MacPro 1,1 - Currently available tested working graphics cards, El Capitan.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iMattux, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. iMattux macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Hi folks,

    Forgive me, but I've had a few frustrating days.

    Installing both Yosemite and El Capitan was trivially easy following the instructions on the first page of the thread (install via target disk mode from eligible machine, swap in Pikes boot.efi, repair permissions, done)

    That was awesome. I then hastily and foolishly pulled the trigger on this nVidia GTX 750Ti SC card from Amazon after reading multiple posts on multiple forums that essentially said "nVidia cards work oob and work better with the latest web drivers". The GTX 750 was noted as a card the required the web drivers and wouldn't display a boot screen on page 1 of the MacPro 1,1/Yosemite thread. A new 2GB, DDR5 card for $150 was impossible to resist and I accepted those caveats.

    I take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for not reading ALL the threads. I realize that most, if not all the people here are trying to help one another. I'm not angry or blaming anyone other than myself.

    The linked card above did not work either oob or with the correct web drivers for either Yosemite or El Capitan. It's going back to Amazon.

    I'd really appreciate if someone could steer me to a currently available card that they are currently using on a "stock" MacPro 1,1 that works with Yosemite and El Capitan.

    Here's what looks to me to be an option:
    GeForce GT 640
    but I hesitate bc it's PCI 3.0 and much of the performance will be lost in a PCI 1.0 box...

    So, please, if you could list your card here, I'd appreciate it. I'd rather not have to wait to get a card flashed, so please share your experience and PLEASE, if you don't know that given card works, don't speculate unless you are truly an expert.

  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Odd that you couldn't get EVGA card to work.

    I have found the Asus 750s problemeatic, but not EVGA ones.

    Did you turn the Web Drivers on from the 1,1? The "on" switch is in host machine's firmware. So if you boot from later machine to install the drivers and turn it on there, it will still be "off' on the 1,1.

    I can toss an EVGA 750 in my 1,1 with El Cap tonight and let you know if it works.
  3. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Yes, I did. I just switched to El Capitan using my funky-but-functional Radeon X1900 and grabbed this screenshot:

    Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 3.13.52 PM.png

    Is there any way for that to show without the drivers actually loading? I've zapped PRAM several times and toggled nvram bootargs from =nv_disable=1 to nvda_drv=1 a few times. Just ran nvram bootargs and got "nvda_drv=1", so I think everything is in place.

    I'm looking at flashing instructions now, but it would be my first time and those who've done it a lot recommend learning on easier and more recoverable cards.

    Between this and installing Linux, I've gotten a HUGE education thanks to helpful people like you. Cheers.
  4. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    No Nvidia flash for cards after 8800GT/GT120.

    AMD 7950/70 R9280/X are newest cards with boot screens from AMD, but don't work in anything before 10.8 so if you cross boot back to 10.7.5 they are a problem.
  5. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Huh? You sell a flashed version of my exact card. At this point, I should just give you the $80 and be done with this, but shipping, 5 days and shipping back.

    There has to be a new card that will work for my admittedly meager budget
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Not for EFI32 we don't.

    Last EFI32 flashable Nvidia card is 8800GT 1GB.
  7. dfritchie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2015
    I got a Sapphire 7950 Boost from ebay for less than $100.00 and after reading here and on Nekas learned to flash it myself. It works great in my 1,1 and supports Metal in El Capitan.
  8. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    For less that $100? You did quite well for yourself. I just ordered a Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 DVI-I/HDMI/2x Mini-Displayport PCI-Express Graphic Card GV-R795WF3-3GD on Amazon for $140.

    I spent the entire day reading and debating between the 7950, the 7970 or GT 600 series nVidia card. I went with the Gigabyte card bc I can have it on Saturday and Gigabyte is kind enough to still provide the ROMs, although there are 4 listed for that card, and I'm not certain how to tell which is correct. I've got til Saturday to figure that out. ;)

    I'm all over the Netkas forums and the Radeon 7xxx thread. Did you run Netkas' script from the OP? Or what did you do?

    I don't have a PC or a copy of Windows to install, but I think I should be able to add the Mac EFI to the ROM I download from Gigabyte and then do everything from the terminal on the MacPro. I'm still reading and trying to sort wheat from chaff. If you could point me to a specific post # in the 30 pages, that would be great. I'm not sure if Netkas' script in the OP has been updated/fixed or whether it needed to be.

    So many people give authoritative advice that is just so wrong. "any GeForce card will work," WRONG!

    I see you've upgraded your CPU too. That is next on my list.
  9. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2007
    Flashing has to be done in Windows or DOS, currently no way from OS X. You can boot FreeDOS on your MacPro for flashing.
  10. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Thx Florian. All of you guys at Netkas and most of the people here have been very helpful and I sincerely appreciate it. MUCH gratitude!

    I've never flashed a card before, but after going thru installing Linux on a MacPro 1,1, I'm not afraid of the command line and I've done all sorts of dances to get 64bit Ubuntu installed and running with a 32bit EFI, so I'm not totally inept and dependent on a GUI like many Mac users.

    After reading every post in the 31 page, 7xxx rom creating test, I'm planning to follow these instructions
    because the poster is only using a Mac and the instructions are clear, all on 1 page, and refers back to the netkas forum.

    I'd really appreciate it if you could validate that my plan is theoretically correct:

    1. I need to start with the exact ROM for my card. Unless I missed it somewhere in the 31 pages, no one has the exact Gigabyte 7950 I just ordered and GPU-Z is a Windows app so, I thought I might be screwed (again)... :confused:

    However, I found that Gigabyte has 4 different variations here. :cool: I'm not totally sure how I can tell which I need. Maybe you can help or I'll start with the top/latest and work my way down.

    (Linux is another option to extract the ROM from my card if those on the Gigabyte site don't work. I'll cross that bridge if I have to)

    2. Boot UBCD or otherwise boot into FreeDOS (I'm going to make sure I can do that as soon as I finish with this post, but it can't be any harder than booting/installing Ubuntu).

    3. Run Netkas' script (the very first one in the 7xxx thread. I read several posts down that there was a problem with the script writing 0's after a certain point. I got lost, but I'm assuming that poster made some mistake and Netkas' original script is the one everyone is successfully using. Correct?)

    4. Run ATI flash from DOS

    5. Cross fingers and reboot with option key, select El Capitan drive... Jump for joy(?) or curse and scream and figure out what the hell I did wrong.

    A couple questions:

    1. I've got the nVidia web drivers installed and enabled in El Capitan as we speak. I can boot ElCap using my Radeon x1900 and navigate around well enough to disable them using the nVidia control panel. I'm pretty sure that'll be fine, or maybe I'll actually remove them with nVidia's script. Do you foresee any problems? Do I need to change boot args?

    2. The article linked above tells me to remove any other cards. That might be problematic. I have the 7950 Mac Edition drivers that MacVidCards kindly uploaded. Based on that whole thread, I'm thinking I'll install the drivers for the 7950, then shut down and swap out the X1900 with the new 7950. That will allow the new 7950 to at least initialize and light up the screen and then I should theoretically be able to get into FreeDos. Does that seem like it'll work?

    A thousand thanks to you, Netkas, Rominator, MacVidCards (is that the same person?) and everyone else who is kind and patient in helping the rest of us.
  11. MacVidCards, Oct 9, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015

    MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    You are overthinking the rom thing.

    The way to get the best one for your card is to get it FROM YOUR CARD.

    I rename atiflash.exe to be a.exe, saves typing.

    In dos, a -s 0 myrom.rom

    Will put your exact rom in file form.

    You can then make another copy or two and tuck them somewhere.

    Beauty of most Tahiti cards is dual position rom switch, almost impossible to mess it up unless you are really trying too. Flip the switch and save myrom2.rom.

    Most now have a pc bios at one position and a UEFI at the other. The first 64K should be identical except for last rom indicator. On bios one, from 64K to 128K will be empty, UEFI one will have a UEFI file, if you look in a hex editor it will have "AMD" and "GOP" in first bunch of characters.

    Use Netkas' script if you want, I find it fast and easy to use a hex edit program and just chop the bios off the front of the UEFI version and paste if with an appropriate Mac EFI.

    By starting from UEFI version you can be certain last rom indicator is already correct.

    Build the rom, I always just add an "m" at beginning of name to signify it is now Mac version. Keep in mind DOS chokes on names longer then 8 characters.

    So now boot into DOS again and type. (I frequently just leave it running while I assemble the file)

    a -p 0 mmyrom.rom

    Should not be necessary to add "-f" if you are using right rom.

    Be methodical and it will be fine. If for use on a 1,1 don't risk the resistor mod, you have nothing to gain, and much to lose.
  12. VAGDesign macrumors 6502


    Feb 1, 2014
    If it helps, here is a guide I made back in June when I flashed my XFX 7950 (risky cause it doesn't have that magic 2 ROMs switch @MacVidCards mentions above) but all went OK and now I'm on 4K resolution thanks to Dell P2715Q I bought few days ago :)

    Good luck and don't over think, just be patient and don't rush.
  13. dfritchie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2015
  14. iMattux, Oct 9, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015

    iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    MVC and VAGDesign - Thank you for responding and being patient. I'm sorry if my questions seem stupid, but you do this all the time or at least frequently and I never have, so things that are totally obvious to you are not at all obvious to me.
    I have never owned a Windows machine. I've never used a DOS prompt. I'm able to boot the UBCD and get into DOS. "\" instead of "/", dir instead ls, and I'm navigating around fairly comfortably, copying files, no worries there.

    AFAIK there isn't a way to get the rom with just a Mac. Am I wrong? Is there a DOS tool? Googling does not show mac options to extract roms. Wait - what are we doing in the first step below? Does ATIflash pull the rom from the installed card? Why do most guides say I need GPU-Z? :confused:o_O:mad:

    If Linux has an option, I can likely use it to get the ROM. If Windows is the ONLY way to extract the ROM from my card, I'll have to go with a factory ROM from Gigabyte. That really should be *exactly* the same as the one installed on my card, assuming it hasn't been flashed by the previous owner.

    So, lets assume I've got the correct ROM (from an extract or the factory) for my exact Gigabyte card. It's a ~128K file burned onto the UBCD or on a USB drive with atiflash.exe. I boot from the CD, choose FreeDOS and get:

    Q:> (am I root or do I need to sudo? I think I'm root...)

    Q:> mv atiflash.exe a.exe

    Ok, "put" is a typo, s/b "pull"

    I'm running a(tiflash), -s means... (looking it up) "save BIOS from adapter" - Again! WTH are people saying to use GPU-Z if you've gotta use atiflash anyway? Do you see why I'm confused and why this is hard for noobs?

    Easy enough... Q:> cp myrom.rom \some\other\dir\myrom.rom

    Here's hoping the Gigabyte card has a switch... If it does, I run a -s, then I flip the switch, run it again and get a different file. OK (And I read several posts about switches being mislabeled and/or non-functional...)

    I've got hex fiend, but again, I have 0 experience looking at hex files. I'll see if it's obvious to to me what's what in the hex file.

    Either way, I've booted back into OSX. I can go into either El Cap or Lion. Lion is less likely to crash, so that seems smartest... I've got both Python & Java installed and I can read Netkas' script and understand what's happening to a certain extent. That will be the more likely route.

    Just to be super clear: Do you mean "build" as in compile? Or are you just talking about running Netkas' script or manually cutting the bios part from the UEFI, pasting the mac EFI in it's place and renaming it again? I think the latter, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything. (You're either thinking, "Of course you have to compile it!" or; "What would you need to compile? It's a hex file.") If you're still with me, you have remarkable patience.

    Ok, I did a bit more homework, "-p" means write it back to the device. I'll force it I have to and hope I don't.

    I'm very good at methodical, but you've probably figured that out by now ;)

    Possible flag on the play. My card has only 1 DVI port. I hope I don't disable it. And it sucks that if the DVI port doesn't work, I won't know it it's because I flashed it wrong or bc of a bug/configuration mismatch. I hope that using the exact ROM will ensure that doesn't happen.:rolleyes:

    VAG - Why do you say I need GPU-Z and atiflash when atiflash reads and writes? Am I missing something?

    Again, thanks to everyone for the education.
  15. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    GPU-Z is a means to grab it in Windows with GUI.

    I'll even share a little secret that I rarely do, you can get the BIOS of most AMD cards in OS X. You need IO registry explorer. Boot the unflashed card in OS X, open ioregistry explorer and there will be a section for the card that has the PC BIOS. You can literally copy & paste it right into a hex editor. Note, this only gets you the PC BIOS, not the UEFI part.

    ATIWInflash can do it in Windows.

    Just remember this, only ever write to ONE position of the switch. Never, EVER write to both. That way you can never really mess it up. The 7950/70 are like god's gift to home flashing enthusiasts. They are the polar opposite of Nvidia flashing, where your odds of bricking a card are exponentially higher. Sofrom the get go, decide that Position 1 is the "write too" side and position 2 is the "NEVER write too" side. Label them with a little label, or colored tape, or something. I can't emphasize this enough, if you are clever enough to NEVER write to the "SAFE" side, you are golden. You could hire 1,000 monkeys with 1,000 hex editors and flash every rom they wrote and you would still eventually get a working EFI. (may take awhile) Point being, if you keep that switch position business straight, you can never brick, break, or ruin the card.

    When I typed "build" I just meant copy & paste the two halves together. No compiling needed.
  16. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Thx, MVC. Card just got here. It does have a switch. :cool:

    Waiting on the 8pin->6pin mini PCI-e connector...:rolleyes:

    Did a dry-run with the x1900 last night. Pulled the BIOS with atiflash and looked at it in Hex Fiend. You're right, it's def not rocket-science. Netkas' script vs. manual editing in a GUI is a toss-up for me. Thanks for patiently explaining everything. ;)

    While I wait, I'm thinking I might start a fresh thread along the lines of "El Capitan on MacPro 1,1/2,1: Solutions ONLY (Noobs start here)."

    I've waded thru thousands of posts on hundreds of pages here and on Netkas. There's so much conflicting info ("any GeForce will work" being my favorite example) and so much that is outdated. I started this adventure on Oct. 2, and I'm not quite finished yet. I'd like to help the next person who comes here wanting top get more life out of a 1,1/2,1. Judging from eBay, there are still MANY out there and running full-fledged El Capitan for ~$500 (or as little as $0 if you're lucky and a friend or family member has upgraded) is a very attractive option.
  17. eyseman macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2014
    Hi all,

    just installed and booted my MacPro (1,1->2,1) into El Capitan. I had to inject an old kext file for my AMD graphics card but now it is running. I am using an ASUS 7750 1GB card. Unfortunately, it is too weak for daily use in El Capitan. It worked like charm in Yosemite (10.10.5) but now it seems that its time has come. There are screen tears and sometimes even the entire screen has a lag during loading (especially during the login phase). Seems that I do have to switch back to Yosemite until I make myself a christmas present ;)
  18. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Well, I'm about to give up after 3 days of trying...

    I can boot into FreeDos with the Universal Boot CD but only when I burn it to a CD, USB does not work.

    It loads everything in a RamDisk, so I can swap in a 2nd CD, run atiflash, and pull the rom from my 7950, but I can't copy it anywhere! I've got 2 FAT32 partitions theoretically available but they don't show up when I list all drives. When I try to install USB support, FreeDos hangs.

    I checked the MD5 and verified the CD burn.

    I guess I'm gonna have to install Windows. Can anyone think of another option while I try to find a copy of Windows to install in Boot Camp?
  19. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    You can get the PC BIOS with ioregistry explorer and then burn a CD with finished rom and nvflash.

    Or you could try formatting a USB stick in MSDOS FAT and then cd over to it after DOS booted from CD.
  20. cmanns macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2015
    I'm running an EVGA GTX650 (Ti/SuperClocked) 2GB card in MacPro 1,1 on OS X Yosemite, El Capitan, & Windows 10 bootcamp.

    Only DVi->VGA doesn't work in OS X (but the dvi-i port + dvi-d does work fine)
  21. iMattux, Oct 19, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015

    iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Well, good news, strange news, and bad news...

    The Good: I used Netkas' script on the rom I downloaded from Gigabyte. Boot screen! Sweet!

    Strange: I've got 2 Lion partitions. The one that was my primary OS for years that has tons of random stuff and a brand-new clean install that I started using a couple months ago with just the essentials. I left the old one untouched through this process. No piker-alpha bootloader, no changes from before.

    After confirming that I could use the Gigabyte card in El Capitan & Yosemite, I switched to the newer Lion install, installed the 7950 Mac Edition drivers (thx, MacVidCards), swapped out the bootloaders... And consistenetly crashed, never getting as far as the desktop, with the initial Taimo bootloader, the Yosemite version, and the latest ElCap version. Possibly predictable, according to someone else in another thread.

    However - I can boot into the old Lion install - with no hacks, tweaks, drivers, or anything. The video glitches a little at the login screen and when the desktop loads, but it's usable and stable.

    A fresh install of Lion - no bootloader, no drivers - also works. Fully functional & stable with a little glitchyness.

    Go figure...

    and last, after several days of trying everything I can think of including 2 fresh installs:

    The Bad: I'm not stable in El Cap or Yosemite with the flashed Gigabyte card. Sometimes it crashes in just a few minutes, sometimes it crashes after 30-40 minutes. :(:mad: I was actually more stable - with screen tearing but at least no crashes, using the x1900. Again, go figure...

    So, now I'm gonna start swapping out ROMs and patching them with Netkas' script. There are dozens on

    If anyone has a Gigabyte 7950 GV-R795WF3-3GD rev. 2 card in a MacPro 1,1 and you're stable, PLEASE hook me up with your rom.

    And thanks again to everyone, esp. MacVidCards. This has certainly been a learning experience. Unfortunately, the lesson may be, "If you wanna run the latest OS as your primary, you gotta run it on supported hardware."
  22. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I can't recall where you started and don't have time to research, but you are always better off just using your own rom and adding the EFI.

    Even if you have been flashing one rom, if you have "the switch" you probably have an unmolested original at the other position. This is why Tahiti was the home flasher's dream, very hard to mess up, especially if has the dual ROM switch.

    Lion drivers only work in 64 bit mode, as noted on our 7950/70 pages. So can't be used on 1,1 in 10.7.5. When you run it without the drivers it is using software CPU mode and will thus be like an X1900 in Yosemite, running on EFI only.

    All the EFI does is get a basic set of drivers running. The OS uses the PC BIOS to actually run the card.
  23. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    I tried everything I could for 2 days to get the rom off of my personal card. I don't have Windows. When I'm booted into FreeDOS, all I've got is the read-only CD. No usb, no shared drive, no way to pull the rom from my personal card because I can't copy it anywhere.

    Thanks to the switch, there was no reason not to patch and try the factory rom downloaded from the Gigabyte site. I made sure the switch was in position 2, flashed it, and got a boot screen.

    Just now, I shut down, moved the switch to #1 and rebooted into El Cap - no boot screen confirms I'm using the unflashed rom. I tried to login here and type this message. I got about halfway thru the first sentence and Firefox crashed gracefully with a notification. I relaunched Firefox and typed a bit more then the entire machine crashed to a black screen.

    I switched back to #2, chose the new install of Lion from the EFI bo0ot screen, and I'm finishing this post here.

    So factory rom is unstable with no boot screen, flashed rom is equally unstable with a boot screen.

    Of course, the other possibility is that I have a bad card. Do you think that is likely? I don't think there's anything else wrong with the box itself because Lion is totally stable. A bit glitchy when the desktop loads, but stable all day.
  24. iMattux thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2015
    Did a clean install of El Cap to my Firewire drive. I'm now booted from it and, for some crazy reason, I'm stable. I'll stay in it all day and see if it sticks...

    Meantime - wrt to the ToDo list on the PikerAlpha Github:

    1.) Load the prelinkedkernel for safe boot mode i.e. when -x is used (status: Done).

    2.) Fix IODeviceTree:/chosen/boot-file property value. Examples: (status: Done).
    - "\System\Library\Kernels\kernel" for booting in safe mode.
    - "\\prelinkedkernel" for booting from the Recovery HD.
    - "\System\Library\Prelinkedkernels\prelinkedkernel" for regular bootups.

    3.) Implement SIP support (status: Done).
    - Previously csrutil disable/enable failed from the Recovery HD.

    4.) Fix Beach Ball of Death (BBOD) issue after clearing NVRAM (status: Done).
    - Booting from the Recovery HD is fine.
    - This issue was fixed by setting IODeviceTREE:efi/platform/system-id to the SMBIOS UUID.

    5.) Add missing booter info properties, like: "booter-name", "booter-version" and "booter-build-time" (status: Done).

    Is all this included by simply swapping out the boot.efi files? My boot.efi files are owned by me (not root) and they're not locked/immutable nothing I tried enabled me to chmod/chown/chflags, not booted from Lion, Yosemite or Recovery (which does boot, unmodified, so...) I'm thinking this is ultimately why I'm unstable.

    If there's a step or technique I've missed in the hundreds of posts since El Capitan, please lmk.
  25. roneyg, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015

    roneyg macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2015

    Upgraded last week to EL Capitan with a Radeon HD 4870 Mac edition. Had some crashes (not necessarily graphics related) at the beginning, now with 10.11.1 everything has been stable so far. Out of curiosity I ran an Xbench test and got a score for Quartz Graphics of 108. That looks like a massive degradation from about 300 under Mavericks (I had skipped Yosemite). Any explanation for this? Thanks...

    (Mac Pro 1,1 -- 26GB RAM -- ATi Radeon HD 4870 512 -- OS X 10.11.1 on SSD in optical drive bay)

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