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double-gauss
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Message 1 of 46
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firebird 802/803 gpu replacement?

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I know this is a pretty dated system but I love the quite design and small footprint. I am moving to a small apartment in the summer so I prefer not to take a large system with me.

 

I could probably find one of these used and was wondering if anyone has tried upgrading the graphics cards on these? They seem to take the MXM slot cards used in laptops and the imacs.

 

There have been quite a few new MXM module graphics cards out now and I see gtx280 hd4870 and stuff like that on ebay.

 

I assume the watercooling block is sort of compatable since they all seem to put the gpu and memory in a same general layout.

 

Saw some gtx485 too lol. Two of these and I'll be a happy camper.

 

Can't say this is a stupid idea because the literature on the firebird website states

"Includes support for next generation NVIDIA and ATI cards"

 

I won't worry about the power supply because if it's just a large external floor wart that outputs 12~48vdc or so I could build one of much higher current myself. I consider this because some of the newest MXM cards like gtx480/480 take like 100 watts each so...

 

Some thoughts from actual owners who may have upgraded their cards appreciated.

_______________
xw8400 dual x5355
hd5870 & lp2475w
xw8600 dual x5482
quadro 4000, tesla c2050 & triple lp2475w
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EnzoMatrix
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Message 2 of 46
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There were SEVERAL threads at the 'old' The Next Bench on upgrading the Fibrebird video cards. IF the FB is your ONLY gaming computer, I would be hesitant to try to upgrade the video. As I remember, the people that DID manage an upgrade, well the liquid cooling did not work on the newer cards.

 

IF you are finding MXM video cards for less than $800.00 EACH, let me know. I can not find cards that will work in the FB for less than that.

I am playing RIFT and FFXIV on my FB 802, and the Crysis 2 demo. Before you go for the upgraded cards, try the newest drivers, 266.58. See the problem with older Nvidia drivers, for our system, is that the older drivers have no support for the SLI. I was playing RIFT on an older driver and couldn't get decent FPS. Updated to 266.58 and now RIFT runs just fine.

 

If you manage a video upgrade, let me know. I am keeping my FB for another 2 years and any upgrades I can do will be great.

 

Thanks

 

HappyQuails
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Hi 🙂 I was reading this thread and was very interested to read your message referencing the bad video driver which also caused me much trouble. To date I have never gotten the system lights to work and I can't believe that they didn't preinstall all the needed drivers for us!  But anyway, I have this driver installed now May 20, 2011 version 8.17.12.7533 and it comes back as saying that it is the most current. Can you tell me where I can get this better driver and are you sure the SLI is fully enabled with its use?  I wish I had the old instructions how to install the lights. Sigh.. any help you can offer will be appreciated and I will go ahead and post this to a new subject heading as well. I just wanted to follow up with the question to you about the specific driver you were mentioning. Thanks 🙂

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Dunsany
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I use the following three files from the NVIDIA website on both Windows 7 and Vista. In my experience they are the most trouble-free, most complete, and most up-to-date files that install correctly on my two Firebirds. Two-way SLI is fully supported. The System Tools with ESA Support adds the lighting control.

 

nForce Driver Version: 15.56 WHQL
Release Date: 2011.05.02

GeForce Driver Version: 266.58 WHQL
Release Date: 2011.01.18

NVIDIA System Tools with ESA Support Version: 6.08
Release Date: 2011.12.19

2 x HP Firebird 802 + 2 x HP 2159m monitor + Windows 7 Home Premium + Windows 8.1 Pro
GeForce Driver Version 266.58 WHQL installs correctly without modification.
GeForce Driver Version 296.10 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but Nvidia Control Panel is broken.
GeForce Driver Version 341.44 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but 2-way SLI is broken.
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Dunsany
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Message 5 of 46
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@double-gauss wrote:

I know this is a pretty dated system but I love the quite design and small footprint. I am moving to a small apartment in the summer so I prefer not to take a large system with me.

 

I could probably find one of these used and was wondering if anyone has tried upgrading the graphics cards on these? They seem to take the MXM slot cards used in laptops and the imacs.

 

There have been quite a few new MXM module graphics cards out now and I see gtx280 hd4870 and stuff like that on ebay.

 

I assume the watercooling block is sort of compatable since they all seem to put the gpu and memory in a same general layout.

 

Saw some gtx485 too lol. Two of these and I'll be a happy camper.

 

Can't say this is a stupid idea because the literature on the firebird website states

"Includes support for next generation NVIDIA and ATI cards"

 

I won't worry about the power supply because if it's just a large external floor wart that outputs 12~48vdc or so I could build one of much higher current myself. I consider this because some of the newest MXM cards like gtx480/480 take like 100 watts each so...

 

Some thoughts from actual owners who may have upgraded their cards appreciated.


There were several claims on the old Nextbench Voodoo forums that upgrading the Firebird's GPU's worked but I only remember one poster who actually tried it. I seem to remember it was a poster named ecitas who bought a single ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 Video Card from Eurocom. The ATI video card fit the Firebird's water cooling blocks fine. It showed up as "Working Properly" in Windows Device Manager after installing video drivers downloaded from the Clevo website. Apparently the video card was a Clevo part meant for Clevo laptops and the generic ATI video drivers didn't work.

 

Unfortunately, ecitas claimed that the Firebird's locked BIOS prevented him from selecting the ATI video card to output video to the Firebird's video output ports. I did find a relatively easy way to partially unlock, or unhide, some hidden fan controls in the Firebird BIOS but all other advanced options remained locked. It's too bad HP decided to lock the Firebird's BIOS. I'm sure the Firebird design team designed it for ATI and Nvidia GPU upgrades, single GPU and dual GPU, air and liquid cooling, overclocking and underclocking, etc.

 

Despite all the above, I've just about convinced myself that two of the newest nVidia MXM video cards will work in two-way SLI in the Firebird in the same way as the original video cards work in two-way SLI.

 

nVidia GTX 560M 1.5GB Mobile Video Card  x 2

SLi Cable for X7200

 

Two GTX 560M video cards plus the SLI cable cost more than I care to spend at the moment but it is tempting as a hobbyist project to see if it can be done. For the truly hardcore, with extra money to spend,and an extra Firebird power supply to provide double the original wattage, something like the following would be a fun project. 😛

 

nVidia GTX 580M 2GB Mobile Video Card x 2

SLi Cable for X7200

Power Converter Box

 

2 x HP Firebird 802 + 2 x HP 2159m monitor + Windows 7 Home Premium + Windows 8.1 Pro
GeForce Driver Version 266.58 WHQL installs correctly without modification.
GeForce Driver Version 296.10 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but Nvidia Control Panel is broken.
GeForce Driver Version 341.44 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but 2-way SLI is broken.
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Dunsany
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I found Eurocom has an ebay store selling several different MXM video cards a bit cheaper than the Rjtech links I posted above. They sell a single Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M without the laptop heatsink for approximately $244.62 USD plus shipping.

 

Razors Edge by Eurocom Notebooks

 

If I had more confidence in HP's locked Firebird BIOS and Nvidia's display driver installer I would love to buy at least one GTX 560M to tinker with.

2 x HP Firebird 802 + 2 x HP 2159m monitor + Windows 7 Home Premium + Windows 8.1 Pro
GeForce Driver Version 266.58 WHQL installs correctly without modification.
GeForce Driver Version 296.10 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but Nvidia Control Panel is broken.
GeForce Driver Version 341.44 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but 2-way SLI is broken.
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AGCO72
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Message 7 of 46
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I hope this post finds u, as it's eons old.

 

I too LOVE my Firebird PC and decided to not get rid of it.  I am receiving today via FEDEX X2 GTX 570M cards and will be installing them tonight.  I upgraded the Processer already to a 12 MB cache 775 socket Intel 9xxx series and all was fine there.

 

I am hoping these cards will work.  All documentation online state it will.

 

I found these GTX 570M's for 200 a piece, used!!  I also have Window 8 now on my Firebird and I see Nvidia has the latest drivers for the 570M's, so this is good news.  Firebird support for HP shut down last week, but I did speak with them and they told me that there is no reason theoretically, why upgrading the GPU's would not work.

 

I am excited, but scared.

 

I will let you know tomorrow if they work.

 

570M GTX!!!

 

Hopefully this post finds you well.

 

Peace.

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Dunsany
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Good to know I'm not the last diehard HP Firebird owner determined to upgrade its GPU's the way the original Voodoo PC designers intended.

Several months ago I  installed two GeForce GTX 560M GPU's and a connecting SLI Cable in one of my two Firebirds. I had to carefully snap off one of the unused fan connectors on the motherboard to make room for the SLI Cable but otherwise it was a perfect fit.

The new GPU's came with heatsinks, fans, thermal pads, etc. for a Clevo X7200 laptop. Originally I had some thought I might be able to modify the X7200 heatsinks to convert my Firebird to air cooling at some time in the future but I'm sticking with liquid cooling for the time being. I was able to use the new X7200 thermal pads with the Firebird's cooling blocks which was reassuring. I carefully removed the GPU Spreader X Brackets from the stock GPU's and used them to attach the new GPU's to the cooling blocks.

Before installing the new videocards I uninstalled the GeForce drivers I was using at the time, probably version 296.10 with a modified INF file. After installing the new videocards I went into Device Manager, Properties, Details to find the Hardware ID for the new videocards. It was PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1251&SUBSYS_000010DE&REV_A1. VEN_10DE means the Vendor is Nvidia, DEV_1251means the GPU chip is a GTX 560M, SUBSYS is used when a large Vendor like Clevo needs to install the same model GPU somewhat differently in different models of their notebooks. Device ID 1251 is all I need to know.

 

I navigated on my hard disk to the C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\296.10\WinVista_Win7_64\Desktop\Display.Driver folder and opened the NV_DISP.INF file in Notepad. I knew from previous research at GeForce GTX 560M at NotebookCheck.com that the GTX 560M uses the same GF116 core as the desktop GTX 550 Ti and performs similarly to the desktop GTS 450. I read somewhere that it's a good idea to insert new Hardware ID entries close to entries for similar GPU's and similar GPU's tend to have numerically similar Device ID's. It's easy to search for an existing Hardware ID. At the bottom of the NV_DISP.INF file in the [Strings] section I found the GTX 550 Ti Hardware ID was 1244 and the GTS 450 Hardware ID was 1245. Back at the top of the NV_DISP.INF file I did Edit, Find 1245. The nearest five lines look something like the following.

 

%NVIDIA_DEV.1243%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1243                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1244%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1244                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1245%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1245                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0846%           = Section023, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0846                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0847%           = Section023, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0847                 

To insert a line for the GTX 560M I placed my cursor at the beginning of the line containing 1245, held the shift key and pressed the down-arrow key once to highlight the entire line. Then I did Edit Copy, Edit Paste, Edit Paste which inserts an extra copy of the line containing 1245. I then replaced 1245 with 1251 in the second copy of that line. I do it this way because there are 17 invisible spaces at the end of these lines, which may or may not be important to include, and I want to do as little error-prone typing as possible. The new line I inserted looks like the following. Be sure to notice that 1251 occurs twice in that line if you intend to try this yourself.

 

%NVIDIA_DEV.1243%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1243                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1244%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1244                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1245%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1245                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1251%           = Section004, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1251                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0846%           = Section023, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0846                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0847%           = Section023, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0847                 

Now I pressed F3 to Find the next occurrence of 1245. The nearest five lines looked something like the following. Be sure to notice that the Section name changed from Section004 in the above example to Section015 in the following example.

 

I know from poking around in these NV_DISP.INF files that the above example is part of the Windows Vista section and the following example is part of the Windows 7 section. More recent drivers include another section for Windows 8.

 

%NVIDIA_DEV.1243%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1243                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1244%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1244                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1245%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1245                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0846%           = Section024, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0846                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0847%           = Section024, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0847                 

Again I inserted an extra copy of the line containing 1245 and replaced 1245 with 1251 in the extra copy. And it looks like the following:

 

%NVIDIA_DEV.1243%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1243                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1244%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1244                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1245%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1245                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.1251%           = Section015, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1251                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0846%           = Section024, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0846                 
%NVIDIA_DEV.0847%           = Section024, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0847                 

Again I pressed F3 to find the next occurrence of 1245 and found the following in the [Strings] section at the end of the NV_DISP.INF file:

 

NVIDIA_DEV.1243 = "NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 "
NVIDIA_DEV.1244 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti"
NVIDIA_DEV.1245 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450   "
REG_BINARY = 0x00000001
REG_DWORD = 0x00010001
REG_EXPAND_SZ = 0x00020000
REG_MULTI_SZ = 0x00010000
REG_SZ = 0x00000000
REG_SZ_APPEND = 0x00010008

Again I inserted an extra copy of the line containing 1245 and replaced 1245 with 1251 in the extra copy. I also replaced 'GTS 450' with 'GTX 560M' in the extra copy. See below.

 

NVIDIA_DEV.1243 = "NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 "
NVIDIA_DEV.1244 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti"
NVIDIA_DEV.1245 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450   "
NVIDIA_DEV.1251 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M"
REG_BINARY = 0x00000001
REG_DWORD = 0x00010001
REG_EXPAND_SZ = 0x00020000
REG_MULTI_SZ = 0x00010000
REG_SZ = 0x00000000
REG_SZ_APPEND = 0x00010008

I double checked my work and saved this modified NV_DISP.INF file. I have to say it is far easier and quicker to do these modified INF files than it is to explain them. I'm sure I can do it start to finish in less than a minute.

 

Now I navigated up one folder level from the folder containing the NV_DISP.INF file and executed the SETUP.EXE program to install the GeForce driver with newly modified INF file.

 

All went well and I rebooted after the install was complete. Next I checked Device Manager and all three GPU's showed as Working Properly and with the correct device names and driver version numbers.

 

Now I ran into the same problem that I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread. Two or three years ago a regular on the old Nextbench Voodoo forum named ecitas installed an ATI videocard in his Firebird. He was able to install the correct ATI drivers and his ATI GPU showed as Working Properly in Device Manager but even with Eurocom's help he wasn't able to use the ATI GPU to drive his monitor.

2 x HP Firebird 802 + 2 x HP 2159m monitor + Windows 7 Home Premium + Windows 8.1 Pro
GeForce Driver Version 266.58 WHQL installs correctly without modification.
GeForce Driver Version 296.10 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but Nvidia Control Panel is broken.
GeForce Driver Version 341.44 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but 2-way SLI is broken.
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Dunsany
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Message 9 of 46
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**bleep**! I must have taken too much time completing my previous post because I got some sort of authentification error and had to recover what was saved at the last autosave. I guess I'll leave it as it is and hope it makes some sense.

 

So far I'm dual booting Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8 Pro on both of my Firebirds. One of my Firebirds has the two original GeForce 9800 S videocards. The other Firebird has two GeForce GTX 560M videocards plus an SLI Cable connecting them. I've installed GeForce driver versions 310.90 WHQL and 296.17 using modified INF files on both Firebirds and on both Windows versions. Every combination of these GPU's, driver versions and operating systems installs correctly and shows Working Properly in Device Manager with the correct GPU device names and driver versions. But 2-way SLI only works with the GeForce 9800 S GPU's using driver versions 296.17 and earlier.

 

The GTX 560M GPU's do run CUDA and OpenCL programs. My backup Firebird has had the two GeForce GTX 560M videocards installed for several months and is currently running Windows 7 with GeForce driver version 310.90. I crunch GPUGRID, SETI@home and Milkyway@Home work units on the two GTX 560M GPU's and World Community Grid work units on two of the four CPU cores 24 hours a day on this Firebird. Running work units on both GPU's and all four CPU cores make my Firebirds too hot for my comfort but I have done it in the past during the coldest part of the winter. At the same time I can watch HD TV with Windows Media Center on one TV channel while recording a second TV channel, browsing the web, playing a simple game, etc.

Hybrid SLI was very common on a variety of laptops with motherboard chipsets and GPU's similar to the Firebirds. There is a great deal of discussion on laptop forums about older laptops no longer officially supported by their manufacturer or Nvidia. Many of them can use 2-way SLI with the latest Nvidia GeForce drivers by disabling Hybrid SLI in the BIOS and installing the driver with a modified INF file. Here is just one recent example of many I have read:

 

Alienware M17x R1 SLI Graphics Help!

 

I suspect that HP decided to simplify their support of the Firebird by locking the BIOS to prevent what they feared would be a lot of problems caused by inexperienced Firebird owners attempting to overclock or swap videocards.

2 x HP Firebird 802 + 2 x HP 2159m monitor + Windows 7 Home Premium + Windows 8.1 Pro
GeForce Driver Version 266.58 WHQL installs correctly without modification.
GeForce Driver Version 296.10 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but Nvidia Control Panel is broken.
GeForce Driver Version 341.44 WHQL requires modified NV_DISP.INF file to install correctly but 2-way SLI is broken.
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AGCO72
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Message 10 of 46
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Very informative post, thanks.

 

I tried two 570MGTX and they didnt work.  HP said they cards have to be DDR3, which makes no sense to me.

 

I paid 450 for 2 570m GTX but returned them.  They are DDR5 cards as you know.

 

I finally after 4 weeks got the right driver working and Hybrid SLI is ENABLED!!

 

To my surprise, I haev almost 2 gigs video ram shared, and games play incredible!!

 

I want to upgrade the video cards.  I guess I need to find DDR3 cards and the top of the line DDR3 cards using same wattage?

 

I've started to look and do comparisons.  All that I know it, when I inserted the 570 GTx cards, device manager listed them as "Other" and "3D Video Controller".  I had only onboard video at that point.  Like I said HP stated the video cards need to be Type B, 3.0 DDR3 in order for them to work.

 

Do you agree?

 

Thanks.

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