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Flashing a Mac PCI Voodoo 4/5 with any ROM Version

An Illustrated Guide



Although the information contained in this document is believed to be accurate, no warranty is expressed of implied. If you use these instructions to update the firmware on your Macintosh version PCI Voodoo 4 or Voodoo 5, you do so at your own risk and agree to accept all responsibility. This is not a supported method of flashing the firmware and will most likely void your warranty. I cannot be held liable for any damage you cause to your card or system.


Well, now that the legal stuff is out of the way, let’s get down to business!


What You’ll Need

You will need all of the following items to flash your Voodoo 4/5 card with an older version of the ROM:



As 3dfx continues to release driver updates, it is inevitable that some new version may introduce bugs or problems that may be worse than the previous version. If the new version did not include a ROM update, then the user could simply change back to the older extensions and control panel and wait for the next driver update.

However, if the new version included a ROM update, then the user would be "trapped" in the new version and unable to return to a previous version due to probable incompatibilities with the older extensions and new ROM. It is not recommended to use a newer ROM with older extensions as the results might be unpredictable. Additionally, the new ROM itself could introduce problems that are unacceptable to the user.

This document will outline the steps needed to restore a ROM update from a previous version of the drivers.



With the release of version 1.12 of the Macintosh Voodoo 4/5 drivers, 3dfx included a "hidden" way to force a firmware update. Prior to this version, the 3dfx MacTools control panel (actually it’s an application) would check the version of the firmware on the card whenever it was launched. The firmware is compared against the "RomU" resources stored in the 3dfx MacTools control panel. If the version in the resources was found to be newer than what is currently in the card, you are given the option of updating the firmware.

Version 1.12 still follows the same method of checking and updating the firmware, however 3dfx has added a hidden option that allows you to "force" a firmware update — even if the version on the card matches the version in the resources. Since the control panel will flash whatever version is in the resources, we simply need to copy the appropriate resources from an older version of the drivers into a copy of the 1.12 3dfx MacTools control panel. We can then use this to update the firmware to the older version of the ROM.


Expert Guide

Here’s a quick how-to for those that are comfortable with ResEdit and dealing with resources. If this is not you, skip ahead to the Illustrated Guide and ignore this section.

  1. Make a copy of the version 1.12 3dfx MacTools control panel and call it something like "Voodoo 4/5 Flasher" — you must use version 1.12 of the drivers for this step.
  2. Launch ResEdit and open the desired previous version (for example version 1.10) of the 3dfx MacTools control panel.
  3. Copy the "RomU" resources
  4. While still in ResEdit, open the copy of the control panel you created in step 1 ("Voodoo 4/5 Flasher") and paste the copied "RomU" resources.
  5. Click "Yes" when asked "Replace resources with the same ID?"
  6. Save the updated Voodoo 4/5 Flasher and quit ResEdit.
  7. Launch the updated control panel and immediately press the "F" key (while the control panel is loading).
  8. The control panel should now give you the option of updating your firmware.

The message always says that there is a newer version available. Actually it will update with whatever version you copied in using ResEdit.

Be sure to replace the extensions and control panel with the appropriate version for the ROM you used.

For the techies out there…

The "RomU" resource contains two items — One for the V5 and one for the V4.

By changing the resource ID’s you could theoretically force the flasher to load a V5 ROM into a V4, or vice versa. This would probably be bad and I don’t recommend it!



Illustrated Guide

This section will walk you through the process step-by-step.

Step 1 — Make a copy of the version 1.12 3dfx MacTools control panel

If you don’t already have the 1.12 drivers, you will need to download them from

Locate the version 1.12 3dfx MacTools control panel and make a copy of it named "Voodoo 4/5 Flasher". If you have version 1.12 installed on your system, then the 3dfx MacTools control panel can be found in the control panels folder in the system folder.


Step 2 — Open the old version in ResEdit

This step will involve locating an old version of the 3dfx MacTools control panel that contains the desired ROM version, and opening it in ResEdit.

Launch ResEdit and choose "Open…" from the file menu. Navigate to the old version of the control panel.

Click the "Open" button. ResEdit will now show you all of the resouces contained in this file.


Step 3 — Copy the ROM resources from the old version

Click on the "RomU" resource to select it and choose "Copy" from the edit menu.

You have now copied the old version of the ROM into the clipboard. You can now close the old version of the control panel by selecting "Close" from the file menu.


Step 4 — Open the new "Voodoo 4/5 Flasher" control panel in ResEdit

While still in ResEdit, choose "Open…" from the file menu and navigate to the "Voodoo 4/5 Flasher" control panel you created in step 1.

Click the "Open" button.


Step 5 — Paste the old ROM resources into the Flasher control panel

Choose "Paste" from the edit menu to replace the "RomU" resources with the ones you copied from the old version in step 3.

ResEdit will now present a warning alert as follows:

Click the "Yes" button. We want to replace the "RomU" resources with the ones we’ve copied.


Step 6 — Save the updated Voodoo 4/5 Flasher

Choose "Save" from the file menu to save the updated resources.

You can now quit ResEdit.


Step 7 — Launch the new Voodoo 4/5 Flasher control panel

From the Finder, navigate to where you stored the Voodoo 4/5 Flasher control panel. We will now use a hidden feature of the control panel to access the firmware updater portion of the application.

Launch the control panel by double-clicking on it. Immediately after launching it, press the "F" key while it is still loading. If you were too slow and waited too long to press the "F" key, simply quit the control panel and try again.

If you had your timing right, you should get a window like this:

The message always says that a "newer" version of the firmware exists. Actually the control panel will now flash whatever version you copied in using ResEdit as described above.

Click the "Upgrade" button to flash your card with the desired version of the ROM.

If everything went well, your card should now have the older version of the ROM. This update will not take affect until you restart.

You can now quit the Voodoo 4/5 Flasher control panel.


Step 8 — Re-install the old version of the drivers and restart

It is important to use the version of the drivers that came with the ROM you used. Mixing different versions of drivers and ROMs can cause unpredictable results and make your system unstable or unusable.

Following the included directions, install the old version of the drivers. After you reboot your system, you should be able to confirm that the old ROM was loaded into the card by examining the "Profile" tab in the 3dfx MacTools control panel.



Hopefully the process for updating your PCI Voodoo 4 of Voodoo 5 with an old ROM is now clear.

Remember to be diligent and follow the steps carefully to avoid damaging your card, or at least making it unusable. If something goes drastically wrong and you can’t get your card to work after the update, you should always be able to re-flash your ROM to the newest version with an unmodified 1.12 3dfx MacTools control panel and using the hidden "F" key function. This assumes that you can start your system up using another video card with the V4/V5 still installed.

Always make backup copies of the drivers so that you have original, unmodified versions for later use.




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