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correct bios/method for flash of sapphire x800 GTO agp?

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May 24, 2006 2:52:54 AM

i ordered an open box sapphire x800 GTO agp for $122 from newegg (most likely to be the r430 core) and is supposed to be arriving on the 25th . . meanwhile i was wondering which bios should i download to flash the card to 16 pipes wen i get the card . . im pretty sure its the x800xl bios that i need to download to flash but i don't know which version i should get . . . . also from what i've read on techpowerup forums there are two ways to flash the card . . . through windows or through dos . . and to me the windows method looks much much easier to do (though i read on another thread that the windows method is not recommended) . . so any thoughts on which method is better? . . and if possible can you point out the steps for that method


thx
May 30, 2006 5:36:19 PM

I was helping a guy flash his card throught the forums and he tried to use the Windows program but it rusulted in a bad flash even though the bios he was using worked fine. I would not reccomend using it but if you have an old PCI video car that you can use to help you recover from a bad flash go ahead and try it.

As far as unlocking goes you can flash with an XL bios or you can mod the bios that is already on your card. A single bit needs to be changed in it. I can direct you either way.
June 5, 2006 11:47:45 PM

jus got back home from a 1 week vacation lol but thanks for the advice . . . the windows method will no longer be an option for me . . . but yea if u can point out some steps using an x800xl bios i'd appreciate it cuz im ready to give this board some extra juice
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June 6, 2006 12:30:35 AM

Yeah, scougs helped me unlock my 16 pipes in an x800 gto about a month ago. It works fine! (especially on a Dell pc).

You can trust SCOUGS!! 8)
June 6, 2006 3:00:46 AM

thats great rapidbunny . . . so how is your card running now? . . is there a noticeable difference with the pipes . . . and uh what are your overclocked numbers reaching at?
June 6, 2006 8:37:08 AM

The first thing you will want to do is download and install ATItool.
You can find it here: http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/259

From my experience helping people, all of the Sapphire cards are based on the R430 and have 1.6ns memory. In addition, it seems that all of the R430s are unlockable for now.

To verify which core you have and that it is unlockable, go through the following steps in ATItool:

Click the settings button and choose overclocking in the drop-down menu.
Note: One of the other choices is Fan Control which is a nice way of making your card quieter when you are not playing games.

Scroll down until you can see the CONFIG_DIE_FUSES and CONFIG_SUBSTRATE_FUSES.

Verify that your card can be unlocked by checking for an ‘F’ in the indicated positions of the hexadecimal each number. The capital X represents any hexadecimal number (0-9 or A-F).

CONFIG_DIE_FUSES 0xXXXXFXXX
(the fifth character after the little x must be an 'F')

CONFIG_SUBSTRATE_FUSES 0xXXXXXXXF
(the last character must be an 'F')

If ATItool reads an ‘F’ in the indicated spots, you should be able to unlock your card. If not, I am afraid you are out of luck.

Now select miscellaneous in the drop-down menu.

Click the button that says something like “Save a copy of VGA bios”. Give the file a simple simple name like “12pipe.bin”. This will be your backup copy.


Now to verify that you have the 1.6ns memory try overclocking the memory. This can be accomplished with either ATItool or with Sapphire's TRIXX software. Personally I perfer ATItool. If you can overclock your memory to 520MHz or above you most certainly have 1.6ns memory. If you have trouble breaking 500MHz you probably have 2.0ns memory.

Now to select the proper bios.

If your card is indeed based on the R430 then you will want an X800XL bios. You will also want to make sure that it is an AGP bios. Then, based on the memory overclocking test mentioned above, choose the bios with the right memory. I expect that your card will have the 1.6ns memory.

If you can find a compatible Sapphire bios I would stick with that but it shouldn't really matter. BTW stock clocks are 400MHz core and 490MHz memory for this card as well as the X800XL so you will have to do any overclocking manually. You can find a great selection of bioses here: http://www.techpowerup.com/bios/

You will also want to download ATIflash v3.09 from the bottom of the bios page listed above.

The easiest way to flash your bios is to use a bootable floppy disk.

Pop in a blank disk, right-click on the drive icon in My Computer and click format. Make sure that the box that says something about making a bootable DOS disk is checked and then format it.

Once you have the disk, extract the contents of the ATIflash ZIP folder onto the disk. Also, place your selected X800XL bios file along with the backup that you made above on the disk. Make sure that the name of the X800XL bios file is simple. I think it needs to be no more than 8 characters.

It is usually a good idea to uninstall your VGA drivers before you flash the bios because the computer will think it is a different card and make you reinstall them. I reccomend Omega drivers which are a modified version of the factory ATI Catalyst drivers.

To flash the bios:

Boot your computer using the boot disk.

When it is finished booting type the following into the command prompt:

atiflash.exe -f -p 0 16pipe.bin

This assumes that your bios file is called "16pipe". You will need to use whatever you named the file. The ".bin" is just the file extention for the bios file.

That should do it. Assuming you didn't get any errors, when you boot back into windows you can install the dirvers and the computer will now think that you have an X800XL which you essentially do. In the same place in ATItool where you checked the fuses, you can look and it should say 16 active pixel pipes now instead of 12.

I think I gained around 500 points in 3D-Mark05 when I flashed my card. With a Pentium 4 2.8c overlcocked to 3.5GHz, and the unlocked card overclocked to 444 core/528 mem I get around 5500 points.

I hope these directions are clear. :p  Let me know if you have any problems or questions. I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can. I am taking a full load of mostly Junior level electrical engineering classes this summer so I get kind of busy at times. :( 
June 6, 2006 10:27:23 PM

hey thanks ALOT scougs i followed your steps all the way through and it worked without a problem!!! . . . now it says 16 pipes in ati tool which should mean its working the way it ought to . . . i overclocked using trixx and got core speeds of 424 and mem speeds of 548 . . . which is ok . . . havn't ran 3dmark yet . . . but i think i could use more core speed cuz wen i tried using ati tool to overclock i got the same mem speed but i got a core speed of about 440 which is alot better . . . but the only reason i use trixx over ati tools now is because trixx lets me set the fan speed all the way to 100 percent (which i think should result in better cooling during load) . . and i dont have a clue on how to work with the fan settings on ati tool (or if there are any for that matter) . . . any ideas on which of the two programs is better and/or if its safe to have that fan all the way to 100 percent?


thanks

(haha im an electrical engineering major too)
June 7, 2006 2:17:12 AM

As far as pipes goes, yeah there is a noticable difference in HL2..
I have the fan set at 54% and the core goes to about 440 and memory as high as 564 in atitool.. the increase in core speed won't do much good but it's better than nothing.

I've only seen the gpu's temp get to about 52 degrees at most with the fan at only 54%. I don't think that setting the fan higher does much for temp wise in my pc, but it should. I don't have a custom pc yet, but this is in my Dell 4550 and it works fine and the cooling is fine.(I think).

As far as the fan goes, if your fan is at 100% then the motor will probably burn out sooner than if it's at a lower percentage. but it's your choice since I only leave it at the 54%. And that may be because of my case.

Personally, I use ATitool and I leave the Trixx for if I want to tinker alot with the fan and temps.

Again, it's a great card for any agp system.

Oh, and my 3dmark05 score was about 4561 in a dell 4550 with 1280mb ram, 60gb hd, and a 2.4ghz P4 connected to an intel 845PE motherboard. And of course, my x800gto.
June 7, 2006 4:29:07 AM

yea i think ati tool is better . . . just got the new half life 2 episode 1 and it runs flawless at max resolution . . not bad for a sempron 3400+ with 1 gig ram . . . and it seems like the cooling of the card isn't so bad either at 49 degrees load and 37 idle though i have a vantec spectrum fan card right underneath it . . . im thinking i might get an arctic cooling silencer 5 rev 2 for the x800 which would help temps even more
June 7, 2006 6:29:30 AM

I use ATItool to do my overclocking. If you click the settings button there is a Fan Control (or something like that) section in the drop-down menue. I have actually set up two different profiles that ATItool auto switches between for 2D and 3D.

2D:
Core: 100MHz
Memory: 200 or 250 (I can't remember and I am on my laptop right now)
Fan: 25%

3D:
Core: 444MHz
Memory: 528MHz
Fan: 100%

I haven't really checked to see how much difference the extra fan speed makes. I know that slowing it down to 25% for 2D makes a big difference in the noise level.

In the settings if you go to 3D detection you can tell ATItool to load different profiles when you switch between 2D and 3D.

The R430 core won't go much higher than 440-450 no matter what your cooling is unless you do a volt-mod. The R430 is was made on an inferior but cheaper manufacturing process than the R480 and R423 both of which overclock much better than the R430.

It sounds like you have gotten a pretty good overclock out of your memory. Unfortuanately for me, my memory doesn't overclock as much. I think it may be because I removed the back plate of the cooler once to look at the memory chips. If I get some good thermal compound and reapply it to those memory chips I think I might get a little more out of them.
June 8, 2006 12:23:01 AM

I can't find the fan control on mine. maybe i am doing something wrong.

Otherwise, can you help me set up a 2D and 3D detection?

Thanks.
June 8, 2006 8:41:01 AM

Both the fan control and the 3D-detection are in the drop-down menu after you click on the settings button. If you can't figure it out I'll try to get you some pictures but it might take me a day or two to get around to it.

You will need to save a seperate profile for 2D and 3D. I can't remember exactly what the buttons say to do it but it isn't too dificult. In the 3D-detection page of the drop-down menu you click a box that says something like "Load profile on 3D-detection" and then you tell it which profile to use. There will be another box that says something like "Load profile when returning from 3D" and you tell it which profile to use.

The Fan Control section lets you apply different settings to different profiles. I would not recommend using the temperature contnrolled fan settings because they don't seem to always work right.

I will have to get on my desktop and look to be able to give you a better explanation for how it works. I haven't been using it too much lately as I am busy with my summer college classes.
June 8, 2006 9:55:40 PM

Just ordered a Sapphire X800GTO and after I've been reading all of the threads about unlocking the pipes I'm very excited. I think the odds are a bit small, but I hope I get one with a R480 core for it's OC'ing capability, but I'll be happy with anything.

@ Scougs: In another post you showed where to modify the BIOS to unlock the other quad of pipes. I was wondering if you also knew the locations of the core and memory clocks are located. Once i get my card and determine if it's unlockable I'm going to do that, but afterwards I'm going to find out how far I can OC it and would like to just edit the BIOS to make things easier.

Do you think that would cause any problems? Or should I just do it with ATITool or something else?

Thanks for the help. I can't wait to get mine. It'll be a nice upgrade from my GF4 TI4600. ^^
June 8, 2006 10:47:26 PM

I don't know how to change the clocks in the bios but I wouldn't bother with it anyway. I think you would be better off just using ATItool.

I set up profiles in ATItool so that it overclocks when I am doing 3D and automatically underclocks when I am in 2D. That way I can also slow down the fan in 2D so that it is cooler and quieter in 2D. If you are dead set on modifying the clocks in the bios you can probably just google it. I think there is a program call Rabbit or something similar that might allow you to change the clocks in the bios.
June 9, 2006 4:30:16 AM

finally got a run at 3dmark05 (demo version) and got a score of 4955 with the 16 pipes and 440 overclock 549 mem . . not sure if thats a good score range for the card or not . . . anyone know?
June 9, 2006 8:54:38 AM

Quote:
finally got a run at 3dmark05 (demo version) and got a score of 4955 with the 16 pipes and 440 overclock 549 mem . . not sure if thats a good score range for the card or not . . . anyone know?


Your score sounds about right. It kind of depends on the rest of your system as well. I have a Pentium 4 2.8C overclocked to 3.5GHz (14x250MHz), 1GB of 2-3-2-6 RAM running dual channel with a 5:4 divider so that the actual clock speed is 200MHz (DDR400). My unlocked X800GTO is overclocked to 444MHz core and 528MHz memory. My score is about 5500.
June 11, 2006 1:43:23 AM

Has anyone had any problems OC'ing their Sapphire X800GTO AGP after unlocking the 16 pipes? I've got the R430 core according to ATITool, but I can't get anything out of my card. I've got the card at 395/490 stock, but if I try to bring it up to 400/490 I get all types of artifacts. Also, if I leave the core at 395 and raise the memory I can get up to 508 before I start to get artifacts.

Is this a heat problem? After using ATITool and 'Scanning for Artifacts' for 3 minutes temps peak at 59C. I'm not sure if this is a reliable measure of temps under load though. Any have any suggestions?
June 11, 2006 2:22:12 AM

Cooling could be a problem but my card runs up to 60-62C overclocked to 444MHz. About 10% overclock seems to be fairly typical and I haven't seen much of anything higher than mine (~11%). There is no guarantee that you will be able to overclock your card. I don't think that there is much you can do to overclock it further. This small of an overclock doesn't make a huge difference in real world performance.
June 11, 2006 10:42:07 PM

i have pretty good front to rear air ventilation in my case so my card idles at about 37 C degrees n does about 50 on load but i also hav a vantec spectrum fancard rite underneath it which helps to cool it more . . . so u should check to see wat ur idle n load temps are cuz if theyre reasonalbe like mine (n dust free) den i dont see any reason y ur card shouldnt be able to overclock to atleast 420 core . . .
June 12, 2006 2:10:46 AM

Well, my idle temp is about 38C and my loaded temp is about 59C. As for dust it's a brand new card and I sprayed out the case with my air compressor before I installed it. I think I'm ok with cooling; I've got my Antec case set up with 2 cold air intake 80mm fans at the bottom, 2 hot air exhaust fans in the back, the PSU fan, and the Zalman CNSP7000-CU HSF on my processor.

Also, if I take it up too far the screen will go black and the PC locks up.

Specs:
CPU...P4 2.4GHz @ 166 x 18 1.5375v 2.99GHz
M/B...AOpen AX4SPE MaxII
HSF...Zalman CNPS7000-Cu
MEM...2x 1GB G.Skill DDR500 F1-4000usu2-2gbhz @ 415MHz 2.5-3-3-7
GPU...Sapphire X800 GTO 256MB AGP @ 16pp @ 395/980
SND...Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum
PSU...Antec 400W
June 12, 2006 9:12:41 PM

dang im fresh out of ideas lol cuz ur system specs are pretty good n it seems like u do have good cooling as well . . . but i wouldnt sweat it cuz like scougs said the crappy overclocking of this r430 card (if u do manage to oc it) does not make a real noticeable difference in the games at all . . . but the x800xl that u essentially have now becuz of the 4 extra pipes makes much more of a practical difference in games
June 12, 2006 9:32:21 PM

I also got to thinking that it could be that you have 2.0ns memory instead of the 1.6ns chips that are on a lot of the other cards. The 2.0ns memory is only supposed to be able to do 500MHz (DDR1000) whereas the 1.6ns chips are speced to reach up to 600MHz.
June 12, 2006 9:56:25 PM

I also figured the same thing, but wasn't sure without removing the heatsink and I wasn't going to do that right away. I just figured that I'd be able to OC the core a bit more too I guess.
June 12, 2006 10:46:19 PM

Quote:
I also got to thinking that it could be that you have 2.0ns memory instead of the 1.6ns chips that are on a lot of the other cards. The 2.0ns memory is only supposed to be able to do 500MHz (DDR1000) whereas the 1.6ns chips are speced to reach up to 600MHz.

I can get over 550MHz on the X800pro 2.0ns memory.
June 13, 2006 4:17:59 AM

Quote:
I also got to thinking that it could be that you have 2.0ns memory instead of the 1.6ns chips that are on a lot of the other cards. The 2.0ns memory is only supposed to be able to do 500MHz (DDR1000) whereas the 1.6ns chips are speced to reach up to 600MHz.

I can get over 550MHz on the X800pro 2.0ns memory.

You got the memory up to 550MHz with 2.0ns chips :?:
I didn't think that was possible :!:
June 13, 2006 4:32:21 AM

Check the 3d 05 link in my sig. They are stable runs, artifact free & both speeds are backed off about 10MHz each.

Maybe I got some good memory on my x800pro. definitely 2.0ns
June 16, 2006 10:36:18 PM

hmm just got an ati silencer 5 rev 2 n was able to overclock the unlocked gto even more to 448 core n 558 mem which doesnt make me regret getting the cooler . . but i wanted to know what clocks do you use for your 2D profile so that its not running at the useless stock speeds during normal comp activities . . .
June 17, 2006 5:20:48 AM

I use 100MHz core and 250MHz memory. That might not be the lowest that you can go but too low will produce stability problems. The memory is particularly suseptable to stability issues when run too slow.

Occasionally when the frequencies are changing you may experience minor artifacts momentarily.
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