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Thread: Flashrom To Support Flashing ATI Graphics Cards

  1. #1
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    Default Flashrom To Support Flashing ATI Graphics Cards

    Phoronix: Flashrom To Support Flashing ATI Graphics Cards

    We have learned that Flashrom, an open-source program for flashing the BIOSes on many different motherboards / chipsets, is soon going to be picking up support for flashing the video BIOS image on ATI graphics cards. Specifically, it should be possible to flash the BIOS of the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) series and potentially the Radeon HD 2000/3000 (R600) series too...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NzI2Mw

  2. #2
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    Default Not working for me

    I tried to use it for my Nvidia 9400 based Gygabite MB (MCP79) and it failed.
    I tried 2 more M/B and had no success ...

  3. #3
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    Default

    Nice!
    Free flashing also for graphics cards!

  4. #4
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    Default

    i tried flashrom on my k8nf9u gigabyte mainboard. bios chip was detected. i was able to dump the bios. but...

    all i can say - dual bios solution is a life saver.

  5. #5
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    Interesting thing, but it needs of course some content to flash on these VGA-BIOS Chips. And of course one should have a backup card in store. Especially with the lot of possibly different implementations by card vendors you may need a lot of flags/command line options to set as it is with the mainboards.

  6. #6
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    but it needs of course some content to flash on these VGA-BIOS Chips
    if you report bugs on freedesktop.org frequrently you probably would learn the typical linux videocard bios dumping mantra; at least as far as ati cards are concerned.

    it would not be too difficult to get a hold of a e.g. bios file from a different (preferably newer revision of the same model) card this way.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    if you report bugs on freedesktop.org frequrently you probably would learn the typical linux videocard bios dumping mantra; at least as far as ati cards are concerned.
    it would not be too difficult to get a hold of a e.g. bios file from a different (preferably newer revision of the same model) card this way.
    Aww, don't tempt me. Sounds interesting but I might end up bricking my cards.
    Is there a link for a procedure howto and neccessary tools how to do a dump of a (ATI) VGA BIOS?

  8. #8
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    Why does a graphics card have a BIOS???

    What goes on when a graphics card is powered on?

  9. #9
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    Default

    The main point is that the System BIOS doesn't know anything about graphics hardware, so all code and data specific to the display has to be provided by the Video BIOS. That way if you take one graphics card out and put another one in you get new BIOS information to match the new hardware... and you need that in order to light up the screen during the boot process, before the OS and drivers have loaded. Everything soldered onto the motherboard is handled by the System BIOS, everything soldered onto the graphics card is covered by Video BIOS.

    When you have a motherboard with integrated graphics, there is still a separate VBIOS but the VBIOS image is usually stored in the same ROM as the SBIOS (and the ROM is bigger as a result).

    As to what happens (ie what the BIOS does) :

    The SBIOS calls VBIOS to initialize the card, and then makes subsequent calls (typically using INT10) to display information on the screen. BIOS code implements the standard INT10 calls and VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE) which are used by SBIOS and also by a number of operating systems. One example of this is the standard "vesa" DDX driver, which makes VBE calls to control the graphics card.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INT_10

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VESA_BIOS_Extensions

    The VBIOS also provides information which is used by drivers to understand the details of the card, eg what kind of connectors, how they are wired, memory type/size/speed etc. This can either be in the form of data tables or code or both.
    Last edited by bridgman; 05-13-2009 at 09:01 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Interesting!

    Makes one wonder, what the motivation is to flash it

    I can understand the purpose of coreBoot, if you are Google, but flashing a graphics card BIOS?

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