Any way to get Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition to run in 10.6.8 with driver support?

macuser453787

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 19, 2012
569
149
Galatians 3:13-14
I have a Mac Pro (4,1->5,1) that I just installed a Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition card into, and I'd like to find out if anyone knows any workarounds to get it to run with official (or at least semi-official) driver support in 10.6.8.

The situation is that I have two boot drives: one is 10.9.4 and the other is 10.6.8. I have to keep 10.6.8 because I have FCS3 installed on it and I have to be able to use it for some things.

Of course the 7950 is fully supported in 10.9.4, but in 10.6.8, even though it boots fine and runs (mostly) fine, there is a lack of official driver support that keeps me from being able to open FCP7 (it gives me an error when I launch the app and it won't open at all). Also when I open Cinebench for example it says that the GFX board is "Apple Software Renderer" instead of the name of the card itself (it reports it correctly in 10.9.4).

Odd thing is, in System Profiler it says there is a driver installed (and it reports the correct name of the card also). I glean from these things that in 10.6.8, the 7950 seems to be somehow generically supported by the OS instead of being officially supported via the proper kext files.

I tried manually copying what seemed to be the relevant kexts and .bundle files from the System/Library/Extensions directory on my 10.9.4 drive into the same directory on my 10.6.8 drive, but that was a no go (which I figured it would be, but thought I'd try anyway). I also tried examining the package contents of the “RADEON HD 7950 for Mac.pkg” but it didn’t give me the option in the contextual menu. Of course when I double-click on it in 10.6.8 it says it’s not supported etc and won't run the installer.

Anyway, I don’t know if anyone has any experience with this specific situation but I would greatly appreciate some help.

Ideally (and maybe unrealistically) I’d like to find a way to install the necessary kext files for official 7950 support in 10.6.8. If that’s not possible, then maybe an alternate option could be installing a 7950-compatible kext for an AMD GPU that’s similar enough to the 7950 that it would make it work in 10.6.8 (essentially making the OS think that the 7950 is another AMD GPU). I’d be good with that even if in doing so the 7950 doesn’t operate at 100% efficiency, so long as it would be “officially” supported and would allow me to open FCP7. (For my purposes, this solution would be fine because I’ll be using the 10.9.4 boot drive most of the time anyway.) Or maybe there’s a way to modify an existing official kext to make it work in 10.6.8…?

I’m open to any ideas so long as they don’t involve updating 10.6.8 to 10.7.5, because as I said I have to be able to use FCP7 and I don’t want to risk not being able to open a 32-bit app in any post-Rosetta OS (even though some have apparently reported that FCP will still run).

I'm trying to avoid having to swap out the 7950 for my GT120 every time I want to use FCP7 (and I would have to swap it out because all my other PCIe slots are being necessarily used).

So, thoughts?

Thanks in advance! :)
 
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macuser453787

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 19, 2012
569
149
Galatians 3:13-14
You can't make 7950 drivers work in 10.6.8.
FCS is Universal Binary and does not need Rosetta.
Use FCP7 in 10.9.4 as all other people (who need to) do.
Really? I wasn't aware that it could run in a 64-bit environment. I will look into it though. Thanks for the tip. :)
 
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666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
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Poland
You've confused PPC/UB thing with 32/64-bit thing. Rosetta (not stone) is for "translate" PPC code for Intel CPU, and does not have anything to do with 32/64-bit environment. If you'll look into Activity monitor in 10.9.4, you'll see many 32-bit processes running along 64-bit ones.
 

Riot Nrrrd

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2011
160
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Lost Androideles
"runs (mostly) fine"?

macuser453787 (if you still exist):

I've been researching graphics card upgrades for my Mid-2010 Mac Pro 3.33 GHz 6-core machine running 10.6.8.

I see you tried to fiddle with the 10.9.4 drivers on 10.6.8, which obviously wouldn't work.

Did you ever think to try and grab the 10.7.5 driver from the CD and see if you could extract the kext from that and see if it would install?

Probably wouldn't work (due to 10.7 vs. 10.6 incompatibilities) but hey, you never know.

I'm also interested to know what you mean by "runs (mostly) fine" exactly. Does anything else other than Final Cut Pro 7 or Cinebench not work? (I don't use either of those so they are "don't care" issues for me.)
 

Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
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809
You could install an Apple ATI Radeon HD 5870, i think in terms of performance this card is more or less similar to the Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition.

The HD 5870 is full compatible with OS X 10.6.8.
 
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Riot Nrrrd

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2011
160
53
Lost Androideles
You could install an Apple ATI Radeon HD 5870, i think in terms of performance this card is more or less similar to the Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition.

The HD 5870 is fully compatible with OS X 10.6.8.
That was my backup plan, I was hoping for a newer card than the HD 5870. :(
 

thisguyiknow

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2011
4
2
That was my backup plan, I was hoping for a newer card than the HD 5870. :(
I could get the kexts to install in 10.6.8 -- and ATISupport, ATI7000Controller, ATIx4000, ATIFramebuffer are loaded -- I have the full resolution options

the issue is that the OpenGL support plugin requires some libraries that are not present on 10.6.8 -- I tried copying some of the frameworks from 10.7.5 and a couple of dylib's but then it wouldn't boot -- trying to see if any adventurous soul can help me reverse engineer the openGL support