Radeon 9500 Mod thread

Creig

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,171
13
81
9500 NON-PRO 64 MEG - Can be modded to an unofficial 64 meg 9500 Pro. The 64 meg NON-PRO is limited to a 128 bit memory path. However, the unused four pipelines can be enabled which gives you 8 pipelines on a 128 bit memory path. This is the same as the 9500 Pro, but with only 64 megs. It can then be overclocked to further enhance performance. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips.


9500 NON-PRO 128 MEG WITH "IN LINE" SHAPED MEMORY - The boards with the memory chips in a straight row above the GPU are built on the PCB that was specifically designed for the 9500. This board comes from the factory with 8 pipelines, only 4 of which are enabled. It also has only a 128 bit memory path and can be modded into an 8 pipeline 9500 Pro. Once the software mod patch to enable the four disabled pipelines has been applied you can then overclock the board. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips. No software can change the size of the 128 bit memory path as they are circuit traces imprinted into the boards themselves. The 128 bit boards do not contain the additional traces necessary for the 256 bit memory path that the 9700 moddable "L" shaped memory boards have.


9500 NON-PRO 128 MEG WITH "L" SHAPED MEMORY - The 9500 NON-PRO with the "L" shaped memory configuration consists of two chips above the GPU and two to the right hand side. This board also ships with four of its eight pipelines disabled, but has a 256 bit memory path compared to the "inline" memory boards 128 bits. Only this memory configuration is moddable into an 8 pipeline 256 bit memory path 9700 as it will be built on the PCB originally designed for the 9700. Once the software mod patch to enable the four disabled pipelines has been applied you can then overclock the board to 9700 speeds or above. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips. It is this unlocking of pipelines combined with a 256 bit memory path PLUS overclocking that has made this video card so popular.


9500 PRO 128 MEG - Cannot be pipeline modded. The 9500 PRO comes from the factory with all 8 pipelines enabled. And it's built on the 128 bit memory path PCB. Since this board already has 8 pipelines, all you can do to the 9500 PRO is overclock it. You can't mod it into anything else besides the FireGL X1. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips.


9700 NON-PRO 128 MEG - Cannot be pipeline modded. It comes enabled with 8 pipelines on a 256 bit memory path. However, it can be overclocked to 9700 PRO levels. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips.


9700 PRO 128 MEG - As above, the 9700 PRO cannot be pipeline modded. It comes enabled with 8 pipelines on a 256 bit memory path. However, it can be overclocked. Overclocking results can vary from board to board depending on how well the GPU tolerates overclocking and the speed rating of the memory chips.


PICTURES OF CARDS - At <a target=new class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.digit-life.com/arti...r9500-9700-dx9-p1.html">Digit-Life</a> they have excellent pictures of the front and back of the 9500 NON-PRO 64MB, 9500 NON-PRO 128MB, 9500 PRO 128MB, 9700 128MB and 9700 PRO 128MB cards. Use them to help identify your card. The 9500 NON-PRO shown is the 9700 moddable card with the "L" shape memory configuration and a 256 bit memory path. A 9500 NON-PRO with the "inline" memory configuration will look identical to the 9500 PRO. This card has a 128 bit memory path and can only be modified into a 9500 PRO.


BOARD COLOR - The color of the board has no relevence whatsoever. It is the configuration of the memory chips in either the "inline" or "L" shapes. Although most "L" memory shaped boards were produced with a red PCB, I have seen pictures of black PCBs with the desirable "L" shaped memory.


DEFAULT SPECIFICATIONS:
9700 PRO 128MB - 325MHz core/620MHz memory, 2.8ns Samsung memory
9700 ULTRA 128MB - 297MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory
9700 128MB - 275MHz core/540MHz memory, 2.8ns Samsung or 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory
9700 GOLD 128MB - 275MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory
9700 TX 128MB - 263MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.6ns Hynix memory
9500 PRO 128MB - 275MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory
9500 NON-PRO 128MB - 275MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory
9500 NON-PRO 64MB - 275MHz core/540MHz memory, 3.3ns Infineon or 3.6ns Hynix memory


CHANCE OF SUCCESSFUL MOD - As with all mods/overclocking, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Some boards came with GPUs that had one or more faulty pipelines. These were most likely rejected 9700 GPUs. ATI disabled four of the pipelines and retested these rejected cores. If the faulty pipeline was one of the four disabled then the chip was used to make a 9500 NON-PRO. This was a good financial move for ATI as it allowed them to use cores that would have otherwise been tossed in the trash. However, the number of faulty cores that could still be reused was not enough to keep full production of 9500 NON-PRO cards. So ATI supplemented this with fully functional cores with 8 good pipelines and simply disabled four of them.

Unfortunately for us hardware fanatics, this means that the whole 9500 NON-PRO mod is a bit of a gamble. Since some have good cores and some have bad, there's no way to tell until you get it home and attempt it. Screen "checkerboarding" and "visual artifacts" were the two most common symptoms experienced with receiving a board with a bad pipelines. Before the software mod was available, people hardware modded the boards with the same "some good, some bad" results. This hardware mod does the exact same thing as the software mod. So a board with artifacts using the software mod will have the exact same problems if it were hard modded, and vice versa. I believe the success rate of finding a good moddable board was around 60%. Unfortunately, ATI has suspended production of the moddable version of the 9500 NON-PRO so supply of this board is definitely limited and getting more so every day.


THE MOD - The best source for the software to mod your card is called <a target=new class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.guru3d.com/rivatuner/">RivaTuner</a> with their Soft9700 (or Soft9x00) patch. The nice thing about RivaTuner is that it also includes a GPU/memory overclocking utility. If you're going to turn on the unused pipelines of your board you might as well overclock it at the same time, eh? In actuality, their utility will allow you to mod your 9500 NON-Pro into a Radeon 9700, 9800 or a FireGL professional video editing board.


FIREGL X1/Z1 MOD - RivaTuner will also allow you to mod any 9500/9700 into a <a target=new class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.ati.com/products/workstation/fireglx1/">FireGL X1</a> or <a target=new class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.ati.com/products/workstation/fireglz1/">FireGL Z1</a> professional video editing board. The difference between the X1 and Z1 is that the X1 mod is for boards that have 8 functioning pipelines and the Z1 is for boards that have only 4 functioning pipelines. So a stock 9500 64mb board would use the Z1 mod, but a successfully modded 9500 64mb would now have 8 pipelines and would use the X1 mod. This also holds true for the 9500 NON-PRO. So even if you have a board that shows artifacts/checkerboarding with the pipeline mod, you can undo the mod and still successfully turn your board into a FireGL Z1.

Video editing apps will run much slower on 128 bit boards than on 256 bit equipped boards. Once again, 128 bit equipped boards are all 9500 64mb, "inline" memory 9500 NON-PROs and all 9500 PROs. 256 bit boards are all "L" memory equipped 9500 NON-PROs, all 9700s and all 9700 PROs. Speed will be further influenced by GPU/memory clock speeds so the faster you can run them, the quicker you will be done with your renderings.


WAS THE MOD SUCCESSFUL - The way to tell if the mod worked (besides benchmarking) is to go to your desktop. Right click and select "Properties", then click on the "Settings" tab and select "Advanced". Click on the "Adapter" tab and look down in "Adapter Information" for a line called "Chip Type". This is where it will display what type of card your computer is detecting. If it says 9700 or 9800 then the mod worked. If it still says 9500 then you might've missed a step somewhere.


OVERCLOCKING - Some manufacturers have installed a BIOS that prevents overclocking. You MAY have to flash your BIOS with one of a different manufacturer to allow overclocking. Please make sure that the BIOS you flash your card with is the correct one as there are different BIOS's for boards with different brands of memory chips. If you need more information on overclocking your card/flashing your BIOS, <a target=new class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.3dchipset.com/bios/index.php">3DChipsets</a> has all the files and information you'll need. They also have everything for overclocking/flashing Nvidia and Matrox cards as well.


REPLACING THE STOCK HEATSINK/FAN - The 9500/9700 boards have an interesting "shim" placed around the GPU core. I have not found any reason for this shim other than the fact that the heatsink/fan is so large that the shim acts as a stabilizer. It possibly prevents the heatsink/fan from pulling the mounting pins loose if too much pressure were applied to an outside corner. If the heatsink/fan or waterblock you intend to mount is as large or larger than the shim you will run into trouble.

This is because the shim actually sits HIGHER than the GPU core by a few millimeters. The reason ATI could get away with this is from the thick thermal interface material they use. It fills the gap between the heatsink and the GPU. For us hardware fanatics, however, this amount of gap is completely unacceptable. You want the heatsink in as close contact to the GPU as possible for optimum heat transfer. You will have to pry the shim off the board before installing your new heatsink/fan. This is not as scary as it sounds as many people have reported that it pops right off if you start prying on a corner of it. You may want to put the card in the freezer for a while first as this seems to make the adhesive brittle and even easier to remove. Needless to say removing this shim will void your warranty so be sure that you're ready to make this commitment to higher performance. Remove/replace the stock ATI yellow thermal interface material (TIM) with a higher performing product such as Arctic Silver.


POWER SUPPLY RECOMMENDATION - As you may have guessed after seeing the floppy power connector on your card, these things use a LOT of juice. If you have a low output power supply or even a low quality high output power supply you could experience all sorts of problems that may be extremely hard to attribute to the power supply. Insufficient power symptoms can include random rebooting, random Blue Screen of Death screens, other components seeming to fail, hard drives spinning up and down. A high quality power supply is a must in any system. I would say that with a 9500/9700 and a high-end CPU, you should be using at least a good quality 300 watt power supply, with 350 watts or higher the more components you have (hard drives, CD roms, DVD roms, fans, etc). A high quality unit could be considered an Antec, Enermax, Fortron Source, Vantec, Thermaltake or other manufacturer. Do a search of the forums and you will find other names as well. The most often recommended power supply seems to be Antec.


9800 MOD - This mod works exactly the same as the 9700 mod does except that it lets the card use several driver improvements that were intended for the 9800 card only. Its success rate is exactly the same as the 9700 mod as it depends on the hardware in the same way the 9700 mod does.



MY 9500 NON-PRO 128 MEG "L" MEMORY MOD RESULTS:

Koolance PC2-C Watercooled case w/waterblocks on CPU, GPU, chipset and HD.
Epox 8K5A3+
T-Bred A 1800+
512mb Crucial PC2100
ATI Radeon 9500 w/Infineon 3.3ns

R300
215R8ABGA13F
G25485.1
0243AA
TAIWAN

3DMark2001SE

1) Stock processor @ 1.53 GHz/stock card.... @ 275/540 =.. 9641 3DMarks
2) O/C processor... @ 1.83 GHz/stock card.... @ 275/540 = 10627 3DMarks
3) Stock processor @ 1.53 GHz/9700 update @ 275/540 = 11016 3DMarks
4) O/C processor... @ 1.83 GHz/9700 update @ 275/540 = 12716 3DMarks
5) O/C processor... @ 1.83 GHz/9700 update @ 325/600 = 13329 3DMarks
6) O/C processor... @ 2.00 Ghz/9700 update @ 380/600 = 14308 3DMarks

Fillrate 1) 927.9 single/1103.5 multi
Fillrate 2) 928.0 single/1103.4 multi
Fillrate 3) 1538.0 single/2163.4 multi
Fillrate 4) 1548.0 single/2173.5 multi
Fillrate 5) 1749.1 single/2538.2 multi
Fillrate 6) 1839.6 single/2938.2 multi



I hope this answers all the mod questions and clears up the confusion related to it.
 
Jun 14, 2003
10,442
0
0
has to be the longest thread i ever seen!!! haha good job man

ive already been through this process back when i got my 9500pro....cant be modded but a very sweet card anyway

sure a lot of ppl may find this useful
 

blazerazor

Golden Member
Aug 28, 2003
1,480
0
0
.::. Crieg , props brother! You the man. I really needed a condensed, factual analysis of these cards. I had given up hope in finding one of these months ago, when one fell into my lap. And googling has taken me to a bunch of dated forums that was difficult to chew. Thx. I hope the sapphire 128m red pcb L-shaped 3.3 infineon allows me to play Cod, Tron, vietnam and hopefully farcry. Trying not to get my hopes up,

But if it doesnt work, I can make it a FIREGL X1/Z1 ! Those cost more than a xt! So thats good for ...?..?.. rendering 3d stuff and autoCAD I presume?
Thx a 'terra' billion for the scoop bro.
 

modedepe

Diamond Member
May 11, 2003
3,474
0
0
I remember there was a thread like this one before on here. Was that one by you too? Anyways, good work.
 

Creig

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,171
13
81
Yes, I made this list a while ago. But it fell into the archives and I was afraid the info would be lost if I didn't resurrect it. Plus the fact that there are still people looking for this info prompted me to put it in its own thread.
 

CletusTheDwarf

Senior member
Apr 5, 2004
219
0
0
I have a question, if I get one of the L cards on ebay, and I find that it has broken pipelines, so I have to put it back to a 9500, how would it's performance compare to a 9600pro?
 

morotorium

Junior Member
Oct 13, 2004
1
0
0
In the original post, you reccommend Vantec Power supplies as one of the better ones to use. I agree that Vantec power supplies are great, BUT, I would definetly not reccommend them for use with any Radeon video card with the floppy auxillary power connection. One of the special features of the Vantecs, designed to help you not fry your system, will actually prevent you from booting. I found this out after working with my roomates Chaintech VNF3-250 motherboard and Athlon 64 3200- with the AGP slot providing voltage to the card, when you attempt to boot with the power connected to the video card, the short circuit protection recognizes the voltake and quickly shuts off. If you attempt to boot with out the power connected to the card, the default video card warning comes up telling you it's not connected and to consult your manual. You can work around this, by starting to boot with the power connector NOT plugged in, plugging it in seconds later after pressing power- what a pain in the arse. I have seen users of Shuttle PCs with the same problem, and creating time delay relays to overcome this problem, and also add switches to the 12v rail going to the video card. Even though this is fixable, this is something I have found that is not well known or even detailed. Don't waste your money on Vantec if you have a Radeon!

(I personally have two Vantec power supplies in use that work great, but not with a Radeon 9500/9700)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY