Multiple Monitors on Unflashed Card (sometimes detected, sometimes not)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by matthewtoney, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. matthewtoney macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #1
    I have a strange (and annoying) issue that just won't seem to go away and I'm curious if anyone else has experienced the same before I start the process of pulling out cards and trying a zillion variations on this.

    Short version specs:

    - Mac Pro 2009 w/firmware update to 5.1
    - OSX 10.10.1
    - Same behavior on builtin 10.10.1 nvidia drive and current web driver
    - (2) cards, but currently only one being used - EFI (via MacVidCards) GT640 and PC non-EFI GTX Titan
    - (4) monitors - all connected to the Titan.

    What happens is that at least 50% of the time the PC boots up (either cold *or* just from a restart) only 2 monitors are detected and the other two don't get detected at *all*. At the moment the ones that come up when only two work are the first DVI port and the HDMI port on the GTX Titan, while the second DVI and the DisplayPort connectors will stay dead. Couple of additional bits of weirdness that is repeatable:

    - Doesn't seem to matter whether I use the builtin driver or the web driver from Nvidia
    - I did for a while have one of the monitors connected to the GT640 for a boot screen, and when I do that it still 50% of the time only comes up with two monitors but in that case 1 will be on the GT640 and the second will be the first DVI port on the GTX Titan
    - Getting it to come back *correct* seems to be reboot, PRAM reset, and cross fingers. Sometimes it comes right back up with all four working and sometimes it comes right back up with the same old two. I just keep doing it and doing it until I get a boot with all four.
    - When it boots with all four, I can use it all I want - for days and days and days with no trouble at all - until I either reboot or shut it down and bring it back up.
    - I have a bootcamp partition and I can boot to that and all four monitors come up and work each and *every* time

    I have been reading a great many things about lost display preferences and external monitors not being detected in 10.8/10.9/10.10 and there are a ton of crazy things out there - not sure whats real and whats not. For example I've seen:

    - Its having 2 cards in your Mac Pro
    - Its using a non-EFI card
    - Its using a SSD boot disk (and some crazy timing-related issues to the window server)

    Has anyone else had similar behavior with theirs using more than 2 external monitors? I'm just trying to gather as much intel as I can to try and figure out what the real pattern is here. :)
     
  2. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #2
    I'm heartened that 100 people have seen this but I see nobody has anything to offer yet. :( Can anyone who is using more than 2 external monitors comment as to whether they ever see similar issues or not and what their config is like? (even if its not that much like mine at all)
     
  3. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #3
    I've been on MR forums for a while, and I gotta say there aren't a ton of people with unflashed cards + more than 2 monitors, hence the lack of response.

    My suggestion is to have MVC flash the Titan (after checking with him first that it will support 4 monitors). Then you will at least get support from them.

    You can sell the GT640 to recoup the cost and you won't need it anyway because the Titan will have boot screens.
     
  4. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #4
    Good point, although I really wish I had some evidence (or others) that using the $180 flashing service *would* change the behavior and that's its just the PC non-EFI part that is the cause of it before I sent it off and paid that. When I look for other folks with similar problems it seems to be all over the place and not just people used unflashed cards like this. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to make a long test-plan to really identify the cause and it may very well not even that be doable without turning the Titan into an EFI version.

    (his site does indicate the Titan works for driving all four ports at once, although so does mine now *when* it comes up correctly)
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    You are absolutely right, paying for the flash is no guarantee that your 4 monitors will work because you don't know where the problem is in the first place and MVC support might not be able to figure out your particular problem.

    But the flip side to that is, if you sell your GTX640 for a reasonable amount, you'll end up paying very little out of pocket for the flash. You will then have an EFI Titan, support from someone with tons of troubleshooting experience, free up a PCIe slot, use less power, and reduce system complexity.

    But that's a future decision I suppose. Back to the problem at hand, do you have a PC available? I'd plop the two cards into a PC and see if you can get the 4 monitors to work reliably. If so, that would eliminate the possibility of any issues with the monitors, cabling, port adapters, etc.
     
  6. chris.k macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    Location:
    YSSY
    #6
    Well, I'll chime in --- but not much to offer

    3 monitors:

    1 x HDMI 24"
    1 x DVI-D 24"
    1 x DP 34"

    Unflashed GTX670, OSX 10.9.2

    No issues. Specs as below in .sig

    - CK.
     
  7. MassMacMan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Location:
    Boston MetroWest
    #7
    ^^^ Me too. I'm running an unflashed GTX970 and three monitors - two using DVI and one on HDMI. I boot up (or reboot), all monitors come to life, life is good.
     
  8. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #8
    I could try these cards in a PC (I have a few around) but the thing is - all four monitors come up and work perfectly each and every time in the Mac Pro *IF* I boot into the bootcamp partition. :) That never doesn't work and its only the boot into OSX that often comes up and only initializes (and sees) two of them.

    You're right about the EFI part though - really wish I had a spare EFI card here that could drive all four monitors to swap and see what *it* did.

    ----------

    Interesting - so you and Chris.K are also using unflashed cards (I assume with both of you its the only video card in the system) and three monitors without this issue. Hmmm... its easiest enough to just drop down to three monitors for a bit and see if that makes a difference - gonna try that and see.
     
  9. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #9
    Well, I've been playing the "try different combinations of monitors plugged up and boot" game and so far have at least established some patterns - even if they don't totally match up with you guys:

    - 3 monitors on 4 of the ports of the Titan is the same as 4 on all ports of it - 50% of the time or more only 2 monitors will get initialized when it boots and seen
    - When the system boots and only sees 2 monitors, you can hold down option and select "Detect Displays" all you want on the display preferences - it just will not see the other ones. Unplugging them and plugging them back in after it has booted is no good either - pretty weird there
    - If I drop down to only 2 monitors off the Titan all is good under *specific* ports: DVI port 1 (the one on the card itself with the HDMI and displayport) always works no matter what, as well as the HDMI port seems to always work. Any other combination even when it is just 2 monitors connected will not consistently work. For instance, using DVI port 1 and the displayport - a good 50% of the time when it boots it will only see 1 monitor and not see what is connected to the displayport
    - If I only use DVI port 1 and the HDMI port, I can boot and reboot to OSX or Bootcamp all I want and it seems to always work and to also never lose the display arrangement as to which is on the left and which is on the right

    I haven't tried various combinations along *with* the GT640 EFI that's in there - when I had it in the mix and it would come up with only 2 monitors, 1 would be on it and the other on DVI port 1 of the Titan. I guess the next question I'd love to answer is if any of this acts any different at all if I remove the currently-unused GT640 EFI card from the system.

    Two of you guys responded using 3 monitors and unflashed cards - which ports were you using on the cards? (does the 670 even have 4 ports - pretty sure the 970 does)
     
  10. MassMacMan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Location:
    Boston MetroWest
    #10
    I've had the same consistent 3-monitor performance using the two DVI ports and either the HDMI or the DP port on my 970.
     
  11. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #11
    Sorry about asking for ports - I realize now I spaced on that and didn't realize you had both *already* mentioned how your monitors were connected.

    It is really strange that I'm getting this and quite repeatable but both you guys are not with quite similar unflashed cards. (our cards all have totally different power requirements, but I'm running an external PS in the extra 5 1/2" bay so power certainly shouldn't have anything to do with it) The only real difference between the 3 in here are the cards themselves - a GTX 670, a GTX 970 and a GTX Titan, and the fact that I have a second card with EFI in the system. I hate pulling this thing out from where it is to open it but it looks like that's the next thing to try - I'm gonna take the EFI GT640 out of the Pro entirely and see if its any different that way. Otherwise who knows - maybe I have a bad Titan? (man that'll suck - these aren't throw-away)
     
  12. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    Is the power supply kicking on properly when you boot up? My thought is that if the power supply is slow to deliver power to the card as you boot, it may cause this issue. You could test by powering that external power supply from an external source, making sure it's all warmed up before you boot the Mac.
     
  13. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #13
    Good point. The internal additional power supply (an X5 model that you can no longer get) is *powered* by its own power cord outside of the Mac, but it does have a cable that runs off one of the internal power plugs that acts as the trigger for when it needs to come on like you say. Thing is, I would have thought if that was the case this would only be a problem on cold boots and I have it all the time even with warm boots that were nothing but restarts. (of course I don't know exactly how the boot up cycle works as far as power goes on the Mac)

    I've had this Titan in there for quite some time (Sept 2013) but I just realized that the whole 4 monitors thing is whats new - I've been running 3 monitors all this time with 1 of them off the EFI GT640. With only 2 monitors all that time on the Titan I could have been having this problem ever since the card was in the system and just didn't know it.
     
  14. matthewtoney thread starter macrumors regular

    matthewtoney

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #14
    Well, I've opened it up and pulled the EFI GT640 and tried again. Now, all four ports are working on the Titan (no boot screen of course) and it has so far survived 6 reboots, including one to bootcamp and back. During all the issues, its never done 6 boots with all monitors coming up and not moving around before, but I'll have to live with it for a few days and plenty more reboots before I can say 100% its working now and thats what it was.

    If it stays fixed, weird eh? So its surely not just that there were 2 cards in there - plenty of people have that and they don't all have this problem. Different GPU architectures of those particular cards combined? EFI plus unflashed combined? (although I think there are plenty in here with that too)
     

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