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Cawsign

ATI Radeon X1800XT for Windows 9x?

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Hello, first post here how y'all doing etc.. I'm interested in AMD/ATI hardware and I was wondering;

If the last ATI drivers can't be tricked into allowing cards newer than the X800 series, then could you not modify the video BIOS of the R520 based X1800XT and make it pretend to be an R430 series gpu with X800XL hardware ID?

I don't care about shader model 3 I just want the core clock speeds. So has anyone here got any experience with vBIOS modding?

Edited by Cawsign
clarity

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Specifically comparing the X800XL and X1800XT (256mb) models you will notice a lot of parity, along with a small chance that a higher clocked X1800 might be able to masquerade as an older process gpu. I'm yet to compare PCBs or detailed block diagrams (such as this one https://techreport.com/review/8864/ati-radeon-x1000-series-gpus) as there are two other questions that I'm yet to answer;

1. Has the modified vbios idea already been tried?

2. Where could I find the exact x1800XT 256mb model that I want and get it cheaply enough to risk experimenting upon it?

It'd be a modified X1800XT bios in function, but it would report an R430 and X800 ID and be treated by the video drivers as such. You'd definitely lose shader model 3 support and possibly fail to utilise the extra shader cores, but you might keep the higher clock rate than the flawed 110nm architecture could reach.

If you can attain those clock rates, then you can have ATI hardware that's on par with the 7 series.

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If the X800 Driver does not explicitly check the ID, you can try changing the INF File to use the X1800 ID.

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it wont work.  Even if you were able to change the bios string to show that it is a x800.  If it could be done someone would have already done it.

 

 

 

Edited by Destro

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2 hours ago, rloew said:

If the X800 Driver does not explicitly check the ID, you can try changing the INF File to use the X1800 ID.

Right now all I have is a bunch of 780G series mainboards all loaded up with more RAM than 9x can handle. I'm going to get smaller sticks and see if my boards can support 9x and then if that's the case I'll wait for a cheap auction to end on the cards in question. It *probably* won't work. There's probably a reason ATI locked the cards out. Then again, that reason could have been benevolence and marketing mumbo jumbo. Its a long road before I'll get the chance to see for myself. But if you happen to have an X1800XT (256) lying around somewhere then it could be worth a try.

Edited by Cawsign

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Sadly, Radeon drivers end with the Xxxx models, the best one being X850 XT Platinum Edition.

There are no known newer drivers than Catalyst 6.2.

If you want the best Radeon for 98SE, get the X850 XT Platinum Edition, and strap a custom cooler on it for the core clocks you want. (or even liquid cooling)

Or install W2K/XP.

I love 98SE as well, but there are obstacles that will NEVER be fixed, It's sad, I know.

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My RAM Limitation Patch will provide support for any amount of RAM in Windows 9x.

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The long winded explanation is this:

I've ordered both an X850XT and a Connect3d X1800XT (256MB). I'm going to use the X850 to confirm 9x support on the mainboards that I've got. After that I'm swapping out 9x and the X850 for Windows XP and the newer X1800XT.

If the newer card proves to be stable and in working order, I'm going to experiment with vBIOS modding using Windows XP. Gpucore @ 650MHz (up from 625), coreV at 1.4V, memcore @ 760MHz (up from 750). The card won't be blazing fast but I'll get a feel for vBIOS mods through this.

If everything still works then I can try the risky stuff next and try to make the X1800 identify itself as an R420 or R480 series card. Somewhere in the back of my mind I've heard about this before and it bricked the card :( But ideally I would like to find a Connect3d vBIOS for an X800XL, so that I can compare the two.

If (note: a lot of "ifs" here) it works, then it'll raise the possibility of modifying other R520 & R580 series cards for use in 9x machines. It wouldn't topple the 7900 series crown I don't think, but improved ATI performance and greater parts availability would hopefully be the result.

tl;dr A lot of ifs and hopes, and the method is convoluted. I might learn something along the way though. That's the only useful reason to do it.

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14 hours ago, MrMateczko said:

I love 98SE as well, but there are obstacles that will NEVER be fixed, It's sad, I know.

When 64bit becomes the norm, Windows 9x will have to use Virtual Box/Machines or stock up on older hardware. I totally agree with your post. Some things we'll never get to experience using Win9x. When newer browsers requires a dual core system minimum, we have already lost the fight before the war have begun.  Running new software on older hardware does one no good if the software needs a high-powered machine, when it requires 64bit architect, USB 3 etc..

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Just my opinion.  The purpose of a 9x box I am talking about 400bx, PIIIs,  Socket 7 machines like AMD K6 and MMX.  The whole point of running 9x is to run old programs and old hardware.  Games that only run with 3dfx glide.  Dos programs that only run good in pure dos or under 9x.  Old games that use real hardware sound cards like yamaha OPL or SB16.    It's why we keep these things around.

 

I see zero point installing such a high powered ATI card in 9x.  Or running new hardware on 9x.  Anything that can do that you can use XP for or windows 2000.  

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On 12/19/2017 at 3:19 PM, Destro said:

no, the card is too new.

 

On 12/20/2017 at 3:19 AM, Destro said:

it wont work.  Even if you were able to change the bios string to show that it is a x800.  If it could be done someone would have already done it.

Maybe not. But if everyone here had always taken that attitude about experimentation then many of the things we now know to be working would have remained hidden. Don't be so ready to rule out things before they have been tried.

Now yes, in this particular case I doubt that any ATI cards newer than the X850 XT PE can be used. However I also don't know how much effort was ever put into changing that either. If no one had taken the time to try with nVidia, then we would have no 7xxx card support.

1 hour ago, Destro said:

Just my opinion.  The purpose of a 9x box I am talking about 400bx, PIIIs,  Socket 7 machines like AMD K6 and MMX.  The whole point of running 9x is to run old programs and old hardware.  Games that only run with 3dfx glide.  Dos programs that only run good in pure dos or under 9x.  Old games that use real hardware sound cards like yamaha OPL or SB16.    It's why we keep these things around.

 

I see zero point installing such a high powered ATI card in 9x.  Or running new hardware on 9x.  Anything that can do that you can use XP for or windows 2000.  

Don't be surprised if few here share this opinion. My opinion is that there is no good reason to artificially limit your hardware. Why slow any computing experience down on purpose? Most all of these "older programs" will benefit from higher performance, other than maybe some DOS game that requires slow CPU cycles. DOSBox is the answer for this.

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9x is a convenient platform that lets me learn what happens if I mess with a vBIOS GPU ID, and it lets me do that using a card that doesn't cost 400 dollars. The result could help to preserve or to improve BillGatesOS and it's residual software, but any of that helpful stuff is academic. Motivations be damned all that I'm hoping for is an interesting result. "Yeah I bricked the card" is the likeliest verdict and then all of the "I told you so"s will come pouring down like tears in rain :D

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19 hours ago, LoneCrusader said:

 

Maybe not. But if everyone here had always taken that attitude about experimentation then many of the things we now know to be working would have remained hidden. Don't be so ready to rule out things before they have been tried.

Now yes, in this particular case I doubt that any ATI cards newer than the X850 XT PE can be used. However I also don't know how much effort was ever put into changing that either. If no one had taken the time to try with nVidia, then we would have no 7xxx card support.

Don't be surprised if few here share this opinion. My opinion is that there is no good reason to artificially limit your hardware. Why slow any computing experience down on purpose? Most all of these "older programs" will benefit from higher performance, other than maybe some DOS game that requires slow CPU cycles. DOSBox is the answer for this.

I know it doesn't work because I have tried it.  It's been experimented by 100s of people, a simple google serach would tell you that.  The fact that you can't find any info on anyone in the history of man doing this if you used 10 differnt search engines and spent 2 months shifting through the wayback machine should be an indication that it wont work. .  I have tried like Omega Rad drivers that you are probably too young to know about.  that have been really good at getting newer cards to run on 98.  I have tried things like Mobility Modder.  I have tried manually editing driver files and adding hardware IDs of cards into drivers that don't list those specific cards.  I have flash modded plenty of cards, to re enable things like pixel pipelines and change the the bios strings.  I have tried plenty to get newer ATI cards running in 9x.  I have had some sucess with some things and other things are just flat out not going to work?

Why?  Because you can sometimes get a card that has similar hardware to run with a driver that is not specifically designed for it.  But you cannpt get a piece of hardware to run on a driver that doesn't work with that hardware.  It's pretty simple its like getting a driver that will power a apple.  Then trying to get that same driver to power a orange.  It's not going to work.  The issue is simple there is no driver that even remotely resembles OPs card for windows 98.  But it's bad enough that to really get the card to work you need a board that has PCI express lanes that actually works on 98 like maybe a 915 chipset that doesn't fully work anyways.

Assuming that you could actually get it to work.  You are really limited by the amount of games that will run on 98.  The ones that do do not require anything that powerful.  Most poeple think the best gaming cards for 98 were like ATI 9600/9700/9800  For nvidia  like TI4600 was best.  Those cards can already handle anything that windows 98 is capable gaming wise.  Newer games require alot of ram of which you cannot even run that much ram and game on 98 to be stable.  

 

Dos box isn't the necessary the answer for games that require slow CPU there are many programs like "The Throttle"  that can be used to slow down CPU cycles on fast machines.  But if you actually have the hardware that runs dos and 98 properly you don't necessarily have that problem  

I much rather spend my time building computers out of older parts that wont work on newer computers to get my programs to run.  Than trying to get newer stuff that doesn't work on a older computer when it is totally unnecessary to do that, since we can already do that.

I wouldn't sit here and just say it flat out wouldn't work if I didn't know what I was talking about thank you for your input.

Edited by Destro

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2 hours ago, Destro said:

I know it doesn't work because I have tried it.

Really? Good. Now, for the sake of posterity and to assist anyone else who might have trouble finding this information, please describe in detail:

1) what steps you took in your experiment(s),
2) what specific driver version(s) you experimented with,
3) which specific non-9x-supported ATI card(s) you tried modifying the drivers to work with,
4) what specific other hardware was used during the test(s) including motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.,
5) which specific version of Windows 9x you were using in your experiment(s),
6) what version of DirectX were you running,
7) what other drivers, if any, were installed on the system at the time of the experiment,
8) what other software was installed, if any, that might be relevant to the issue, and
9) any other information that could be helpful to someone to reproduce your results.

When you have done this, then we will know just how thorough your input is on the subject.

2 hours ago, Destro said:

It's been experimented by 100s of people, a simple google serach would tell you that.  The fact that you can't find any info on anyone in the history of man doing this if you used 10 differnt search engines and spent 2 months shifting through the wayback machine should be an indication that it wont work. .

Even more interesting. Please provide some direct links to pages documenting experiments on the subject. I highly doubt the number will approach 20, much less 100. A bunch of people saying "can I do this?" to be answered with "no it won't work" does not count as an "experiment."

2 hours ago, Destro said:

I have tried like Omega Rad drivers that you are probably too young to know about.  that have been really good at getting newer cards to run on 98.  I have tried things like Mobility Modder.  I have tried manually editing driver files and adding hardware IDs of cards into drivers that don't list those specific cards.  I have flash modded plenty of cards, to re enable things like pixel pipelines and change the the bios strings.  I have tried plenty to get newer ATI cards running in 9x.  I have had some sucess with some things and other things are just flat out not going to work?

Why?  Because you can sometimes get a card that has similar hardware to run with a driver that is not specifically designed for it.  But you cannpt get a piece of hardware to run on a driver that doesn't work with that hardware.  It's pretty simple its like getting a driver that will power a apple.  Then trying to get that same driver to power a orange.  It's not going to work.  The issue is simple there is no driver that even remotely resembles OPs card for windows 98.  But it's bad enough that to really get the card to work you need a board that has PCI express lanes that actually works on 98 like maybe a 915 chipset that doesn't fully work anyways.

Too young? Not likely, but irrelevant.

So, "Omega Rad" drivers have been "really good at getting newer cards to run on 98"? OK, please list for us which specific newer cards they provide support for that Catalyst 6.2 did not and which specific version to look for?

And, JFYI, Windows 9x can and does run just fine and "fully work" on plenty of motherboards with PCI Express chipsets with a few unofficial updates.

2 hours ago, Destro said:

Assuming that you could actually get it to work.  You are really limited by the amount of games that will run on 98.  The ones that do do not require anything that powerful.  Most poeple think the best gaming cards for 98 were like ATI 9600/9700/9800  For nvidia  like TI4600 was best.  Those cards can already handle anything that windows 98 is capable gaming wise.  Newer games require alot of ram of which you cannot even run that much ram and game on 98 to be stable.  

Many games that came out just before everyone started dropping 9x support can very well benefit from more improved or more modern hardware, whether it be a newer video card or more than the standard amount of RAM. WarCraft III and Rise of Nations are two specific examples that I've played myself. I've seen both lag during big battles when running on a 3GHz P4 with 2GB of RAM. I could not imagine running either one of these games on such an antique as you seem to think is "adequate" to build a proper Windows 9x machine.

And, also FYI, I can have 4GB of RAM "stable" under Windows 9x, and so can anyone else.

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