Mac video card bios for re-flashing PC video cards?
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    amigadave
    Posts: 2739 from 2006/3/21
    From: Lake Arrowhead...
    I know that there are some members here that are using re-flashed Windows video cards in their G4 PowerMacs, but so far I have not been successful in finding a source for the bios files that I need to re-flash my Windows bios Radeon 8500 w/128mb VRAM and a soon to be delivered Windows Radeon 9700Pro All-In-Wonder w/128mb VRAM.

    If anyone here knows where these and other Mac bios files can be downloaded from, I will try to set up a list of download links in the MorphZone.org Library so current and future MorphOS2.x users will have a place to look for such information and files to download. I will also contact A. Siegel and ask about the possibility of hosting these Mac bios files here on MorphZone.org in the download area, in case they start to disappear from other source locations on the Web.

    I know that there are a couple of articles already written that explain the re-flashing process, but I can also take what has already been written and perhaps improve upon them to create a new step-by-step Video Card Re-Flashing article to place in the MorphZone.org Library to keep as a permanent resource.

    Any help with bios source locations would be appreciated, as well as feedback on the idea of having the files and a new step-by-step guide here in the Library and Download areas.
    MorphOS - The best Next Gen Amiga choice.
  • »21.11.10 - 05:00
    Profile
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    ThePlayer
    Posts: 1039 from 2003/3/24
    From: Hamburg/Germany
    Hi i flashed a Radeon 9200 and 9250 successful one was from HIS the other from Saphire.
    Try this links you will find info and the roms there.
    http://themacelite.wikidot.com/ati-section
    http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2
    PowerBook 17" SuperHD-Display MOD 1920x1200 :)
  • »21.11.10 - 07:41
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > re-flashed Windows video cards
    > [...] I need to re-flash my Windows bios
    > [...] Windows Radeon 9700Pro All-In-Wonder

    What's that with that Windows obsession? ;-)
  • »21.11.10 - 13:01
    Profile
  • Jim
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Jim
    Posts: 4913 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    Windoes cards are cheaper and they don't have that lame ADC connector.Quote:


    Andreas_Wolf wrote:
    > re-flashed Windows video cards
    > [...] I need to re-flash my Windows bios
    > [...] Windows Radeon 9700Pro All-In-Wonder

    What's that with that Windows obsession? ;-)
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »21.11.10 - 14:15
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    >> What's that with that Windows obsession? ;-)

    > Windoes cards are cheaper and they don't have that lame ADC connector.

    I didn't think I'd have to explain my snide remark to you, Jim. I believe there're no "Windows cards" at all, but cards with an x86 compatible BIOS that doesn't care about what specific operating system is running on the x86 machine the card is put into.
  • »21.11.10 - 15:37
    Profile
  • Jim
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Jim
    Posts: 4913 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    Sorry Andreas,
    The response wasn't really for your benefit.
    Just poted to clarify the point for some of the users that don't know how to interpret your humor.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »21.11.10 - 15:59
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    amigadave
    Posts: 2739 from 2006/3/21
    From: Lake Arrowhead...
    Quote:


    ThePlayer wrote:
    Hi i flashed a Radeon 9200 and 9250 successful one was from HIS the other from Saphire.
    Try this links you will find info and the roms there.
    http://themacelite.wikidot.com/ati-section
    http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2


    I have already looked at all the information and downloads available on the themacelite.wikidot.com pages with no luck for the bios files that I need. I am looking for other sites that people who have actually done the re-flashing of cards have used. Thanks for the attempt to help though. I will include the information from all sites that I can find, including the info on the "themacelite.wikidot.com" pages into the article I will prepare for the MorphZone.org Library area.

    @Jim,

    Humor???

    The compatibility of Radeon cards that can be used for MorphOS are listed as Mac, or Windows compatible. Not Mac, or x86 compatible. Most, if not all of the marketing and specifications requirements for the Radeon cards mention which Windows OSes the cards will work with and make no mention of the computer architecture, x86, or PPC, nor have I seen a single reference to Linux, Unix, or any other OS on any Radeon advertising, or spec documents. This is the only reason I use the words Windows versus Mac for the two different types of video cards provided by ATI (or NVidia for that matter as well), not because I have any issue with Windows. It makes no difference that the bios file is not OS specific and is either PPC for use in Mac PPC computers, or x86 for use in computers using Windows and other OSes on x86 hardware. Everyone else here (including yourself) knows what I was writing about and only one member felt that a snide remark was needed to help our community.



    [ Edited by amigadave on 2010/11/21 9:58 ]
    MorphOS - The best Next Gen Amiga choice.
  • »21.11.10 - 17:36
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > The compatibility of Radeon cards that can be used for MorphOS
    > are listed as Mac, or Windows compatible.

    I think in terms of hardware compatibility they're listed as Mac or (IBM) PC compatible. Of course, PC compatibility at hardware level includes Windows compatibility at operating system level because ATI/AMD offer the drivers for Windows.

    > Not Mac, or x86 compatible.

    Yes, they don't mention "x86", but they mention just "PC", which is short for "IBM compatible PC" and entails an x86 (or x64) processor by definition.

    > Most, if not all of the marketing and specifications requirements for the
    > Radeon cards mention which Windows OSes the cards will work with

    That's operating system level for driver compatibility, not hardware level.

    > and make no mention of the computer architecture, x86

    See "PC" above.

    > or PPC

    The cards currently supported by MorphOS came before Mac switched to x86, so "Mac" in those "marketing and specifications requirements" entails "PPC" processor.

    > nor have I seen a single reference to Linux, Unix, or any other
    > OS on any Radeon advertising, or spec documents.

    That's a limitation at driver level for the older cards, not at hardware level. System requirements for recent AMD cards mention "PCI Express based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard". Not a single word about Windows.

    > This is the only reason I use the words Windows versus Mac for the
    > two different types of video cards

    Wouldn't it have to be "Mac OS" rather than "Mac" then? After all, Mac is hardware.

    > It makes no difference that the bios file is not OS specific

    I think that it renders the term "Windows video cards" nonsensical, especially in a MorphOS context. You also used the term "Windows bios". What's that then?

    > and is either PPC fo use in Mac PPC computers, or x86 for use in computers
    > using Windows and other OSes on x86 hardware.

    ...or on PPC hardware with x86 emulator incorporated into the computer's firmware.

    > only one member felt that a snide remark was needed to help our community.

    Wrong, it wasn't an attempt at helping. It was an attempt at making a snide remark. There's no rule (that I know of) on MorphZone that each and every posting must be helpful.
  • »21.11.10 - 18:50
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    Just for the sake of being pedantic, here's how the PCI specification labels expansion ROM code:

    Intel x86, PC-AT compatible
    Open Firmware standard for PCI
    Hewlett-Packard PA RISC
    Extensible Firmware Inteface (EFI)

    Open Firmware is not specific to PowerPC, although there are platform specific bindings for PowerPC.

    An expansion ROM can contain one or more images of any combination of code. The host system is responsible for finding, loading, and executing the correct image.

    EDIT:

    Quote:


    or on PPC hardware with x86 emulator incorporated into the computer's firmware.



    And many other platforms. The earliest use of SciTech's x86emu I know of was in the MILO bootloader on Alpha systems. Is anyone using anything other than x86emu to bootstrap x68 ROM images on foreign systems? Probably not, since it's still maintained as part of X.org under an industry friendly license. (And obviously, its use isn't restricted to firmware.)

    @amigadave

    What do you need exactly? http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2 has vanilla and modified images for both of the boards you listed. For my own Radeon 9250, I started with the vanilla 9200 revision 201 image and modified it myself to make it fit in 64K of flash. (The "reduced" images at The Mac Elite look like they came out of a chop shop.) I also changed the core and memory clock frequencies to 238.5 MHz and 166.5 MHz, respectively, to match the factory specifications of my particular card. (The product specification reports 240 MHz and 400 Mhz DDR; however, the x86 ROM initializes the card to the correct values.) I'm still working on extending memory support to 256 MB; however, if the Mac OS X and MorphOS drivers only use one aperture, there's not much point. (I think.)

    [ Edited by Trev on 2010/11/21 14:46 ]
  • »21.11.10 - 22:36
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > here's how the PCI specification labels expansion ROM code:
    >
    > Intel x86, PC-AT compatible

    That would be amigadave's "Windows bios", I guess ;-)

    > Open Firmware standard for PCI
    > [...]
    > Open Firmware is not specific to PowerPC, although there
    > are platform specific bindings for PowerPC.

    True. It's just that PPC is the only relevant architecture in terms of OpenFirmware based Mac OS as well as MorphOS.
    Btw, do you know why Mac graphics cards or Mac ROM reflashed PC graphics cards don't work on Pegasos or Efika 5200B?

    >> or on PPC hardware with x86 emulator incorporated into the
    >> computer's firmware.

    > And many other platforms.

    Yes, you're right of course. I was just restricting my addition to PPC because that's what's relevant in a MorphOS context (i.e. Pegasos I/II, Efika 5200B).
  • »21.11.10 - 23:30
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    Quote:


    Btw, do you know why Mac graphics cards or Mac ROM reflashed PC graphics cards don't work on Pegasos or Efika 5200B?



    I don't own either of those, and I don't know. Are their Open Firmware implementations open source?
  • »22.11.10 - 00:26
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    amigadave
    Posts: 2739 from 2006/3/21
    From: Lake Arrowhead...
    @Trev,

    Thanks for the reply, I will look again at the "themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2" page for the files I need, but I did not see a 128mb VRAM 8500 file there the last time I looked and have already received one reply in another thread that the 64mb VRAM 8500 card bios file does not work properly with my 128mb VRAM 8500 card.

    I have not yet received my 9700Pro card, so have not had the opportunity to try to re-flash it with the OEM, Modified, or Reduced bios files shown on that page. If anyone else has already re-flashed a card similar or the same as the one I am getting, I would appreciate their feedback on which file they used and any other pertinent info regarding their experience and usage after the re-flash.

    As for your statement regarding how the "PCI specification labels expansion ROM code", that is interesting and might be useful to some people, but the average user that is going to the Internet to shop for a replacement video card to put into their G4 PowerMac, is not likely to use that specification label in their search. The average user is going to look for video cards that were originally used in Mac computers (and will have to pay a premium for such cards), or they will look for cards that were used in computers running Windows or Linux, or labeled as PC, or x86 compatible. If you do such searches, you will see, as I did, on all of the ATI boxes and most if not all specifications listed in sale or auction listings, that these "PC", or "x86" cards are listed as Windows video cards.

    Why certain people feel they need to comment in a thread that they have no actual experience with, to criticize my use of the word Windows to describe these video cards is a mystery to me, unless it is for the sole intent to violate the forum posting guidelines here and try to bait me into a response and confrontation, which I will not do with someone I have no respect for.

    And why would you want to be pendantic, we already have enough of that behavior here.

    [ Edited by amigadave on 2010/11/21 18:16 ]
    MorphOS - The best Next Gen Amiga choice.
  • »22.11.10 - 02:12
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    I do think that "Windows compatible" is a fair assessment, as it describes a specific class of cards, just as "Mac compatible" describes a specific class of cards; however, neither is adequate. If you're writing a buyer's guide, your readership would be best served by an accurate list of compatible cards, noting vendor, model, part number, and revision.
  • »22.11.10 - 06:31
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > The average user [...] will look for cards that were used in computers running
    > Windows or Linux, or labeled as PC, or x86 compatible.

    Exactly. It seems you finally got my point.

    > If you do such searches, you will see, as I did, on all of the ATI boxes and
    > most if not all specifications listed in sale or auction listings, that these "PC",
    > or "x86" cards are listed as Windows video cards.

    I didn't see that ("Windows video cards"). What I see listed in the manuals of the older cards as *operating system* requirement is Windows (because of official driver support), but as *hardware* requirement I see listed "PC" together with some x86 processor names and clock frequency.

    > Why certain people feel they need [...] to criticize my use of the
    > word Windows to describe these video cards is a mystery to me

    I can demystify that one for you. It is my sincere opinion that using terms like "Windows video cards" or "Windows bios" can only help to confuse recent and future MorphOS users who look for information on which graphics cards to use in a PowerMac running MorphOS. All reflashing guides I came across on the net use the term "PC", not "Windows". So I see no reason to "invent" a term that has no advantage over the technically more correct term.

    > unless it is for the sole intent to violate the forum posting guidelines here

    Expressing opinion is *not* violating the MorphZone forum posting guidelines, as far as I'm aware.
  • »22.11.10 - 13:40
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > Are their Open Firmware implementations open source?

    The OpenFirmware implementation used in the Pegasos and Efika 5200B is based on Codegen's SmartFirmware, which was open sourced 4 years ago:

    http://www.openfirmware.info/SmartFirmware

    Drawback is that bplan's/Genesi's changes and extensions to that are not public. So to be technically correct the answer to your question is a no, unfortunately.
  • »22.11.10 - 14:06
    Profile
  • Jim
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Jim
    Posts: 4913 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    No Dave,
    There's no Mac Bios for 128MB 8500 cards. I'm not sure MorphOS wouldn't use the entire 128MB on a card flashed with the 64MB BIOS.
    The question is, how do we get a BIOS for the 128MB 9100/8500LE?
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »22.11.10 - 20:18
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    @Andreas_Wolf

    You'll have to ask bplan or Genesi then. If their build of SmartFirmware provides a proper device tree and the fb8 package, it should work. So far, I've focused on figuring out what the R2xx initialization code is doing. I haven't looked into Open Firmware beyond what's used by the display adapter ROM.
  • »22.11.10 - 21:21
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    @Jim

    The ROMs for the R200 variants are mostly identical. You can tell they all use the same code base, and in some cases, only integer constants (default register values) have changed. If the 8500 uses a single aperture to access all 128 MiB of RAM, fixing it might be as simple as changing one or two constant values in the FCode image.

    EDIT: AMD seems to be open to sharing R2xx information if you ask directed questions; they've provided everything short of the original documentation. I'm hoping a kind soul from their GPU team can fill in a few of the blanks for me with respect to initializing the R2xx memory controller.

    [ Edited by Trev on 2010/11/22 13:44 ]
  • »22.11.10 - 21:41
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    amigadave
    Posts: 2739 from 2006/3/21
    From: Lake Arrowhead...
    Quote:


    Trev wrote:
    I do think that "Windows compatible" is a fair assessment, as it describes a specific class of cards, just as "Mac compatible" describes a specific class of cards; however, neither is adequate. If you're writing a buyer's guide, your readership would be best served by an accurate list of compatible cards, noting vendor, model, part number, and revision.


    I didn't say I was writing a "buyers guide", it will be an article to help users re-flash their video cards that have been removed from computers most likely running Windows so that they can be used in their G4 PowerMac computers, commonly known as Mac computers. The exact wording of the article will be more precise that a forum posting, but I did not think that my original message would stir up so much confusion, as all I was asking for was sources for additional information and locations of bios files.

    If you did not understand my original post, I could understand it being criticized, but I do not believe any of this useless discussion was started due to lack of understanding. We all know who is doing what and why.
    MorphOS - The best Next Gen Amiga choice.
  • »22.11.10 - 22:00
    Profile
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11059 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > I do not believe any of this useless discussion was started
    > due to lack of understanding.

    Yes, I also do not believe that lack of understanding was the reason.

    > We all know who is doing what and why.

    I don't. It sounds spooky, almost conspiratorially ;-)
  • »22.11.10 - 22:10
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    Quote:


    useless discussion



    Too much dialog is preferable to too little, I think. As you've found, you can't just buy any old "Windows" Radeon card and expect it to work out-of-the-box with an unmodified Open Firmware expansion ROM. Judging by your booth at AmiWest, though, you've had more luck than most. ;-) (EDIT: And for the record, I wasn't trying to criticize anyone. I was saying, "Well, you're both kind of wrong. Here's the skinny. Can we move on?")

    [ Edited by Trev on 2010/11/22 14:22 ]
  • »22.11.10 - 22:12
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    And in the "wouldn't it be cool" department: an Open Firmware display driver that wraps x86emu, initializes x86 expansion ROMs, and uses an emulated VBE environment to access the device. That's a lot of layers, but it could be done. Big undertaking for very little return, though, as it wouldn't benefit operating systems like Mac OS X and MorphOS without some kind of OS-level glue, unless there are already generic display drivers for those platforms that use Open Firmware display services.
  • »22.11.10 - 22:20
    Profile
  • Jim
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Jim
    Posts: 4913 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    Quote:


    Trev wrote:
    @Jim

    The ROMs for the R200 variants are mostly identical. You can tell they all use the same code base, and in some cases, only integer constants (default register values) have changed. If the 8500 uses a single aperture to access all 128 MiB of RAM, fixing it might be as simple as changing one or two constant values in the FCode image.

    EDIT: AMD seems to be open to sharing R2xx information if you ask directed questions; they've provided everything short of the original documentation. I'm hoping a kind soul from their GPU team can fill in a few of the blanks for me with respect to initializing the R2xx memory controller.

    [ Edited by Trev on 2010/11/22 13:44 ]


    That's encouraging. I'd give up my 9200 in an instant if I could have a 128MB 8500 or 9100.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »23.11.10 - 00:28
    Profile
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Quote:

    Trev wrote:

    an Open Firmware display driver that wraps x86emu, initializes x86 expansion ROMs, and uses an emulated VBE environment to access the device.


    That would be an amazing trick, yes! But who could do that? The MorphOS Team don't care about firmwares, I think. Or there's some kind of interest group in the Open Firmware guys (whoever they are) for this kind of challenges?
  • »23.11.10 - 08:47
    Profile
  • Just looking around
    Trev
    Posts: 16 from 2010/11/6
    @jcmarcos

    Santa Claus, maybe? The Open Firmware "guys" are mostly big companies, but the most popular implementations (not Apple's) are open source. There are C to Forth/FCode compilers out there, and Open Firmware makes access to hardware *very* easy. In fact, looking at Radeon registers for example is as easy as:

    h# 90000140 rl@ .

    `h#' says, "The following word is a hexadecimal number."

    `90000140' equals the base address, 0x90000000, plus the MC_CNTL register offset, 0x140. (The base address is assigned during ROM initialization, but it could be done from the Open Firmware console or in FCode, as would be required by an x86emu wrapper.)

    `rl@' is the word to "fetch" (@) a long word (l) register value (r).

    `.' prints the top of the stack.

    Forth is stack based, so `h# 90000140' pushes 0x90000140 to the stack. `rl@' pulls 0x90000140 from the stack and pushes the register value to the stack, e.g. 0x2e002e01. `.' pulls the register value from the stack and displays it.

    I have no idea why the boards built for AmigaOS 4.x went with U-Boot instead of Open Firmware. Crazy, I say. I haven't used EFI much, so I don't know how it compares.
  • »23.11.10 - 20:54
    Profile