Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ATI 9800 Pro BIOS mod to an XT

Well, a week or so ago I threw my NVidia FX5700U Gfx card out. I hated the thing. I originally bought it for HL2 release, unfortunately it was a pile of crap. It could not do DX9 at more than 5 fps so I ended up playing everthing in DX8 - I was bitterly disappointed, further to that the board (XFX) had the noisest fan ever and occasionally caused the most odd of problems...

Anyway, I got onto ebay and found a new ATI 9800 Pro 128 MB OEM card for £70 incl delivery. At that price my only other choice was an x700 with the stupid (and cheap) 128bit memory interface. So I made a wise choice, the 9800 has been a bastion of gaming - similar to the same affect the Voodoo 3000 had way back at the turn of the century.

I can now play Day of Defeat Source in DX9 with the same sort of fps I was getting with the 5700 in DX8 - so I'm rather happy.

What has made me even happier is that I've discovered that the later 9800 Pro shipped with the same R360 (as apposed to the R350) core as the 9800 XT - enabling the GPU speed increase to 412 from 378 and to run the memory at 365 rather than 338. A considerable little improvement.

The problem is finding out what card you have, no software app will tell you (AtiTool reports all Pros and E350s and XT as R360s - so no help there). I'm reluctant to take my machine apart and remove the heat sink so I settled for the next best option. I determined the memory running on my card is Hynix - a good start.

The 2nd method was to use AtiTool to run the card at the higher clock speeds and see if it coped, so far so good - it's doing well. 10 mins of DOD:S with no problems and an Aquamark 03 benchmark test passed fine.

Now the simple bit finding the equivelant XT bios, I can't find one to suit my card! The closest I have is from another manufacurer or the same card configured as 256MB. I don't know which to choose? At this moment I'm too scared to try.

Anyone else out there that can help please let me know...

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