ATI RADEON 7000 PCI

Flashing and Modifying for use in a Macintosh


Introduction

The ATI RADEON 7000 card (available in 32MB and 64MB, with optional TV Out and DVI) is an ideal upgrade for any PowerMac G3 or lower. As all the machines prior to and including the Blue & White G3 (Yosemite) only have a PCI interface it is not possible to use any of the later cards.

The RADEON 7000 IS the only upgrade option available to users of PCI Macs.

ATI produce a Mac compatible version, priced significantly higher than it's PC counterpart – £100 compared to £35.

The PC version is also available from other manufacturers, as the card has gone into "syndication". I would recommend the Powercolor or Sapphire clones (see note at bottom of page for Sapphire "glitch"). A good place to begin would be dabs.com.

With a little work, the right tools and a rudimentary knowledge of PC hardware you can quite easily modify one of the inexpensive PC RADEON 7000's to function in a Mac.

What you will need:

Verifying

Obtain a RADEON 7000 – 32MB or 64MB will make no difference, now hold the card so that the ports are on your left hand side. There will be a chip a few centimetres to the right of the TV Out port, you will need a magnifying loupe or glass at this stage. Viewing with magnification should reveal the model number on the chip. This is the flash memory module where the card stores it's ROM. The Mac ROM requires 128K memory, whereas the PC ROM will only use 64K.

Radeon Fig 1The card will have one of these two chips:

M25P05-AV – Only 64K and too small to accommodate the 128K Mac ROM. You will either need to get another card OR (much more fun) remove the chip and replace with M25P10-AV, I will detail this below – see Soldering.

M25P10-AV or other – 128K or larger – this is fine, jump down to the section on flashing.

Note: It may be possible to "shrink" the 128k Mac ROM down to 64k, using Resourcer or ResEdit under OS 9 and editing the ROM file. This isn't conclusive, and beyond the scope of this tutorial. This Mac forum discussion highlights the particulars of this procedure. Be aware that the Mac ROM provided with the flashing utility on this site is only a dummy, a placeholder for the ATI updater to replace with the actual ROM image. If you experiment with this method of "shrinking" the ROM you must first obtain a valid RADEON 7000 Mac ROM.

Soldering

If the chip reads M25P05-AV (if your chip reads anything other than this, like M25P10-AV, then skip to flashing) then it has only 64K and is insufficient – you will NOT be able to flash this card without replacing it with a larger flash memory. The chip you will need is an ST M25P10-AV (produced by ST Microelectronics) these can be purchased from Digikey or Farnell(if in the UK) for around $2/£2 (price dependant on quantity). I suggest buying at least two, as a precaution in case of mistakes while soldering.

You can download a PDF here MP25P10-AV

The correct tools in this instance are not really required as this will be a very easy job. A soldering iron and other suitable materials would be perfect but aren't mandatory.

Tools I have used:

I will detail my method:

First use the penknife and tweezers to remove the existing chip, be sure to note the alignment of the chip – look to see which direction the text is printed on the chip, this will guarantee proper alignment of the replacement. Don't worry about a clean job here, all you want to do is cut and break off the eight "legs" on either side of the chip. Apply pressure and leverage, then break the chip off.

This should leave parts of the connectors still attached to the board – it doesn't matter, as long as you've removed the M25P05-AV.

You now need to turn on the stove and heat the tip of the screwdriver up – leave it until red-hot. Apply the tip of the screwdriver, gently, to the area where the chip was. Work on one side first, melting the existing solder and using the tweezers to pick of the debris, then repeat on the other side – when finished all the bits left over from the forceful removal of the M25P05-AV should be gone.

Now take out a M25P10-AV, orient the card so the ports are at the top, then align the M25P10-AV so that the printed serial number is oriented correctly as to be legible. Heat the screwdriver again; apply to the area where the previous chip was. You are now trying to melt the existing solder – it will be enough to bond to the new chip. Once melted, place the M25P10-AV promptly (checking for proper alignment) on the melted solder. Hold for a few seconds, and then test the bond by trying to move the chip.

If all went well the chip should be secure and correctly aligned, all the contacts should also be neatly bonded.

Now you're ready to flash the card.

Flashing

You will need a PC, or access to one at this stage.

Download the utilities here.

Once you've uncompressed the archive (use Stuffit Expander) copy the contents of the "A" directory onto a blank, DOS formatted, floppy. This should provide you with a startup disk with the correct utilities and ROM's to flash the card.

If you are using your own startup disk (www.bootdisk.com) then be sure to copy these files onto it.

Once you have your startup disk ready place the RADEON 7000 in the PC, leaving the PC's original card in place. The PC MUST have a spare PCI slot.

Start the PC up, boot up with the startup disk. At the DOS prompt type: FLASHROM –I This will give a summary of all ATI cards present in the system – it should report something like ID 5159 for the RADEON 7000. To the left of this there will be a device number – it should be 0, providing this is the only ATI card in the system. Otherwise (if there is a another ATI card) the RADEON 7000 (ID 5159) will be designated 1. Make a note of this.

Now save the original PC ROM from the card, in case you need to restore it.

FLASHROM -s 0 ati7kPC.bin

Note the 0 refers to the device number, if other ATI cards are present in this PC then the device number should read 1, e.g. FLASHROM -s 1 ati7kPC.bin

Now that the original ROM has been backed-up you can flash the card.

Run:

FLASHROM –pm 0 MAC7K.BIN –f

Or

FLASHROM –pm 1 MAC7K.BIN –f

This should flash the card with the "dummy" Mac ROM file, the real ROM flashing happens now.

Remove the RADEON 7000 from the PC, place it in a free PCI slot in your Mac. Now download the ATI ROM v208 here

Start the Macintosh up and run the ROM updater, I recommend running this under OS 9.

Connect your monitor to the RADEON 7000 and restart. The Mac will now boot up and the RADEON 7000 should be functioning correctly.

Download the latest ATI RADEON 7000 drivers here


That's it. Enjoy.

Note: If you are experiencing problems trying to flash a soldered card in a PC I suggest placing it in a Mac first and running the ATI ROM updater. This should fix the problem and perhaps remove the need for flashing in a PC altogether.


Note: The Sapphire RADEON 7000 suffers from a slight hitch – if the system is put to sleep, upon wake-up artifacts will appear and the system will need to be rebooted. This will only happen when the Mac is put into sleep mode manually.

Some of the Powercolor models may suffer from this too, I haven't experienced this first-hand but it has been brought to my attention - to my knowledge the regular Powercolor 32Mb TV Out/DVI version DOESN'T exhibit this, but...

Any questions? Comments? Email me: himal@btopenworld.com