Flashing Graphics Cards
It’s ALIVE!! MuhuHAHAHAHaaaa!

Experimenting Beyond OEM

Over the years, people have gotten tired of the high prices of Mac compatible, retail graphics cards, or, have been frustrated by the lack of options for graphics upgrades in a Mac.
This frustration, desire, or simply a willingness to try, has led to the ability to be able to convert a Windows compatible PC graphics card into a viable Mac compatible graphics card.
The process of removing and replacing the ROM is called “Flashing”.
Replacing a cards ROM  with a Mac compatible ROM is what we are interested in...

This isn’t an all out guide, but more of an introduction, with a collection of resources to get one started.

ATI Radeon Card Conversion

Remember to test cards in a PC before conversion.
Any graphic artifacts or deficiencies will be there after flashing.
Most people won’t accept return of cards after flashing, so be sure!

Radeon 9800 Pro and XT
For G4 and G5 owners

A mainstay of performance AGP graphics, the Radeon 9800 family have good performance characteristic at (usually) reasonable prices.
Lately, though, I see demand out running supply, and even used PC cards are going up in price.
The 9800 Pro R350 and the faster R360 in the 9800 XT make for good all around graphics support in PPC Macs.
The Radeon 9800 Pro and XT follow the same methods for flashing, and good results are easy to achieve.
One wants to flash an XT with a 256MB 9800 Pro ROM, however, as DVI output is often a casualty when using the XT v118 ROM.
The v130 256MB Radeon Pro ROM allows full use of the 256MB VRAM, and when clock settings are adjusted with Graphiccelerator or ATIccelerator, the faster clock and memory speeds of the XT are easily achieved. The XT will report as a Radeon 9800 Pro. If VGA only is fine, then use the v118 ROM and the System Profiler report will show 9800 XT.

A bit about ROM chips:
Of importance when flashing a ROM to a card is the size of the ROM chip.
Dumping the cards ROM with ATI Multi Dumper will reveal a file of 64K or 128K.
If a ROM is 64K, then a reduced ROM will be necessary as a full 128K ROM won’t fit.
Visual ID of the ROM chip is possible, but not infallible.
Inspection of the ROM file dumped is the most reliable method.

Radeon 9800 Pro 64K ROM chip (PMC 25LV512)
Although a 64K ROM chip can be flashed with a reduced ROM, some ROM chips don’t play well with ATI Multi Flasher. The above pictured chip may return an error "ERROR Programming Devices" which means that the card must be flashed on a PC. The very same chip in a different card will flash just fine.
It is a bit of a crap shoot.

Below are a couple of examples of 128K ROM chips.
Numbers vary, so visual ID is limited to experience and reference.
The size of a dumped ROM is the best way to know the size of the ROM needed for flashing.


         Radeon 9800 Pro (ME) 128K ROM chip                                         Radeon 9800 XT 128K ROM chip

Radeon 9800 XT R360 GPU

How To’s and Resources

Resistor and ROM chip soldering were part of earliest flashing procedures for 9800 cards:
PC ATI Radeon 9800 Pro conversion to Mac

The current mainstay of flashing cards without soldering:
Instructions For Flashing Pc Video Cards, Series 3 - CubeOwner Forums

The Mac Elite Wiki has excellent resources, buyers guides, and downloads for ROMs:
The Mac Elite: The Mac Elite Wiki

Radeon 9700 Pro
For G4 and G5 owners

Radeon 9700 Pro 128K ROM chip 
The 9700 Pro is a nice little card that supports Core Image.
It is a relatively inexpensive card, and provides performance beyond any OEM G4 card.
The Radeon 9700 Pro is a good, budget choice for Core Image support.
It isn’t that far behind the 9800 Pro card, sharing the same architecture but with slower GPU and memory.

Most PC versions have a 128K ROM chip, which makes for easy flashing with no ROM hassles.
So, as well as being a good entry Core Image card, it is a good choice to learn flashing.

Be careful, though, and don’t get too cocky!

To the left is a 4 pin Molex to Floppy power splitter necessary to connect power to the Radeon 9700 Pro.

REMEMBER- if there is a Molex or FDD connector on a graphics card, it MUST have power connected to it in order to work.
Just split the power off an unused power connection, or split off an existing drive.

Radeon X1950 PCIe
For Dual core G5 owners
My friend from Italy sent me some information on a Radeon X1950 that he flashed for his machine.

“This one is a Sapphire Radeon X1950XT 256Mb Gddr 3 ( R580 ). A friend of mine did the flash with his PC Win and now it works (fine!) in my G5:”

“No problem running all the apps! If you got a G5 PCIe and want a cheap card with powerful graphics I'd surely suggest this one.”

Although flashing the card on a Mac was attempted several times, it was finally determined that Ati Multi Dumper / Flasher doesn't support PCI express bus.

Flashing on a PC proved to be just the ticket, though.

A Radeon X800XT PCIe was also attempted, buy it was never successfully flashed.

Radeon 4870 HD PCIe


Geforce Card Conversion

How To’s and Resources

Flashing a greeen[GeforceFX 5200]green for Mac by Power666

For Geforce 6800 GT cards: