2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MichaelDT, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1226
    Hi. I’m sorry if I get off topic regarding the last messages about Mojave, but my problem is directly related to the title of this thread and I'm quite lost right now.

    After a week using a GTX 780M (from a Dell laptop) on my iMac 27 (mid2011) with High Sierra (10.13.2), I booted in Windows 10 Bootcamp (BIOS legacy mode). I know that the system started because the sound of closing Windows session was heard when turning off the computer, but the screen was in black all the time.

    I had to reset the PRAM to restart in macOS. I activated the Windows remote desktop by accessing the bootcamp partition with VMware Fusion. Restarted again in Windows and here from this point, everything went wrong: again black screen but this time it did not work a PRAM reset to return to macOS. I can’t boot in safe mode either.
    The diagnostic LEDs indicate that there’s no communication with the GPU (only the first two LEDs remain on). I don’t know if the third LED should light up even if there’s a software problem, that is, if it is a voltage level indication, or if, on the contrary, this LED only turns on when GPU is fully functional (driver ready).

    Whatever I do, I can’t get out of here. I have reassembled the old card to try to configure the system. I have updated to macOS 10.13.6; updated web driver; configured a dual boot with rEFInd ... Nothing, the 780M seems to be dead.
    But I find it hard to believe that, coincidentally when trying to start Windows, the GPU has physically broken down. Or that trying to boot from Windows could break any hardware. There must be something else that I'm not considering.

    Does anyone know if there’s any var at any kext that may be deactivating the GPU in some way?
    Does anyone know if the diagnostic LED can depend on a kext or if it really indicates a hardware level problem?

    I'm lost, any help will be well come.
    Thanks dudes
     
  2. liquidtwitch macrumors member

    liquidtwitch

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #1227
    Check with a flashlight whether the screen is working but no backlight - that was my issue. But there's no firmware that will work with both Windows and MacOs. Alienware firmware results in MacOs working fine but no backlight in Bootcamp, the Dell firmware works fine with Windows, but there's no internal display on MacOS (external works).

    Does your card work in MacOS?
    --- Post Merged, Nov 3, 2018 ---
    Based on Rominator's latest rambling and frankly rude post on Netkas I don't see this project ever getting anywhere.

    So I'm going back to my original plan of running the imac as a glorified display with the original gpu and target video mode and my 2017 mbp. eGPU's are improving so I might be able to get a sweet setup with that.

    I'm going to be selling the 780m that I bought, I got it for a fairly decent price so I can sell it for what I paid for it - so if anyone in Australia wants it let me know.
     
  3. highvoltage12v macrumors regular

    highvoltage12v

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #1228
    I have a different thought why this is happening. You did a pram reset and doing so re-enabled SIP. If you have web drivers or any other unsigned kexts it won't boot. Unplug your SSD plug in the USB installer (a thumb drive with status LED preferably) and see it if will boot that. Because you booted Windows last with VMware it could have switched back to basic drivers. But then again I just completed my legacy install and it shows the boot screen, even the Legacy blinking cursor/no boot device screen.
     
  4. Render, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1229
    I bought the card on Aliexpress tagged as Dell's, but according to what you mention, it must be an Alienware. It works perfectly in macOS and also, when I rebooted in bootcamp Windows started but had no screen, surely it was only the backlight. I did not check with a flashlight on the back.
    On the other hand, do you mean that Alienware firmware will work with macOS without the need of nvidia web driver?

    BTW, why do you say "Based on Rominator's latest rambling and frankly rude post on Netkas I don't see this project ever getting anywhere. "? Are you talking about "iMac Holy Grail achieved ! Boot screens on 780m in 2011 iMac 27"?
    I'm indeed excited waiting for macvidcards to start selling roms, what I'm missing?

    The thing is that after booting Windows with Fusion, I reinstalled the old graphics card and restarted Windows natively with bootcamp. I have been doing tests changing the cards again and again, I will have made about 10 switches so far. Activating and deactivating SIP for the different tests, so I'm afraid that it is not a simple activation of SIP thing.
    The only thing I haven't tested yet is to totally remove Nvidia Web Drivers and reassemble the GTX to try it out.
    Since I can boot with my old GPU (I'm writing right now from the same iMac we are talking about), do I need to prepare an USB Installer? I'm able to do whatever I need from macOS itself.

    I've just found a message on this same thread where @gourryx describes a very similar situation here:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2011-imac-graphics-card-upgrade.1596614/page-12#post-22304161

    He managed to resolve the problem by accesing and reinstalling the drivers via ssh. But I don't really get why should I need to do that If I can switch to my old GPU, install Nvidia Web Driver, and reassemble the GTX. On the other hand I don't know how to do that. If I try to unpack the webdriver package using pkgutil I get an error (it seems to be a flat package so It can't be expanded), I guess he extracted an old version (he was on El capitan), or is there any command for the package to work via ssh over terminal?

    Thanks to both of you for a fast response. I love you guys ;)
     
  5. liquidtwitch, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    liquidtwitch macrumors member

    liquidtwitch

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #1230
    That's correct - as far as I can tell no firmware works on both Windows and Macos. The Alienware firmware worked fine on MacOs without the need for web drivers. Dell/Alienware are the same company so maybe that's why your card was misidentified. It took me ages to workout why I wasn't getting any video, I even used a flashlight at first and couldn't see anything, you have to look really hard.

    Also Window's remote desktop tool is rubbish and locks you out of the display preferences you actually need to troubleshoot, I ended up using teamviewer and it gave me far more access.

    This post here: http://netkas.org/forum/index.php/topic,13815.msg38496.html#msg38496 - he posted previously about how he needs help to get it done as he has no time. Then when someone offers to help, showing what they've uncovered he insults them, comparing them to his junkie brother. It's just weird.

    He started out saying it was going to happen, everyone got their hopes up and this thread picked up.

    Then he decided to pull the pin because someone naively uploaded his firmware to MR of an unrelated card and he got pissed off about people stealing his work (you have to post cards to him to flash, he doesn't simply provide the firmware files).

    Then he claimed he had no time and needs help.

    Then when people offer help he insults them.

    I really hope the project goes somewhere but since no-one has the skills to do it besides Rominator I don't see it going anywhere.
     
  6. highvoltage12v macrumors regular

    highvoltage12v

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #1231
    I'm just about to install a 2nd SSD for Windows 10 into my 27" iMac with the Alienware/Dell 780m. Am I wasting my time? Right this is the whole issue with DCB tables. Ah well Windows 10 is great in my 21.5"
     
  7. liquidtwitch macrumors member

    liquidtwitch

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #1232
    I assume it's all DCB tables. With the Alienware firmware, Windows sees the internal screen as an external screen, so it doesn't send the command to use the backlight. I spent a weekend looking for ways to force the backlight. I looked at editing the registry, sending custom DDC commands to enable the backlight etc all with no luck. It may be possible with custom .inf's for the os to tell the display to use the backlight (this may even allow brightness control) - but Windows is so horribly locked down these days its borderline in possible to create your own drivers without jumping through 1000 hoops with signing them etc.

    That said it's not difficult to flash the card - so theoretically you can flash and un-flash the dell/alienware bios whenever you use Windows, I even toyed with the idea of writing a script that does this.

    (apologies for typos/gibberish, got a massive migraine)
     
  8. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1233
    As you may have suspected, my native language is not English, and although I had read that last post, I didn't understand the offense or the joke of Bob Loblaw Law's Blog. I remember another post where Rominator went ahead with the issue of the ROM that was uploaded, and subsequently removed from MR with some kind of apologies.
    I hope he goes ahead with the project, we would all like him to share his work for free, but I don't see so badly that he does business with something that only he is capable of and that involves a lot of time and effort.

    In any case, while it's not like that, we have to continue with what we have, and what I have is a GTX that I can't bring back to life! ;)

    For now I am content with having only macOS again and giving up Windows natively, only virtualized with Fusion. But I still don't understand what could have caused the loss of screen on macOS.
    When reassembling the old AMD again I leave everything as it was, with the driver correctly installed, with SIP deactivated... so why can't I start again with the GTX ?, what has changed and what should I do in the OS that I'm using right now?
    And in case the fault was in the backlight and macOS had really started, why couldn't I connect with screen sharing?

    I have so many card switches that I even play to beat my best time, but it starts to be frustrating, I'm losing faith!
     
  9. highvoltage12v, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    highvoltage12v macrumors regular

    highvoltage12v

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #1234
    Well running Windows 10 on my 21.5" has taught me a lot about how these cards run in Windows/Mac OS.
    1. The valley benchmarks has the same FPS scores in Windows and Mac OS.
    2. I was able to determine my Temps of the Die in Windows and Mac OS and "PECI GPU" is actually the die temp.
    3. I tried roms from an ASUS 770m, Clevo 770m, and a Tech Inferno rom and none of which gave me internal display other than the Alienware card.
    4. I created an envioment where I can refresh cards using Team Viewer and NVflash and not remove the card for SOIC flashing.
    5. Most importantly I reinstalled Windows in legacy mode, I have brightness control all the time now!

    Your English is fine BTW, thanks for all your help with this thread. I'm also becoming anxious waiting for an EFI solution, he first started talking about in May of this year. I know it's rude to ask a Dev for a EST, but by next Mac OS the 7xx drivers could be removed. I have a bad feeling MacBooks with 650m and iMacs with 7xx are next to go.

    --- Post Merged, Nov 3, 2018 ---
    MacVidCards won't release it for free, prepare to pay $160-200USD for the rom flash. ( I am, I already know this is the case) And yes please enable screen sharing and connect your 780m to the iMac. This was how I found out my 765m was dead. You will see something like Nvidia card 3mb in system information. Did you modify the X-bracket to make sure it doesn't touch some caps on the back. For sure there was 2 my x-bracket touched. Sorry if you did, I have to go back and look.
     

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  10. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1235
    What I meant is that screen sharing was already enabled and I couldn't connect. About the x-bracket, I totally removed it from the card, I used 3 washers instead (on each bolt) to match the same height of the AMD's x-bracket and let the bolts make the same compression. Also I used a dremel to cut off the heatsink to make room for the new card and I've attached copper pieces with 3M thermal tape over the RAM on the back as a thin heatsink.
    Since I installed the GTX it was working as it should. Temperatures were also ok, (much better than AMD hot radeon indeed). And I've playing Counter Strike at max settings this whole week without a single problem.

    I tried to start Windows once, it started but with a nice black screen. Then I reseted PRAM to boot macOS, it worked. Then I tried to configure Windows via Fusion. From that point, the GTX never booted into macOS again. I reassembled the AMD, everything worked again. But no matter what I've tried since that, every time I reinstall the GTX, it won't boot up, nor standard macOS neither safe mode.
    I think I'm gonna try a new switch again without web driver installed, but I find hard to believe it will work, I already booted the GTX with and without nvidia driver enabled (enabled and -installed but disabled-) before the moment I decided to try Windows for the first time. It seems like the GTX should be booting the last (10?) times I tried. If there's no hardware problem, it should be anything else...
     
  11. imacdontkonw, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    imacdontkonw macrumors newbie

    imacdontkonw

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2018
    #1236
    my Clevo card clocked 1650MHz will work in 825Mhz I don't know why...but on clevo card it work so good .and in windows in device manager didn't have an "!" but it called Microsoft base display adapter sorry it in chinese...and use my mod inf always like this
     

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  12. highvoltage12v macrumors regular

    highvoltage12v

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #1237
    From experience with my 765m if it won't connect to screen sharing (it tires forever and then times out) it means the OS has no graphics card installed at all. So I think your 780m is the issue. That's the way it was with my bad 765m. Since it was from Ali Express, did it look used?
     
  13. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1238
    Of course it was, I bought it as a second hand GPU extracted from a Dell laptop. And yes, I think the same, it seems like a broken GPU, but It seems too much of a coincidence that it broke at the same time I booted Windows for the first time, that's why I was asking if there could be any flag in any kext disabling the card after the Windows faulty boot.

    I've reflowed two times the AMD and I know it won't last too much so I'm trying to do whatever before it finally pass on. I've another Aliexpress GPU coming home right now, I don't like to waste my money, but <200€ for a chance is better than the idea of buying a new machine
     
  14. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1239
    I'm proud to say that my GTX has come back. It's alive!
    There are two things that I've made: to remove nvidia driver (thanks @liquidtwitch, that info was crucial), and to modify AppleGraphicsDevicePolicy.kext to correct an error that I've made setting my BoardID, there was an extra space where it wasn't and the format of the plist had broken. I've needed to check the file with Atom (with it's colored syntax editor) to realize the error. It was not the only cause for sure since I upgraded the system to 10.13.6 after the problem started, and the upgrade reseted that kext, so before I ****ed up with that file, something else was stoping the boot.

    Anyway thank you guys, you are awesome! I own you a beer ;)
     
  15. highvoltage12v macrumors regular

    highvoltage12v

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #1240
    Just a heads up, whatevergreen and lilu kexts will disable AppleGraphicsDevicePolicy.
     
  16. Render, Nov 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

    Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1241
    Interesting, I've readed a bit about them, but when I saw an option on Clover to auto install both of them, I didn't know if it was something related to Hackintosh only. So, must I install them? apart from disabling AppleGraphicsDevicePolicy, does it bring anything else?

    On the other hand, 1) do you know if rEFInd will work? Now that my GTX is alive I'm afraid of going back to black. I like to be able to switch SIP and restart in safe mode via graphical menu. And 2) what about this? it says that it's not necessary to turn off SIP because "this tool uses official installers and drivers"

    EDIT:
    1) It seems that rEFInd won't work. But there is a fork with GPU init code for GOP-compatible cards. The source needs to be build, there's no binary to download. I'll give it a try.
     
  17. FlorisVN macrumors regular

    FlorisVN

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #1242

    I want to correct , PECI GPU is NOT the GPU Die temperature.
    It's the Internal HD Graphics die temperature, built in to the Core i5-i7 cpu's.

    The only way I can check my GPU die right now, is running Bootcamp.
    I think the firmware needs to be modified, in order to show GPU Die within MacOS..
     
  18. Mr-Mur macrumors newbie

    Mr-Mur

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2018
    #1243
    I am afraid, announced GOP-compatibility is valid only for desktop PCIE-card, not for our MXM-cards :(
    I used to run the Next Loader (it also implements rEFInd GOP fix) but no luck at startup with a black screen instead a loader GUI.
    No luck there yet
     
  19. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1244
    Wow, that's bad news. I was setting the environment to compile rEFInd in macOS...
    So I suppose that it's not worth trying Clover either.

    Is this because they have not yet implemented something specific to MXM? or is it that because, unlike the 7xx series, 7xxM uses Legacy VBIOS instead of UEFI GOP?
     
  20. Redlight-Records macrumors newbie

    Redlight-Records

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    Location:
    The Basement
    #1245
    I've been poring over this thread for the last 2 days since I too have a 2011 27" imac with a failing 6970m. It's been oven-baked back to life but I would like to find a more permanent fix. Between this forum and the http://netkas.org/forum/index.php/topic,13815.msg38315.html#msg38315 thread, it sounds like the GTX is the way to go, although it also sounds like I'll have to modify my x bracket on my particular machine. If I understand it correctly, I could use a 765m or a 780m, and use it straight away, as long as I'm ok with no boot screen and no brightness control. (I'm ok with that). My big remaining question is:

    Can I use the NVIDIA card with Mavericks x.9.5?

    With so much expertise here, I'm hoping someone can tell me so. Many of my programs only work on x.9.5 and I do not want to "upgrade" to a higher operating system. Thanks so much for spreading your knowledge around.

    Apple iMac "Core i7" 3.4 27-Inch (Mid-2011) -
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB

     
  21. Render macrumors newbie

    Render

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    #1246
    Yes, you can use the NVIDIA card with Mavericks. There are several Nvidia web driver versions for Mavericks to download at https://www.tonymacx86.com/nvidia-drivers/

    The X-bracket doesn't belong to your particular machine but the actual GPU that you will install. Your current AMD X-bracket (that comes with the 6970m) has different size than the 780m one, and the one that comes with 780m (pc-laptop version) comes with "tubes surrounding the bolts" and a flat piece at the bottom that you will need to remove. Also you can remove the whole X-bracket and use 3 M3 washers on each bolt instead.
    But the most important modification is not the x-bracket but the GPU heatsink. You have to cut out two corners to make room for your new card to sit flat and to make good contact with it. That heatsink is hard to manipulate. I used a dremel with a small cutting disc, others have used a drill...

    Ask whatever you need ;)
     
  22. wiruzdk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2017
    #1247
    have you guys ben able to update to 10.14.1 it seems like the 2011 dont get the new updates on mojave
     
  23. CoastalOR macrumors 68020

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #1248
    That is because the 2011 iMac is not supported for Mojave.
    https://www.apple.com/macos/how-to-upgrade/
     
  24. Redlight-Records, Nov 10, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

    Redlight-Records macrumors newbie

    Redlight-Records

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    Location:
    The Basement
    #1249
    Thanks for the input Render. FlorisVN had indicated that there was no need for drivers for Mojave, and that maybe it was better to leave them out of the changeover. I wonder it that's the case with x.9 also? Since you know more about it than I do, maybe you could tell me if there's an even better option for my setup. The 880 card was mentioned as a better, and I like better, but I was a little worried about the 100w power consumption. Any thoughts? Anything's better than another 6970m re-ball off ebay that will give me the same problems in 6 months, but I would like the best available option.

    PS
    Anybody have any thoughts on the "unbranded" nvidia cards that are available from china?
     
  25. liquidtwitch macrumors member

    liquidtwitch

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    #1250
    Alienware/Dell cards have the highest chance of working without modification. Other cards may work with flashed bios or they might not work at all, with unbranded cards it's a lucky dip as to what kind of card you'll end up with.
     

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