Working Flashable PC 4870 Card Thread

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TheStrudel, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #1
    I figured it'd be helpful to start a new thread that includes not instructions, but just a list of Radeon 4870 cards that can be flashed to work in Mac Pros. I'll update the list as more news comes in.

    Note that using PC cards requires the use of a special cord that uses a smaller PCIe six-pin connector found only in G5s and Mac Pros. You can cut the cable, buy the correct plug, and make your own cable, but I won't go into that here. If you want to buy the cable and live in the US, AMD sells them at this link:

    http://shop.ati.com/product.asp?sku=3280778

    ATI Reference 4870 (512 MB)
    Sapphire 1st Gen 4870 (512 MB) (102-B50701-10-AT)

    Sapphire HD4870 512M GDDR5
    PCI-E DUAL DVI-I/TVO
    PN 288-XXXXX-XXXXX
    SKU# 11133-03-20R
    At Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102810

    HIS Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5
    HIS S/N: H081230050
    PN: H487F512P
    UPC is 4895139000740
    At tiger direct:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicat...ffiliateID=X3Th4gZi_iQ-ZYbigRtlMH3VoAJ2J_W5CA

    More on this as it develops, but it appears that these cards work with the Mac EFI ROM without modification. The majority of cards will not and require modification using the process as follows.

    Onto modification of PC 4870 cards to work properly in a Mac Pro: (by pipomolo42)

    This will necessitate a PC to extract the card's ROM. You will also need the Mac 4870 ROM posted in the now lengthy thread about this.

    1. Get the 128k vgabios of your PC card. (pc4870.rom) Get the Mac 4870 ROM, and get the fixrom.py script pipomolo42 prepared for us.
    2. Run the following commands in a shell.
    Code:
    dd if=4870.ROM of=efi.part bs=1 skip=63488 count=49152
    blocknum=`printf %d "'\`dd if=pc4870.rom bs=1 skip=2 count=1 2>/dev/null\`"`
    size=$(($blocknum * 512))
    dd if=efi.part of=pc4870.rom bs=$size seek=1 conv=notrunc
    python fixrom.py pc4870.rom pc4870.rom
    According to pipomolo42, these commands will extract the EFI part of the Mac ROM, get the number of 512 byte blocks of the BIOS part of the PC ROM, convert that to a size in bytes, then add the EFI part right after the BIOS, then fixes the last ROM indicators and checksums.

    3. Flash the ROM.

    A huge thank-you goes out to netkas, The Rominator, and pipomolo42 for coming up with these and figuring out the process.

    Some other things to keep in mind:

    You will need the Apple specific PCIe cables to drive this card, which can be purchased from ATI's site (U.S.). Some PC 4870s require 8-pin PCIe taps. Avoid these.

    Is it possible to use a PCIe 6-pin splitter (if so, which should be used?) to drive the 4870 on its own from one of the motherboard sockets, as long as it splits out to the specific cables?

    Apple's 4870 drivers are in a beta state right now (or at least incomplete). This might explain the disappointing performance of the 4870 relative to the 8800 GT in the Nehalem benchmarks posted by Barefeats. Of note, the 4870 still seems to perform better in Harpertown Mac Pros. 10.5.7 should resolve the situation. And it appears to be close to release.

    For some reason, it looks like one of the DVI ports is not dual-link - single link only. Could be a dealbreaker if you're dying to run two 30" monitors.

    The 1 GB cards work. The 4870x2, as of now, does not. It requires more elaborate ROM wrangling that has not yet been figured out.

    Analog output apparently is not working from these cards. Shouldn't be an issue unless you're dying to use a CRT or a VGA cable.

    Netkas has graciously put a walkthrough up here:

    http://netkas.org/?p=90

    Any clarifications or updates will be edited in here.

    One other note of interest: eBay user Bruinmacs, who is known for selling working flashed PC cards, has put a 4870 up for sale. Unfortunately, it's pricey ($335+shipping). His items can be found here:
    http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZbruinmacs
     

    Attached Files:

  2. grue macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Somewhere.
    #2
    I think we should, whenever possible, limit the list to products for which we have the actual product code.
     
  3. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #3
    Agreed. I'd like to get those product codes...I know the list is a little rough right now. I just want to have everything compiled in one place. The other thread is great, but it's onto 10 pages now.
     
  4. mackmack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #4
    What do you mean by ATI reference? A lot of companies use reference designs.

    Also, does anyone have a direct download link to the 48xx mac drivers?
     
  5. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #5
    Sorry, that should more explicitly have been a heading - category. Fixed.
     
  6. tobyg macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 31, 2004
    #6
    I know this thread is called "Working" cards, but I thought I'd post here my non-working cards.

    The sapphire card I bought looked like a reference design, but it did NOT work. It had a blue PCB though.
    ROM info showed the part # of the board being completely different than the reference 4870's.
    Sapphire HD4870 512M GDDR5 PCI-E DUAL DVI-I/TVO
    PN 188-01E85-001SA
    Also says PN# 100247L
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4097752

    I also had bought a Diamond card. This card probably wouldn't have worked either, because it also had the looks of not being a reference board not only physically but the ROM info looked like the newer rom. But I was never able to physically get it into the machine as the 4 screws on the back holding the heatsink down were sticking out too far.
    This is the card:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103070

    You can't see it from the pictures for that card exactly, but I found another card that shows you what the back screws looked like on that Diamond card:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowI...Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    Take a look at the picture showing the ports on the cards, you can see the screws in back and how far they stick out. That's what it looked like on the Diamond card. That made it physically impossible to put in the lower slot as it hit the memory cage.

    Note, I did NOT try that HSI card. I'm just showing you that card to show you what the back of the Diamond card looked like. But I suspect that HSI card won't work either for the same reasons.

    I found another board on Newegg's site that has a better picture showing why the Diamond card wouldn't fit in my Mac Pro.
     
  7. Outsider macrumors regular

    Outsider

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    For $335? Why not get the real deal Apple, guaranteed to work card for $350 with free shipping?

    It is 5-7 weeks until availability though.
     
  8. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #8
    It seem at this moment just :

    ATI Reference 4870 (512 MB)
    Sapphire 1st Gen 4870 (512 MB) (102-B50701-10-AT)

    Can work, but unluckly that card is hard to found in market now.
     
  9. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
    #9
  10. tobyg macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 31, 2004
    #10

    I'd say unlikely. The screws on the back of that one likely stick out too far also.

    I'm not buying anymore cards unless they are confirmed working by the good people on this forum.
     
  11. Phydoux macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #11
    That's the card that I tried - I bought it from Newegg a couple of weeks ago. It did not work with the ROM in the other thread. pipomolo42 is going to try combining the original BIOS with the EFI portion of the Apple BIOS though. I will report back whether it works for me.

    Oh, and regarding the screws on the back, in my Mac Pro 2006, they do press against the memory compartment cover, but it does seat and work OK.
     
  12. Phydoux macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #12
    OK everybody, I can report success with the hybrid ROM I received from pipomolo42. This is a combination of the original Sapphire BIOS with the EFI portion from the Apple ROM.

    Mac OS X works, Boot Camp works. I'm very happy. This is using the board referenced in my reply above (from Newegg.)

    :edit:

    So that it is easy to find, here's the card info:
    Sapphire HD4870 512M GDDR5
    PCI-E DUAL DVI-I/TVO
    PN 288-XXXXX-XXXXX
    SKU# 11133-03-20R
    Purchased from Newegg about two weeks ago. Here's the link.
     
  13. tobyg macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    #13
    Got a new card that works.
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicat...ffiliateID=X3Th4gZi_iQ-U_wqtg_abLSe9OMC5VgBPQ

    HIS Radeon HD 4870 Video Card - 512MB GDDR5, PCI Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, HDMI Support

    Here is the info on this card - This card worked fine with the stock 4870 Apple ROM:

    HIS S/N: H081230050
    Part # seems to be H487F512P, same as the Tiger Direct link I pasted above.
    UPC is 4895139000740

    I don't guarantee any card you buy would work though. It seems they sometimes change cards without any way to really tell.

    But if it helps anyone, that's the info from the box for my card.

    Same issues that others have mentioned. Only the bottom DVI port does dual link, and no analog on either port. Digital works on both ports.

    The card I got does not look exactly like the one on Tiger Direct's site. The sticker is different, and the board is blue not red. But the design is basically the same, looks like the reference design.

    Here is the output from the card when running atiflash -ai BEFORE flashing with the Apple ROM.

    Code:
    Adapter  0    (BN=01, DN=00, PCIID=94401002, SSID=20071787)
        Asic Family        :  RV770/M98      
        Flash Type         :  PM25LV010   (128 KB)
        Product Name       :  770XT PCIE 512M/256B GDDR5 DVI-I/VO/DVI-I 900M/750E 
        Bios Config File   :  SJ2G05.00R     
        Bios P/N           :  113-SBSJ2G05-00
        Bios Version       :  011.010.000.002.029896
        Bios Date          :  10/15/08 21:47
     
  14. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #14
    No more update, I think if next time some people after success flash, could you post which rom you use is better.
     
  15. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #15
    It's been three days. Maybe people just haven't been buying cards during the workweek. ;)

    That said, I'll probably look for a 1GB 4870 here sooner or later (probably later) and see if I can flash it. 512MB for a card just seems… limiting, though that probably isn't an issue with resolutions under 1920x1200.
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #16
    4870 PCB Layout & Flashability

    To help clarify the "What Works" and how well, I found this image at a waterblock site. I cleaned it up with simpler labels.

    It is possible to ID which board design you have without removing the fan assembly.

    Just look at the layout of components under the power connectors on the front side of board. This is the power regulation area on the card. The Capacitors and switching components are easy to note.

    With the two different cards I have, it was easy to id them.

    The first one I reported on was a Diamond 4870 512 on PCB #1. I got it New in a box from some kid on Craigslist. It works 100% A-OK with stock Mac EFI ROM. (4 wires to fan)

    Both DVI ports can work at once to show an extended desktop.

    I found one at Fry's in Burbank...box looked the same...from Diamond.

    Inside was a much cheaper fan on PCB #4. Using pipolomo43's method, I made a ROM which booted into OSX on EFI. Card ran great until I hooked up second display. At first it detected monitor on DVI just fine....but quickly screen froze and then the Mac restarted itself....very unhappy.

    In Windows Vista Dual Display works fine. Not only is fan cheaper, it uses a 3 wire plug instead of the 4 wire found on the board that worked with original Mac EFI ROM.

    Rom is: 113-BA0701-X07RV770PCI_EXPRESSGDDR5 RV770 512MB 86A07CCB.QFH

    Anyone wanna guess that last portion of ROM id is the DDR5package slapped on the end? In this instance "86A07CCB.QFH"
     

    Attached Files:

  17. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #17
    Sorry to be obtuse..

    I can't seem to find a definitive answer to this question:

    Which model of Mac Pro, if any, needs a special power cable from the card?

    Sorry I just didn't seem to find anyone that said out and out for sure.

    Thanks!
     
  18. v0n macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    #18
    All PC PCIe cards are powered from PSU. Macs don't have PCIe cables from PSU, video cards that can't be powered from PCIe slot are powered from proprietary logic board (motherboard) connectors. There are two connectors on logic board. Thus for all Mac Pros custom, apple unique cables are required for each 6 pin PCIe connector on the video card (so 2 cables in case of 4870).

    When choosing ATI 4870 card one should make sure the card has two 6 pin connectors, rather than 8pin + 6pin like Sapphire Toxic and few others. It will make life easier.
     
  19. jeanlain macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #19
    Thanks, TheStrudel,

    I think some explanations could be usefully added in the first post:
    - The Mac Pros that can host the card (i.e. all models)
    - Specification of the card : i.e. Radeon HD4870 512 MB, though 1Gig cards seem to work
    - Where to find the power cables.
    PLUS:
    A step by step method (or a link to it), describing
    - The general procedure; i.e. dump the ROM and flash the ROM with ATiFlash; which involves:
    - Creating a DOS-CD (link) and DOS partition (in Disk Utility) on the Mac pro OR
    - do it in a PC (with explanations)
    - The atiflash commands that should be entered and when
    - pipomolo's methods of hybrid ROM, (and what it consists in). This point is very important, because AFAIK, it's a safer method that has only yielded success so far (though some manual edits seem to be required for some cards). It should be pointed out that a card following the original ATi's design is not absolutely required.
    (the procedure at netkas.org is obscure for those who are not used to flashing, and it does not describe how to do a hybrid ROM)
    -Links to OS X drivers (could be indirect links, since they cannot legally be installed yet), the Mac ROM (and natit?), Atiflash, FreeDOS...

    -A description of the limitations + warnings: No VGA, upper port often not working, some cards may not fit in the first slot, etc.

    Cheers.

    PS: again, I insist that one should use a custom hybrid ROM (original BIOS + Apple EFI), not the stock apple ROM or any other ROM. By this procedure, the card is guaranteed to work perfectly under bootcamp, and you have greater chances of success. So far, no card has been reported as incompatible if its original BIOS is conserved. This method has made the 1Gig cards compatible and their 1Gig of VRAM fully recognized by OS X.
     
  20. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #20
    Okay, I've updated the beginning. I'm just aggregating here; unfortunately I too know little of the mechanics for flashing and can't reliably comment on any things DOS. I'm just standing on the shoulders of giants, here. If anybody wants to give me the process I'll edit it into the post.

    Unfortunately, I'm not much of a PC guy at all. I wouldn't have bothered to update since the thread seemed to have lapsed, but people have bumped the thread, so there must still be interest. There's a ton of info in that other, better thread, so I guess it doesn't hurt to aggregate it here. Assuming I haven't broken any rules in doing so.
     
  21. gzfelix macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Location:
    Charlottetown, PE
    #21
    I am getting a PowerColor 4870 512MB from newegg. I will update here once I have it.
     
  22. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #22
    Identification with jeanlain, because I still new in flash rom on display, when I google it, most is run in pc, but I didn't had PC long long ago, I can make the doc boot disk, but I stack in atiflash.
    So I want had a detail step by step to teach me how to flash.
     
  23. tobyg macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 31, 2004
    #23
    I know this forum is global, but sigh... that really hurt my brain.
     
  24. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #24
    Macbidouille (hardmac) will probably come with a step-by-step procedure once 10.5.7 is released.
    There's already one for flashing the 8800GT on their website. The method is similar, just use Atiflash instead of NVflash, but the commands are also different.
     
  25. vicentk macrumors regular

    vicentk

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #25
    I'm so sorry to my bad english
     

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