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My experience attempting to transform my X800 Pro VIVO into an X800 XT

povmec

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#1
Well, 3 weeks ago I decided to order a Sapphire X800 Pro VIVO after reader many articles that were saying the 4 extra pipelines can be activated. I received my X800 Pro VIVO a few days ago, installed it into my HTPC.

First, I downloaded the latest Catalyst drivers from ATI site, the 4.12 version. Everything seems to works fine, until I try to adjust optimally the resolution for my HDTV, which had a bit of overscan at 1280x720. There is a function in the ATI panel that supposedly allow to create custom resolution so that you can create one optimally suited for your own HDTV. This function wasn't enabled in my ATI panel. After long time trying to figure things up, I decided to install latest Sapphire drivers from their site, which are tagged as Catalyst 4.9. Then the option to create custom resolution was finally active and I could easily create one perfectly suited for my HDTV.

After spending some times enjoying HL2, Uru and some more on a big screen TV, and although the speed of the card was already quite above what I had experienced before with my 9800 Pro, I decided to go ahead and try to unlock the extra 4 pipelines.

My first step was to install the VGA Silencer 4 on the X800, using Arctic Silver. It was a breeze to install, and it helped a lot to lower significantly the temperature. After 5 minutes of artifact scanning (using stock frequencies), ATI Tool reported 66°C with the original cooler, and 53°C with the VGA Silencer 4.

My second step was to backup the original BIOS using ATI Tool. Then I downloaded a couple of BIOSes from here that I thought were well suited for my card (Sapphire X800 Pro VIVO). I created a boot CD with all the BIOSes on it (including the original), and the modified Flashrom from W1zzard. By the way, the BIOS that was in my card I couldn't locate in the list here.

None of the BIOSes worked. Whatever the BIOS installed is, the resulting behavior is the same: the display become blank, and the computer freezes (I can say because Num Lock and such don't react). So I have to reboot using reset. Each time I installed a new BIOS, I took care to unsinstall the previous drivers, and I attempted to install Catalyst 4.12 from ATI site, or Catalyst 4.9 from Sapphire site. Here is a list of all the BIOSes I tried:

Sapphire X800 XT 0707
Sapphire X800 XT 0812
ATI X800 Pro VIVO 16p
ATI X800 XT PE 0609
Gigabyte X800 Pro VIVO 0507

Fortunately, flashing back the original BIOS always made my card work fine again. At this point, I'm assuming that the 4 extra pipelines are broken, and there is nothing I can do, unless I hear from someone out there that there is hope for my case. Anyway, it is still a great card to play with.

Cheers, Ray.
 
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#2
Hello Povmec .That sounds allmoust like mine trubbles.I have GeCube x800pro Vivo and it does boot to windows after flash and the extra pipes are enabled but no games or any 3d applications dont work.My card work just with the orginal bios ,just like your. Have you tried to load the bios into Rabit bios editor if it gives you an crc error like mine , just wondering.I think that they have put an lock on the card so enybody cant flash their card eny more ,why they are loosing money..
 

povmec

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#3
X800 said:
Have you tried to load the bios into Rabit bios editor if it gives you an crc error like mine, just wondering. I think that they have put an lock on the card so enybody cant flash their card anymore, why they are loosing money.
Yes, RaBiT tells me there is a CRC error in my BIOS. It's why as a last attempt I tried the Gigabyte X800 Pro VIVO BIOS here, since this one too reports a CRC error, but it still didn't work. If there is really something as a lock to prevent unlocking extra pipelines, that's a better news then broken pipelines, since I'm sure some smart mind out there would find a way around.
 
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#4
It would probably have been best to use a tried and tested tool to backup the bios as apposed to the rarther hacky and harsh (esecially towards x800) atitool.

Best way to probably go is to have made a backup with the Flashrom16. This would have preserved the extra bits for the pipes setting.

One thing to check is to be 100% sure that your sapphire vivo carries the 1.6ns memory that the pe bioses require. If you have the 2.0ns memory, that could be where the issue is.

Then flash a PE bios or even the Ati pro vivo16 bios should be ok with Flashrom16 to unlock the extra pipes. Then after a reset as i dont know if you can just flash over again, use the ordinary Flashrom version to flashback your original bios. This will not overwrite the pipes setting, so you will have your original bios but with 16pipes. Might be worth backing this up with Flashrom16 as Original16.

All this should be done from dos using bootable floppy (can still use files from hd) , a cd could intoduce crc errors and not allow you to back up. Dont ever do any of this stuff from within windows on the command line.

Just out of interest id like to see your Bios just to see whats happening with rabit and see if it tells me anymore info comparing with other bioses. Hopefully the forum supports attachments, but if not i am around ;)