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Reader Feedback on Radeon Card Firmware Updates/ATI Displays 4.4
Posted: 9/21/2004
ROM last updated: 10/21/2004
ATI Displays last updated: 11/9/2004 - v4.4.2
Reports last updated: 10/22/2004 (6PM EST)

ATI Displays 4.4.2 Update: (11/9/2004) ATI has posted the promised ATI Displays 4.4.2 that fixes the bug in v4.4.1 mentioned below. (Here's a clip from the 4.4.2 release notes.)

    Newest changes in this version
  • Fixed ATI Monitor in ATI Displays 4.4.1 where it didn't properly intialize with OEM products.
  • Fixed Mac2TV detection for Apple RADEON 9600 and 9800 models when used with Apple G5 TV adapter

ATI Displays 4.4.1 Update Bug: (Nov. 4th, 2004) There's a bug in the ATI Displays 4.4.1 update (same page now has v4.4.2). I just got back in to find a mail from Bruno of ATI on a bug in v4.4.1 as well as some mails from readers verifying the problem with onboard Radeon chip 3D/GL overrides support in 4.4.1.

"re: ATI Displays 4.4.1
Hey Mike...
The new release breaks 3D overrides on some OEM configurations - portables, emacs, etc.. The problem was a simple one and has already been fixed. A newer update (4.4.2) will be uploaded to the web soon. So users with OEM configurations should just avoid 4.4.1 if they haven't already installed it.

The installer for 4.4 should be able to overwrite 4.4.1 if anyone needs to revert to get their overrides working again.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Bruno (ATI) "

(Oct. 21st, 2004) ATI has posted an October 2004 ATI RADEON Universal ROM Update for ATI Retail Mac Cards (Oct. 21st, 2004). I compared all the card model firmware fixes/changes listings in the Oct. 2004 update release notes to the Sept. 2004 update release notes and found there are two new items in the Oct. 2004 release notes:

  • The clock speed for the 64MB Radeon 9000 has been restored back to its original speed. (The Sept. update set it to the same clock speed of the later 128MB 9000 model - 250MHz instead of the original 275MHz.)
  • The 'hotfix' (released after the Sept. ROM update) for display corruption with the 9200 PCI card has now been included in the univ. updater.

Here's a copy of the 2 new items in the Oct. 2004 update release notes (see the linked page for a full list by card including the fixes/changes from Sept.):

RADEON 9000 Pro
Custom ROM to restore clock speeds back to original settings on 64 MB version.

Fixed a bug where possible desktop corruption may occur.

The Sept. 20th news page had links/info on ATI's September 2004 ATI RADEON Universal ROM Update for ATI Retail Mac Cards. (See the ATI release notes for a list of changes/fixes by card type.) They also released a new ATI Displays version 4.4 that added OEM card support for 3D/GL overrides.
When the Sept. updater was released, I flashed a retail Mac 9800 Pro card in 10.3.5 in a MDD G4 OK. Several readers sent feedback on the Firmware update, including reports from owners of flashed PC models. (The worst report later turned out to be due to a bad power supply cable).
Also included are some OEM card owner reports on 3D/GL Override support added in ATI Displays v4.4. (Previously OEM Radeon card owners had to patch the displays app using Radeon Enabler.) Two 9200 PCI card owners reported the firmware update did not help with the display artifacts they were seeing but one 9200 owner said he had not seen the problem after several hours of use with the new firmware. (For example screenshots see the 9200 feedback page) but ATI on Oct. 7th, 2004 released a Mac Radeon 9200 PCI ROM HotFix (for display corruption)

" Hi Mike
Just wanted to let you know that we've posted a new ROM flash specifically for the RADEON 9200 PCI. This HotFix was created to eliminate the corruption some people have seen on the finder (memory corruption to be specific). (some example screenshots are on our 9200 feedback page-Mike) This problem seems to only affect a very small percentage of cards and some people have simply opted to have their cards exchanged. With this update there is no need to send the card back to the original retail nor ATI. There is a flasher program for both Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.

The ROM will be rolled into future production runs (it was later added to the Oct. 21st released Univ. retail Radeon ROM updater) and will also be incorporated into an update of the Universal RADEON ROM installer first released a couple of weeks ago.
Bruno (ATI) "

Notes/Flash Tips: In case you have a flash failure (rare), here's a clip from ATI's ROM update readme

" *WARNING: If your computer is accidentally shut down in the middle of the update, you may need to use a secondary video card to start the system and re-apply the update.

A flash failure due to power loss or other interruption of the flash procedure (system crash/hang) will generally leave the RADEON card with an invalid or blank ROM. When booting such a card you will not have a valid display. Apple System Profiler will show this card with a name of "pcifff,ffff." You will need to boot from a different card (or on-board video) to run the flash program again. Run this version of the flash program to repair a previously blanked RADEON card.  You may flash to either old or new version during the repair

IMPORTANT: Do not turn off your computer while the firmware update is being applied.*  Do not run any other applications while running the firmware update. The update will flash all retail RADEON cards installed in the computer....

For convenience, the firmware update will work with or without a display connected to any RADEON Mac Edition card. As an advanced option, the original firmware release and in some cases an interim release are also included. There should be no need to revert to the older versions."

Reader Feedback (most recent first)
(I welcome feedback from readers on these updates. Include card details, and check Apple System Profiler (or ATI's Display Control panel info) before and after the update if you can to include firmware versions (before/after) in reports. Thanks.)

Flash Tip for 9000/64MB Owners: to confirm what a reader said earlier, Bruno of ATI notes that you must do a custom install to update a Radeon 9000/64MB card to the latest ROM (to restore the 275MHz clock speed)

(added 10/22/2004)
"I haven't read the release notes with the installer, so if the following is not mentioned, it will be addressed when we fix the script error.

To restore (or preserve) the 275MHz clock speed of the RADEON 9000, you *MUST* perform a CUSTOM install and manually select the correct RADEON 9000 entry from the list.

Otherwise, the Easy/standard install will always default to the 250MHz speed to maintain compatibility with the newest RADEON 9000 boards.
Bruno "

Radeon 9000/64MB:

(added 10/22/2004)
"Just ran the Oct. Update a few minutes ago on Retail Radeon 9000 (64MB); with ATIccelerator II shows-
Processor: 274.50 Mhz
Memory 249.75 Mhz

Had read the tip from Bruno in Video Forum and ran the specified custom install. Card also now shows -136 rom in ASP, whereas it was -135 with earlier Sept. update.

Really haven't done any benchmarks other than Xbench before this update, and we know how poor that is for gauging video speeds.
Thanks again for great site, and timely update info.

Radeon 7000:

(added 10/22/2004)
"Hi Mike,
this Update is OLDER for ATI 7000 PCI than the last ATI PCI Update. Nothing happens (good).
LAst Update V226, this Update V225. So no changes by using this flasher.
-Andreas "

Older than the September 2004 ROM update?? (any other 7000 card owners see this? per the release notes it should not be any later but not any older either.)

Radeon 8500: this 8500 owner reported problems previously (I suspect a bad card or some other factor in the system- bad ram/corrupted files, etc.)

(added 10/22/2004)
"Mike, I just ran the October ATI ROM update on my ATI 8500 ... after restarting, the very first window I tried to minimize froze half way down doing the genie effect ... about 20 seconds later the curser froze ... so I am still in the same boat ... I would love to discuss this with Bruno (I forwarded his mail to Bruno at ATI-Mike) ... I have put in requests for technical service assistance twice in the last year at ATI's web site - both have gone unanswered.
Again, I appreciate any help you are able to offer.
Brandan L. "

Radeon 9000/64MB: (didn't use the custom install I suspect)

(added 10/22/2004)
"Mike, I own The Retail 9000 Pro AGP card. After applying the Oct. update, I still am only getting a 250Mhz reading via ATiccelerator II. I applied the Sept. update when it first came out. After applying the Oct. update I rebooted and repaired privileges but no change.
Lee "

I asked if he did a "custom" install (otherwise as mentioned in one of the first reports it will not update the firmware on a 9000 that had the previous update flashed - and a custom install is required to flash the 275MHz 9000/64MB firmware as Bruno mentioned above.)

Radeon 8500:

(added 10/22/2004)
"Hi Mike,
My System:G4 1,25 MDD, Radeon 8500, 10.3.5
I have many probs with this new ati october update. Sometimes the screen is still blue after pressing the power button-nothing happens.
I reset NV RAM with Open Firmware several times.
Now I realize strange colored patterns.
I also use Aticcelerator II (version 1.0.3) and never had any problems with an overclocking of 10 percent.
I just reinstalled Ati september update and hope this sh.. is gone. I will let you know...
Jurgen "

But if you already applied the Sept. rom update to the 8500 - the Oct. rom update was not needed (it should have been the same firmwareas I mentioned in the news post, the release notes did not mention any new changes other than for the 9000/64MB and 9200 PCI)

Note on Installer Script Typo:

(added 10/22/2004)
"Hi Mike,
There MAY be a bug in the October 2004 ATI RADEON Universal ROM Update script.
Near the end of the installation the console log reports the message:
rm: /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kernalcaches: No such file or directory

That's probably because the directory is really:

I'm guessing this means people who run the installer may not see the effect of the update if the OS continues to load the old software via the cache. I thought you might want to pass onto your friends at ATI.
Regards, Steve "

I sent a copy of this to Bruno at ATI. (since this is a card firmware update, unless it installs a rom xtender patch file, the cache should't affect operation other than reported info perhaps and a few reboots should fix that, or just delete the cache.)

I asked for more info from this reader as the firmware updates are not for OEM cards, which he mentioned he had.

(added 10/22/2004)
"Hi Mike, Just to let you know I tried the new ATI drivers released and it screwed up my system, turned it off 2 hrs after installation and the system refused to boot and got kernel panics and made the power light flash on off violently. Had to do a full system reinstall. Very disappointing on ATI's side.
G4 MDD 1.25 DP, Formac “17 adc. ATI 9000 oem, 1.75 ram, latest Software OS updates.
P.s. Did a reinstall with preserve network settings that got me up in 30 mins incase other readers have same prob. "

The firmware update is only for the retail cards and Adrian noted an OEM 9000 so it shouldn't even have applied any firmware update to an OEM card. But I asked about the "drivers" comment to see if he meant the Sept. released ATI displays 4.4 (which added oem radeon 3d/gl overrides w/o needing 'radeon enabler' anymore). That alone should not have caused any problems normally.

Radeon 9000/64MB:

(added 10/22/2004)
"It appears that to update the ATI 9000 with the corrected clock, you have to do a Custom Install or you will get the old 135 instead of the new 136.

I have a dual 1.25GHZ MDD with the 64MB Radeon 9000. When I run the updater, it launches ATIPublicROMUpdaterX, which immediately quits. There is no crash log I can find. My video card is never flashed. This happens whether I do Easy Install, or Manual Install with either 135 or 136. I also tried installing after a Safe Boot, with no luck.
See screen shot. This is the same before and after running the updater - ROM version 127.
Wes "

I asked Wes if his 9000 was a retail card (not an OEM model), since the updater won't flash an OEM card.

(added 10/22/2004)
"Hey mike, I installed that new ATI ROM update (with fingers crossed)- i have a flashed PC 9800 and the september update wouldn't run at all.
The october one did for whatever reason- system profiler used to report ROM Revision 113-A07525-114, now it's 113-A07525-130.
I know you (ATI) can't support/promote flashed cards, but I thought you might like to know.
Thanks (anonymous please ;) "

Officially if anything goes wrong with the flash on a pc card (i.e. rom chip not large enough, etc.) you're on your own.

(Note - reports below were before the Oct. 2004 ROM Updater was released which changed ROMs only for the 9000/64MB and included the hotfix for the 9200 PCI Radeon.)

9200 PCI ROM Hotfix Feedback:

(added 10/12/2004)
"Hey Mike, Just wanted to let you know that I have downloaded the new ROM update (Hotfix) for the ATi 9200ME and seems to be working very well. I have been collecting several components over the last few months in order to upgrade a B&W G3 rev.1 that I've had. I started putting a few things into it, among which was the video card. I installed the card a few days ago and it seemed to be doing fine until last evening. After the G3 had been running for several hours, I began to notice some of the screen artifacts that had previously been discussed on your site. (see screenshot samples on the 9200 PCI reports page) I downloaded and installed the ATi update and it seems to be working very well after running for about 8 hours. Thanks for providing the link.

BTW, I'd be happy to send you a report on my upgrades if you like. I'm still installing things and working out some unexpected issues, but if you think that your readers would be interested, I'd be glad to share some info after I've finished. Among the upgrades I've chosen for this B&W G3 project are:

  • Sonnet Encore/ZIF G4 1000Mhz (see G4 reviews page for full review/comparison)
  • Sonnet Tempo Serial ATA PCI card
  • Two (2) Maxtor Diamondmax 300GB SATA HD
  • Sonnet Aria Extreme PCI
  • Pioneer DVR-107D
  • ATi RADEON 9200 Mac Edition Video Card
  • RAM upgrade
  • PRAM battery replacement

Thanks for providing such a great site. I've gotten a LOT of help from your "G3-zone" and just thought I might give a little back. You really helped to make this project a lot easier than it might have otherwise been... Thanks again for all your help. Have a great week.
Charles C. "

(added 10/12/2004)
"Mike, I have recently seen some of the original problem with "green pixels" on my replacement 9200ME, but only 5-7 pixels are showing up compared to what was originally happening with the card I returned to OWC and reported to you earlier.

It was a surprise to see any at all, but since there were so few pixels showing up, I decided to simply monitor the situation and see what happens, then let you and Bruno know about it.

In the meantime, the hotfix was released and I installed the hot fix yesterday. The few "green pixels" are now gone. So, the fix worked for my second 9200ME (v121 hotfix to v124). I'll let you know if the 9200ME exhibits any further "Green Pixels" or other oddities.
-Rod "

See the 9200 PCI reports page for Rod's previous report w/screenshots.

8500 w/only a TV as Monitor:

(added 10/11/2004)
"Just wanted to give a quick report of what I found when I used the ATI Sept 2004 ROM Updater on my G4/500's Radeon 8500. This machine is connected only to an S-Video TV Monitor (no other monitor attached). The new ROM introduced some new issues without solving my biggest complaint since I bought the card:

It won't restore the custom screen size data that you set with the ATI control panel after you come back from "Full Screen" mode (e.g., VLC, Quicktime, Mplayer, DVDPlayer, etc). That and the S-Video Sharpness default to factory settings every time....

Now the new bugs...

1) Waking from sleep with TV off - the card no longer recognizes the TV at any time, just at wake up. No matter what setting I use for Detect Displays seemingly.

2) Worse yet, upon waking up, with the TV monitor on, the system no longer loads the color profile from the Displays Control Panel. You must now go to System Prefs->Displays->Color and select a different profile, then reselect the original setting to have it manually reloaded.

To be honest this is too much to bother with and I think I will have to restore the old ROM and hope that they fix these issues soon.
Cheers, jim "

It may not matter but I asked if he also updated to the v4.4 ati displays and redetected the display. (ATI wrote me after posting this to ask for Jim's contact info to try and solve this problem.)

9000 Pro (64MB):

(added 9/24/2004)
"Firmware update downclocked 9000/64MB clock.
Before: 275 MHz (core) After: 250 MHz, like the 128 MB version of this card.

Either a major blunder, or a shame to knowingly release an update downclocking thousands of cards!
Camper-Hunter "

What did you use to verify this? (ATIcellerator II or the previous ROM editing utility.)

Gigabit DP500 - Radeon AGP:

(added 9/24/2004)
"I updated my Radeon AGP in my Sonnet upgraded Dual G4 500 and now the machine has trouble waking from sleep. Sometimes it wakes normally, sometimes it wakes with what looks like there is static on screen, and sometimes the screen would not wake at all. I wish I have the older firmware so I can put that back in.
Raymond C.
(Just for the record I asked for more details, any other 3rd party cards installed, os version used, etc.)
I have a PCI ATA card ACARD controller. Machine is running 10.3.5 with over 1 MB of memory. "

if it had no sleep problems previously I can understand suspecting the firmware update. If any other card owners see this let me know (some noted fixes with the updates but at least one other person saw a similar problem.)

B&W G3 w/G4 ZIF - Radeon 7000 PCI:

(added 9/24/2004)
"Hi Mike, A few updates on the recent Radeon firmware upgrades plus an update on the XLR8 G4 upgrade I posted earlier.
I have a Radeon Mac Edition PCI and a Radeon 7000 PCI (Mac Edition) in a B&W G3 (with G4 upgrade) and a Beige G3 respectively. In all ROM versions prior to this update (including a beta in the Mac Edition), the cards regularly caused severe system hangs and kernel panics both in 2D and 3D applications (OSX 10.2.x to 10.3.x). Since the updates and under extensive testing, I have not had a single panic or freeze on either machine. Great! It's only taken them a few years to sort it out, but better late than never :o)

On the G4 upgrade front, I have been running the XLR8 G4 550+ overclocked at 650:259 in my B&W G3 reliably for the past few months. I finally got to check the G4 part on the chip and it is a 500Mhz rated part.

Curiously, when I run 'timedemo four' in Quake3 with the new ATI drivers and the G4 at 650MHz, I get a framerate of 66FPS on the Mac Edition, in contrast to 73FPS with my original G4 upgrade post which used the old drivers and the G4 running at at 600Mhz. This tells me there are some extra safe-paths with the new ATI drivers, which is fine by me - I'd gladly give my FPS up for a more stable system ;o)
Regards, Jose.
(he later wrote)
I checked the ROM speed and it is the same as the stock ROM settings: 166/166. What could be a factor in the speed decrease is that they probably have disabled certain hardware features that were either buggy or were known to cause problems - in these cases, the GL system will fall back to OSX's software renderer (for example, the Radeon Mac Edition and 7000 do not support rendering of quads in hardware, so the software takes care of this case). "

There's some run/run variation in any benchmark/timedemo but that's more than usual. But unless they changed a clock rate in the rom update, there should be no performance differences (per the chg notes only bug fixes, etc.) The ATI Displays control panel update had a new app and TVout extension but not new drivers as far as I can tell.)
But see above, as one reader said the 9000 ROM had the core clock lower in the new rom (250MHz vs 275MHz previously, although the new 9000/128MB card reportedly has a 250/250 clock also.)
When this question first came up (someone reporting lower performance), I remembered there's a ROM editing/overclocking utility but I can't remember the name of it right now. (To use for checking the old/new ROM clocks.)

B&W G3 w/G4 600MHz - Radeon PCI:

(added 9/24/2004)
"Hi Mike, Just wanted to add my report to the list. I have a B&W G3, running a PowerLogix G4 upgrade at 600 MHz. My graphics card is a retail Radeon Mac Edition PCI. The ROM update went as expected. The new ATI Displays is nice.
I run both Mac OS X 10.3.5 and Mac OS 9.2.2, and the card still works fine in both. Apple System Profiler reported
before: ROM Revision: 113-77701-126
after: ROM Revision: 113-77701-225
Todd "

IBM T221 High Res. Display w/9800 Pro: (9MP display also sold by viewsonic)

(added 9/23/2004)
"This update still does not fix the problem with Radeon 9800 series cards and the IBM T221 Monitor. Connect a 9800 to the T221 and you still get no video out. What is ATI's problem? Why would they even bother to mention it in the release notes:

    " Digital displays are generally 60Hz, though some displays such as IBM's T221 high-end LCD will allow a lower refresh rate for increased resolutions(example: 3840x2400@15Hz)."


I asked Chris if he applied both the rom update (assuming retail 9800) and the 4.4 Displays update - and tried redetected the display. The July 8th, 2004 news page had previous reports on using that display with other cards (8500 and 9000 models) at very low refresh rates.

DA G4 w/9800 Pro:

(added 9/23/2004)
"HI, I finished the display and ROM updates a short while ago on my G4 Dig. Audio 733 with 9800 Pro card. When I first installed this card a year ago, I had hoped that it would have helped reduce the hugh delay when resizing a window, but it didn't. With all the system updates since then (running 10.3.5), I thought that one of them would have helped too, but no.

Now I can report that these updates do. My window resize is MUCH better. Still isn't instant, but starts right away, and is "stickier", follows the cursor much better.

Also, on the ROM update page, it notes that, from the 9000 on upward it "Fixed hotplug bug with 20", 23", and 30" DVI Apple Cinema Displays"

Notice the 30". Is this an error, or can the 30" be driven, at a lower rez, or at a (much) lower refresh rate? What do you think?
Best regards,
Mel G "

In the July 9th news page here there was a report on an 8500 card owner (and 9000 card) using an even higher resolution display - the IBM/Viewsonic 9 million pixel display which far exceeded the ATI spec'd limits of the card (but as noted the display was run at a very very low refresh rate).

DA G4 w/Flashed PC 8500:

(added 9/23/2004)
"I have a flashed Hercules 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE (AGP) on my Digital Audio with G-celerator 1.4GHz G4 accelerator card.
I had no problem to update the card to ROM# 113-85710-227. But I don't see any benefit whith the update (yet?).
Livio V. "

As mentioned before - see the release notes of the firmware update for details by card type what was fixed/changed.

Sawtooth G4/Flashed 8500:

(added 9/23/2004)
"In my case however, after the update, neither of the two displays will wake from deep sleep! (I installed the upgrade to check out the VersaVision options).
I must admit, it's not really a standard configuration, but other users should be warned.
Mac:			PowerMac G4/350/AGP
Processor:	Sonnet Encore ST/G4/1200MHz
Videocard:	Flashed PC version 3D Club Radeon 8500 (64MB)
Display 1:		Samsung SyncMaster 172T/DVI
Display 2:		Sony TV

This combination worked flawlessly before the ROM upgrade. BTW All new options, like VersaVision (albeit very slow) work as advertised.
Adam "

Since it's a flashed PC card you're out of luck as far as getting any official help from ATI. Some others noted boot/default refresh rates after the update - Did you redetect the displays?

Sawtooth G4 w/Flashed PC 8500:

(added 9/23/2004)
"Power Mac G4 (AGP graphics), Boot ROM Version: 4.2.8f1.
Graphics card info (from ASP)

  Type: display 
  Bus: AGP 
  Slot: SLOT-A 
  VRAM (Total): 64 MB 
  Vendor: ATI (0x1002) 
  Device ID: 0x514c 
  Revision ID: 0x0000 
  ROM Revision: 113-85710-227 

  Type: display 
  Display Type: LCD 
  VRAM (In Use): 64 MB 
  Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 60 Hz 
  Depth: 32-bit Color 
  Main Display: Yes 
  Mirror: Off 
  Online: Yes 

 Status: No display connected 

I ran the rom update on my 8500. This was a pc card that I flashed with Mac rom last spring. Update went without a hitch. Installed the new drivers. Versavision works fine with my Dell FP1901. I have had no problems since the upgrade.
James P. "

MDD G4 SP w/9000 Pro:

(added 9/23/2004)
"MDD 1.25 single, 9000 Pro (retail)
Upgraded firmware first, not realizing that it had to be done in tandem with the display utilities update. Restarted, all seemed fine. Looked at some JPEGs on the web and the colors were WAY off. Recalibrated my monitor thinking that was the issue, no.
Long story short, upgraded the display utility, restarted, same JPEGs now look spot-on. So for any G4 users that experienced that problem, there's the solution.
Boss "

I didn't see any jpeg problems when I tested ati displays 4.2.5 (prev. version) with an updated rom 9800 Pro (in 10.2.8), so not sure what caused your problem but glad it's fixed, and users would want to install the 4.4 displays update anyway.

Sawtooth G4 w/8500:

(added 9/23/2004)
"I have a Sawtooth upgraded with OWC 1.2GHz 7455b running at 1.3GHz, with a Radeon Mac 8500. I updated the ROM then the software. On boot-up, the card had selected an incompatible 800x600 resolution for my analog LCD monitor, but I patiently waited for the system to finish its startup so that I could reset things back to 1280x1024. I'm not sure if anything else is different from previous.
Ed "

See the release notes for 8500 card firmware fixes/changes (and ATI Displays 4.4 enabled display rotation support if used w/firmware update).

Dual 1.42GHz MDD G4 w/OEM 9000: (As mentioned in the update, the firmware updater does not flash OEM cards.)

(added 9/22/2004)
"Hi Mike, Just a bit of a negative note to say that the updater defintely doesn't want to have anything to do with my OEM card - a stock ATI Radeon 9000 OEM in a Dual 1.42GHz MDD G4 (FW800). It is currently running the -130 version of the firmware, and the ROM updater bails out in a similar way to the Flashed PC 8500 report below.
Sad, but true. :o)
Cheers! Andy.
(I asked Andy if he had tried the ATI Displays 4.4 3D/GL overrides which now support OEM cards w/o needing to patch it with Radeon Enabler.)
Yes, happily the 3D/GL overrides seem to function just as well as when they were patched on by Radeon Enabler. It would be nice if Apple could come out with a ROM flasher for their OEM products, though - the rotating display feature, and a couple of the bugfixes would be nice, as I'm afflicted with the (minor) blank screen problem on boot-up when running a VGA monitor in 1600x1200. This apparantly fixed in the latest firmware, according to the HTML help file, anyway... :o) "

Sawtooth G4/AGP with (original) Radeon AGP:

(added 9/22/2004)
"Mac Model - Sawtooth w/ 1.4GHz Gigadesigns upgrade
Radeon Mac Edition (AGP) 32MB

Update went fine and flawlessly from (ROM) 119 to 224, one minor gripe: Displays Preferences lost track of my monitor type - It now offers VGA Display and gives junk resolutons. I think I'll try 215 and see if it does anything.
(he later wrote)
I just tried all three ROM's the update carries, and original 119 is the only one that can identify the display properly. In addition, 119 and the latest 224 both boot up with some 800x600 at 65 Hz or similar resolution, while 215 booted up with my selected resolution 1280x1024 at 85Hz.
(I asked for monitor details)
The monitor is LG Flatron 915FT Plus, with cable running from monitors VGA -port to Radeon's DVI -port. Still haven't had the time to check the older fw, will try on friday at least. "

Several other people mentioned different boot default modes too after the update. Bruno suggested redectecting the display after the updates.

B&W G3 w/G4 upgrade, Radeon PCI:

(added 9/22/2004)
"I've been having extensive problems with the ATI ROM Update September 2004 and ATI Display 4.4 on my B&W G4/500 (w/ OEM Rage 128 and Retail Radeon PCI video cards). I've had to reinstall OS X 10.3.5 five times already. Each time, the system would freeze at the Apple logo on startup (no spinning thing).

After I get the system back up and running, the ATI Display 4.4 is installed in the Utilities folder, but is now incomplete due to the missing TV Out kext installed in the System folder. Manually installing that kext causes the system to die again. The ROM doesn't appear to successfully update either, hanging at startup after the restart (ROM still reports -106, should be -225)

Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow with an earlier ROM.
- David Z. "

Digital Audio w/8500 card:

(added 9/22/2004)
"I flashed my ATI Radeon 8500 Mac Edition (ATI Retail, AGP 4x) in my Power Mac G4 466 Digital Audio. Flashing was fast (<5 sec) and painless, but I did do a 'Custom Install' and uncheck ROMs for cards that I do not have installed. I then installed the ATI Displays 4.4 software. Versavision works fine; 64 MB of VRAM continue to be recognized; Mac2TV can be configured without a TV plugged in.

I've attached screenshots from ATI Displays before and after the ROM flashing. As you can see, the ROM is updated from 123 to 227. (displays 4.4 update includes a revised tvout extension but not any new card drivers - ATITVOut 2.5.2) Everything looks dandy; since Quartz Extreme is enabled (cursor drop shadow), it seems that OpenGL and hardware acceleration is flawless. I haven't run the card through OpenGL games, but I have little doubt they will work. (the card has QE support previously also, all radeon cards do.)
(he later wrote)
.. I sent you a message earlier about updating my 8500 with the latest ATI ROM. Since then the card has been working flawlessly, but I noticed a glitch with my system that I have never observed before. The following lines came up in the console when I tried to sleep:

Sep 21 23:05:40 localhost kernel:
USBF:	8425.618	AppleUSBOHCI[0x1c53800]::MakeDevice error setting
 address. err=0xe00002ed device=0x239a000 - releasing device
 Sep 21 23:05:40 localhost kernel: 
USBF:	8426.418	AppleUSBOHCI[0x1c53800]::MakeDevice error setting
 address. err=0xe00002ed device=0x239a000 - releasing device
Sep 21 23:05:41 localhost kernel: 
USBF:	8427.218	AppleUSBOHCI[0x1c53800]::MakeDevice error setting 
address. err=0xe00002ed device=0x239a000 - releasing device
Sep 21 23:05:42 localhost kernel: USBF:	8428. 
18	AppleUSBOHCI[0x1c53800]::MakeDevice error setting address. 
err=0xe00002ed device=0x239a000 - releasing device

The system would try to sleep but then always bounce back about half a second after the main fan turned off and HD span down. I have a four-port Belkin USB 1.0/1.1 powered hub, which had a never-before-seen orange light on it. I reset the hub (switched its power source from Power Adapter to USB bus and back to Power Adapter), which brought back the green lights. The system then slept without incident.

I wonder if this USB "error" was brought about by the flashing utility, or whether it was a pure coincidence. Whatever the case, my computer falls asleep without problems now.
Thanks, Derek "

Digital Audio system w/Multiple Radeons and Displays:

(added 9/22/2004)
"Hi Mike, I've had a bit over 24 hours now to test the new ATi Radeon firmware and control software in my G4-533 DA/1.5BG/Radeon 8500 AGP/(2) Radeon 7000s/(6) CRT PowerMac.
I was quite motivated to try the updates after reading the bug fix list, which contained more than one issue I had been regularly and intermittently experiencing.

The first big confirmed fix was blank screens on wake. It had gotten pretty bad since Panther 10.3.3, and I had gotten to the point where I had set sleep to 'Never', to avoid a condition where waking from deep sleep after long periods in sleep (could not reliably trigger by just executing sleep then immediately waking or even waiting up to 30 minutes) would result in totally blank screens, but a fully functioning machine hiding in the dark behind. I could SSH in and safely execute a reboot, but I could not get video for a GUI session in VNC, ARD, etc.. This condition now appears to be fixed. Though I do still suffer from a serious SCSI-triggered delay of exactly 90 seconds of what appears to be a dead machine if I leave my Plextor SCSI drive attached, if I pull off the SCSI chain entirely, I get instant access to screensaver-login and the GUI.

The second issue I had been seeing was an intermittent, partial or complete loss of cursor control, typically on reentry from screensaver login. I have not had enough time to be sure that particular bug is entirely quashed, but my cursor no longer delays (hangs) as long as it did upon login or resolution changes. Before, e.g., if I were to change screen resolutions, and pick a resolution requiring confirmation, the cursor might freeze/hang for most of the 15 second countdown, and I could not get the mouse to the confirmation dialog in time to accept the change (God bless cscreen and AppleScript to work around this problem). This behavior is definitely gone.

Another issue happily disposed of is one where the secondary display on each of my two Radeon 7K cards, despite being identical to the primary displays of each card, showed fewer available resolutions, and failed to properly identify themselves. I had believed that problem to be an issue with the DVI-VGA adapters killing the identification signal (what is that called again?), but turns out it was firmware, because they now properly ID themselves and I can get to more and better resolutions than before.

Yet another issue that appears to be gone is now where on about two of every three reboots, especially when coming up from a cold-start, I would lose the set arrangement of my six CRT screens (three over three with the primary on lower-center). I have been cringing for nearly the whole run of OS X every time I had to shutdown or reboot (typically only for updates requiring it or testing applications I write), knowing I would probably have to spend a few or more annoying minutes rearranging all my screens, and going through tedious resets of window display prefs for apps that are poorly written for multiple screens. So far, after testing around a dozen cold starts and standard reboots, my display arrangement has managed to survive on all attempts. That alone was worth the cost of the update.

Regarding VersaVision, I now have it, and was pretty jazzed to get it, even though at the moment I cannot practically employ it due to the physical arrangement of my screens (the upper set is mounted directly on the lower set with no stands). I have plans to use it, though, and despite an apparent bug that leaves the rotated display in maximum (2048x1152) resolution on returning to normal orientation, instead of returning to the prior preferred resolution (1280x1024), it appears to function properly. I was even impressed to learn it supports rotation of both displays attached to the Radeon 8500.

So far I have only tested Mac2TV on the 8500, but it appears to function more swiftly and I really feel as though the picture is sharper than it was. I may be imagining it, but it really does look like it's got shading and shadow effects that were not there before when display on a video monitor. I did not expect to test it, so I failed to really note conditions prior to the test.

My only minor complaint is that the ATi control software is really, really slow to launch and display screen info, (in older video card reviews in OS 9.x I saw a -long- delay in opening the control panel but it was faster in OS X typically, but I have only one card installed.-Mike) and takes an even longer time to initiate any changes (as compared to the prior version); I assume it has more to do with running through all six screens, and I suspect each display triggers a lengthy test sequence that is likely repeated without necessity for each display (perhaps a 'detect displays' sequence?). It's also a serious CPU pig. And is there no one at ATi who knows how to build a proper PreferencePane? Using a PP space just to trigger an external app is kinda cheesy.

No real apparent changes in screen performance for my daily applications; I only briefly tested Spiderman, Diablo LoD, Age of Mythology, Warbirds and NWN to make sure they could still launch and play for thirty seconds or so. They all do.

As for prior firmware info, I screwed up and didn't think to note it before updating. I can tell you that I skipped the last available update, and if there were anymore since I purchased the two 7K cards back when they first came out, and the 8500 within a month of it coming out, I didn't use those, either (they didn't note fixing any issues I felt I was seeing).

Here's the new info:

    Radeon 8500 
  Bus:    AGP
  VRAM (Total):    64 MB
  ROM Revision:    113-85710-227

  Bus:    PCI
    Radeon 7000 (1st gen.)
  Slot:    SLOT-3
  VRAM (Total):    32 MB
  ROM Revision:    113-85501-226

  Slot:    SLOT-2
    Radeon 7000 (1st gen.)
  VRAM (Total):    32 MB
  ROM Revision:    113-85501-226

Hope this report was not too long, and may prove useful for people looking to solve similar issues.
(he later wrote on console log errors)
Mike, Been noticing some (apparently harmless) errors appearing in Console.log today; repeatable across numerous machines; please note the odd error generated by Entourage, but related to ATi Displays.app:

2004-09-20 20:46:39.974 ATI Displays[783] CFLog (0):
Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.

2004-09-20 20:46:39.978 ATI Displays[783] CFLog (0):
The file name for this data might be (or it might not):

2004-09-20 20:46:57.661 ATI Displays[783] CFLog (0): WARNING:
CFSTR("Mac2TV\252") has non-7 bit chars, interpreting using MacOS Roman
encoding for now, but this will change. Please eliminate usages of non-7
bit chars (including escaped characters above \177 octal) in CFSTR().

2004-09-21 08:30:35.953 Microsoft Entourage[875] CFLog (0): 
 CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): plist parse failed; 
 the data is not proper UTF-8. 
 The file name for this data could be:
 Contents/Info.plist --

The parser will retry as in 10.2, 
but the problem should be corrected in the plist.

2004-09-21 17:26:28.724 ATI Displays[5334] CFLog (0):
Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.

2004-09-21 17:26:28.731 ATI Displays[5334] CFLog (0):
The file name for this data might be (or it might not):

2004-09-21 17:26:46.794 ATI Displays[5334] CFLog (0): WARNING:
CFSTR("Mac2TV\252") has non-7 bit chars, 
interpreting using MacOS Roman encoding for now, but this will change.
Please eliminate usages of non-7 bit chars 
(including escaped characters above \177 octal) in CFSTR().

2004-09-22 12:22:48.584 Microsoft Entourage[875] CFLog (0):
  CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): plist parse failed; 
  the data is not proper UTF-8. 
  The file name for this data could be:
  Contents/Info.plist -- 

The parser will retry as in 10.2, but the problem 
should be corrected in the plist.

I'm not especially worried about these errors, but they are a tad annoying, and seem to indicate that whoever programmed this version could require some lessons in remedial programming. Don't the folks at ATi test their own apps? If they knowingly ship apps with such errors, I would think they would include this amongst known problems, or at least suppress these errors."

I wrote Bruno of ATI and he said this is a known issue and it will be fixed in a future update.

G4/AGP Tower w/8500: (includes tip)

" My system is a g4 1.467GHz (upgraded cpu card) with 1.25 Gb ram and a Radeon 8500. I am running OS 10.3.5. I don't know what the rom version was on this card before I updated it to the 227 version. (Note: run apple system profiler before the update and check the hardware revision - or use ATI's displays utility which will also report it.-Mike) I also installed the ATI Displays 4.4. I have run into a problem (I don't know if it's a bug or not, but it seems to be).

On the TV out screen there was an option to always have the TV out on. I accidentally checked this and it proceeded to blank my screen and when it came back the ATI displays had quit. I know the blanking of the screen is normal for changing display parameters, it does this when I hook a second monitor up to the computer. I loaded ATI displays again and there was no tab for TV out (or whatever it was called, I can't remember as it is gone now) so I cannot stop the TV out, thus my memory is cut in half for my main monitor which will affect playing games and doing other things that require video memory. I have not found a way to turn the TV out off as of now. I have sent an email to ATI support, but have not heard back from them yet. If this is how that feature is supposed to work they need to put a warning letting people know that it can't be turned off.

I suppose I could reinstall OS X, but I really don't want to go through that hassle if I don't have to.
(he later wrote)
I found out how do solve my problem. In the Advanced tab under Display Control there is an option to "Force Single Display Operation". Once I selected this and applied it I had the Mac2TV tab back again and was able to unselect "Always Connected". It seems kind of dumb to have the software work this way. I finally found the help files when looking through the application contents. Anyway, maybe this is just a heads up or just plain stupidity on my part by not looking at the help files for the application.
Craig M.
Digital audio system w/OS 10.3.5. "

MDD Dual 1.25GHz/Radeon 9800 Pro:

"Hi Mike ! I just flashed my (Mac Edition) Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB installed in my dual 1.25Ghz G4. Original firmware was v114 and the new firmware available is v130... The flasher ran well, but on restart... Black screen with a pict of the video card with the power cable flashing in red; I assume to tell me that the extra power cable for the Radeon 9800 is unplugged..err. I tryed to shut down the computer, reset PMU, unplug and re-plug the cable, zap PRAM... nothing can revive the video card ! Alway the same picture suggesting that the radeon is not powered.

Running 10.3.5 and ATIcellerator II. I am wondering if ATIcellerator can be the cause of the problem.... anyone know ?

Tomorrow, I will try to install a PCI video card to see if I can re-flash the 9800 in order to get it work again... I hope !
(Update: he later wrote the problem was due to a damaged PS connector to the card.)
I have found the problem ! The extra power connector just burned !! Literally ! The molex connector on the video card and the power cable, both molten! It appear that the 5V overheated a LOT. I plugged an old rage 128 PCI card to see if the computer work. Yes. Since the video card itself appear to be ok (no visible damage) I changed the molex connector on it, and changed the power cable too, and everything seem to work now ! Very strange.... maybe it's just a coincidence, maybe the cable or connector was defect, maybe the mix of ATIcellerator and firmware update have temporary overclocked the video card too much and thus increase it power requirement too ?

Well... I just know one thing : we have to be careful when overclocking a video card...not only the VPU or memory can burn... but the power connectors and cables too ! (But this is VERY surprising, because I only made a 6% overclock... not much !) "

I doubt that an overclock alone did that. Years ago I did see an Electric RC Car battery connector welded together from extremely high current though. (it was using a low-turn motor, it's amazing the amps they draw from those Ni-Cad packs - I used replacement connectors with higher rating instead of the cheap standard ones. Then I switched to Gas and ditched the battery models, peak/pulse chargers, custom matched cells, etc.)

B&W G3 w/7000 PCI card:

"Hi Mike, i updated my Sapphire 7000 PCI 64 MB from -208 to 113-85501-226 with the sept 2004 Rom Updater. Used with OS X 10.3.5, G3 B&W. Flashed under OS X, Tool shows found -208 ROM and shows flash process 0-100%.
No Problems (64 MB still found, not tested but sure also no sleep of the 64MB without artefacts available.) after flashing 226. ATI GPU/RAM Overclocking tool still works.
Sleep Mode with flashed ATI 7000 64 MB now doesn't make artifacts after wake up anymore! Thanks to ati.

TIP OpenGL Benches for Users don't have Quake or Unreal: Maybe you can recommend the chimera OpenGL Demo / Bench for OpenGL Tests/Benches. (posted a note on these in past news pages but don't have the links handy now) A lot of people didn' have Quake 3 or other games for FPS tests. And you are absolut right saying "forget Xbench OpenGL values". The chimera bench is a small download (+ small scenes), so even modem users can download it. And the chimera offers real game like 3D function tests , even shaders and most other newest 3D OpenGL functions. The new THE GRAAL szene produces very less FPS changes (small +/-) over the time and is also middle/high CPU intensive like Games. The new COSMIC RACE scene is also very gamelike, but has more FPS +/- depends how much objects are on the view, but you can memorize the lowest/highest FPS, i think.
Thanks, Mitch (germany) "

Also there are demos of games (Quake3, UT2003/UT2004, etc.) that can be used, but most are large downloads (and many not updated like the retail versions)

Flashed PC 8500 card:

"I just applied the latest Radeon-driver update, which went fine. I didn't notice increased version-numbers for anything except ATi-displays on Panther. Therefore I would really like to see a small overview on version-numbers on your site. (The Radeon Displays update yesterday as noted on their page is v4.4. the last public release was 4.2.5. the displays update normally does not update the core drivers (just the control panel and perhaps the tvout extension.) but see a later report above from an 8500 owner noting ndrv revs.
I asked people to note before/after firmware versions so I could list that here. If the card is updated - the flasher notes the before/after version but best is to check Apple System Profiler -before- (and after) you flash the card as the flasher's numbers to not stay on the screen very long.-Mike.

Different story for radeon-rom-update.
I have a flashed 8500 with v126 Rom and the installer bails out after trying to apply ATi-PublicROMUpdaterX, leaving me with my old ROM intact. Downgrading drivers, removing AticcelleratorII didn't work either, and while digging through the Package I noticed a Classic-App still in the Bundle, but ATi is correct in saying you need OS X, since OS 9 refuses to launch it entirely. Unfortunately this is not a standard pkg-installer, so I failed to extract any components out of the rsrc- and data-files. I would like to know if ATi implemented a kind of mac-tax-payed?-check in the installer.
greetings, mn
(he later wrote with more details)
G4-400, X v10.3.5, (flashed) ATi PC-retail-8500 (Powercolor-64MB).
ROM is now still at v126; v220 and v227 didn't install. No messages about the reason. "

I'm not surprised that flashed PC cards may not be updated if they have a way to detect that (card ID, etc.) although the 7000 PCI card owner above said his was.

Flashed PowerColor 9800 Pro:

"Hi Mike, Been running the update to ROM version 130 on my hacked PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro for about 8 hours with no problems. I had been running version 117, which caused a very light snowing or static effect after playing any 3D game for more than an hour. Glad to see that's gone and that it was not caused by a mistake I made in the PC-Mac conversion. Other than that, I see no noticeable performance loss or gain in games or normal operation. (See the ATI release notes for a list of changes/fixes.-Mike.) ATIccelerator II 1.0.4 still works. I verified it by doing a 50% underclock then watching UT2004 framerate drop by 35%.
Quick run down of the hardware:
G4 FW800 dual 1.42GHz overclocked to 1.58GHz
2.0GB RAM, OS X 10.3.5
only VGA port used to connect a 19" CRT. I do not own a DVI-compatible LCD, so I could not test the DVI out. Thanks for the awesome site,
(he later wrote)
Everything in ATI Displays 4.4 works. Custom game video tweaks, display rotation, resolution, and refresh rate are functional. Display rotation goes to black screen for about 5 seconds between switching, but that's normal. NTSC S-Video out works too; don't know about PAL. "

9200 PCI card:

"Hi Mike,
After all I did notice those green screen artifacts although to a much lesser extend then some people had.
I downloaded and applied the new firmware and the old firmware was:

ROM-revision: 113-A27502-120
The new one:
ROM-revision: 113-A27502-121

The screen artifacts remain, and it wasnt mentioned in the firmware update that it would address this issue on the ATI Radeon 9200 Mac edition.

So this still seems to be a remaining issue.
I hope this helps, Jacob "

For example screenshots of display artifacts some (but not all) 9200 owners have reported, see the 9200 feedback page.

9200 PCI card

The Radeon 9/20/04 update was applied to my replacement 9200ME, which I received from OWC today. This new replacement had ROM Version 113-A27502-120, which became ROM Version 113-A27502-121 after the update.

This 9200ME replacement has been running about 6 hours with no sign of the pixel artifacts I originally reported with the first 9200ME we received. This is via the VGA port only, as my DVI cable was mistakenly returned with the defective 9200ME to OWC, which was then supposed to be sent to Bruno. I've asked Bruno to look for it in the original package. Hopefully, it is still there.

In the meantime, this replacement card still displays fonts as if they are semi-bold, (a bit fatter) just as the original 9200ME did, compared to the older Apple/ATI Rage 128 card, which is much sharper.

More later, when I have my DVI cable and can see if the fonts appear normal, as they did with the earlier 9200ME.
My best, -Rod "

9200 PCI card:

"i can tell you that the screen artifacts arent gone, even after the ROM and driver updates. (not a driver update - just the Displays Control panel update-Mike)
Jacob S. "

OEM Radeon 9800 Pro (G5):

"Hi Mike, I just installed the new ATI drivers on a G5 Dual 2GHz (rev A) with a OEM Radeon 9800. So far, so good. I am able to assign 3D overrides to various games without any problems as of yet. I do enjoy the FSAA, it makes the games look much better.
-- Mike V. "

I had previously used Radeon Enabler for 3d/GL overrides support with the OEM 9800 pro. Good to see they finally added OEM card support. But still no display rotation for OEM cards (and no firmware update for the OEM cards).

OEM 9600XT:

"I have a CTO 9600 XT on a Rev B. G5 1.8 DP, and both the firmware and the Displays app have installed properly. (the firmware update normally does not flash an OEM card as ATI mentioned last night. My OEM 9800 Pro card was not flashed. I asked if he actually saw a flasher progress bar/old and new version dialog, etc. - I suspect the firmware was not updated on the OEM card. Running Apple system profiler before/after the update will show this. (ATI displays control panel shows the info too).-Mike)
I haven't had any freezes tonight, which is a pleasure as the freezes have been commonplace. I don't know if this is luck, coincidence, or a result of the installation, but there would be LOTS of pleased G5'ers if this is a fix! Great site!
Aaron S
(he later wrote)
forgot to add ROM is 113-A13602-121, certainly no firmware update here. "

Radeon 9700 Mobilty:

"This is discouraging. I just bought two PowerBook G4's and can't use them with the Samsung 173P's ability to rotate and display in portrait mode. These of course have the OEM mobility 9700, which surely has the capability to support the VERSAVISION display rotation. Come on Apple. There really is a desire for this. why keep us second class citizens.
-Tom S. "

Bruno commented that there are 'runtime' patches for OEM cards in the OS, but no versavision support for OEM's. I too am hoping for a firmware update for OEM cards (but I wonder if that will ever happen, even for AGP card models.)

Here's a repeat of the info on the Radeon Firmware update:

    " Requirements
  • Bootable Mac OS X 10.1.5 or newer system
  • Retail RADEON Mac Edition graphics card (installed in AGP and/or PCI slot)
  • Firmware Update application file (included in download)
  • The computer MUST NOT be interrupted (shut down or power failure) during firmware update.


I asked if there was any hope of an update for OEM card owners. (Apple controls the release of OEM card firmware.) and got this reply:

" Updates to Apple/Mac OEM installations of RADEON technology come in the form of updated run-time driver files. Collectively, the updates are included with OS updates from Apple in the ATIRunTimeDriver.bundle. Not every update will affect every card. And not every OS update will revise the bundle contents. Updates are provided as needed and as requested by Apple.

At this time, the advanced features present in ATI Displays (namely VERSAVISION and the display-related overrides) are not available for BTO/CTO, Built-In nor Mobile RADEON products. "

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