PC video card in Mac

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GEOS's picture
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I have a B&W G3 mac and still have the stock 16Mb video card in it. I have been looking at getting a new card but the mac ones are far more expensive than a PC card. a 32Mb ATI for mac is well over $100 and a 64Mb G-force for a PC is $50. Anyhow, to save money, is it possible to take a PC video card and use it in a mac? I have heard about flashing the BIOS and it could workd, but i don't know anything about that. anyone know if this is possible?

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g3head's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Radeon 7000

The Radeon 7000 based PCI cards work really well.You need a PC and a Mac to get it to work but its pretty easy. Getting the software for this would be the hardest part but I may have the files (DOS boot disk, flashing utilities and the writeup from the german forums) lurking on one of my systems.

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Once you get hold of a flasha

Once you get hold of a flashable card it's as easy as 1-2-3... almost Wink
Flashed a GeForce2MX (AGP) with a Macrom and it works like a charm in my Sawtooth.

rip. mix. burn.

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eeun's picture
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Works like a charm

I've got a (formerly) PC Radeon 7000 in my beige G3.

There was a site detailing how to flash, along with offering files, but it seems to have vanished. ATI went after MacNN forums for posting how-to links and info, so this may explain why information is a bit tougher to find.

Send me an IM here if you can't find what you need. I should have all the information on my G3, as I only did the flash about a month ago.

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Do you mind mentioning which

Do you mind mentioning which brand? Were you able to still buy it retail or ebay?

eeun's picture
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brand name

I picked it up locally, used, in an anti-static bag. I don't know if it was genuine ATI or an OEM.

Details I can remember while I'm at work:

• sticker on back mentions Radeon 7000 - no other brand names or logos
• card is green, with passive heat-sink (no fan)
• only port is VGA (no DVI, TV-out, etc as on Mac version)
• 64MB card - Apple system profiler sees full 64MB
• PCI version (probably obvious to all, but you never know)

I did the flashing on an old Compaq 133MHz junker. The process flashes a 'placeholder' Mac ROM. Depending on the documentation available, this may or may not actually work on a Mac at this point of the process.

It's also possible (and recommended) to backup your original PC ROM to floppy, just in case.

Then, the card is installed in a Mac, and ATI's most recent 7000 ROM update is downloaded and installed using ATI's installer. ATI's installer will not see the card unless it's gone through the installation of the first ROM on the PC.

I don't have exact frames-per-second, but running several of the 3D screensavers in Setting Sun, my beige G3 at 366 MHz renders much faster and smoother than my at-work G4/400 with Rage 128 (for obvious reasons I'm limited to what I can install on my work Mac ;D

It should be noted that if the ROM flashing goes wrong, the card can theoretically become a paperweight and will no longer be recognized by the flashing utilities.

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Does any one know if it is po

Does any one know if it is possible to flash a PCI Riva TNT card to work in a Mac. I really need a card for my 8600 and hate to buy a card when I have an unused on laying here.

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rael9's picture
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I don't think so

I don't think there are any Mac drivers/ROMs for those cards. I could be wrong, though.

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eeun's picture
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Digging up old threads

Geos - any luck with a Radeon card?

I picked up another Radeon 7000, this time a dual-headed Excalibur Radeon from HIS.

This one ain't gonna flash. Too bad, I liked the potential of hooking three monitors up to one Mac.

I tried a number of different things, including flashing the full Mac roms directly instead of using the placeholder.

There's a thread here in the Cube Owner forums with recommendations to cards that work as well as other info, including that I shouldn't have bothered trying to put the 'excalibur' in a Mac :Smile

Still works great in one of my PCs, but doesn't have the same bang-per-buck. 'Course, if ATI wasn't screwing Apple users by selling their Mac cards for substantially higher than the exact same PC card, this wouldn't be an issue...

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Radeon Mac Edition best choice

Used PCI Mac Radeons (the original 32MB Mac Edition, not the 7K model) are selling in the $50-$60 range these days and are your best choice for compatability and speed. PC R7K PCI cards can be had for under $50 but any new R7K will almost certainly have only a 64K ROM, unusable for flashing to Mac. That means you'll have to desolder the ROM and replace it with a 128K part, not terribly difficult, just a PITA. Also, you need to have (or have access to) a PC to do the initial ROM flash, again, not a big barrier but it all adds up in my mind to a lot of bother to save, what? maybe $20 or $25? And in the end, the R7K isn't as fast as an original Radeon Mac Edition anyway.

That said, I've just acquired a 64MB PC R7K (64K ROM) which I'm gonna make-Mac (ROM swap and flash) and I'll benchmark it against my Mac Radeons to see how they compare performance-wise. I'm not expecting much, so hopefully I won't be too disappointed in how badly the R7K fares by comparison. Smile

With AGP cards though it's a different story, the possible savings can be much larger. I just picked up a PC GeForce3 64MB AGP card and easily flashed it to Mac for use in my newly acquired QS 733. It cost me a grand total of $47 shipped, where original Mac GF3 cards sell for $250 and up, saving me quite a bit o' scratch. Of course, I'm not satisfied Smile for as soon as I find a Mac GeForce4 Ti ROM, I'll move my PC's 128MB GeForce4 Ti AGP card into my QS . . .

Dan K

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DrBunsen's picture
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ROM size check?

Is there a simple way of telling what size ROM my card has before I try to flash it? I have a 7k with TV out - is it possible to get the TV out working under Mac?

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eeun's picture
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atiflash or flashrom

...are the two flashing utilities on the dos side. If you track down a Mac rom, it's likely one or both of these will be with it. Both have a -i command which will give you the cards info, including rom size.
The atiflash is apparently more accurate. Flashrom may tell you there's a 128K rom when it's only a 64.

If the real Mac Radeon 7000 had a TV out, then it -should- be supported.

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Re: Radeon Mac Edition best choice

dankephoto wrote:

With AGP cards though it's a different story, the possible savings can be much larger. I just picked up a PC GeForce3 64MB AGP card and easily flashed it to Mac for use in my newly acquired QS 733. It cost me a grand total of $47 shipped, where original Mac GF3 cards sell for $250 and up, saving me quite a bit o' scratch. Of course, I'm not satisfied Smile for as soon as I find a Mac GeForce4 Ti ROM, I'll move my PC's 128MB GeForce4 Ti AGP card into my QS . . .

Dan K

Which brand of GeForce3?

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GF3 flash, R7K ROM size

my GF3 is a Visiontek with VGA and S-video, but I understand almost any original GF3 can be flashed. Oh, and my recall is less than perfect, I actually only spent $38 not $47 - not bad eh? Smile

BTW, here's an excellent thread about flashing R7K to Mac:
http://www.cubeowner.com/forums//index.php?s=99224b9d570a2ca14609642b156ab52e&showtopic=5719&st=22

The ROM is an 8 pin chip with the size as part of its model number. My Sapphire's ROM is labeled 25P05AV (05 = 1/2 megabit or 64K) so I'll need a 25P10 as a replacement.

Dan K

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I picked up a refurb Sapphire

I picked up a refurb Sapphire 8500 LE 64Mb from newegg for my AGP G4. Placed the rom flasher from here in the OS9 Startup folder, shut down, put 8500 in, did not hook up the vga, restarted, waited, shut down, attached vga, started...

I'll be, if I didn't have video. ;D

Still working out some bugs, some resolutions (21" Apple) are not so crisp, but with a OWC G4 upgrade and the 8500, Halo ain't shabby!

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ok guys, looking for some hel

ok guys, looking for some help. I tried to flash an HIS Excalibur ATI Radeon VE/7000 64m DDR AGP with dual monitor, S-Video & video out like this one http://www.hisdigital.com/html/7000.htm
All went well with the flash, backed up the original rom and flashed with appropriate software and roms that are out there. To make along story short I've tried numerous combinations of flashes and roms with no success. I can get the screen to fire up but it just has a bunch of vertical lines and a little square that moves around as you move your mouse around. Here's my dilemma. The original rom I backed up to the floppy didn't get moved over to my HD and I forgot about it and reformatted the floppy it was on. I'm hoping someone out there might have a copy of the rom for this card and can PM it to me. I would be forever greatful..:/

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Radeon 7000 flash

Ok I dl the ATI flash and utilities from a down under site for a Radeon 7000. I cannot get this to work(tried on 2 pc's). When I try i only get a list of commands. Here's what i did. I formatted a floppy then opened the A folder and put all within on the floppy. Put the card in the pc, put the boot disk in and then typed flashrom i. It booted but only showed a list of commands. Any ideas. I may have the smaller rom, but wanted to check using the flash util. i've been trying for 3 days. Voodoo flash was sure alot easier! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
thx

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you need to type -i, not just

you need to type -i, not just i.

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GeForce4 Ti ROM

did you ever find a GF4Ti ROM for the Mac? If so, please respond. I'd like a link or for you to email it to me if you have it. Smile Thanks in advance!