Troubles with upgrading Power Mac G4 GPU

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by LOLZpersonok, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. LOLZpersonok macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    Calgary, Canada
    #1
    I'm trying to upgrade the graphics card in my Power Mac G4 (dual 1.25GHz, AGP graphics, non-FireWire 800, OS 9 capable) but I'm having a bit of trouble. It currently has an ATi Radeon 9000 Pro (or whatever the hell it is) with 64MB of video memory. I've got a couple of faster AGP cards I could put in, both ATi Radeon 9200s or something similar, each with 128MB of video memory, though one of them is known to be slower.

    I've tried both cards in the Power Mac. The Power Mac wouldn't even turn on with them installed properly. Then, while I (foolishly) was trying to remove the card with the machine still plugged in (at this point the card wasn't seated 100%, but still could have worked in any other system), it turned on, but there was no Mac boot chime, it beeped loudly once and the fans ramped all the way up for a few seconds, then it sounded like it was running normally. Then, the boot chime came in, but I got nothing on the display. I took out the upgraded card and verified with the old one that the system is still fine.

    The system behaves the same way with both of my Radeon 9200s. I should mention that both cards came out of Windows computers, and aren't Apple-sourced. I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on this issue.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #2
    You cannot directly use Windows cards on a PowerPC Mac. They have to be flashed, if that is possible for that type of card.

    Or you need a Mac version of the card.
     
  3. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    #3
    I didn't think to flash it. How would one go about doing that?
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    Delaware
    #4
    The only way your PowerMac will boot is with a graphics card that has a Mac-compatible ROM.
    Windows graphics cards will not work in your Mac, without some software work, and many cards need to have 2 pins disabled on the card connector, usually pins 3 & 11

    And, you would need to flash-update the 9200 ROM to Mac-bootable version.

    Here's a site that still has some good information to help you use a ATI or NVIDIA PC card in your MDD G4.
    http://themacelite.wikidot.com/compatibility
     
  5. 06tb06 macrumors regular

    06tb06

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    #5
    I laughed when I read this.
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #6
    I guess it is a bit funny. You have to disable those pins, usually by taping, or maybe by cutting the circuit traces for those two pins, because the logic board provides power for some of the Apple displays used at that time, which had only one cable for both power and video. The Mac won't boot unless you block those connections that made voltage available to the proprietary ADC connection. I guess the PC-version cards didn't like the 25 volts (IIRC) on one of those pins :D
     
  7. LOLZpersonok, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018

    LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    #7
    Well, I've ruined a card. I followed the instructions from a guide online (1:1, mind you - I did, or at least shouldn't have done anything wrong) and now, not only will my card not give any display from my Power Mac, but it no longer gives any display in a Windows machine. Oh well, it was a fun little adventure while it lasted (and I'm only being sarcastic about that one), but I guess it's time to call it quits. Maybe I'll reflash the card sometime, or I'll use another one.
     
  8. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    Australia
    #8
    Does your card have additional power requirements? I have a Radeon 9700 Pro (128MB) from a PC which I flashed for Mac (Sawtooth / AGP Graphics G4) before realizing it needed extra power via a 12v molex>floppy source. As such it failed to boot. Initially I flashed it with a 64k ROM and it showed a completely blank display.I flashed it a second time with the 128k ROM and it then showed a “connect to power” animation at boot time which steered me onto the right track. Once it was powered properly it worked flawlessly.
     
  9. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    #9
    No, it doesn't have any connectors for extra power.
     
  10. weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #10
    The 9200 requires more than just a flash. You have to remove/reposition a couple of the resistors on the back of the card. Details of that are buried slightly on the macelite website but they are there. It helps if your make of card is Sapphire as that company made the Mac edition card.

    I have read that there are issues with PowerColor 9200 cards after flashing so best to avoid those. You can always flash your card back to Windows. The ROMs for that are available at the same site.
     
  11. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    #11
    I was reading with the way these Macs use ADC, they won't turn on without pins 3 and 11 somehow made inactive. I taped over those pins, and voila, the computer turns on, but no display. It needed to be flashed, and I must have used an incorrect ROM, because ATIflash (or whatever it's called) failed with the last ROM I used, saying that 10000/20000 had been flashed. The card gave no video output after that.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #12
    Side note-if you're trying to flash in OS X with ATIFlash in Tiger booted into safe mode(hold shift while booting). This is the only reliable way I've found to get it to flash cards-I can't get it to work at all in 10.5.

    It MIGHT work without going into safe mode in an earlier version of OS X...
     
  13. weckart macrumors 601

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    Nov 7, 2004
    #13
    ATIFlash is a DOS utility. Were you thinking of Graphiccelerator?
     
  14. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #14
    For what it's worth, I was able to succeed in getting the "ATI Multi Flasher" in the Graphiccelerator 1.3.4 package in Panther 10.3.9 on my Sawtooth G4 without having to boot into Safe Mode. I switched on Apple Remote Desktop, allowing screen sharing, shut down the G4, installed the PC card. Booted it up and logged in from my Mac Pro via Remote Desktop to run the Multi Flasher tool (VNC would also work).
     
  15. weckart, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    weckart macrumors 601

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    #15
    Check this out http://themacelite.wikidot.com/9250-trick Again, it only applies to cards built on the reference design. There are various incarnations of 92xx that look different from each other.

    [Edit] Coincidentally, I have just bought a Sapphire 9200 PCI and will be doing the resister mod/flash when it arrives. Will update with the result.

    --- Post Merged, Mar 26, 2018 ---
    I did the same using Graphiccelerator to flash a card in my Quicksilver but while it went through all the steps without a hitch, the card remained unflashed. Did it several times with the same result. I had to patch up a PC to use ATIFlash in it instead. YMMV.
     
  16. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #16
    in my experience the one time I used ATIFLash it bricked a card... that was a fun one to recover (that was a FireGL X3)

    but the ATI Multi flasher has always worked nicely for me even in Leopard not in safe mode :) defiantly a YMMV thing (I have even thrown some pretty Messed up cards at ATI Multi flasher and they re-flashed with a good ROM most of the time)

    I am planning to pick up a Clip on in circuit EEPROM programmer at some point tho as swapping cards around can be a PITA sometimes, plus with NVIDIA cards you have to faff around in DOS which Lazy me does not like doing LOL (and trying to recover a bricked card that stops any PC or Mac From POSTing can be a fun catch 22 which an ext Programmer would solve)
     
  17. weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #17
    OK, that 9200PCI conversion to Mac, then. I got my card and it turned out to be an ATI Sapphire 9250 PCI rather than the 9200 listed. No biggie as it is basically the same card clocked higher.

    Looking on the reverse of the card, I could see that two resistors needed to be moved. Comparing the setup on the ATI Mac 9200

    9250_trick_zoom.jpg

    I could see that the two banks on the left needed to be bridged on the left and the bottom two banks on the right similarly.

    On my 9250 the lower bank in the left grouping and the middle bank in the right grouping needed changing.

    IMG_1877 1.jpg

    A few clumsy minutes with the soldering iron (should have used a hotgun) and it was serviceable if not ideal

    IMG_1878 1.jpg

    I used a PC to flash as it gives better feedback. I checked the EEPROM on this card which was a SAIFUN 25F005L. The datasheet showed this was a 512Kb chip, plenty for the Mac BIOS and ATIFLASH showed it held 128Kb of capacity for flashing.

    However, every attempt at flashing failed with a write error. The flash conked out at 10000 hex, which equates to 64Kb. Hmm. Checking online, this seems to be an error with many ATI9250 cards. I bit the bullet and removed the deceitful EEPROM and replaced it with a spare 25VP10 that I had used to good effect on my Sapphire 7000 cards. This time the flash completed without error. I threw the card into my 9600 and checked in System Profiler. It recognised the card but no drivers were loaded. For that, I would need MacOS 9.2.x so I got out OS9helper.

    And, tada!

    Picture 1.jpg
    --- Post Merged, Mar 29, 2018 ---
    The thing is, it is trivial to recover from a bad flash, even if the write process gets interrupted and leaves unreadable garbled rubbish on the EEPROM. As long as ATIFLASH detects a working EEPROM on the board, it will erase it and write whatever you tell it to. About the only way you can really brick an ATI card is if you pull the power halfway through and somehow blow the board but even that takes some doing.
     
  18. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #18
    very nice work on flashing the 9200 :) (but it seems half your VRAM has vanished unless this was a 64MB Card from the start?)

    im quite curious what those Resistors do, I wonder if they just change the Device ID of the card so it matches with the 9200 Mac ROM? (since being a 9250 it would have a diffrent Device ID then the 9200 ROM you flashed)

    there are actually 2 types Mac Radeon "9200"s with 2 diffrent Device IDs and ROMs (one of which has the Device ID of a 9250 rather then the 9200 and as such does not work with the Normal ATI Radeon 9200 OS 9 drivers...)

    I have both of these Cards Iv been meaning to do a write up on them, as Iv seen quite a few people get caught out/confused by it.
     
  19. weckart, Mar 29, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018

    weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #19
    Yes, the halving of VRAM did puzzle me but it may be down to the modified firmware on Macelite. I chose the one specifically marked as 9250 just to see whether my artisanal handiwork was successful. I may experiment with the stock 9200 bios as there are two revisions of that.

    With regard to the drivers, I might have misread but I thought the 2005 update reconciled both 9200 and 9250 and both cards should be getting acceleration and Open GL support.

    All I can find about the resistors is that they identify the card as Mac or PC card in their respective positions, so presumably tie up with the firmware in some way. Whether that is by VID and PID is another question.

    [EDIT] Looking at older Macrumors threads about the 9250, it appears the high density VRAM is the issue. My card only has 4 chips and the Mac Retail version has double the number. Certain Macs are picky about (V)RAM and low density is the way to go given a choice, so I am stuck with 64MB. I flashed the 9200 stock rom and it works. Now to see if I get acceleration in games.
     

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