional card though. It seems to be more of spoofing it's identity so you can install some more optimized drivers. There are still things missing which is why you get much higher benchmark numbers with the real professional cards.

    As for the identical hardware with a few tweaks and jacking up the price, well technically this is true (except perhaps the few part). Professional cards don't just have optimized driver thoughs, they have grade-a support and certification and some have differing or additional hardware. All of that needs to be paid for and in a small target market that can afford too that means high prices for everyone.
     
  16. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    Saving is relative...

    Firefly,

    savings are a relative thing, but if I had got my mac pro as configured on Australian apple web site it would have set me back around $21,000, as it is I spent around $12,000, so that is a savings of 45%. So I am not unhappy, with savings.

    Only thing I am unhappy with currently is that there appears to be problems with Apples OS X software RAID support on Fibre Channel... which I am trying to work around.

    There is no doubt that Mac Pros are relatively expensive in Australia compared to US prices.

    Cheers,

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #17
    zebity:

    Would you be able to post the EFI file for the 5600? :)
    I'm sure it would be appreciated by a few. ;)
     
  18. corbu22 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    #18
    5600 post

    yes pleaaasee post!;) or email? corbu222@ gmail dot com
     
  19. Arbol macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    #19
    Efi Fx 5600

    Someone? Someone?

    Would you be able to post the EFI file for the 5600?

    Thanks
     
  20. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #20
    the FX 5600 ROM

    here is the ROM... happy flashing, let me know if you any problems, as I zipped the file on a mac and not sure if file come across ok...
     

    Attached Files:

  21. formal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    #21
    Hi, so just to confirm before I mess with my £1800 PNY FX 5600, this rom should burn onto it and give me Mac & PC functionality? Your model is the PNY one, right?

    Thanks for all your hard work :)))
     
  22. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #22
    no pyromania required

    It is very simple process.

    1) Put card into PC
    2) Boot off USB or Floppy
    3) Do a check on current flash to see if it as per details above
    4) Optionally extract existing flash
    5) Run NVFLASH over unzip Mac ROM image, it should report as per my posting
    6) The Big one!! "NVFLASH <ROMNAME>" no special flags required and hey presto Mac Pro usable FX 5600.

    Make sure you check the result of initial ROM to make sure you have big enough ROM to fit EFI version. So far I have not seen an FX 5600 (PNY makes them all I gather), with anything but big ROM.
    Also make sure you check the unzip from via "NVFLASH --version <romname>" just in case something went wrong on zip and upload. It will again report exactly if it was being read out of the card directly.

    Happy flashing.. and don't worry it is only a few thousand pounds... and you can recover anyway by reflashing with saved ROM image.

    Cheers,

    Zebity
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  23. cmhaas1972 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #23
    no luck with flash process :(

    zebity, thanks for all your hard work on this.

    I followed the process you outlined exactly. My nvflash --version and --pciblocks output matches yours exactly, yet when I put the 5600 in my Mac Pro I get no video output. Even after the flash to the mac5600.rom, I can still use the video card on my PC...should this still be the case? I assumed I would stop getting video output on the PC since the card is EFI based now. At least that is what it is reporting from nvflash. I even tried reflashing just to make sure...success reported again...but still no video output on the Mac Pro.

    Has anyone else tried this with success? Any suggestions? Please help!!!

    :apple: (Mac Pro, Macbook Pro)
     
  24. zebity thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    Test 1 & 2

    cmhaas,

    firstly the rom/card only works in Mac Pro (early 2008) machine.
    Secondly have you added and plugged in auxiliary power cables on Mac?
    You need two of these. They are available from "we love macs" web site...

    Let me know how you go. I am using flashed card on my mac with no problems...
    Oh and the flashed card will still work in PC as it has both BIOS and EFI software.

    Cheer,

    Zebity.
    (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mini Mac)
     
  25. cmhaas1972 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #25
    I guess I did not understand that from the thread, opps, my bad. :eek: The Mac Pro (early 2008) models where the first with quad-core processors, correct? Mine must be an '07 model then since my processors are only dual-core. It was ordered by my work, so I am not sure of the exact purchase date.

    Is there anything I can do to get this card working in a dual-core 2 CPU Mac Pro?

    I do have 2 auxiliary power cables plugged in to the 5600.

    Thanks for the help.
     

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