VOGONS


First post, by acl

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Hello

Halloween passed, but a dark and evil creature, laying on my desk was still haunting me. Half Radeon 9700Pro, half Radeon 9800Pro. The Frankenstein of graphic cards 🧟.

I honestly couldn't sleep last night. Not because of the Frankenstein thing, but looking for online info about my card.
I recently bought it from a local individual. 10 min from home. He was listing it as a 9700Pro. This caught my attention. But looking at the card itself, it doesn't looked like a 9700Pro.

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Pict 1. My card with cooling mounted

For comparison : VGA Museum 9800Pro VS VGA Museum 9700Pro

  • Cooling system looks like a 9700Pro
  • Molex connector instead of "floppy" connector looks like a 9800Pro
  • PCB Layout looks like a 9800Pro
  • PN 109-A07500 refers to 9800Pro online

Of course, the back of the card was of no help to identify it (or at least, i could not find any match online) :

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So just by looking at the card before buying it, i informed the seller that it could probably be a 9800Pro. (i still was interested). I bought it, and stored it in a box for a few weeks.
Yesterday, i picked all the cards i recently got to clean and test them (A few GPUs, sound cards and network controllers).
But removing the cooling and thermal paste revealed the truth.

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Pict 2. Card with removed cooling. Cleaned thermal paste.

R300 ! WTF ? I've never seen this layout. The big molex connector.
To be sure, i plugged the card into a computer. Unfortunately, the only AGP machine i had ready (At 2:00 AM) was a Windows 98SE. So no GPU-Z. Only Everest and Sisoft Sandra.
The card reported itself as 9700Pro. By both tools. The Win 9X driver from AMD website picked the card without any problems.
I completely forgot to take screenshots (but i will update the thread with them). I will try to run everything under Win XP to have access to better and more recent tools.
GPU and memory frequencies matched the 9700Pro stock values.

With Everest and Sandra, another thing reported was strange. While the GPU was reported as R300 (just like expected looking at the chip), the VGA Bios (if i remember well) reported R350 (9800Pro codename). So there is probably a kind of mix between the two cards.

Under the fan, i found a date. 2003. So at least, the fan is from 2003. So it is not an early 9700Pro from 2002. So i tend to think that it could be a late model. Manufactured after the 9800Pro design. Using the new PCB and the "old" R300 chips.

What do you think ?

Thank you very much and have a nice day !

Edit 1: Added PN 109-A07500 thing
Edit 2 : Added info about GPU/mem freq.

"Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen..."
My collection (not up to date)

Reply 1 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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There were Radeon 9800 cards on Radeon 9500/9700 PCBs (mostly in SE form), so it's not all that surprising that someone decided to manufacture R300 on new Radeon 9800 PCBs. Most likely some old stock R300 chips were just laying around.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 3 of 20, by Sphere478

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Might be a good card to use for a radeon 9700 pro overclocking record attempt

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
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SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
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Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 4 of 20, by PC Hoarder Patrol

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My guess would be an OEM / bulk product from PowerColor (the R97-C3G on the front label is their style of model #). There's a post on HardForum by someone who bought similar (inc the Molex connector) from Newegg in 2004

https://hardforum.com/threads/9700pro-for-138 … post-1026267889

Possibly a lower spec/ /rework of their PowerColor: Evil Commando 2 Radeon 9700 Pro?

Reply 5 of 20, by acl

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thank for your answers.
I looked harder online an found a few other cards.
In fact, right here, someone posted about one. But without raising questions about the "in between" design.
Radeon 9700 Pro - Repair. His pictures clearly show the HDD molex connector instead of the more commonly used floppy connector.

I also found another occurrence on Youtube Radeon 9700 PRO Clean & Thermal Paste Replace Showing the same design and R300 proudly printed on the chip.

Sphere478
Might be a good card to use for a radeon 9700 pro overclocking record attempt

I would love to try it. But... i won't 😁

PC Hoarder Patrol
Possibly a lower spec/ /rework of their PowerColor: Evil Commando 2 Radeon 9700 Pro?

I also thought at first that i could be a lower spec versions, but, at least, the frequencies are the same as a normal one.
There may be some disabled units/features.
I will look further with benchmark and detailed info once my system is installed. (Still only have a Win 98 machine. My XP is almost ready)

"Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen..."
My collection (not up to date)

Reply 6 of 20, by Grem Five

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-11-12, 09:26:

My guess would be an OEM / bulk product from PowerColor (the R97-C3G on the front label is their style of model #). There's a post on HardForum by someone who bought similar (inc the Molex connector) from Newegg in 2004

https://hardforum.com/threads/9700pro-for-138 … post-1026267889

Possibly a lower spec/ /rework of their PowerColor: Evil Commando 2 Radeon 9700 Pro?

I noticed the # looked like it was from PowerColor as well. They did a lot of strange things when it comes to the 9700 & 9800 that make identifing what you got from them interesting. Many card manufacturers did weird stuff back then I have a 9800 pro that has a R360 core is on a 9800XT PCB and correct memory but has the 9800 pro bios on it and only need a flash to make it a full XT

I have seen it both ways as mentioned where older chips are put on newer style pcbs.

Reply 7 of 20, by acl

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Unfortunately, after more tests, it looks like my 9700 have a lot of artifacts.
A lot during POST.
Windows loading screen is OK
50% of the time, windows desktop is OK. 50% i have artifacts
Artifacts tends to appear more on image displays. For example, when a window containing a picture is displayed.
3DMark2000 is OK on quite everything except bump mapping test, which is completely broken.
FarCry can load a multiplayer map, but cannot display the first map of the campaign... weird.
I suspect a memory problem (any advice ?)

Regarding pcb layout, i recently read that all R3XX cores are pin compatible. So yeah, it looks like manufacturers had fun with various layouts.
Just for fun, i recently bougth a 9800 with 9700 PCB.
PowerColor 9800 Platinum Edition (Good looking name for a lowend 9800 with 128bit memory bus) But at least, it works without artifacts

"Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen..."
My collection (not up to date)

Reply 8 of 20, by stef80

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This model could also have non-flat cooler base. They were aware of cooling problem by that time.
Look for hairline cracks in BGA memory chips. If nothing found, try lowering memory clock for 10-20MHz.

Reply 9 of 20, by appiah4

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9800 and 9700PRO PCBs/dies were used interchangably, I also have one such weird card, mine was a 9700 PCB with an R360.

A Radeon 9800 with R360 GPU and 9700PRO PCB.. Wat?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 10 of 20, by acl

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stef80 wrote on 2021-12-01, 11:14:

This model could also have non-flat cooler base. They were aware of cooling problem by that time.
Look for hairline cracks in BGA memory chips. If nothing found, try lowering memory clock for 10-20MHz.

Yes, i heard a lot about R3xx dying because of defective cooling. When applying thermal paste, i always check for "stickiness" to be sure that the cooler correctly "touches" the gpu/cpu surface.
When i have doubts (like on my GTX 7800) i use thermal pad to fill the gap.

For the cracks, yes, i will definitely look for that. In my office, one of my friends work with a professional binocular magnifier. I may be able to have a look through it (maybe tomorrow).
Will also try the reduced memory clock.

It's a sad paradox. 9700pro are very historically significant cards, they were relatively not that common because of their prices and the rapid introduction of 9600/9800. And they die easily.
I have (and had) multiple 9600/9800 without any problems. Even 7200 and earlier. Not a single problem. But 9700 are cursed...

appiah4 wrote on 2021-12-01, 11:41:

9800 and 9700PRO PCBs/dies were used interchangably, I also have one such weird card, mine was a 9700 PCB with an R360.

A Radeon 9800 with R360 GPU and 9700PRO PCB.. Wat?

What does GPU-Z reports ?
My 9800 with 9700 pcb is reported as 9800 pro, even if it is a lowend 9800. Also, you can notice some differences (at least on mine). Some memory slots are not populated, and some memory chips have cooling glued on them.

Edit:
Btw, appiah4, great website. My collection follows the same pattern. One setup for 2/3y era. Period correct hardware. I juste start later than you (~1997) and finish later (~2009). And i use them for real, not for display. (I have a big KVM switch on my desk to select the setup i need)

Last edited by acl on 2021-12-01, 13:59. Edited 1 time in total.

"Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen..."
My collection (not up to date)

Reply 11 of 20, by mihai

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most 9700 / 9800 cards don't age gracefully. Try pushing the ram chips to check whether to pattern of artifacts changes. If yes, then the memory chips may be the culprit and you could change those.

Reply 12 of 20, by Xplo

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-11-12, 09:26:

My guess would be an OEM / bulk product from PowerColor (the R97-C3G on the front label is their style of model #). There's a post on HardForum by someone who bought similar (inc the Molex connector) from Newegg in 2004

https://hardforum.com/threads/9700pro-for-138 … post-1026267889

Possibly a lower spec/ /rework of their PowerColor: Evil Commando 2 Radeon 9700 Pro?

This is correct (except lower spec, it’s actually arguably better spec as has the newer 9800 Pro PCB). This card is a Powercolor R97-C3G model number, sold as Evil Commando 2

I have a couple of these, one of them with original box and accessories

Essentially there was a surplus of R300 chips which Powercolor purchased, but not traditional R300 PCB’s surplus in the same volume at this point. So as R300 and R350 are pin compatible Powercolor mounted them on R350 PCB and sold them as 9700 Pro’s.

These were limited in nature

When I get around to it, I’m interested to see how far R300 can be pushed on a ‘better’ PCB with better power delivery

Reply 13 of 20, by stef80

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I think it depends on core mostly. I had FIC 9700Pro that could do 380 every day, and PowerColor 9500@9500Pro that could do 405. Shame it wasn't 256-bit PCB.
I have some 9700TX and FireGL X1s incoming . Will be testing them in January.

Reply 14 of 20, by PcBytes

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Speaking of 9700s, anyone know a good cooler (even chinese will do!) that can fit it? The card is a Prophet 3D 9700 Pro.
I have some DeepCool and random chinese cooler but both HSFs have the spacing for later cards like X1650/Geforce FX5900/6600GT.
Considering how big the core is, I'm worried that running a puny Gigabyte 8400 GS cooler (which is around the size of a northbridge cooler for nForce 2) will fry the card and I certainly don't want that.

"Enter at your own peril, past the bolted door..."
Main PC: i5 3470, GB B75M-D3H, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB
98SE : P3 650, Soyo SY-6BA+IV, 384MB RAM, 80GB

Reply 15 of 20, by Sphere478

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PcBytes wrote on 2021-12-24, 17:34:

Speaking of 9700s, anyone know a good cooler (even chinese will do!) that can fit it? The card is a Prophet 3D 9700 Pro.
I have some DeepCool and random chinese cooler but both HSFs have the spacing for later cards like X1650/Geforce FX5900/6600GT.
Considering how big the core is, I'm worried that running a puny Gigabyte 8400 GS cooler (which is around the size of a northbridge cooler for nForce 2) will fry the card and I certainly don't want that.

I really liked that zalman one with the copper fins on my x800 I think it would work on a 9700

Sphere's PCB projects.
-
Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
-
SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 16 of 20, by stef80

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I'd say Zalman VF900 is the best for 9500/9700/9800 and also X800/850. Reason ... it's compact and has thumbscrews, so it cannot be overtightened.
Zalman VF700 is second best. It has regular crews and one must be careful not to overtighten them with screwdriver.
3rd is the Arctic ATI 1 Silencer (or ATI 4 Silencer for X800/850).

Contact area for all 3 is inside the shim surrounding the GPU.
Chinese coolers have wider contact area and usually go over the shim, which is not that great for Radeons.

Reply 17 of 20, by Sphere478

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stef80 wrote on 2021-12-24, 20:59:
I'd say Zalman VF900 is the best for 9500/9700/9800 and also X800/850. Reason ... it's compact and has thumbscrews, so it cannot […]
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I'd say Zalman VF900 is the best for 9500/9700/9800 and also X800/850. Reason ... it's compact and has thumbscrews, so it cannot be overtightened.
Zalman VF700 is second best. It has regular crews and one must be careful not to overtighten them with screwdriver.
3rd is the Arctic ATI 1 Silencer (or ATI 4 Silencer for X800/850).

Contact area for all 3 is inside the shim surrounding the GPU.
Chinese coolers have wider contact area and usually go over the shim, which is not that great for Radeons.

I bought a silencer back in the day and it didn’t even fit. I sent it back.

Sphere's PCB projects.
-
Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
-
SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 18 of 20, by appiah4

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PcBytes wrote on 2021-12-24, 17:34:

Speaking of 9700s, anyone know a good cooler (even chinese will do!) that can fit it? The card is a Prophet 3D 9700 Pro.
I have some DeepCool and random chinese cooler but both HSFs have the spacing for later cards like X1650/Geforce FX5900/6600GT.
Considering how big the core is, I'm worried that running a puny Gigabyte 8400 GS cooler (which is around the size of a northbridge cooler for nForce 2) will fry the card and I certainly don't want that.

This cheapo chinese cooler worked for my 9800 (which was built on a 9700PRO PCB so same card essentially).

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Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.