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Old May 20, 2013, 05:59 PM   #1
CIA
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Late 2005 2.0Ghz PM G5, Linux, and modern graphics cards.

Under Linux can you run modern-ish graphics cards? The last G5's had PCIe, was wondering if I install linux on one could I slap in say a 7950 (external PSU probably) and mine bitcoin/litecoin? School around here is dumping a bunch of old machines super cheap/free.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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Mac GPUs had a few extra bits and pieces in ROM, now whether these are required by OpenFirmware or OSX I'm not sure - wait for someone more knowledgeable to chime in.

I can however tell you that a G5 is going to consume an awful lot of power, and anything short of a cutting-edge graphics card is not going to net you anything much at all. While it's not my place to tell you what you should and shouldn't do, if you want to profit from Bitcoin then get into trading. If you're serious about making a profit from mining, start saving up and investing in ASICs or FPGAs - the time for investing in GPU mining is long gone.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:34 PM   #3
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Power isn't a problem/cost for me. Also as I mentioned, a 7950 is modern. (Gets me a great hashrate on my PC Linux boxes)
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Old May 20, 2013, 09:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CIA View Post
Power isn't a problem/cost for me. Also as I mentioned, a 7950 is modern. (Gets me a great hashrate on my PC Linux boxes)
when you flash a card, you flash it for mac firmware if the issue was with os x we would all be running titans



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Old May 20, 2013, 10:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lil Chillbil View Post
when you flash a card, you flash it for mac firmware if the issue was with os x we would all be running titans



rgrds,
I'll just let you go back and re-read my first post and make note of all the times I mention OSX in it.
Yup, I'm not running OSX on the G5, I'm running Linux. I'm well aware of the issues with OSX and graphics cards. My unflashed PC 7950 is running great in my OSX MacPro by the way. (Minus the boot screen)
You know how all those nice PC graphics cards that aren't EFI but still usually work just fine when you boot into windows (and install the proper driver) on your MacPro? Turns out Linux is the same.

Under linux you can run any PC Graphics card in the last G5's with PCIe, and it works fine. Now I just need to figure out how to power it with a external PSU.

Quote:
One thing is interesting though: I’ve once used a PC version of a graphics
card in a Power Mac computer. Due to the BIOS based firmware, the computers’
Open Firmware was unable to initialize it and the screen stayed dark. I booted
into Linux (because that is what I used back then) and the Linux kernel
detected this PCIe graphics card and loaded the appropriate driver and with it
the card was initialized. So, once the operating system took over, it all
worked even though it was the wrong firmware on the graphics card.
via:
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...st/o9sfVntf3GI
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CIA View Post
I'll just let you go back and re-read my first post and make note of all the times I mention OSX in it.
Yup, I'm not running OSX on the G5, I'm running Linux. I'm well aware of the issues with OSX and graphics cards. My unflashed PC 7950 is running great in my OSX MacPro by the way. (Minus the boot screen)
You know how all those nice PC graphics cards that aren't EFI but still usually work just fine when you boot into windows (and install the proper driver) on your MacPro? Turns out Linux is the same.

Under linux you can run any PC Graphics card in the last G5's with PCIe, and it works fine. Now I just need to figure out how to power it with a external PSU.



via:
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...st/o9sfVntf3GI
So you ask for help then say that you know everything about the subject 30 minutes after you knew nothing sounds a bit like trolling to me
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lil Chillbil View Post
So you ask for help then say that you know everything about the subject 30 minutes after you knew nothing sounds a bit like trolling to me
Nope, I asked for help and then you jumped in and answered a question I never asked. Sounds like you just need to learn to read.

(Excuse me for continuing my search for the answer to my original question after my OP, instead of just waiting around for others to help.)
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:42 AM   #8
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I'lll pick up a free G5 and try one of my 7950's in it over the holiday weekend if I can find a spare PSU to power the card externally. I'll report back hopefully with results next week.

Last edited by OllyW; May 28, 2013 at 05:13 AM. Reason: clean up
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by CIA View Post
I'lll pick up a free G5 and try one of my 7950's in it over the holiday weekend if I can find a spare PSU to power the card externally. I'll report back hopefully with results next week.
I would put money on that It won't work.
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Last edited by OllyW; May 28, 2013 at 05:14 AM. Reason: clean up
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:55 AM   #10
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Yes, well, based on actual research so far it could work. So unlike you I'm going to try it, and find out. This seems to be a case of possible on paper but no one has tried.
The card will certainly run, it's the mining that will be a challenge.
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CIA View Post
Yes, well, based on actual research so far it could work. So unlike you I'm going to try it, and find out. This seems to be a case of possible on paper but no one has tried.
The card will certainly run, it's the mining that will be a challenge.
If it runs it would be amazing! But the chance is almost zero; there is no OpenFirmware on the ROM.
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:28 AM   #12
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If it runs it would be amazing! But the chance is almost zero; there is no OpenFirmware on the ROM.
<Sigh> No one reads anymore. It worked for this guy I quoted in my earlier post, so I'm going to give it a shot.
Quote:
One thing is interesting though: Iíve once used a PC version of a graphics
card in a Power Mac computer. Due to the BIOS based firmware, the computersí
Open Firmware was unable to initialize it and the screen stayed dark. I booted
into Linux (because that is what I used back then) and the Linux kernel
detected this PCIe graphics card and loaded the appropriate driver and with it
the card was initialized. So, once the operating system took over, it all
worked even though it was the wrong firmware on the graphics card.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:11 AM   #13
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<Sigh> No one reads anymore. It worked for this guy I quoted in my earlier post, so I'm going to give it a shot.
So, you would have no boot screen, if it worked at all?
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:37 PM   #14
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So, you would have no boot screen, if it worked at all?
I'm hoping so. Based on that post I linked to earlier it seems linux looks at graphics cards on a mac the same way your intel mac looks at them when you boot windows. They usually don't work (or work poorly) in OSX if they aren't supported. You lose a boot screen, (no biggie really) and sometimes you lose stuff like DVD player and steam might not work. But when you boot the same card under windows it works fine because the driver support is there once the OS loads.
So I think it's the same on Linux. I might not have that boot screen, but if I can install linux with the original card, and get SSH running then I can install the latest Linux AMD drivers and reboot with the 7950 in it. Should work. The real question, and all I really care about, is can I get that setup to then run CGminer and start hashing.

Last edited by OllyW; May 28, 2013 at 05:14 AM. Reason: clean up
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Old May 21, 2013, 04:44 PM   #15
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Okay, OpenFirmware, to the best of my knowledge, is the firmware of every New World PowerPC Mac. This may sound stupid, but it's very important to understand that this is firmware, not software. Firmware interfaces with the hardware, if there isn't the ability for the hardware to interface with the firmware, it will be like nothing is even there.
Now, on PC's the firmware is BIOS or EFI, to my knowledge, EFI is usually 100% compatible with BIOS. Cards interface with BIOS and EFI in a way OpenFirmware isn't compatible with.
This is why PowerPC mac users need different cards. If a BIOS/EFI compatible card (All modern ones except ones made before 2006 specifically for macs) is inserted into a OpenFirmware computer (Apple Macs made before Intel switch and some IBM POWER computers) it won't recognize it. Since it's firmware, and not software that isn't recognizing it, it doesn't matter what operating system your using (Linux, Mac OS X, BSD) even if they have the correct drivers to support the graphics card.

I hope this made sense.

BTW: Lil Chibil was saying "if it were osx" not "if it were compatible with osx"
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Old May 21, 2013, 04:52 PM   #16
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Okay, OpenFirmware, to the best of my knowledge, is the firmware of every New World PowerPC Mac. This may sound stupid, but it's very important to understand that this is firmware, not software. Firmware interfaces with the hardware, if there isn't the ability for the hardware to interface with the firmware, it will be like nothing is even there.
Now, on PC's the firmware is BIOS or EFI, to my knowledge, EFI is usually 100% compatible with BIOS. Cards interface with BIOS and EFI in a way OpenFirmware isn't compatible with.
This is why PowerPC mac users need different cards. If a BIOS/EFI compatible card (All modern ones except ones made before 2006 specifically for macs) is inserted into a OpenFirmware computer (Apple Macs made before Intel switch and some IBM POWER computers) it won't recognize it. Since it's firmware, and not software that isn't recognizing it, it doesn't matter what operating system your using (Linux, Mac OS X, BSD) even if they have the correct drivers to support the graphics card.

I hope this made sense.

BTW: Lil Chibil was saying "if it were osx" not "if it were compatible with osx"


Yea, I'm well aware of this, but since no one has tried/documented it why not right? Based on that one post I do have some hope it will work. But the computer is free, and I already have the card here so no loss really. I'll report back after this weekend with results.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:05 PM   #17
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Well, it doesn't really matter because nobody has written a driver for PowerPC linux on a card that will never be compatible. Even if it does work, it will only be using the fallback VESA drivers or something and won't be very useful because it will lack any advanced features of the graphics card like 2D and 3D acceleration.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:09 PM   #18
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Well, it doesn't really matter because nobody has written a driver for PowerPC linux on a card that will never be compatible. Even if it does work, it will only be using the fallback VESA drivers or something and won't be very useful because it will lack any advanced features of the graphics card like 2D and 3D acceleration.
Yes, I am aware of this also, but I'm using this card for one purpose, so there is a chance. Why is everyone so "DON'T EVEN TRY UR BEING STOOPID"? No wonder scientists and inventors don't hang around forums.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:11 PM   #19
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@TorCoolGuy: Yes, but even so, there is a base to work from. Proper drivers are secondary to working bootup. Once its running, drivers can be written/compiled.

I'd love for this to work, i have a G4 and a G5 myself that could get the same treatment it turns out to work.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:12 PM   #20
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Yes, but even so, there is a base to work from. Proper drivers are secondary to working bootup. Once its running, drivers can be written/compiled.
Also I'm not even going to be using this computer directly. It will be headless with the (hopefully) working card inside. All the interaction with the machine will be done over SSH.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:18 PM   #21
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People are like that so you won't be disappointed when it doesn't work. Plus, i'm almost 100% sure that the VESA drivers don't include the specialized and unique parts of individual cards architectures like all of the parallel processing cores that makes your card so good at hashing.

Also, I'm pretty sure that scientists don't do experiments if they know how the outcome will be and will have no possibility of learning anything, and inventors don't build contraptions that are flawed from their creation.

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Yes, but even so, there is a base to work from. Proper drivers are secondary to working bootup. Once its running, drivers can be written/compiled.
Yes, that is true, but you're still missing the OpenFirmware component and I don't think that drivers for that graphics card exist for this computer.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:19 PM   #22
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Actually, last time I checked scientists often do experiments to prove something. Sometimes to prove a thing is perhaps false, sometimes perhaps to prove it's true. I would like this to work, and since no one has come and shown me it can't be done, I will gladly try it. That way when CIA 2.0 comes along in a few years wondering if this is possible, he/she will see this thread, skip over all the crap here in the middle, and hopefully see at the bottom proof that it either works or didn't work.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:19 PM   #23
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People are like that so you won't be disappointed when it doesn't work. Plus, i'm almost 100% sure that the VESA drivers don't include the specialized and unique parts of individual cards architectures like all of the parallel processing cores that makes your card so good at hashing.

Also, I'm pretty sure that scientists don't do experiments if they know how the outcome will be and will have no possibility of learning anything, and inventors don't build contraptions that are flawed from their creation.
Even if its a longshot. He's got the card and te computer. Its a five minute job. The off chance it does work, is worth those meager minutes.

Also, drivers arent an issue. If it works the modding community will write one. There are enough PPC supporters to keep it alive.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:21 PM   #24
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Yes, I am aware of this also, but I'm using this card for one purpose, so there is a chance. Why is everyone so "DON'T EVEN TRY UR BEING STOOPID"? No wonder scientists and inventors don't hang around forums.
You should take it easy buddy. You seem to be getting very wound up by/and are now offending nearly everyone who has contributed to the thread.
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Old May 21, 2013, 05:23 PM   #25
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You should take it easy buddy. You seem to be getting very wound up by/and are now offending nearly everyone who has contributed to the thread.
You're right and I'm sorry to all the people who have contributed cold hard facts in this thread disproving my theory. To all the people who are assuming it won't work no apologies. And to people saying "Science! Give it a shot!" I tip my hat to you.
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