No boot screen on Mac Pro with GT 120

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
25
0
So I recently got a Mac Pro 2009 4,1 dual cpu that came with the GT 120. When I boot up the computer, it takes about 15 seconds before I hear the Apple chime and then I see a black screen for another 15 seconds before seeing a gray screen with a loading bar before I get to finally log on. I don't see a boot screen. I reset the PRAM and SMC, upgraded to 5,1 and High Sierra and I still get this problem. I thought the GT 120 was one of the drives that gives you a boot screen. What did I do wrong?
 

FlorisVN

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2013
678
230
do you have an original Apple GT120 and not a non flashed PC version for example.. ?

As far as I know, the GT120 does give EFI bootscreen with MacPro models going from 1,1-5,1.
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,573
6,380
Brazil
do you have an original Apple GT120 and not a non flashed PC version for example.. ?

As far as I know, the GT120 does give EFI bootscreen with MacPro models going from 1,1-5,1.
MP3,1 to MP5,1. It's an EFI64 GPU, so no pre-boot support with MP1,1 and MP2,1.
 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
25
0

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,947
5,831
Hong Kong
So I recently got a Mac Pro 2009 4,1 dual cpu that came with the GT 120. When I boot up the computer, it takes about 15 seconds before I hear the Apple chime and then I see a black screen for another 15 seconds before seeing a gray screen with a loading bar before I get to finally log on. I don't see a boot screen. I reset the PRAM and SMC, upgraded to 5,1 and High Sierra and I still get this problem. I thought the GT 120 was one of the drives that gives you a boot screen. What did I do wrong?
Which monitor?
 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
25
0
Which monitor?
I forgot that, Apple GT120 can't show pre-boot environment with a DP1.2 monitor or a 4K one. I had this before.
it's a samsung t27b350 1080p TV. so are you saying that if i plug in a dual-link DVI port, it'll show the screen?

EDIT: wait, the monitor uses HDMI. does that make it any different? it goes like this:
GT 120 --> mDP to HDMI adapter -> HDMI -> TV
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,573
6,380
Brazil
it's a samsung t27b350 1080p TV. so are you saying that if i plug in a dual-link DVI port, it'll show the screen?

EDIT: wait, the monitor uses HDMI. does that make it any different? it goes like this:
GT 120 --> mDP to HDMI adapter -> HDMI -> TV
Test with a standard monitor, your setup is very exotic and could be messing with the GPU pre-boot environment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: h9826790

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
25
0
Test with a standard monitor, your setup is very exotic and could be messing with the GPU pre-boot environment.
i don't have a standard monitor so i can't really test that. however, this is what i just tested. i plugged the mDP port into my windows laptop and was only able to see the screen when i was at the login part, which is the same as the mac pro. i then pulled the mDP-to-HDMI adapter out and plugged the hdmi into my laptop and the same exact thing happened. i then plugged the HDMI to my gaming PC but this time, i was able to see bios screen, windows loading screen, and login screen. my windows laptop uses an HD 530 graphics card while the gaming PC uses a GTX 970. what should be concluded from this?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,573
6,380
Brazil
i don't have a standard monitor so i can't really test that. however, this is what i just tested. i plugged the mDP port into my windows laptop and was only able to see the screen when i was at the login part, which is the same as the mac pro. i then pulled the mDP-to-HDMI adapter out and plugged the hdmi into my laptop and the same exact thing happened. i then plugged the HDMI to my gaming PC but this time, i was able to see bios screen, windows loading screen, and login screen. my windows laptop uses an HD 530 graphics card while the gaming PC uses a GTX 970. what should be concluded from this?
You just proved that recent GPUs work better with DP/HDMI. Your best bet with GT120 is with a passive DVI to HDMI cable.
 

thornslack

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2013
410
160
What’s the real issue here? Even if your tv or gpu are not displaying the pre boot screen, it shouldn’t affect your ability to option boot with that gpu.

Do you need the boot screen for a particular reason, or just assessing your new purchase?

Also, are you sure it’s not working? Based on your initial description, it sounds like it’s displaying the white screen where the OS load bar appears. You only see your boot options if you hold alt while boot up occurs.
 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
25
0
You just proved that recent GPUs work better with DP/HDMI. Your best bet with GT120 is with a passive DVI to HDMI cable.
how do i know if the cable is passive or active if it does not say anywhere? any recommendations on which exact cable to buy?

What’s the real issue here? Even if your tv or gpu are not displaying the pre boot screen, it shouldn’t affect your ability to option boot with that gpu.

Do you need the boot screen for a particular reason, or just assessing your new purchase?

Also, are you sure it’s not working? Based on your initial description, it sounds like it’s displaying the white screen where the OS load bar appears. You only see your boot options if you hold alt while boot up occurs.
when i click alt when booting, the screen stays black and doesn't load up to any graphics. i'm assuming that my GPU is supposedly displaying the boot options but i cannot see it on the monitor.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,947
5,831
Hong Kong
when i click alt when booting, the screen stays black and doesn't load up to any graphics. i'm assuming that my GPU is supposedly displaying the boot options but i cannot see it on the monitor.
If the caps lock key respond, then you can still use the boot menu in blind.

Anyway, since you can upgrade the firmware from 4,1 to 5,1. It’s 100% sure that your GT120 is good for displaying boot screen.
 

thornslack

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2013
410
160
When holding alt at boot up, once the computer loads into the boot screen, if you press your caps lock and it turns green then it means you are in fact at the boot screen even if you can’t see it. You can use your arrow keys + enter to change start up discs. If capslock is non responsive then it means the computer is stalled out and you cannot actually choose anything.
 

lie2me

macrumors member
Apr 23, 2010
67
11
Somewhere
I don't think there is enough frame buffer memory in a GT120 to even properly support the pixels of a 1080p monitor and HDMI. Why try when DVI monitors are so cheap?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,573
6,380
Brazil
I don't think there is enough frame buffer memory in a GT120 to even properly support the pixels of a 1080p monitor and HDMI. Why try when DVI monitors are so cheap?
For start, Apple GT120 don't have HDMI.

If you use a DVI dual link to HDMI passive cable, you have even bigger resolutions than HD. I used a 1920x1200 HDMI monitor for months with GT120 and I had perfect pre-boot configuration support.

Framebuffer size never was the problem with GT120 and boot screens.