Resolved Bootcamp trouble on refurbished MP'09 (Radeon HD7950)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Riku7, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. Riku7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #1
    My mid-2011 Mac Mini server's hard disks suddenly broke due to old age so for now, I had to simply clone the whole OS disk to my new computer so I wouldn't have to panic that much. I got a refurbished Mac Pro with a 2009 motherboard, 2 x 2.4 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon, 16GB RAM and AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card, Yosemite 10.10.5. The model doesn't naturally have WiFi so a card was implemented, all I know about it is what system report gives, "third-party wireless card, 802.11 a/b/g/n".
    To make the data handling easy, for now the case contains both my old broken or nearly broken HDDs as well as the new fresh ones. The old Mini had a Bootcamp partition on one of its disks, running a 64bit Windows 7. As far as I've understood, there is no good way to clone or move a Bootcamp Windows OS to a new computer because the whole installation is so dependent on the hardware that it was installed to. However, apparently this Mac Pro boots into that old Windows installation just fine, except that the screen resolution starts with 800x600 but you can put it back to what it should be, appearing just like it was on my Mini. But obviously, I should not keep that Windows because it's on a failing disk and it was created with a different computer.
    So....
    • I have used Bootcamp assistant to partition a fresh HDD for a new Windows installation.
    • I have used Disk Utility to format the newly created Bootcamp partition to NTFS.
    • I have checked Apple's official documentation to make sure that I download the correct drivers for this computer.
    • I have unzipped the driver package and placed its contents to an otherwise empty, freshly FAT-formatted USB disk.
    • I have ALT-booted the computer from a physical Windows OS installation CD and ran the installation.
    But once the Windows installation reached 100%, the computer rebooted, because "your computer will restart a few times during installation". But it only boots to a black screen with a blinking white dash in the upper left corner. The computer becomes quiet and idle until I give up and have to cold reboot. I think that it's probably failing to install the Bootcamp drivers. Or, it might not know how to deal with the unconventional graphics card. The graphics card shouldn't be completely alien because the old Windows starts up and appears quite normal. This is not the iMac problem in which people report Windows booting with a completely black or distorted screen. I tried to ALT-boot to the CD again to access Windows' repair option but at this point all it gets to is a black screen with the pixelated font "press any key to boot from cd/dvd" but it doesn't respond to any keys and again, the only option is a cold reboot. I have a corded Apple keyboard.

    Before I blindly start playing around further, where should I actually start out? Is that Windows installation a failure for now and will I have to start over? Should I be concerned of the graphics card and somehow manually tell Bootcamp to install drivers other than what's included in the official download?
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    Is your 7950 flashed with Mac EFI?

    Do you install Windows in EFI mode or legacy mode?

    How can you format a disk to NTFS with disk utility? I think there is no NTFS option in OSX. Do you installed any 3rd party software to achieve that?
     
  3. Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #3
    The person who put the computer together for me said that it's enabled for Mac so I assume that's what he meant.

    What does this mean? All I know is that I was trying to do things according to the official documentation.

    I don't know, I just could? No I don't have any third party software for that. The first time that Bootcamp Assistant allows you to partition the disk, (I made a partition for both Win and OS X on it), from there on it already automatically boots into Windows installer. There I was having a hard time getting started with the installation and by referring to various forum posts, I needed to boot back to OS X and format the Windows partition to NTFS because Bootcamp Assistant doesn't automatically do it. I formatted, it worked, and I was allowed to install Windows onto the partition. Here's a screenshot from Disk Utility for the Bootcamp partition.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #4
    News:
    I formatted both, the old Bootcamp disk from the old computer, and the new failed installation. I attempted to install Win7 onto the new partition again and for some reason, this time it was a success.
    But a massive problem still remains, which I think could be linked to why I had problems with the installation earlier.
    I installed Windows updates. Then I downloaded the graphics card manufacturer's drivers and tried to install them, but every driver download I try just results into an error message in a very windowsly fashion and the installation can't continue. Not even the AMD manager center or whatever hub it is, installs, so there's no way that I could get all the way to the phase when it would get to the graphics driver installation part. I also tried a file called 16.7.3-minimalsetup-160728_web , which I think was supposed to install the graphics driver only and no other stuff, but that too results into an error message. They don't go away by rebooting, and other people are also getting the same error messages apparently. The problem is that pretty much all that I find on the issue comes from people on native Windows computers so the reasons why the problems happen on their systems could be different from mine, so the resolutions can also differ.
    Trying to launch any video rendering software on Windows side gives me an error message that the software can't launch because the video card doesn't support [anything]. I can render on Mac side so we're talking about software issues here.
    It would appear that Windows just doesn't understand what video card it is, yet claims that it's working correctly and needs no updating. Needless to say, out of all video related settings, screen resolution is pretty much the only adjustable setting that I can find anywhere.
    Am I missing something that I should do before trying to install the official drivers or why is this happening?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
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    Hong Kong
    #5
    It seems something wrong with the graphic card. The 7950 is a very compatible card in both Windows and OSX. Can you capture the system info -> PCIe / Graphic card section, and some test results (Luxmark, Unigine Valley) in OSX? It's very unusual that a 7950 can only be recognised in OSX but not Windows.
     
  6. haralds macrumors 6502

    haralds

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #6
    It clearly looks like your card is loading the default VGA driver instead of the Radeon driver.
    Since it is not an Apple card, the BootCamp Radeon driver will not load. I would have expected the default Windows driver for the Radeon card to load instead, but that might have been disabled by BootCamp.
    I would try the latest AMD Catalyst Radeon driver for your version of Windows - http://support.amd.com/en-us/download
    It is what I used for my flashed Gigabyte Radeon 7970. The nice part is that you will profit from the latest driver updates, if that works out for you.
     
  7. Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #7
    Catalyst, nor the minimal setup driver downloads install. Both installers give an error message before even starting properly. And if I understand Windows well enough by now, the remnants of the failed installations might be causing even further conflicts. Naturally, going for the vendor's newest drivers is the first thing that I attempt to do when stuff doesn't work, but when the drivers refuse to install, wow, I just don't know how to react.
    By the way, which part in my screenshots reveal that it's a Windows card? I tried to figure it out for myself as both Mac and PC versions exist, but I found no info on which codes to look at. Opening the case to look at the physical item is a choice of course, but it'd be easier not to have to do that.

    Is this the screen you meant? Sorry, I'm a bit of a newbie to this area because all of my pervious computers have been Mac "packages", never needed to know the components in such depth.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    What comes to tests, that's also something that I've never needed to do before so I can't really interpret the results.
    Looked up your suggestions. Luxmark came up with this:
    [​IMG]
    Shall I also do Unigine or does this suffice? The download takes a while and I don't have time to wait for it now but I can do it a bit later if it adds something to the analysis.
     
  8. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #8
    My research reveals your sub system vendor ID 0x1458 is a pain for a lot of people. A lot of driver install issues.

    Here are the three official ROMs with best support

    https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/?manufacturer=ATI&model=HD+7950

    None of those have the same subsystem vendor ID. I think you might have a badly flashed card and Windows can't recognise it because of that.
     
  9. Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #9
    My goodness. Now (your whole message, not this quoted bit) is the level of jargon that I'm not yet too familiar with; You're talking in terms that I've seen but never familiarized or dealt with in any way so I'll just have to look up some glossary to comprehend what you mean. Give me a while to look things up in simple terms.

    Other than that – what does a badly flashed card mean in practice? Does it mean that the process of flashing went wrong (corrupt/unfinished etc), or that the person who did it chose an unreliable method to do it? I don't yet understand the concept of flashing per se so this might be a weird question but somewhere on this forum I think I saw a sticky post that explained the term and its logic in very simple language, but I'm yet to sit down with it and read it through thoroughly.
    Responsibility: Is this something for what I should demand for a fix from the seller, or is this the kind of problem that I can and should easily fix on my own? This is the only computer and graphics card that I own...

    + Oh wasn't Unigine Valley a mesmerizing experience! Benchmarks with three settings: Medium, Ultra and Ultra HD. I get different scores from each but visually (in my opinion) the outcome looked pretty much identical with every one. With ultra HD, some scenes with fast camera panning and view from afar so that a large number of individual items have to get rendered fast, seemed to have tiny twitches but it was so little and occasional that it wouldn't personally bother me if it had been a game, for example. There's a difference in the scores, however:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #10
    That's a flashed card. And it seems working properly in OSX. So, it's more like software problem (including VBIOS).

    BTW, is this your Card?
    b467.jpg
    If yes, there should be a little switch right next to the crossfire connector. Try to flip it to another position, hopefully the seller leave you the original PC ROM. If yes, your card should work well in both Windows and OSX, but no boot screen.
     
  11. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #11
    It has to do with the way drivers load.

    When MacOS starts up it detects the device and vendor ID of a component and then loads the corresponding driver into memory.

    With Windows it can go one step further because there are so many configurations and vendors. So Windows detects the device and vendor ID and also the subsystem ID. This enables the card to run in different configurations, such as different clock speeds.

    If the card was flashed with a ROM that the Windows can't match the subsystem ID to then the driver won't load. Instead you will get a generic video driver loaded. It seems your GPU has a sub-system ID that doesn't exist in the Radeon drivers for Windows. Because your vendor and device ID are fine.

    I see that your sub-system vendor ID is matched to Gigabyte. If you do have dual BIOS on the card as mentioned in post above, you can flip the switch to the other BIOS on the card. If not, post a pic of the card on a PC or Reddit forum and I'm sure someone will let you know how to flash it back to normal.
     
  12. haralds macrumors 6502

    haralds

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #12
    Interesting. My flashed Gigabyte RV 7970 is working very well and it has that subsystem ID.
    Vendor ID: 0x1002
    Device ID: 0x6798
    Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x1458
    Subsystem ID: 0x3001
    Revision ID: 0x0000

    http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4102#ov
     
  13. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #13
    Not the same card or situation. The Windows AMD drivers are not recognising his ROM as officially supported, probably because it is flashed onto a different vendor card or if it has EFI it isn't done correctly.
     
  14. Riku7, Aug 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016

    Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #14
    This is what I see, so I guess that's the one.
    [​IMG]

    I couldn't identify any switches until I did an image search so if this tiny thing next to the blue part is a switch, it would appear to be there:
    [​IMG]


    Hmm... Some disk utilities display disk partitions titled EFI, usually only by unhiding them first. Is there a way to use software to view what's really on the graphics card, the same way? Or is the view at About this Mac > System Information > Hardware > PCI ... exactly that? Because that view brings me a view of two instances of AMD Radeon HD 7950, the views that I posted in post number #7.

    Ah okay, seems to make sense. Thank you.

    So – with the computer not powered – if I flick that switch to the other position, let me just be clear regarding the consequences that I don't yet fully understand: If I switch it to the other position (left), theoretically, would it then work in Windows (and allow me to install Windows drivers nicely), but be disabled for Mac side? If so, when I switched it back to what it's now (right), does it mean that I can then again boot back to Mac just like I'm doing now, no destruction of any kind done? So every time before I'd start up the computer with alt pressed down, whether I want Mac or Windows, I'd always check the position of that switch first too?

    In this context, what does it mean to not have a boot screen? Since I have chosen from MacOS to start up to a Mac disk by default, I assume that there's no change there, but what if I alt+power on, does the lack of boot screen disable the view at which I could choose whether to boot from a Windows or Mac disk?
     
  15. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #15
    Yes, that's the switch.

    Just switch the Mac off, flip to the the other side, and then boot.

    If no Apple logo during boot, then hat should be the original VBIOS.

    That ROM will work in BOTH windows and OSX, but just no bootscreen and ident as 7xxx in OSX.

    The boot screen is not necessary at all, you can choose boot disk in system preference (OSX) and Bootcamp app (Windows).

    Also, if you really want the boot screen, you can always flip the switch again, and boot the Mac with the Mac EFI ROM. But that one just won't work well in Windows.

    Anyway, there is no harm to try. If nil help, just switch it back to the right.
     
  16. Riku7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    #16
    Thank you for your patience, guys!
    With the switch in another position, Windows booted a bit slowly, the first driver installer I tested again didn't work, but another one did! I could successfully install the driver and 3D works in Windows very neatly at high settings. I'm typing this from the Mac side now, didn't restore the switch position, and as you said, Mac system info now only displays the card as AMD Radeon HD 7xxx and I got the gist of manually choosing boot disks from the settings every time I power the machine down. Phew. What a major relief that I won't have to get into that flashing business at all for now. Will inform the seller though, so he's aware of this issue the next time that he's selling a similar refurbished Pro.
     
  17. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #17
    You don't have to choose the boot disk before every shutdown, unless you want to change to another boot partition.

    If your last choice is OSX, the Mac will always boot back to OSX.

    If your last choice is Windows, the Mac will always boot back to Windows.

    If you perform a PRAM reset, the Mac will boot to OSX regardless what he last choice is.

    And you can always flip the switch back to the Mac EFI position if your intention is boot to OSX, in order to use boot manager, or access recovery partition, etc.
     
  18. orph macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    if your still running osx10.10 you can use bootchamp https://www.kainjow.com/ to boot in to windows.
    if you use that app (and dont set windows as the default boot volume in osx system prefs or the windows osx pref thing) then when you click shut down/restart in windows it will boot back to osx on next boot.

    ps
    seems the app will not work in osx10.11 unless you disable sip or something
     

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