Tutorial on how to use RBE (Radeon BIOS Editor)

Date: 2008-08-21 20:45:30

Flashing the BIOS onto the card

You have three options here:
  • Use WinFlash
  • Use a bootable device and use ATIFlash
  • Use RBE/WinFlash
Using a bootable device, DOS and ATIFlash is recommended for safety reasons. Remember: If Windows crashes at the time WinFlash saves the BIOS onto the card, your BIOS is corrupted and your card will most likely show no image on the screen any more on the next boot up or even will not post any more. The card will not be damaged forever, but you will need a PCI card (to see something on the screen) to rebuild the card's BIOS in that case.

Before you decide which flashing procedure to use, be aware of one point that has come to user's attention more recently: Some cards/BIOSes need to be unlocked first. That is, there is a lock on the video card so the BIOS on it can not be overwritten accidentally. ATIFlash and WinFlash offer an option to disable this lock beforehands. To do so, you will need to figure out which device you would like to unlock (e.g. 0 in most cases, read below and/or section 2). After you know that, both ATIFlash and WinFlash need to be run using the command line parameter -unlockrom [device number], e.g. "ATIFlash -unlockrom 0". After that you can access the BIOS for writing ad continue the flash as described below. If you would like, you can re-lock the BIOS after all your flashing is done by using the command line parameter -lockrom.
There's a thread in our forum on this topic, see here.

If you really want to use WinFlash, just run the program, load the BIOS file using "Load image" (select the proper video card in case you have more than one of them) and start the flashing procedure by clicking "Program". After about 20 to 30 seconds, the program will prompt a successful flash and asks to reboot the machine. Do so only after flashing all cards you have, in case this is more than one! When you have a CrossFire setup with two identical cards it is strongly recommended to remove one card so you know exactly which card you are flashing to. If for some reason WinFlash fails with an error during flashing, do not reboot your system. Try to redo the flash several times until it works.
After rebooting Windows, your changed settings have applied. If the card is not recognized by the driver anymore (maybe, because you changed something protected by the digital signature, see section 3.5), you have to make a bootable device and flash your original BIOS back onto the card anyway.

So using DOS and ATIFlash is recommended for many reasons.
Before booting from the DOS device, write down the BIOS checksum (or all BIOSes' checksums, if you have more than one card) on a piece of paper. If RBE reports that the two checksums are not the same (see section 3.2), write down both.

Then follow the steps in section 2 to boot to DOS. Once you are at the prompt, enter "ATIFlash -i" , without the quotation marks, respectively. You will get a list of adapters. For all adapters, enter "ATIFlash -cb 0", "ATIFlash -cb 1" for each card you have, one after the other. This command will show you the BIOS checksum(s) of the BIOS(es) that is/are actually on the card(s). Compare it/them to the ones on your paper. If you forgot to write the checksums down, enter "ATIFlash -cf BIOS0.ROM", "ATIFlash -cf BIOS1.ROM" for all BIOS image files. This will show you at least one of the two described checksums for each file (see section 3.2).

You do that to make sure you flash the proper BIOS onto the proper card. For example, you have a 4850 and a 4870 in Crossfire in your system. In RBE, the one checksum for the 4870 is 0xC6BB, the other one is 0xBF00. The checksums for the 4850 are alike, both are 0x0E00.
Entering "ATIFlash -cb 0" will show you the checksum of adapter 0. Say, ATIFlash reports this checksum to be 0xBF00. In that case, you know that adapter 0 is the 4870 and you have to flash the 4870 BIOS onto that adapter. Entering "ATIFlash -cb 1" will come out 0x0E00, so this is the 4850. It is much easier however if you strip down your system to have only the card installed that you want to flash.

If you have a 4870X2, note that the both BIOSes aren't the same. There is a master and a slave BIOS. Usually, the slave BIOS is adapter 0 and the master is adapter 1. Don't get this mixed up! Use the method described above to assure yourself you're flashing the right BIOS to the right adapter.

Enter "ATIFlash -p 0 BIOS0.ROM", then. This command will flash the file called BIOS0.ROM to adapter 0. If you have more than one card, repeat this procedure followed by "ATIFlash -p 1 BIOS1.ROM" and so on. Do not reboot the machine until all BIOSes have been flashed, even if the program asks to do it!

Maybe you used ATIFlash before or you read something about it on the internet. In that case, you may know and feel tempted to use the "-f" parameter to force a flash if ATIFlash rejects a file for some reason (maybe you got the adapters mixed up). Be very suspicious in than case! Handling BIOS files modified using RBE, you will never need the force parameter! Check everything again in that rare case. Don't force a flash ever.

Once you flashed all BIOSes (flashing each card will take a few seconds), reboot your machine and enjoy your tweaked cards!

You can use RBE's WinFlash interface to flash your BIOS directly from within RBE. Please see section 2.5 for details.
Just note that in case you didn't do it already, you have to analyze the system using the "Analyze" button in the "Acquire/flash BIOS" window which is itself accessible using the "Acquire/flash BIOS..." button at the bottom of RBE's main window. After that, simply select the adapter you would like to flash the BIOS to that is actually loaded into RBE. If you consider forcing a flash, check the "Force flash" checkbox. In most of the cases, this will not be necessary. After a successful flash, RBE will offer to reboot the system immediately. Do so if there are no other BIOSes that have to be flashed. After the reboot, your new BIOS settings will kick in!

Thanks for reading this tutorial. There might be errors. Maybe just typos, maybe factual errors. However, please report them to this thread so I can fix them.

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