Author Topic: AGP + PCI graphics cards in tandem  (Read 651 times)

Offline NamelessPFG

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AGP + PCI graphics cards in tandem
« on: June 03, 2017, 02:31:40 AM »
I just got a Radeon 9250 256 MB card to tinker with, and tinker I did. Flashed a reduced ROM, adjusted the resistors accordingly (while wishing I had much better soldering equipment), updated the OS 9 driver extensions, and it seems to work swimmingly thus far, albeit with half the RAM. At least it's got the full 128-bit memory interface, unlike all those pesky 9200 SEs.

Except, well, I still haven't replaced the Radeon 7000 this MDD came downgraded with in the AGP slot, and all my games still seem to prioritize that for rendering despite the 9250 bearing a far superior GPU and twice the VRAM. I may have no choice but to yank out that AGP card and go PCI for a while.

OS X fares far worse than just not having Quartz Extreme, though; the VGA output on the 9250 is actually extremely discolored on top of not having resolution adjustments! If just having the 9250 in there gimps OS X performance, that outright sinks my plan to have Core Image and OS 9 acceleration right in the same box.

If it comes down to that, though, I wouldn't call it a waste. It's gross overkill for my Power Mac 6500, but the integrated 3D Rage II in that thing leaves a lot of room for improvement, with the Voodoo2 I have in there right now not doing anything about its lackluster 2D capabilities.

I still need to test more things with this setup, though, like the DVI outputs and just running without an AGP card to begin with.

Offline macStuff

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Re: AGP + PCI graphics cards in tandem
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2018, 05:40:15 AM »
can u share some photos of the actual card?
i have a PC 9250  PCI (5v only, no support for 3.3v, only one notch in PCI connector)
by PowerColor, ive always wanted to try to get it to work but not had any luck with it

Offline NamelessPFG

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Re: AGP + PCI graphics cards in tandem
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 12:22:53 AM »
Sorry for the very belated reply, but here's your images, now that I felt like firing up the ol' MDD again:


As you can see, it's pretty much a reference card, but with double the RAM. Half of which goes unused after you flash it, I should add, likely due to the lack of 256 MB Mac variants. Perhaps someone could enable it with a firmware edit, but I don't feel like going that far when even 128 MB of VRAM is overkill for most Mac OS 9 games.

Now, the reason I came back after so long was that I scored a heck of a lot of vintage Mac gear at Vintage Computing Festival Southeast about a week ago. Someone was just constantly hauling in a van's worth of stuff, enough that I had to help out with unloading a lot of it because I wanted to see what he had. The Power Mac 9600 and SCSI Zip 100 drive the card's sitting on are just two of the scores, alongside another 2003 MDD single 1.25 GHz that turns out to just have a dead PSU and otherwise fires right up, but all of that deserves a thread elsewhere.

One of the things I also acquired was a Mac variant of a Radeon 9600 with a passive HSF. It's probably a pull from one of the Power Mac G5s that were there, but I figured it'd be worth a shot at fitting into my main dual 1.42 GHz MDD. I did need to take a band saw to the rear notch area of the PCB behind the AGP slot, as the ADC power connector on the logic board gets right in the way, but other than that and the resistor mod to make it an AGP 4x card without having to deal with tape, it actually works pretty splendidly in OS X, like I'd hoped. Really gives it a boost in Leopard.

OS 9 is what had me worried, though, mainly for all the talk about how having the ATI extensions enabled makes a mess of things on R200/RV200 (Radeon 9500-9800) and later, but I needed to do that for the PCI Radeon 9200 to work properly anyway. Might as well give it a shot, right?

Well, it actually works a lot better than you'd think! Both cards can work together for multi-monitor support (and it's quickly dawning on me at just how much better the Classic Mac OS does multi-monitor support compared to most OSes), anything on the Radeon 9600 monitor doesn't slow to a crawl on the GUI, software-rendered games will run fine on either.

However, it's worth noting that anything that taps into RAVE or OpenGL needs to run on the Radeon 9200/9250 monitor, even if the game's nice enough to prompt you which monitor you want to play on (because Unreal Tournament and Deus Ex sure don't, insisting on your primary monitor with the menu bar on top). That was to be expected, given the apparent lack of driver support for OS 9 that the later cards have, but at least I can have good 2D performance, good 3D performance in OS 9 and good performance in OS X with Core Image support all in one Mac, without having to resort to different graphics card vendors! It does require dual monitors, though...

TL;DR version: Don't hesitate to use a PCI Radeon 9100/9200/9250 in an OS X/OS 9 dual-boot system with a Core Image-compatible AGP card that's also from ATI, it doesn't seem to break anything under OS 9 and you get the best of both worlds!

Offline darthnVader

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Re: AGP + PCI graphics cards in tandem
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 12:42:11 AM »
Sorry for the very belated reply, but here's your images, now that I felt like firing up the ol' MDD again:


As you can see, it's pretty much a reference card, but with double the RAM. Half of which goes unused after you flash it, I should add, likely due to the lack of 256 MB Mac variants. Perhaps someone could enable it with a firmware edit, but I don't feel like going that far when even 128 MB of VRAM is overkill for most Mac OS 9 games.

Now, the reason I came back after so long was that I scored a heck of a lot of vintage Mac gear at Vintage Computing Festival Southeast about a week ago. Someone was just constantly hauling in a van's worth of stuff, enough that I had to help out with unloading a lot of it because I wanted to see what he had. The Power Mac 9600 and SCSI Zip 100 drive the card's sitting on are just two of the scores, alongside another 2003 MDD single 1.25 GHz that turns out to just have a dead PSU and otherwise fires right up, but all of that deserves a thread elsewhere.

One of the things I also acquired was a Mac variant of a Radeon 9600 with a passive HSF. It's probably a pull from one of the Power Mac G5s that were there, but I figured it'd be worth a shot at fitting into my main dual 1.42 GHz MDD. I did need to take a band saw to the rear notch area of the PCB behind the AGP slot, as the ADC power connector on the logic board gets right in the way, but other than that and the resistor mod to make it an AGP 4x card without having to deal with tape, it actually works pretty splendidly in OS X, like I'd hoped. Really gives it a boost in Leopard.

OS 9 is what had me worried, though, mainly for all the talk about how having the ATI extensions enabled makes a mess of things on R200/RV200 (Radeon 9500-9800) and later, but I needed to do that for the PCI Radeon 9200 to work properly anyway. Might as well give it a shot, right?

Well, it actually works a lot better than you'd think! Both cards can work together for multi-monitor support (and it's quickly dawning on me at just how much better the Classic Mac OS does multi-monitor support compared to most OSes), anything on the Radeon 9600 monitor doesn't slow to a crawl on the GUI, software-rendered games will run fine on either.

However, it's worth noting that anything that taps into RAVE or OpenGL needs to run on the Radeon 9200/9250 monitor, even if the game's nice enough to prompt you which monitor you want to play on (because Unreal Tournament and Deus Ex sure don't, insisting on your primary monitor with the menu bar on top). That was to be expected, given the apparent lack of driver support for OS 9 that the later cards have, but at least I can have good 2D performance, good 3D performance in OS 9 and good performance in OS X with Core Image support all in one Mac, without having to resort to different graphics card vendors! It does require dual monitors, though...

TL;DR version: Don't hesitate to use a PCI Radeon 9100/9200/9250 in an OS X/OS 9 dual-boot system with a Core Image-compatible AGP card that's also from ATI, it doesn't seem to break anything under OS 9 and you get the best of both worlds!

Thanks for the report, I forget how to edit the ATI ROMs for more vram, but it can be done, however it is overkill for a PCI card, as the PCI bus is really the limiting factor.

For OS 9, there really isn't any games that can take advantage of 256Mb of Vram, unless you are trying to game @1080p or above, then you CPU and ram speed will limit you.

I find the PCI 9200 a good OS 9 card in my Quicksilver, highly recommended for those that Dual boot with X, and like to have Core Image support.

Thanks to whoever made that 7800 GS agp rom, oh wait, that was me. 8)