Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

exploradorgt

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 25, 2023
65
32
Hi, out of respect I do my research before asking questions, so no, this is not a lazy-question-thread, but I reached the point where I'm not finding the answer to an specific detail. Already read dosdude1 threads, but the question remains unanswered (I have no idea if there is a definitive answer).

Here it goes: there are 2 Macbook Pro 15" 2011 Intel Core i7 computers in good shape at great price that I'm considering for a couple of projects, I know the GPU's will fail eventually, unless the failure it's already there but the seller used applied a software fix (that I know only works on MacOSX and supposedly on Linux too). For the project, I need to install Windows.

  • As far as my research goes, it's impossible to install and run Windows on these machines once the GPU fails. Right?
  • Found some fixes, most importantly dosdude1 chip reprogramming via JTAG to permanently disable the dedicated GPU. After this fix, would these machines run any OS? Windows 10? 11? Linux? (I know they run MacosX just fine)
I ask this because I've read a lot, but I can't possibly read all the threads all around the web with all the solutions. Also, knowing most people want to rescue their MacOSX experience, all the question about running Windows on a machine with this fix posted on the web (that I found) have no answers. I did find people reporting software fixes not working to install Windows.

I enjoy giving computers a 2nd life. Unfortunately, running MacosX on these MBP is not an option due to lack of software support.

Thanks in advance.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2020
967
1,352
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
it's impossible to install and run Windows on these machines once the GPU fails. Right?
Once the GPU completely gives up (which in all likelihood it will), you cannot boot into any OS.

Found some fixes, most importantly dosdude1 chip reprogramming via JTAG to permanently disable the dedicated GPU. After this fix, would these machines run any OS? Windows 10? 11? Linux? (I know they run MacosX just fine)
If you use a physical hardware GPU killer (like dosdude1's method or a CMIzapper Tiresias), then you never have to worry about the AMD GPU. The machine will only ever use the integrated HD 3000. The major downside of any GPU-disabling method is that you lose all external display support. IIRC this is because the framebuffer for external displays was handled entirely by the AMD GPU. There is no way around this.

In terms of whether it runs W10/W11/Linux afterwards, yes they will all run. Performance will depend on what specs you have, eg: most modern OS's will run extremely poorly (especially modern macOS) on only 4GB of RAM and a mechanical hard drive, while it will be decently fast with 16GB of RAM and an SSD.

Unfortunately, running MacosX on these MBP is not an option due to lack of software support.
You can run the latest version of macOS (Sonoma) on these with OpenCore Legacy Patcher. Do note that it is an unofficial requirement to at the bare minimum have an SSD to run a modern version of macOS due to the APFS filesystem (which is a requirement to run Mojave and later) not being optimised for old spinning drives at all.
 

exploradorgt

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 25, 2023
65
32
Thanks for the info @theMarble.

If you use a physical hardware GPU killer (like dosdude1's method or a CMIzapper Tiresias), then you never have to worry about the AMD GPU. The machine will only ever use the integrated HD 3000. The major downside of any GPU-disabling method is that you lose all external display support. IIRC this is because the framebuffer for external displays was handled entirely by the AMD GPU. There is no way around this.
Cool, that's quite acceptable given the case. Yes, I would be doing the mod, I've seen a few options as you describe.

The problem I've seen regarding my readings, is seeing comments but no testimonials, I mean, nobody explaining "it worked", but I'm interpreting your words as a positive confirmation that you already tried and worked, of you had the chance to watch a real case scenario, is that so? I will appreciate the confirmation.

In terms of whether it runs W10/W11/Linux afterwards, yes they will all run. Performance will depend on what specs you have, eg: most modern OS's will run extremely poorly (especially modern macOS) on only 4GB of RAM and a mechanical hard drive, while it will be decently fast with 16GB of RAM and an SSD.

Yes an SSD will be used if I find enough confirmation of this being viable.

Today I found this: Annabel Sandford wrote a Windows APP to disable via software the GPU, I'm still researching, so far I haven't seen anyone confirming it works.


In my case, I can't touch the machines unless I buy them for the project, so at this time I can play with any software option, not
You can run the latest version of macOS (Sonoma) on these with OpenCore Legacy Patcher.
I'll be installing Windows due to several reasons.

thanks for the info again.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2020
967
1,352
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
The problem I've seen regarding my readings, is seeing comments but no testimonials, I mean, nobody explaining "it worked", but I'm interpreting your words as a positive confirmation that you already tried and worked, of you had the chance to watch a real case scenario, is that so? I will appreciate the confirmation.
The issue with talking about these GPU fixes is how small the userbase is for them. Not very many people use 2011 15"/17" MBPs anymore, even in the retro community due to their GPU faults (and/or because of its age). Because of this, the number of people who have done hardware or software mods is quite small.

I haven't had any personal experience with any mod, however have seen and talked to a couple of people who have done either. If the GPU has completely given up (eg: unable to boot into anything, or doesn't even POST), then the only fix is a hardware GPU killer. If the issues are only minor, a software solution may work.

I have heard people say that software fixes are not perfect, and that there are some stability (or still even graphical) issues after performing it. Some say that things have worked fine, however in most cases it seems like people who did the software patch as a precaution (i.e. no GPU issues yet) are the ones who are fine, and those who did have minor issues are the ones with stability issues. Keep in mind though that because of how the software fix works, and how the GPU failure occurs, the GPU does still get worse even with the software patch, so your mileage may vary.

Also, software fixes only work while fully booted into an OS that the fix works on. If the GPU has completely died, then a software fix will do nothing.

A hardware solution seems to be the better option, as despite it being significantly more complicated to perform, it does kill power to the actual GPU chip, meaning that you don't have to worry about it again. I have heard of one or two people having some odd firmware-related issues after installing a GPU killer, but haven't heard anything more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: exploradorgt

DCBassman

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2021
567
316
West Devon, UK
The MBP 2011 can be patched to run more recent versions of macOS.
Difficult or impossible with duff GPU unless, I'm guessing, hardware modded. Before my early 2011 failed, it would run Sonoma reasonably well with 8GB.
Once the GPU completely gives up (which in all likelihood it will), you cannot boot into any OS.
I'm typing on a 15" 2011 with a dead GPU, and MX Linux runs well. But it seems to be the exception. Pretty much everything else I've tried does not work.
Yes. Unfortunately, MacosX on these computers (even patched) have limited life ahead in terms of software, but Windows and Linux don't have this limitation.
Linux probably has no limitations, but W11 will eventually, I suggest, and not just for old Macs but for old PCs as well.
software fix will do nothing.
The more basic software fixes are in NVRAM, which like BIOS, is OS-independent.
 

exploradorgt

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 25, 2023
65
32
Difficult or impossible with duff GPU unless, I'm guessing, hardware modded. Before my early 2011 failed, it would run Sonoma reasonably well with 8GB.

I'm typing on a 15" 2011 with a dead GPU, and MX Linux runs well. But it seems to be the exception. Pretty much everything else I've tried does not work.

Linux probably has no limitations, but W11 will eventually, I suggest, and not just for old Macs but for old PCs as well.

The more basic software fixes are in NVRAM, which like BIOS, is OS-independent.
Thanks, this is quite informative, encouraging and helpful.

Originally, I only found information on how to disable the GPU via MacOSX, and then Linux (just software), basically modifying parameters on the *RAM, and these are lost whenever this thing is reset.

Changing my search parameters found something unexpected, there are ways to run and install other Linux distros. This is not exactly what I'm after (I'm aiming for Windows) but this is worth sharing for others to find and use.



I'm clueless if there is a similar method for Windows (changing boot parameters), Annabel Sandford's method may be it, but I won't know unless I try (or someone else does). I'm curious if someone already played with Windows boot basic parameters:

1718221274405.png
 

DCBassman

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2021
567
316
West Devon, UK
Originally, I only found information on how to disable the GPU via MacOSX, and then Linux (just software), basically modifying parameters on the *RAM, and these are lost whenever this thing is reset.
If PRAM/NVRAM is reset, the fix must be re-applied, yes. This can be reset from a CLI in either macOS single-user mode, via a macOS USB installer, or in similar fashion via something basic like Arch Linux live installer. Using, say, a High Sierra installer is certainly simpler than the Linux way, but once at the appropriate point, commands are similar. Presumably Annabel Sandford's method does something similar?
But if you have no need to reset PRAM, then the fix is essentially permanent.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.