|XFX ATI 4870 (1GB VRAM) flashed for Mac Use
FYI: Here's a blog post (from Sept. 18th, 2009) on How to flash a PC 4870 for a Mac Pro using only Mac OS X (boeglin.org/blog/index.php?entry=entry090918-031702) by using the ATI flasher included in Apple's iMac Graphics firmware update 1.0.2 package (released Sept 10th) extracted via Pacifist. (And using the mac 4870 rom of course.) He used an early model Sapphire 4870 w/512MB VRAM - the reader below used a 1GB vram XFX 4870 card.
(previous reader mail from July follows - I'm sure not news to many of you)
"Mac Pro (PC) 4870 Flash Success
I just wanted to drop you a line about my recent exploits in flashing an XFX Radeon 4870 ZDFC 1GB card with an EFI compatible ROM. Nothing much to report really as it works perfectly so far under both bootcamp Vista x64 and 10.5.7. I was pretty nervous going into it as it was a $160 card and was hesitant to turn it into an expensive paperweight, but using instructions I found from here: web.me.com/jacobcroft/4870Flash/4870Flash.html I was able to do the process using WinFlash, thus not requiring DOS of any sort (which I was having problems getting to even boot anyway). My previous card was an 8800gt, so as a result I was unable to have both GFX cards in at the same time due to the 8800gt requiring one of the two available PCI-E power cables while the 4870 needed both to operate. So I removed the 8800gt and only used the 4870 throughout the flashing process. Because of this I had to make sure that I had my windows drive set up as the default boot device and I actually removed my OS X drive just to be sure (I have Vista and OS X on separate drives). The only scary moment was when I clicked the flash button in WinFlash as my machine became instantly unresponsive. Finally, after a slight panic and about 2 minutes of waiting, mouse movement was restored and a dialog came up saying the flash was successful. There was no mention that this frozen state would occur so I was a bit worried it meant i killed my card.
Sleep works as well as soft reboots and hard reboots (there have been reports on various forums about things like this not working). On reboots and wake, the fan temporarily kicks in at 100% before going back down to nearly silent. From what I know that is normal behavior as both my previous cards (1900xt and 8800gt) did the same thing. Quartz and all the requisite stuff is supported fully and 3D games (Quake 4 and Homeworld 2) run smoothly. Everything is as it should be under Vista as well, and the extra grunt is very noticeable.
The stock 4870 cooler doesn't even make much noise compared to my old 8800gt which I was forced to mount an accelero rev.2 to because the noise was so pronounced (Which, by the way, was a great move as it significantly lowered my temps as well as being completely silent even with the Turbo Fan addon). (see previous article here on Nvidia 8800GT w/Accelero S1 Rev 2 cooler from July 2008. Other coolers/card mods linked on the Video topics page, coolers section)) I was considering mounting one to my 4870 but I am completely content with the stock cooler as it stands and have no plans currently to swap it out with an accelero.
Anyway I thought I would pass along my positive experience with this as I feel a bit ripped off by apple charging almost 2.5x the market price for a GPU that is almost identical to any PC version save for an EFI compatible BIOS. I have seen much information as well as a lot of doubt about this process on the internet and I figured I would chime in with my success story.
I wish Apple would learn that there are people who DO value competitively priced GPU upgrades for the MacPro that are compatible with all generations. I bought my MacPro for its supposed expandability and wish Apple would honor what they boasted about.
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