ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5

Posted by: waamatt

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/09/06 07:00 PM

So, considering I can get a non-Mac 4x/8x AGP ATI Radeon X850 graphics card for the same cost as a Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition (how sad), I have only one, multi-part question:

1a) Since it seems possible to use a Mac to do flashing, how is it that one installs a non-Mac-ROM-including graphics card in order to flash it?
1b) Does it work at its most basic functionality in that it can still run a display?
1c) Or, would you need to install, say, some old PCI graphics card (which I fortunately have access to) in order to drive a monitor until the new card is flashed?

I stumbled across a lot of information that I had a bit of trouble sorting through on a site called Strange Dogs where they have a forum that, for some reason, includes info on flashing video cards, especially for Macs. I could not devise a solid answer on whether or not a card's DVI ports were functional after flashing or whether or not you could actually flash a card via a Mac (and, yes, there is software for it, so far as I could tell, and numerous links to ROMs).

Oh, and just to be clear, I know about the pin taping (3 and 11, which ties into a funny story about why Apple stopped with the whole ADC port thing), and making sure the card actually functions in an AGP 4x slot and is not a larger, AGP Pro type card.

I found the X850 on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $219. I could probably do even better than that. Ah, I'm also aware of the need to avoid cards with enormous heatsinks and/or fans as they may not fit into certain PowerMacs (such as my MDD).

PS: I ordered 2GB of PC2700 DDR RAM (184-pin, CL 2.5, Crucial brand) since it'll work even with the slower bus speed wanting PC2100 RAM. But, this way, after I get around to doing my over clocking, I'll have the faster RAM already!

Oh, and thanks in advance for any info, guys (and gals?).
Posted by: nufanec

Doubt it - 04/10/06 12:43 PM

Not to put a downer on things, but I severely doubt that this will work. Worst case scenario you will be left with a rather expensive paper weight. There were never any X850 cards running on AGP for Mac - the X800 ran on AGP Pro but as far as I am aware no one ever got one to work in a G4 system.

Also what overclocking are you thinking of doing? You say "But, this way, after I get around to doing my over clocking, I'll have the faster RAM already!", but you won't be able to push the MDD to warrant PC2700. G4s have been stuck with a 167MHz maximum front-side bus so there isn't much you can do there overclocking wise... The bus sucks but its something you have to live with on a now legacy system like that.

I would save your money, sell your MDD and get yourself an older G5. You can pick up one of the older dual 1.8s pretty cheap these days - you can probably get one for about the value of your current system + what you are going to spend on a new card... or do what I'm doing and grabbing one of the new intel iMac 20" ers and play half life 2 all day :p
Posted by: maestro

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/10/06 01:23 PM

The answer is you can and you cant. It is possible yet difficult. You could just buy one for your mac G4 if you really want one. Here are two sites to visit to help you in your quest.
http://www.strangedogs.com
http://www.aqua-mac.com

Good luck.
Posted by: waamatt

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/10/06 03:23 PM

Nufanec, while I understand your comments, I just got this MDD used. I'm very happy with it. I intend to OC the bus to 167MHz and the procs to 1.25 GHz each (with some added cooling). If I can't comfortably hit 1.25, I'll go for whatever the one around 1 GHz is (1030 MHz?).

RAM slower than PC2700 is, apparently, not gauranteed to run properly on the 167MHz bus.

Maestro, thanks for the links. Strangedogs is the site that caused some confusion for me with flashing and what not.

The X850 Pro is a 4X/8X/Universal AGP 3.0 card. Whether or not it actually fits is another story. Plus, I've found 'em for $219 while the 9800 Pro Mac Edition (128MB version) retails for around $250. Obviously I'd rather have the better card, but not if it's definitely not going to work. Worst case scenario is flashing it destroys the card and I do end up with a paper weight. Other bad scenario is I flash it with a Mac ROM, tape two of the pins, and it still doesn't work. Then I just remove the tape, flash it back to its original ROM (hopefully), and resell it.
Posted by: waamatt

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/10/06 03:45 PM

OK... Quick follow up. On Aqua-Mac, the guy has an X850 Pro flashed and running in an MDD, of all things. Hurray! At first I freaked because it's cooling is so big it hangs over two of the four RAM slots, but then I realized he had fitted the X850 XT's cooling fan to it in order to safely overclock the X850. I have no desire to do that, so the plain X850 Pro (which is noted as single slot) should work fine.

I can borrow an old ATI PCI video card in order to hook up my monitor when I do my flashing. I am so excited! Woo!
Posted by: maestro

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/10/06 05:05 PM

Glad to be of service and good luck!
Posted by: nufanec

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/11/06 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: "waamatt"
Nufanec, while I understand your comments, I just got this MDD used. I'm very happy with it. I intend to OC the bus to 167MHz and the procs to 1.25 GHz each (with some added cooling). If I can't comfortably hit 1.25, I'll go for whatever the one around 1 GHz is (1030 MHz?).

RAM slower than PC2700 is, apparently, not gauranteed to run properly on the 167MHz bus.


Yeah, the MDDs are great machines. Mine has been amazing, never had any problems with it (although I have only ever used Apple ready parts in it for everything except hard disks and optical drives).

And sorry, I was unaware of the slower ram on the 167MHz bus issue - never had to deal with it I suppose as my MDD had a 167 bus to begin with :p Hope all goes well with the O/C! 1.25 should be easily attainable depending on what processor you start with...

Need to bookmark the aqua-mac page. Never seen it before and it looks great! Loads of new info for me smile
Posted by: waamatt

ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 04/18/06 10:53 PM

Weh... The 9600 SE my friend have me can't be flashed. On top of that (though I didn't test this to see if it's true!), Tiger apparently doesn't boot with a PC card in it. But, Panther will. If that's the case, I can always install Panther on my second drive.

The graphics card is like the last thing on my list for mods, so... Maybe by the time I'm ready to do it, either a) ATI will release Mac versions of other cards (incl. AGP versions of the X800 and X850 and then I won't have to do any work at all), or b) I can get the X850 Pro for dirt cheap because something rediculous like an X9,000,000 XT Plus Platinum Edition Pro will come out... Which will then immediately be made obsolete by the X^2 Quadrillion XTX PE Pro Plus All-In-Wonder GT. Err... Wait...
Posted by: echebon

Re: ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 11/15/06 04:20 PM

The X850 can not be flashed. The x800 can but with VGA only, DVI does not work . The 6800 gt Has Working DVI , BUt that card will not work in a MDD. Your best bet would be eather the 7800 gt if you can get someone on Strange Dogs to flash it (the rom is not public). or the 9800 pro.
Posted by: maestro

Re: ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 11/16/06 06:08 AM

I run a 9800xt and I like it, but I dont play games.  You can get a x800xt to run in your mdd like he said but only with vga.  Hmmm, that is like a v-8 with one of the cylinders blown.  If you dont play games, dont bother, you wont see a difference.
Posted by: waamatt

Re: ATI Radeon X850 AGP in pre-G5 - 11/16/06 08:29 AM

I'm really curious about whether or not multi-threaded OpenGL will be implemented for PPC Macs in 10.5. More to the point, I'm interested in seeing what it does to performance in World of Warcraft since Blizzard's already working on making WoW use the multi-threading capabilities. I'm pretty sure I bought a Sapphire 9800 Pro. It's a 256MB DDR card with 1x VGA, 1x DVI, and 1x S-Video. I only have a CRT monitor but I'm running everything I do at 1280x1024 and it looks fantastic - doesn't hurt that this monitor is pretty amazing (Viewsonic Professional Series P810). I put copper heatsinks on the 9800's memory chips and left the stock heatsink-fan combo. To aid in cooling I removed a portion of my MDD's optical drive cage/chassis.