Turning ATI Radeon 9500 into 9700

Turning ATI Radeon 9500 into 9700

Researchers from the test lab of http://www.fcenter.ru conducted an experiment that turned Radeon 9500 into Radeon 9700. The modification procedure is described here.

A video adapter from Sapphire, based on Radeon 9500 and equipped with 128 MB video memory (Figs. 14.54 and 14.55), was chosen for the experiment.

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Figure 14.54: Sapphire adapter based on Radeon 9500 (front side)
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Figure 14.55: Sapphire adapter based on Radeon 9500 (underside)

The sequence of modification was as follows:

  1. The cooler was removed from the graphical chip. Using a soldering iron, the resistor on the chip mount was placed in a new location. Figs. 14.56 and 14.57 show this resistor in the new location.

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    Figure 14.56: Positions of resistors on the Radeon 9500 chip

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    Figure 14.57: Detailed view of resistors on the Radeon 9500 chip

  2. The surface of the graphical core and cooler base had to be cleansed of the remains of the standard thermal paste. Instead of the thermal paste, a high-quality thermal compound was used.

  3. Using standard procedures, the cooler was installed and fastened on top of the graphical core.

  4. An MS-DOS boot diskette was created. All files required by the flash utility to replace the video BIOS were copied to this diskette: atiflash.exe, dos4gw.exe, and atiflash.cfg. (These files can be downloaded from www.3dchipset.com/files/bios/ati/flash/atiflash.zip.) The file containing the new BIOS version was copied to the same diskette. The experiments used the modified BIOS from the Hercules video adapter, based on Radeon 9700. It can be downloaded from http://home.mindspring.com/~warp11/97npherc.bin.

  5. The video adapter was installed, then the system was booted from the diskette just created.

  6. To be on the safe side, a backup copy was made of the old video BIOS and the file was named old.bin. This can be accomplished by issuing the following command: atiflash -s 0 old.bin.

  7. The new BIOS code was loaded into the video adapter ROM chip by issuing the following command: atiflash -u 0 -f 97npherc.bin. The utility prompts you to confirm the action. If you decide to complete the update procedure, answer Yes.

  8. The diskette was removed, and the computer was rebooted.

During this experiment, the Radeon 9500 128MB was modified successfully and turned into Radeon 9700. After this modification, the video adapter started to operate at the speed of Radeon 9700. The modified adapter operated smoothly; during testing, no problems were encountered. Maximum frequencies at which the adapter was stable were 390/620 MHz (310 MHz DDR).