Mac Pro 3,1 Help (BootCamp, PCI, etc)

Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018

So after like years of believing the first post I read that said an XFX AlphaDog XXX 8800GT didn't have 64k of flash, I decided to check myself.

I now have a flashed EFI64 8800GT thus I have boot screens thus I want to get Windows up and running again.

I am having a hard time searching and finding information as there is just so many threads from so many different times. I have a good idea about most of it and I am quite good with computers (programming since age 6 started on a c64)

Anyway, questions time:
- It seems most people recommend installing Windows from a DVD. Okay, I spent 2 hours driving around to find some of the damn things. Got a 10-pack.
- It seems that it is recommended to install Windows in CSM-mode in most scenarios and there's an issue with NVRAM and boot signatures or something..?

1. If I boot off a DVD - am I stuck with CSM mode? Is it possible to install off a DVD and use EFI mode?
2. Is it at all possible to boot off a USB with a 3,1? My modified BCA app always makes a USB with MBR. I tried manually making a GPT Win10 USB with Rufus - both immediately halt upon selection in the boot screen (the screen doesn't even go blank, just halts) - both versions of the drive showed up as "EFI Boot" (same with my SSD, which had Win10 on it from a previous Computer) in the boot menu. I haven't tried any other ISO's in case it's an issue with the ISO but I assume not (it's my main Win10 ISO for PC installs).
3. I have read that in CSM mode that Windows can only access the internal SATA through a PATA interface or something? This would be my main concern for running in CSM mode, or any other 'performance' related concerns (boot-time related concerns aren't much of an issue)
4. Is there any other issues besides the certificate one in regards to EFI booting Windows? Does that even apply to a 3,1? My boot rom is Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B05 ..
5. I'm interested in eventually upgrading to NVMe storage, I've seen HHG's Google doc, looks like 3,1 can be done. Anything I should keep in mind?

I've also thought about allowing Parallels or something direct access to the SSD and installing that way, I'm not sure how well it would work.

Ideally, I'd love to be able to boot into Win10 natively as well as under Parallels - supposed to be a supported feature, I had it working great years ago.. But if it's not going to work (or work well) I'll happily just reboot for Windows and keep a second VM around for when I need it.

Same with EFI, seems like things "might" work better in EFI mode, but if there is no performance hit to using CSM and it works better, than that shall be the route I go.

Advice please!

My configuration:
Mac Pro 3,1 - dual 2.8 quads
Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B05
32GB 667 FB-DIMM
4x250GB HD in each slot, Apple SW Raid0 (yes, I know I will not be able to see my Mac raid volumes in Windows)
1x120GB SSD for Windows on one of the extra SATA ports
1x8800GT Flashed with EFI64 VBIOS- full boot screens working
1x960GT For main card

Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
So, I finally found a dvd, burned it.

I could boot into the installer.

It wont read my SSD connected to one of the hidden sata ports - is there a driver or something? I already have 4 full size drives in the bays as raid, can't change them.

I have a cheap pcie sata card I can use if I have to but Id much rather use the internal ports.

Still curious about installing efi-style
[doublepost=1554184480][/doublepost]Btw i also tried throwing the ssd in one of the bays, it didn't want to install or create partitions in Windows setup but I was able to erase them.

Lol @ my sata card's bios kicking in..closest thing to a bios screen ive ever seen on a Mac.
[doublepost=1554184570][/doublepost]How fast are the ports on the 3,1 anyway? I forget if theyre 150 or 300, are the "hidden/extra" ports any diff?

My cheap sata card is 6gbps it says, so it may actually be the faster way to go?
[doublepost=1554184761][/doublepost]Well, it did detect the drive on the pcie card. Installing win10 now.

I would prefer to use the internal ports as id rather not loose a slot..but if theyre only 150 or 300 then maybe ill keep it this way..?
[doublepost=1554184826][/doublepost]This is the error I got with the ssd in one of the bays (not on the extra ports, just didnt show up there..but it showed up under os x)
[doublepost=1554185334][/doublepost]And it won't boot..mac bootloader doesn't see the drive..which kind of doesnt surprise me.

Not sure what chip my sata card is based off, its the startech 2port
[doublepost=1554185479][/doublepost]Swapped to one of the hidden ports, reboot, hold alt, it shows "Windows"
I pressed enter, then I get the questionmark folder blinking
[doublepost=1554187082][/doublepost]I did find an old thread about using the eztra ports but was geared towards like win7 and xp and crap lol

Put the drive in bag 2 and booted off the dvd again and install went to stage 2, win10 is now running and no unknown devices.

Now to figure out booting...I really don't want to have to swap a drive everytime I want to boot windows...has to be a way to boot off my pcie or the extra ports..!
[doublepost=1554187191][/doublepost]And dammit, the new nvidia drivers dont support the 8800 LOL

I guess windowz drivers are fine for that one...cuz I don't wanna run old drivers when I put the 960 back in
[doublepost=1554187439][/doublepost]Boots in bay 2.. ugh.. it wouldn't be so bad if my main drives were 2.5 ssds, I could just swap one onto the extra ports..but they full size hds..! I could maybe get creative and unscrew the sata backplane plate for one bay and move it and put cables in the bay sk the drive stays physically there but is logically moved.I DUNNO.


Anyone know a way tk boot winblowz off the extra ports?


Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018

I took the sata "plug" from port#2, pulled it out a bit, routed SATA power and plug to the extra port under the drive in port#2

Lets hope macos still recognizes my raid. It should.

Hopefully this workaround works. But id much like to put it back.
[doublepost=1554191398][/doublepost]Osx bootin'

And I know windows can boot off port2.

Ugly, hacky, ******, but working for now..

If anyone can point me in the direction of booting off the extra ports or something, id appreciate it, ive searched and not found the info im lopking for
[doublepost=1554191713][/doublepost]Okay.. so it's clear under osx that all sata ports are esb2 ahci..

I bet if I were to efi install/boot win10, it'd recognize the ports? I am assuming something in the bios / csm is ignoring them..sounds like something i read
[doublepost=1554192225][/doublepost]****. Windows not seeing my gtx 960??
[doublepost=1554192298][/doublepost]Id prefer to not have to remove the 8800..besides htf will I select windows in the bootmanager? I kind of don't want to do it any other way (osx wont load nvidia drivers if i clear nvram which means i have to remote in and fix everytime i clear) cuz of nvram stuff
[doublepost=1554192564][/doublepost]Works beautifully with the current nvidia driver on osx for both cards..

On windows, nvidia doesn't even have a driver that comes close to supporting both generations lol.. fack.. Id even be ok if the 8800 disabled in win10 or something..

I suppose i could take it out and only throw it in when needed for boot screens but then i still have to solve OS picking.. I have never had luck trying to do the menu blindly..
[doublepost=1554192724][/doublepost]Well, even though it's conspicuously missing from device manager, the nvidia driver (for the 960) is proceeding to install .. it wouldn't go with just the 8800 in..didnt think it would but figured id try..

11 generations different lolz..
[doublepost=1554192843][/doublepost]Dont people use their 7300s for stuff all the time tho? And gt120s? 120 aint much newer than 8800 and still no driver supports 120 and 960 either from what nvidia site says..

Lets see what happens when the driver installs. Right now only the 8800gt is displaying a screen under windoes.

I did put my case cover back on for now *fingers crossed* altho i really dont like the sata hack

Really curious about running efi mode windows instead of csm..

Does the certificate issue only affect 51 bootroms? Or?
[doublepost=1554192952][/doublepost]..your pc needs to restart to finish setting up geforce 960..i have hope...and my screen blanked right as i typed that..mid install..dammit..
[doublepost=1554193026][/doublepost]Its like the driver b*slapped the 8800gt.. cmon nvidia.. if the driver no longer supports the card, why you messin' with it? Let the windows driver serve it.. or make it work..but don't blank screen me.. :'(
[doublepost=1554193264][/doublepost]Well after that sketch and a forced power off, I reboot and both cards are sorta functional. Nvidia drivers on 960, basic on 8800gt.. trying to update MS drivers for see wot happens
[doublepost=1554193586][/doublepost]And that killed the official drivers.. ah well, I don't need both cards accelerated under windows.. boot screens and 960 working in win and both in osx is pretty decent.

I'll prob just throw my corner 4:3 vertical screen on the 8800 that i use for code and be done
[doublepost=1554193684][/doublepost]Kinda sucks that the MS driver wont recognize the 960, and that it conflicts with the nvidia driver. I mean, based off pci ids they shouldnt really..but must be doing some stuff based off vendor alone


Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
Well at least my disk benches decently (seqneutial at least is on par for now) under windows even with csm..which is good..

What is bad, is it thinks it's an ATA drive... so no trim, acq/ncq/etc..

I think i wanna switch to efi windows..but hows?

C8nebench r15 says my 960 is performing slower than a 650. Or a 460.

Could i be running at 2.5gt/s under windoss? How to fix?
[doublepost=1554197421][/doublepost]I mean, I basically installed Windows for games and to get OpenCL and better accel under solidworks (got accel working in a vm but it's still not great..)

So, I'd like my 960 performing as it could.. That's the one major thing I could think.. it said 5.0gt/s under OS X

I guess I could run a cinebench on osx for compares.
[doublepost=1554198417][/doublepost]Okay, so, GPU-Z shows PCI x16 1.1 even when running render test.. :/

Wonder if pulling the 8800 might help but.. might be something else.. do we even get full pcie 2.0 in csm?
[doublepost=1554198546][/doublepost]wtf! GPU-Z shows the 8800Gt running at 2.0 speeds!

Maybe I should remove the 8800Gt and see if I can boot.. I don't wanna loose boot screens really, but, so long as I can boot both OS's and I have the 8800 on hand for issues.. but.. dammit..

anyone had this issue? time to start searching again..

BTW the 960 is in Slot #1 (farthest from PSU, double slot), 8800GT in slot#2

Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
So..booted to OSX..even WORSE

the 960 is running at 2.5GT/s in OSX, the 8800GT is running at 5.0GT/s

I wonder if the 960 was running at 5.0 by itself.. hard to remember when you do a million things troubleshooting..
So finally, after my night of troubleshooting and posting stuff and answering some of my own questions, here's what I'm left with:

1. How do I get Windows running in EFI mode? I don't think my SSD will love no trim/running as a "PATA drive", heh, although it runs faster than any PATA interface ever could (benched 220mb/s sequential which is close to on par for this SSD).
1a. Is it possible to boot Win10 off a PCIE SATA card or the internal extra ports (I think the extra ports would work in EFI mode)?

2. How can I get my 960 working at PCIE2.0 speeds with the 8800GT being a boot screen ?

I wasn't gonna sit around and wait to be spoon-fed - sorry if I posted a lot, but just trying to give enough info to get help + try and figure it out on my own in the meantime.


Forbidden Era

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
so pcie 2.0 might be a pipe dream on the 960 without MVCing it?

don't think I agree with what he's doing nor want to send money that way.. he's a total monopoly, may be a niche market but.. still a monopoly.

seems like in a lot of things there isn't a huge diff, maybe some applications.. but why would I be seeing such poor benches on this card on both OS X and windows?

perhaps I should try other benches but..damn..!

I even tried overclocking a bit in windows..the benchmarks kept going lower..wasn't fully hitting the boost clock either, but it was going over baseline (baseline was about 1ghz, it went up to about 1250 or so when running CB)