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Uber-n00b guide to X850Pro Modding

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Modding an X850Pro AGP
- a guide for the Uber-n00b –

I realize that lots of n00bs want to mod their video cards, but lack the experience or technical knowledge to do so. I am a bit of a video card modding n00b too, so I kind of understand (I also know how to do research, so my sympathy only runs so deep). I am going to attempt to write this guide so anyone can with moderate computer skills can do it. If you read this guide carefully, and still don't understand how to mod your card, PLEASE DON’T TRY IT. Chances are, you are going to destroy your card, and try to blame me somehow.

I should also note that I did not “make up” any of these instructions, so I am not trying to “take credit” for anything. I have read lots and lots of posts, threads, and FAQ’s regarding this subject, and incorporated the parts that worked for me into this document. Please don’t try accusing me of stealing someone else’s ideas. I stole LOTS of other people’s ideas. I admit it. I’m just tired of hearing the same stupid comments over and over (I mean that in the nicest way possible).

As far as I know, this will only work on a genuine ATI Radeon X850Pro AGP VIVO card. It needs to have 1.6ns RAM (it actually says 16 on the RAM chips), and have the yellow VIVO connector on the card. There is mixed data regarding what serial numbers unlock, but if your S/N starts with 18052, or 18053, you have a decent chance of unlocking.

There is a really easy way to tell if your card can unlock. Download and install ATItool - http://www.techpowerup.com/atitool/. This program is a really awesome overclocking and tweaking utility. It will help you manage your fan speed, monitor your temps, and safely OC the living crap out of your card. Open ATItool, hold down the shift key, and click on the settings button. This will bring up the overclocking screen, with some extra fuse info. Scroll down until you see the following:

CONFIG_DIE_FUSES 0xFFFFFFFF
CONFIG_SUBSTRATE_FUSES 0xFFFFFF9F

You need to have F's in the red positions. If not, your card is not unlockable. Don’t keep reading. There’s nothing you can do. Get some good cooling, overclock the card as much as possible, and enjoy it. It’s not the end of the world. Unlocking the 4 pipes only gave me 8-10% better scores, so it’s nothing to cry about. If your info matches, please read on!

To flash the BIOS, there are 4 things you need:

1)A boot floppy with enough room for some tools. An XP boot disk works great.
2)Atiflash
3)The “modded” flashrom
4)An ATI X850 XT-PE BIOS

Instructions on how to make a boot floppy can be found here: http://www.computerhope.com/boot.htm#71

Atiflash, the modded flashrom, and the XT-PE BIOS are in the floppy_files.zip attachment.

NEW! Instead of making a boot floppy, you can download the attached boot CD image! Simply download the x850pro.zip file, unpack the .iso to your hard drive, and burn the image to a CD. It includes atiflash, flashrom, the x850xtpe.bin file, and my original BIOS file called x850pro.bin. Most CD-burning programs associate with .iso files, so you can usually just double-click the file...

1) Make an XP boot floppy or boot CD.
2) Unzip the flashrom files, the atiflash files, and the x850xtpe.bin file to your boot floppy. - this step is not necessary if you are using the boot CD ISO.
3) Boot up to the XP boot disk.
4) Use flashrom to make a backup of your existing BIOS (type flashrom –s 0 x850pro.bin) - this step is not necessary if you are using the boot CD ISO.
5) Use flashrom to overwrite your Pro BIOS with the XT-PE BIOS (type flashrom –f –p 0 x850xtpe.bin).
6) Reboot into Windows. It should re-detect the card. No need to un-install/re-install the drivers.
7) Reboot Windows after the drivers re-initialize.
8) Run ATItool to verify that you have 16-pipes, and XT-PE clock speeds (click settings).
9) Reboot to your XP boot disk again
10) Use atiflash to flash the original backup BIOS back to your card (atiflash –f –p 0 x850pro.bin)
11) Reboot into Windows. It should re-detect the card. No need to un-install/re-install the drivers.
12) Run ATItool to verify that you have 16-pipes, and Pro clock speeds (500/500).

Now, several people have asked me why I use 2 different flashing utilities. When I was trying this for myself, atiflash did NOT modify the number of pipes. I got the XT-PE clock speeds, but only 12 pipes. Flashing the BIOS with flashrom unlocked the pipes no problem. And, like other people, I lost fan control. It would either run too slow, or at 100%, but nothing in between. I tried flashing with the “XT-PE w/fan control” BIOS, but it didn’t fix the problem. I also didn’t want to run at 540/590 all the time. So, in theory, it made sense that I could flash the BIOS back to my original backup.bin file using atiflash, and leave the 16 pipes in tact. It worked! I have 16 pipes, fan control, and 500/500 speeds. I do all my overclocking with ATItool.

I’m not going to get into overclocking too much here. If you want to overclock, you should get some better cooling. I use the Arctic Cooling AVC-AT5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835186129
My temps are now 54C running at 557/594 under full load! The best part is this cooler is virtually silent, provides RAM cooling, and exhausts the hot air out of your case!

To find the highest core and mem clocks for your card, use ATItool, and click on the “find max core”, and “find max mem” settings. It will start to beep when it finds artifacts, and adjust the clocks accordingly. When the clocks stabilize, knock them down about 5 more MHz to ensure stability in games.

Please let me know if there are errors in this guide, or if something is unclear.

Good luck!!
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AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
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Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
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My System
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AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
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post #2 of 38
Wow, for a second, i thought you were directing this whole post to me.. lol
Nice guide, but we have a similar one by a former member..

http://www.overclock.net/ati/28036-h...ghlight=SPHERE

Here you go.
I'm Jelly.
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post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
That's too funny! I have seen a couple good guides here, but they are always missing something. I was trying to get everything in one place. I am a sysadmin, so I don't need a lot of hand-holding. Most of the guides I have seen are written for experienced tweakers.

I'm sure I probably missed some stuff, so I'll add to it as questions come in.
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
PowerCaseMouse
Thermaltake 430W Antec Tower Logitech wireless 
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My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
PowerCaseMouse
Thermaltake 430W Antec Tower Logitech wireless 
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post #4 of 38
Thank you Mr.Blink, once again you fullfilled my requests.
But, I am a user and I'm pretty sure there are many users out there that doesn't have a Floppy Disk Drive.
Can you show us how to make a bootable device with easy to follow directions? (CD, USB Stick)
Or, references of other pages that demonstrates an easy process of making one.
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post #5 of 38
umm yeah but mr mcnoobie asks what do you... say you have all the modified flashrom files and the desired BIOS file.. i put it on a "bootable" cd and when it goes to boot from disk it just flashes _ .... nothing.. which specific file should be the bootable? what utility is best for making boot CD's
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post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Making a boot CD from scratch usually requires that you have a floppy drive, and an existing floppy disk. Your cd-burning software will take the boot files from the floppy, and make a bootable image on the CD. You can add extra files at the same time (like flashrom). Now, if you don't have a floppy drive, this can be a problem. I'm sure that you can find pre-made ISO images of Windows XP boot disks on the Internet. I just tried bootdisk.com, but they are charging $4 to download files now? *** is up with that??

I have not tried running the flash utilities from a CD. I am not sure if the utilities need to read AND write to the disk or not. Another problem that you are going to have is saving your backup.bin file. There's no way to save it on a CD in DOS (obviously). If your PC recognizes a flash drive in DOS, that might work.

If I have time tomorrow, I'll try making an ISO of a boot CD with the necessary files on it.

I would recommend purchasing a USB floppy drive. I have one that I use on all my laptops. It really comes in handy.
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
PowerCaseMouse
Thermaltake 430W Antec Tower Logitech wireless 
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My System
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
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post #7 of 38
id rather not do any hardware swapping due to the fact that its a clients computer.. no worries your not liable for anything.. if you could pound out an ISO for an unlocked GTO PCIe i would probably construct a 5ft shrine of you in my basement

if your soooo kind heres the files
http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/....Samsung20.bin
http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/...lashrom16p.zip

if you could do this id be very happy and well.. be happy. thanks
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post #8 of 38
Thread Starter 
OK. I have attached two ISO files.

partythyme2 - yours is called x800gto.zip, and includes atiflash, flashrom, and your BIOS file that I renamed to x800gto.bin

The x850pro file includes atiflash, flashrom, x850xtpe.bin, and my original BIOS that I named x850pro.bin
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
PowerCaseMouse
Thermaltake 430W Antec Tower Logitech wireless 
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My System
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 170 MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum X850Pro (16 Pipes) 2x1GB G-Skill 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate XP Pro Dell 1905FP Logitech wireless 
PowerCaseMouse
Thermaltake 430W Antec Tower Logitech wireless 
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post #9 of 38
props man.. mad props client will be very impressed with the performance increase given the money spent.. just in case you were wondering the upgrade was.. basically a new computer but neways

from a MSI K7N8 socket a to an EpOx NPA9J 939
from a 2500+ FX to a 3500+ 64 @ 2.6 ghz stable
1gb valueram ddr333 to 1gb ballistix ddr500
80gb ata100 hitachi to a 160gb SATA seagate
generic PSU to an X-CON 500wt
AND a radeon 7500 fam series to an X800 550/570 16 pipes thank you!
Logitech g-15 keyboard
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post #10 of 38
well done, yet they dont necessarily have to make the first back up with atiflash. i used flashrom and it worked great...just wen u flash it back make sure u use atiflash. for the old clock speeds.
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