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Modded R9 390X BIOS for R9 290/290X (Updated 02/16/2016)

post #1 of 1872
Thread Starter 
Hello OCN,

PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS SECTION BELOW THE BENCHMARKS & STATISTICS SECTION!
Quote:
Updated Changelog For 02/16/2016:

gupsterg:
  • Revised BIOS files for cards using SAMSUNG memory modules. Please see the "BIOS Guide:" section below for more information.

Quote:
Introduction:

A Note On BIOS Modding: (Click to show)
Okay I will do a short explanation here of how exactly the BIOS files were modded. I like to think about it this way:

1.) There are two types of BIOS "mods".
a. Soft Mods - Simple modifications like changing core clocks, memory clocks, voltage table, idle voltage, etc. These are done with HawaiiBiosReader.
b. Hard Mods - More complicated modifications that must be done from a Hex Editor. These include things like changing stock core voltage / voltage offset, changing memory from 8GB to 4GB, editing memory timings / straps, etc.

2.) To "change" an R9 390X BIOS to an R9 290X BIOS all that needed to be done was change the memory from 8GB down to 4GB and edit the "Device ID" if necessary. To "change" an R9 390 BIOS to an R9 290 BIOS you would do the exact same thing. An 8GB R9 390X BIOS file will flash to an 8GB R9 290X just fine, but it causes issues with most 4GB cards and the same goes for the R9 390 to R9 290.

3.) Unfortunately I do not currently have the knowledge to "Hard Mod" any BIOS files using a Hex Editor. I have been doing all the mods posted here with the help of @Lard (who has been doing the memory timing mods) and the HawaiiBiosReader program. I would really like to learn how to use a Hex Editor to go deeper into modding the BIOS files so I could make more for you all but unfortunately there aren't really any good guides out there yet as people are still doing research on this topic.

4.) BIOS modding is all about trial and error (within reason). So if you want to try to mod and flash an R9 390 BIOS file to an R9 290 I think you should go for it! The more people that work on this stuff to see what works and what doesn't, the more fun it is for everyone!

This thread is for the purpose of testing the new R9 390X BIOS modified to work with our R9 290/290X cards. As of right now the BIOS is modified for 4GB cards and is confirmed working on reference and near-reference PCBs ONLY. If you have a custom PCB there is no harm in trying but it may not work.

Quote:
BIOS Images:

R9 290 Stable Version 1.8 (947 / 1250 MHz): (Now with STOCK and MOD voltage tables!)




R9 290X Stable Version 1.8 (1000 / 1250 MHz): (Now with STOCK and MOD voltage tables!)


Quote:
Benchmarks & Statistics:

R9 290 Performance Examples (NO MOD) (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by flamin9_t00l View Post

I have done a few more tests to compare the stock XFX Core Edition 290 Bios to the 390X NOMOD Bios.

All tests were performed at 1080p with 1100mhz core clock and 1350mhz mem clock +50 power +75mV core +19mV aux in AB.

DiRT Rally / Ultra Preset / XFX Core 290 Bios




DiRT Rally / Ultra Preset / NOMOD 390 Bios




GRID Autosport / Ultra Preset / XFX Core 290 Bios




GRID Autosport / Ultra Preset / NOMOD 390 Bios




Metro Last Light / XFX Core 290 Bios




Metro Last Light / NOMOD 390 Bios




Valley / ExtremeHD / XFX Core 290 Bios




Valley / ExtremeHD / NOMOD 390 Bios




FireStrike / XFX Core 290 Bios




FireStrike / NOMOD 390 Bios





Just to note these tests were with the v1.3 NOMOD for 290 Bios.

RESULT - A nice little performance boost well worth having. biggrin.gif

R9 290 Performance Examples (MEM MOD) (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by flamin9_t00l View Post

I have re-ran the tests with the 390 MEM-MOD 1.4 Elpida Bios flashed to my 290 for comparison.

Again all tests were performed at 1080p with 1100mhz core clock and 1350mhz mem clock +50 power +81mV core +25mV aux in AB. As you can see I had to boost the voltage a little for stability in some tests but even with +100mV core I couldn't get Metro LL benchmark to complete without a blackscreen at these clocks.

DiRT Rally / Ultra Preset / Elpida MEMMOD 1.4 390 Bios




GRID Autosport / Ultra Preset / Elpida MEMMOD 1.4 390 Bios




Valley / ExtremeHD / Elpida MEMMOD 1.4 390 Bios




FireStrike / Elpida MEMMOD 1.4 390 Bios



http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/7840880

Looks like these games don't benefit from the tighter timings but the benchmarks have gained a little. Finally cracked 13K on FireStrike = RESULT. applaud.gifband.gif

Quote:
Disclaimers & Announcements:

  • Please be sure UNINSTALL your AMD drivers AND disable crossfire (if applicable) before flashing to a new BIOS as this will help you avoid many possible errors!
  • Some of these BIOS files WILL report what type of GPU Memory you have incorrectly once flashed. Please be sure to check what GPU memory-type you have PRIOR to flashing!
  • Some users may experience "black screens", crahses, or no-boots when using any "MEM MOD" BIOS. If this occurs just verify you are using the BIOS with the correct memory-type for your card. If that still does not solve the issue then just use the "NO MOD" BIOS.
  • After you flash a modified BIOS, ALWAYS monitor your card with a program like GPU-Z for safety reasons until you are sure that the BIOS is safe. If everything goes smoothly and no temps are too high, etc. feel free to do some benching and comparisons with the new BIOS and your STOCK BIOS and post them here!
  • A lot of users are reporting that the "MEM MOD -- LIGHTNING" BIOS file does not work correctly and locks the voltage control. I am not sure anything can be done about this until an R9 390X Lightning is released so that we can investigate its BIOS. So for now, use that BIOS at your own risk and report back to us with results.
  • If you are unsure of which BIOS file to use / test on your card please refer to the "BIOS Guide:" below.
  • If you are unsure of HOW to flash a new BIOS to your card please refer to the "Flashing Guide:" below.

Quote:
Guides:

BIOS Guide:

1.) R9 290 Folder: Use this folder if you have an R9 290 card that you wish to flash.

R9 290 BIOS FOLDERS (Click to show)

MEM MOD -- ELPIDA (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- ELPIDA: Use this folder if your R9 290 card has ELPIDA memory modules.

- "290_ELPIDA_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for ELPIDA memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290_ELPIDA_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for ELPIDA memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

MEM MOD -- HYNIX (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- HYNIX: Use this folder if your R9 290 card has HYNIX memory modules.

- "290_HYNIX_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for HYNIX memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290_HYNIX_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for HYNIX memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FD (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FD: Use this folder if your R9 290 card has SAMSUNG memory modules.

- "290_SAMSUNG_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290_SAMSUNG_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FS (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FS: ONLY use this folder if your R9 290 card has SAMSUNG memory modules and is an Sapphire Tri-X 290/X New Edition model with the 8+8 PCI-E power connectors. (Revised PCB)

- "290_SAMSUNG_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290_SAMSUNG_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

NO MOD (Click to show)
[*] NO MOD

- "290_NOMOD_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains the DEFAULT memory straps / timings that came with the original R9 390X BIOS, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290_NOMOD_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains the DEFAULT memory straps / timings that came with the original R9 390X BIOS, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.


2.)R9 290X Folder: Use this folder if you have an R9 290X card that you wish to flash.

R9 290X BIOS FOLDERS (Click to show)

MEM MOD -- ELPIDA (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- ELPIDA: Use this folder if your R9 290X card has ELPIDA memory modules.

- "290X_ELPIDA_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for ELPIDA memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_ELPIDA_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for ELPIDA memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290X BIOS.

MEM MOD -- HYNIX (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- HYNIX: Use this folder if your R9 290X card has HYNIX memory modules.

- "290X_HYNIX_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for HYNIX memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_HYNIX_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for HYNIX memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290X BIOS.

MEM MOD -- LIGHTNING (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- LIGHTNING: ONLY use this folder if your R9 290X card is an MSI R9 290X Lightning model.

- "290X_LIGHTNING_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_LIGHTNING_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from the latest MSI R9 290X LIGHTNING BIOS.

MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FD (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FD: Use this folder if your R9 290X card has SAMSUNG memory modules.

- "290X_SAMSUNG_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_SAMSUNG_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FS (Click to show)
[*] MEM MOD -- SAMSUNG FS: ONLY use this folder if your R9 290X card has SAMSUNG memory modules and is an Sapphire Tri-X 290/X New Edition model with the 8+8 PCI-E power connectors. (Revised PCB)

- "290X_SAMSUNG_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_SAMSUNG_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains MODDED memory timings for SAMSUNG memory, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290 BIOS.

NO MOD (Click to show)
[*] NO MOD

- "290X_NOMOD_MOD_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains the DEFAULT memory straps / timings that came with the original R9 390X BIOS, a MODDED voltage table and MODDED idle voltages taken from an R9 390X BIOS.

- "290X_NOMOD_STOCK_V1.8" --> This BIOS contains the DEFAULT memory straps / timings that came with the original R9 390X BIOS, and the STOCK voltage table and idle voltages from a REFERENCE R9 290X BIOS.

Flashing Guide:


FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FLASH THE BIOS ON YOUR CARD:

ATIFlash From DOS Guide: (Click to show)
Note: BEFORE FLASHING BE SURE TO DISABLE ULPS AND CROSSFIRE IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE GPUS AND ARE GOING TO BE FLASHING MULTIPLE GPUS.

The Setup:

1) Create a bootable MSDOS (Win98) USB KEY by following this guide HERE.
2) Download ATIFLASH.EXE and unzip it to your boot USB from HERE. BE SURE TO RENAME the ATIFLASH.exe program to "atiflash" or it will not work correctly!
3) Before attempting to flash ANY BIOS files to your card be sure to use GPU-Z to save a back-up of your current file in-case the flash does not work.
4) Create a backup folder on your machine. Store a copy of all the BIOS files that you have saved. Do not edit or change your "stock" BIOS files.
5) Save / rename the new BIOS file that you wish to flash as 0_NEW.ROM on to your MSDOS USB. Notice we append _NEW to the filename. Do that for any additional BIOS Files on your USB stick. Not overwriting them.

Booting To ATIFlash:

1) Reboot your computer that has the Graphics cards attached and press F10 or similar to bring up a boot choice menu. Select the MSDOS USB drive you just created. You will see the CMD prompt from Win98.

Completing The Flash:

1) TYPE the following into the CMD: "ATIFLASH.EXE -f -p 0 0_NEW.ROM" (gpu slot 0).
2) The first number in the command is the PCIE SLOT number of your first card. So if you have a card in your top PCIE SLOT the number will be 0. If you have a motherboard with 4 PCIE slots the numbers will be 0-3. So just make sure to know what slot your card(s) are in while flashing.
3) You can do this for other cards attached (Crossfire) also as follows:

ATIFLASH.EXE -f -p 1 1_NEW.ROM (gpu slot 1)
ATIFLASH.EXE -f -p 2 2_NEW.ROM (gpu slot 2)
And so on...

4) Wait for the confirmation message which will display various details about your card.
5) ATIFlash will tell you to reboot. Go ahead and flash any other cards using the correct name for their files. (Ex. 1_NEW.ROM)
6) After rebooting back into Windows your screen may flash a few times, do not worry, this is normal. The card is just completing it's BIOS update.
7) After the screen is done flashing be sure to check CCC and make sure that none of your settings have reset as for some reason CCC likes to do that after you flash the BIOS.
8) You are done!

Quote:
Acknowledgements:

Last but not least, I would just like to say thank you to Plug2k over at the Guru3D forms for making the previous roms in the beginning and introducing me to Hawaii Bios Editor. You can follow the R9 390X BIOS Thread over at Guru3D here: http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=400050.

I would also like to thank Lard for injecting the memory mods for all of these BIOS files and The Stilt for creating the memory modifications in the first place. And Synyster Gates for fixing the R9 290 ID mis-match.

Lastly, my biggest thanks goes out to gupsterg for all of his various research and for his work on V1.8 of these BIOS files. He has really been going above an beyond with this project. Be sure to check out all the work he has done over in the Hawaii Bios Editing thread I posted above.

Remember, whenever you flash a modified BIOS or any other BIOS to your card you are doing so at your own risk. I, nor anyone else, will be responsible for any damage that may occur to your card.


Enjoy Everyone!


- Insan1tyOne devil.gif
Edited by Insan1tyOne - 2/16/16 at 12:46pm
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post #2 of 1872
im also looking to flash my reference r9 290s, not sure what I should flash them to.

Bump for the best reference 290 bios.

(im watercooled btw)
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post #3 of 1872
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by simsin View Post

im also looking to flash my reference r9 290s, not sure what I should flash them to.

Bump for the best reference 290 bios.

(im watercooled btw)

Glad to see Im not the only one! thumb.gif
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post #4 of 1872
Atiflash -i to get cards info.
Atiflash -s N backupN.rom to backup current bios.
Atiflash -p N new.rom to flash new bios.
N = 0, 1, ... n - card number.
If you'll experience issues with cards other than 0, disable ULPS or flash from dos.
Good windows version of ati flash is in Asus gpu tweak.

Do not use customized bios in reference card. It may or may not work.
post #5 of 1872
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tx12 View Post

Atiflash -i to get cards info.
Atiflash -s N backupN.rom to backup current bios.
Atiflash -p N new.rom to flash new bios.
N = 0, 1, ... n - card number.
If you'll experience issues with cards other than 0, disable ULPS or flash from dos.
Good windows version of ati flash is in Asus gpu tweak.

Do not use customized bios in reference card. It may or may not work.

Thank you very much for posting this! So it is the general consensus that any vBIOS made for a "reference" PCB will work with any other reference PCB regardless of manufacturer, and that any vBIOS made for a "custom" PCB will most likely not work with a reference PCB?
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post #6 of 1872
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insan1tyOne View Post

Thank you very much for posting this! So it is the general consensus that any vBIOS made for a "reference" PCB will work with any other reference PCB regardless of manufacturer, and that any vBIOS made for a "custom" PCB will most likely not work with a reference PCB?

It's very hard to say about reference PCB and custom PCB BIOS interoperability.

As a general rule, BIOSes must not be mixed between different cards, sometimes even between different revisions of the same card. But in reality most models share the same crucial components, what's why mixed BIOSes usually do work. This also differs greatly between GPU models. For example, Tahiti-based cards like HD7970 / R280X are much more diverse than Hawaii-based R9290's. With Tahiti you can probably brick or even burn the card by flashing it with alien BIOS due to many different VRMs used. For R9 290 VRM design is usually the same, so most BIOSes are working. Even R9 390X BIOS works in R9 290, despite supporting totally different memory type and size.

As for reference PCB interoperability, possible caveats are memory type and fan profile because same PCBs could be equipped with different memory chips and cooling solutions.

I think the main differences in BIOSes are:
- VRM type - you can brick or burn the card with alien VRM's BIOS;
- display connector set - some connectors may fail with alien BIOS;
- memory type - some incompatibility is possible here;
- fan type and control - wrong fan speeds are possible.

As a general rule its always preferable to use the original BIOS intended for your card model and revision. But, usually nothing goes really wrong with mixed BIOSes.
post #7 of 1872
Thread Starter 
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tx12 View Post

It's very hard to say about reference PCB and custom PCB BIOS interoperability.

As a general rule, BIOSes must not be mixed between different cards, sometimes even between different revisions of the same card. But in reality most models share the same crucial components, what's why mixed BIOSes usually do work. This also differs greatly between GPU models. For example, Tahiti-based cards like HD7970 / R280X are much more diverse than Hawaii-based R9290's. With Tahiti you can probably brick or even burn the card by flashing it with alien BIOS due to many different VRMs used. For R9 290 VRM design is usually the same, so most BIOSes are working. Even R9 390X BIOS works in R9 290, despite supporting totally different memory type and size.

As for reference PCB interoperability, possible caveats are memory type and fan profile because same PCBs could be equipped with different memory chips and cooling solutions.

I think the main differences in BIOSes are:
- VRM type - you can brick or burn the card with alien VRM's BIOS;
- display connector set - some connectors may fail with alien BIOS;
- memory type - some incompatibility is possible here;
- fan type and control - wrong fan speeds are possible.

As a general rule its always preferable to use the original BIOS intended for your card model and revision. But, usually nothing goes really wrong with mixed BIOSes.

The more I dig around it seems that this vBIOS: http://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/155514/msi-r9290-4096-140218.html is the newest revision for "reference" R9 290 PCBs. All of the other later revisions are for non-reference PCBs.

I wish that I could get my hands on a modified 4GB version of the reference R9 390 bios. The R9 390 is the same card as the R9 290 and the R9 390 bios's have build dates that are very recent where as the newest build date for an reference R9 290 bios is back in January of 2014. redface.gif
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post #8 of 1872
Did you end up flashing your cards?
post #9 of 1872
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster_is_better View Post

Did you end up flashing your cards?

I did indeed! I used this guide: https://www.reddit.com/r/ScryptMiningRigs/comments/1xi194/bios_flash_guide_r9_270_and_270x/
and was able to flash this BIOS to both cards:
http://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/155092/gigabyte-r9290-4096-140119.html.
It worked out great! No issues so far.

Now that I know I can do it fairly easily I am going to go grab the modified R9 390X BIOS from Guru3D and try to put that on the cards. Everyone that can get it to flash to their cards is reporting lower temperatures / power consumption and higher bench scores. Should be a good adventure! wink.gif
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MiniNova
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post #10 of 1872
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insan1tyOne View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster_is_better View Post

Did you end up flashing your cards?

I did indeed! I used this guide: https://www.reddit.com/r/ScryptMiningRigs/comments/1xi194/bios_flash_guide_r9_270_and_270x/
and was able to flash this BIOS to both cards:
http://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/155092/gigabyte-r9290-4096-140119.html.
It worked out great! No issues so far.

Now that I know I can do it fairly easily I am going to go grab the modified R9 390X BIOS from Guru3D and try to put that on the cards. Everyone that can get it to flash to their cards is reporting lower temperatures / power consumption and higher bench scores. Should be a good adventure! wink.gif

I see you posted in the guru3d forum and got some new 390x BIOS to try. Have you done any tests with those compared to the original BIOS? This is a bit interesting. I already need to flash one of my cards, but if this flashing to a 390x BIOS is a thing, with free performance, that would be cool. biggrin.gif
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Overclock.net › Forums › Graphics Cards › AMD/ATI › Modded R9 390X BIOS for R9 290/290X (Updated 02/16/2016)