Author Topic: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.  (Read 462 times)

Offline darthnVader

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Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« on: April 28, 2018, 01:19:53 PM »
This is how to load a Fcode ROM form the hard disk in Open Firmware, while they still have a PC VBios on them. If you want to test a AGP card, it is best to have a Mac PCI video card, but it can be done without one.

We can only boot OS 9 at this time if the card you are testing is nVidia. I'll update this when I test an ATI card.

With a PCI Video card:

Install the latest drivers for the card you want to test.

Open your ROM in Hexedit and remove the PCI Header, everything to 0x40. We shouldn't have to do this, but Apple screwed around with their Open Firmware implementation, so we have to.

Place the Fcode ROM file you want to test in a folder at the root of your drive, name the folder ppc.

Shut Down.

Put in your Mac PCI card, and your PC AGP card into your Mac. Connect a display to both cards, if you have 2 displays, if not connect you display to the PCI card.

Boot into Open Firmware, Command+Opt+O+F. It may take a few seconds as the Mac probes the APG card, then redirects video to the PCI card.

If all goes well, you will be greeted with the Open Firmware prompt.

Now we want to load the FCode Rom we want to test, for this example I named mine GFM.rom, and my hard drive partition number is 10.

Code: [Select]
load hd:10,\ppc\GFM.rom
dev agp/@10
800000 1 byte-load
" agp/@10" open-dev to my-self
800000 1 byte-load
boot hd:10,\\:tbxi

If you get no errors, then you should see the screen light up on the AGP card, if you have a display connected to it, and OS 9  should boot.

Enjoy!

I tested it on the Gainwood dual DVI GeForce 4ti 4600 PC Bios card, with a Mac Radeon 9200 PCI. Everything worked 2D/3D and DVD Player.

If things go wrong, and you get no display, ensure your card works in a PC, if it does, you haven't edited the FCode ROM correctly.

I also tried it with the Quadro 900 GXL that MacTron sent me, one with a dead eeprom, however the display stared up out of sync/range, then went dark, and OS 9 never finished booting.

Once we can boot OS X with this, we should be able to flash the cards without the need for a PC at all.

I'll update when I test ATI cards, and PCI Cards, if anyone is interested?


« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 01:35:36 PM by darthnVader »

Offline DieHard

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Re: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2018, 02:31:26 PM »
Quote
I'll update when I test ATI cards, and PCI Cards, if anyone is interested?
Ahhhh... like yeah... I think you will be surprised how many google hits this will eventually get, we are interested... at least I am... we need to really compile some detailed lists of the cheapest, yet best performing cards, that were never supported for Mac OS 9, but Now have FULL acceleration... not a list of "every card under the sun" but maybe a top 10 list of:

1) PC Cards that can be VERY easily Burnt to Mac (without any resistor mods, taping, or other magic)
2) Inexpensive on eBay and other sources
3) Provide FULL 3D acceleration under OS 9
4) Performance of ATI 9000 (or close to it) or even better


Offline darthnVader

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Re: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2018, 03:15:30 PM »
Quote
I'll update when I test ATI cards, and PCI Cards, if anyone is interested?
Ahhhh... like yeah... I think you will be surprised how many google hits this will eventually get, we are interested... at least I am... we need to really compile some detailed lists of the cheapest, yet best performing cards, that were never supported for Mac OS 9, but Now have FULL acceleration... not a list of "every card under the sun" but maybe a top 10 list of:

1) PC Cards that can be VERY easily Burnt to Mac (without any resistor mods, taping, or other magic)
2) Inexpensive on eBay and other sources
3) Provide FULL 3D acceleration under OS 9
4) Performance of ATI 9000 (or close to it) or even better


I think as time goes on people with these old Macs will want better video, without the need for a PC to flash it in. PC AGP motherboards are not that common these days, I hadn't had one in 10 years, and got lucky and picked up an NF2 refurb, and a 1.6Ghz amd sempron new in the box, on the cheap.

I only use it for flashing.

I have an Fcode script that we use to use to flash PC 5200/6200/6600 in our Mac's, without the need for a PC, but it doesn't seem to work for Geforce4 and older cards.

Lots of people love old Macs, but don't want to build an AGP PC, just to flash a video card.

That's why I'm working on this, so later PPC Mac users can find the info to DIY video cards. I like to give something back to the community, as I did make a $hit ton of cash selling flashed cards. 

Offline refinery

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Re: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 12:57:52 PM »
are there any additional commands that need to be issued in OF prior to running this? every time i try to load the rom it gives me the error "can't OPEN: hd:10,\ppc\xgl.rom", i get the same thing when trying to run the boot command. ive verified my partition number is 10 so not sure where the problem is coming from.
G4/MDD 1.42 (9), G4/GB 500DP (X), Beige G3 400 (9), PBG4Ti 1Ghz (X), PBG3WS 300 (9)

got my mind on my scsi and my scsi on my mind

Offline Daniel

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Re: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 03:04:27 PM »
are there any additional commands that need to be issued in OF prior to running this? every time i try to load the rom it gives me the error "can't OPEN: hd:10,\ppc\xgl.rom", i get the same thing when trying to run the boot command. ive verified my partition number is 10 so not sure where the problem is coming from.
For starters, I suggest using the dir command to look at the root directory of that partition. The list of folders and files should match up with the right partition, though some characters might be escaped and some hidden files might show up.
Code: [Select]
dir hd:10,\This will tell you if the partition number or label is incorrect ("hd" may or may actually be the hard drive).

If you are using an Old World (pre-usb) system, all bets are off. Old Open Firmwares don't interpose the support packages on the hard disks, so you can't interact with the filesystem on them (read the Open Firmware specification if you want to know what the heck I am talking about).

Where is the file on the partiton? I see that you set the file's name to match what you are using, but did you change the full path?
"hd:10,\Applications\Utilities\:APPL" points to any file with type "APPL" in the folder Utilities in the folder Applications. Try and avoid files and folders with spaces or weird characters in their names, because they get escaped in a weird way (maybe url encoding?).

That boot command will specifically boot to the system folder on partition 10. You probably want to use boot (without any text after it) or mac-boot instead, because your system folder might not be on partition 10.
Code: [Select]
\ this is a comment (the space after the backslash matters)
mac-boot \ use this command to boot when you don't know where the system folder is (or don't want to specify it)
boot \ this command also works for this purpose

\ this specifically boots to the system folder on partition 9 of hd
boot hd:9,\\:tbxi avoid-putting-text-here-because-it-gets-sent-as-an-argument-to-the-boot-program-not-that-it-matters-much

Offline IIO

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Re: Testing Fcode Roms, before you flash.
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2018, 01:04:29 AM »
That's why I'm working on this, so later PPC Mac users can find the info to DIY video cards. I like to give something back to the community, as I did make a $hit ton of cash selling flashed cards.

PCI would be interesting just as well.

if you use 2 GPUs anyway, it doesnt mattter which is the better one,  you can use your PCI video card for the main monitor if you want.
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
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