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Old 28th May 2004, 03:07   #1
MT-
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X800 Pro -> X800 XT PE Hard Mod - The Guide

How to destroy your warranty on a 300 graphics card:
[Disclaimer, I haven't _actually_ done this yet 3 people have, and theirs all worked]
Step one: Preparation

First off, heres a list of things you will need

X800 Pro capable of 526 MHz core, 570 MHz mem
small headed phillips screwdriver
sharp knife
conductive paint
universal boot disk
flashrom 2.37
ATI XT BIOS
ATI Catalyst 4.5 Betas
AtiTool
Recommended: PCI graphics card

Step One - Preparation
First off, test, test, test that your core can cope with 525 MHz.
Use ATI Tool to find max core and max mem. This is conservative! For instance, on my board ATI Tool would stop at 550MHz for core and mem, but I can clock up to 570 MHz on mem no problems. Just ensure that your card can run at the stock XT speeds.
Make your boot disk, and put on it your XT bios - rename it to x800xt.bin for brevity. Add the flashrom .exe to the disk as well.
Uninstall your X800 Pro, reboot to safe mode and run driver cleaner for all ATI products and then run cab cleaner.

Step Two - Flashing
This step may be optional. In essence, it changes your default clocks to 526 core / 570 mem. You can do the hard mod below and end up with a 16 pipe Pro if you prefer.
Reboot to your boot disk. It is essential for my sanity that you now take a backup of your ROM with
Code:
flashrom -s 0 x800pro.bin
Now you can flash to the X800 XT rom
Code:
flashrom -p 0 x800xt.bin -f
Ensure that your computer does not power off whilst flashing. That would be bad..
Apparently there are some parts of the BIOS that just CANT be flashed, so there may be a few errors - as long as it doesnt completely fail you should be fine[*]
Turn off the computer - this part of the mod is done, now the fun part begins!

Step Three - Hardmodding the core
Cripes eh? Hardmodding? Scary stuff!

Its not as bad as it sounds.
Get the card out of the computer, place it on an antistatic bag in a clean dust free workspace. Unplug the fan and take off the heatsink - 3 screws, and carefully remove it. You should now be able to see the core, looking a bit like this:


If you look at the red box in that picture, there are a group of five contact points. Heres a zoom up of them.


You need to connect up points 1 and 4. BUT WAIT THERES MORE.
There is some kind of insulator on the contact points. This is where the sharp knife comes in handy. Scrape away at each contact point (1 and 4, you can leave the others alone!) until you expose shiny shiny copper. Pay dirt. Now just connect these two points.
Heres how our two musketeers did it:
Quote:
Originally posted by Phemo
Basically, I got some masking tape, cut two very thin strips of it and put it each side of the two dots, leaving only the two points exposed basically. I then got my very thin knife, dabbed that in the conductive paint and carefully and slowly 'painted' the line across the point with the paint. Leave to dry for about 5 minutes to be sure, peel the tape off and all should be spot on.
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris_UK
For the scraping the contact points I actually scraped a line between points 1 and 4 until I could see more of the copper underneath between them, making it easier to connect the 2 points with the conductive paint.
It seems that the pencil trick WILL NOT work for this - you will need either defogger repair kit from halfords, or a conductive pen from sources unknown.

In essence, this is the same mod as to unlock a palomino, but slightly less tricky.
Thats it! give the core a quck clean, reapply the AS5, and reassemble the board and computer.

Step Four - Final setup

There are a few things to note on booting into windows. It appears that one of the things that you cant change with the BIOS are the device IDs, so it may still appear as an X800 Pro. However, it will function as an XT if it has 16 pipelines.
Also, the XT PE has the Rage Theatre chip, which of course the Pro does not. So you will get uninitialised device errors in windows for that - just ignore them.
Depending on what you 'want', you can install regular 4.5 cats, and get a 16 pipe 'Pro', or the betas and get a 16 pipe 'Pro' or the betas, forceing the XT driver path. In essence, all you benefit from forceing the XT driver is the name, and all you get from flashing the XT bios is higher default clocks.
Load up ATI Tool after the drivers are succesfully installed, and click on 'Settings'. If you've done the hardmod right, it should read 16 pipes. If not, go back and do Step Three again!
Now, load up your favourite 3D progam or benchmark, and test that those 4 pipes are functional. Initial signs are promising - 3 people have done this so far that we know of, and all three have had succesfull mods.

If it passes all the tests you can find with no artifacts - congratulations! You have arguabley the best graphics card in your house!

If you have artifacts, simply 'undo' your work - gently scrape away the trace you made with a knife (or erasor if pencil trick does work) and reflash your original BIOS.


Note that I havent done this mod yet, Chris_UK and Phemo from OcUK forums have done, and some nice Korean guy pointed us in the right direction. You can read the full progress of how they did it in this thread. Notable for their contributions were DanF and paradigm for technical advice, and speeduk for generally egging them on j/k
Special mention to Kinsy for getting us all going on this and finding the first bits of information!
If anyone else does try this mod, can you post here with success/failure, I will try and keep an accurate record..

So far

5 Attempts
2 Failed to activate 16 pipes
3 Successes
60% Success Rate
When the pipes have been activated, 100% success



[edits]
Updated %age rates.
Updated modding guide.
Updated driver issues.

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Last edited by MT-; 28th May 2004 at 18:31.
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Old 28th May 2004, 06:34   #2
Chris_UK
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Thats a nice guide MT. For the scraping the contact points I actually scraped a line between points 1 and 4 until I could see more of the copper underneath between them, making it easier to connect the 2 points with the conductive paint. Im sure it wont be long before we find out exactly how many cards will do this mod with success but its looking good so far
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Old 28th May 2004, 06:36   #3
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Cool 5* thread!

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Old 28th May 2004, 06:50   #4
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Looks like ill have to get my X800PRO over the weekend then

Good guide, but you seem to have[*]'ed some points, but not expanded on them later...


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Old 28th May 2004, 07:22   #5
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Looks good, but I thought the cards would physically have less pipelines and a smaller die size, or is this only for nVidia cards?


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Old 28th May 2004, 07:24   #6
dazsly
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Just a thought can you guys with the mod keep us posted with any errors you get as their might be a reason they turned off the 4 pipes i.e not fully working 100%.

Anyway keep us posted how stable they run oh and what are your temps like in Ati tool now with the mod??

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Old 28th May 2004, 07:27   #7
paradigm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dutch Guy
Looks good, but I thought the cards would physically have less pipelines and a smaller die size, or is this only for nVidia cards?
If you read what ATi had said, they just disabled 4 pipes (one quad block, there are four on each r420 chip), via hardware.

Its only nvidia that go to the trouble of making seperate chips. Although now that this bombshell will hit ati, im not sure who is going to lose the most money.


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Old 28th May 2004, 07:54   #8
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Good Job. I am impressed that the UK posse got it sorted before the likes of xxtreme forums. Hehe.

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Old 28th May 2004, 08:10   #9
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Yep, all of that seems spot on. The only thing I've yet to confirm is whether you need the beta 4.5s. Tonight I'll slap my X800 Pro, (or should I say X800 XT ) into another pc and try with proper 4.5s - it'll be interesting to see whether the 16 pipes are enabled with the drivers installed as an X800 Pro. It should work just fine

Still dead happy with the card though, it's still working fantastic and for those who are curious, temps with ATITool are exactly the same as it was when clocked at XT speeds before the pipes mod.

Edit: Not sure if it's worth mentioning the method I used to connect the points. Basically, I got some masking tape, cut two very thin strips of it and put it each side of the two dots, leaving only the two points exposed basically. I then got my very thin knife, dabbed that in the conductive paint and carefully and slowly 'painted' the line across the point with the paint. Leave to dry for about 5 minutes to be sure, peel the tape off and all should be spot on.
Last edited by Phemo; 28th May 2004 at 08:18.
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Old 28th May 2004, 08:15   #10
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I noticed the phrase "driver path", so maybe the driver is optimised for the x800xt with the beta but not with the standard cat 4.5.

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Old 28th May 2004, 08:18   #11
Wayn0r
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gotta be stickied

Well done

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Old 28th May 2004, 08:21   #12
Kinsy
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I dont get a mention for starting the thread, pulling up the information off the Korean and Tweakers.net site, and spotting the X800 Pro score on the Futuremark hall of fame?

/me shuffles out quietly, picking coat up on the way

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Old 28th May 2004, 09:23   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kinsy
I dont get a mention for starting the thread, pulling up the information off the Korean and Tweakers.net site, and spotting the X800 Pro score on the Futuremark hall of fame?

/me shuffles out quietly, picking coat up on the way
I'll give you some credit man. If you hadn't started that thread up then I probably wouldn't have bothered even attempting the mod last night, let alone be amongst the first to have tried it So yeah, thanks, it's been most helpful because I've now essentially got a graphics card that isn't properly available yet
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Old 28th May 2004, 09:34   #14
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I agree with Phero, I had read about the mod elsewhere but dismissed it as crap, but after reading on here of that guys success it seemed like there was light at the end of the tunnel
I think Phero should get a lot of the credit as well because I was just about ready to give up last night and go to bed before I read his post, 2 mins later and I would have found out only this morning. As it was I was sat there about 2am with the girlfriend moaning while I messed about with sticky tape and conductive paint

Phero have you tried the 4.5 official drivers yet, if so do you still default as an X800pro? Not sure it really matters about the device id now but it would be better to be able to straight install the XT drivers instead of having to select them yourself through the adaptor panel.
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Old 28th May 2004, 09:37   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris_UK
Phero have you tried the 4.5 official drivers yet, if so do you still default as an X800pro? Not sure it really matters about the device id now but it would be better to be able to straight install the XT drivers instead of having to select them yourself through the adaptor panel.
Not tried it yet, working today, how depressing I'll try it out in my other pc tonight though, but I reckon it will default to the X800 Pro driver because of the device id. It'll be interesting to see if it reports 16 pipes enabled even with the Pro driver installed. So many little things left to mess around with
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Old 28th May 2004, 09:52   #16
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/hands out gold stars all round

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Old 28th May 2004, 10:02   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by paradigm
If you read what ATi had said, they just disabled 4 pipes (one quad block, there are four on each r420 chip), via hardware.

Its only nvidia that go to the trouble of making seperate chips. Although now that this bombshell will hit ati, im not sure who is going to lose the most money.
Only a few people in every thousand will do this.

Most won't know it exists and the other % will be to frightend to do it so I think it shouldn't hit ATI to hard.
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:04   #18
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Just a simple question - does the heatsink have the same holes as the 9800pro? I heard it had 3 holes, isn't this (if its true) irresponsible of ati meaning none of the current aftermarket coolers will fit? Guess I need to read a review...

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Old 28th May 2004, 10:09   #19
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It has the same holes as a 9800 as it fits my old dengerden 3 gpu block just fine. Just installed the 4.5 official and the card defaults as an X800Pro, there is no way to change it to XT in these drivers, very strange. 3dmark score drops from 13500 to 12700 but that happened before the mod as well when I changed over. Think ill go back to the beta and hope they have proper support for the XT in the 4.6 officials. Still showing as 16 pipes though even with the card as an X800pro
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:12   #20
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Seems to confirm what I was suggesting earlier that it was an "optimised path" as seen before when r300 > R350. At the time omega was modding his drivers to use the r350 path on the r300.

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Old 28th May 2004, 10:15   #21
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Quote:
As it was I was sat there about 2am with the girlfriend moaning while I messed about with sticky tape and conductive paint
Kinky!

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Old 28th May 2004, 10:27   #22
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lmao, I just re-read that and your right it does sound a bit dodgy hahaha
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:30   #23
L33
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HELP!
just tried the mod, still getting 12 pipes in ATiTool
carefully scraped the tops of the 2 points and soldered them together, flashed the bios and forced the install of XT platinum drivers from the 4.5 betas, still only getting 12 pipelines
any advice or suggestions Chris_UK or phemo??

Cheers!
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:33   #24
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You dont scrape the two tops m8 you have to scrape in a line from 1 point to the other so that you can see the copper underneath, that way you should be able to get a proper connection. Be careful if any of you mess up your cards I would feel rather guilty
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:41   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris_UK
You dont scrape the two tops m8 you have to scrape in a line from 1 point to the other so that you can see the copper underneath, that way you should be able to get a proper connection. Be careful if any of you mess up your cards I would feel rather guilty
Ooh I was gonna try it until I read that. One slip of the knife and bye bye 300 toy. Would rather sell it and buy a proper XT than mess about with knifes and what not on the PCB.


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Old 28th May 2004, 10:45   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by speeduk
Ooh I was gonna try it until I read that. One slip of the knife and bye bye 300 toy. Would rather sell it and buy a proper XT than mess about with knifes and what not on the PCB.
I understand where you're coming from That's a guaranteed way of doing it, but I didn't cut my pcb at all ... it may be a bit tricker to work with, but I literally just scraped at the two contact points a bit with a knife - didn't cut the green bits at all. The contact points were very shiny instead of the usual dull colour.
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:47   #27
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thats what im saying there is obviously more than one way of doing it.....
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Old 28th May 2004, 10:51   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by speeduk
Ooh I was gonna try it until I read that. One slip of the knife and bye bye 300 toy. Would rather sell it and buy a proper XT than mess about with knifes and what not on the PCB.
True but for those brave enough to try it its a good mod.

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Old 28th May 2004, 10:52   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by speeduk
Ooh I was gonna try it until I read that. One slip of the knife and bye bye 300 toy. Would rather sell it and buy a proper XT than mess about with knifes and what not on the PCB.
If you take it slow and don't use too much force it'll work, just take your time and don't rush it.
And if you scrape away some copper maybe some solder will fix it.


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Old 28th May 2004, 10:53   #30
hexxed
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Don't wanna rain on anyones parade here, truly amazing work, been following this since beginning of the first thread.

But just seen this:

http://www.driverheaven.net/showthre...threadid=46719

The last post at the moment, with 2 the links to 3dmark scores. Bit strange.
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