Sandy Bridge, UEFI, and GPUs

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Evil Spoonman, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hey folks, I registered to ask a few questions.

    Sandy Bridge was just launched. It seems that it requires EFI, or at least all of Intel's current LGA-1155 socket chipsets now use EFI (P67/H67). The advantages of EFI over BIOS are substantial. The current EFI implementation has a BIOS emulation layer for compatibility with the plethora of older hardware. This EFI is similar/the same as Apple's Intel Mac EFI (Apple has plenty of custom elements, but the architecture should be identical).

    One of the roadblocks to using a PC market GPU in a Mac Pro is that it must be reflashed with EFI firmware to be understood by the Mac (I am still unclear why Mac can't just emulate the BIOS in EFI and use the card anyways, but that's a different subject). AMD cards typically have sufficient ROM space for both the EFI and BIOS firmwares. Nvidia cards are different.

    Will AMD and Nvidia begin to produce video cards with EFI firmware on them? I assume the answer to that is yes, eventually, but when? Will these cards be understood by Apple's EFI, I assume yes again. What technical advantage would there be for a video board to include an EFI firmware?


    Clearly it doesn't get you any closer to having the drivers for said card in the OS. However, not having to flash cards anymore would be nifty.
     
  2. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #2
    That's an interesting point.

    IMO, Nvidia and AMD won't produce any EFI-based cards before ALL PCs support EFI, that is not before a very, very long time. I just don't see them selling cards with such obscure requirements as "requires an EFI-based PC".

    Regarding Macs, they do support BIOS cards in Bootcamp. I'm pretty sure they could use BIOS cads in OS X (though you won't have a boot screen), it's just that Apple won't bother with that option. In fact, that will bring many problems with cards that don't have proper OS X drivers.
     
  3. Evil Spoonman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Clearly a pure-EFI card is not on the horizon. I was thinking more along the lines of a hybrid firmware card. Akin to what Apple sells now, OEM EFI+BIOS onboard. If there is an advantage to using EFI firmware on a video board then this would happen sooner than later, but I don't know if there is.

    Right, I'm aware the emulation takes place when running Windows. I am just confused why EFI is not able to emulate BIOS communication under OS X. I buy the Apple won't bother explanation, though.
     
  4. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

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    #4
    It won't make a difference unless card makers provide Mac-specific EFI (the pessimist inside me says they won't.)
     
  5. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #5
    the mac can not "emulate bios" to initialize a bios card, simply because OSX is not a bios operative system. it won't attach to drivers.

    the only way around it is injectors. which is basically a driver that initializes the gpu card (aka attaches it to drivers).
    the downside though is no bootscreen, because drivers are loaded with the OS, and you have to fiddle with kexts.
     
  6. Evil Spoonman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    That's the thing, though, UEFI is a standard. There's no reason why a "PC" EFI firmware can't talk to a "Mac" EFI. At least none that I can see... assuming Apple implemented UEFI correctly, which I expect they did.

    Thanks, Cindori. That particular problem makes more sense to me now.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    Just to point out that not all LGA 1155 mobos have UEFI. I remember reading that at least Gigabyte is sticking with BIOS so far which is a shame for Hackintoshing as GB mobos have generally been the best for Hacks (sounded like people just wanted the nice UI though, I don't know about the under-the-hood things). So far I have only seen ASUS UEFI but I haven't followed the mobo market that closely.
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

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    #8
    I think the important distinction that needs to be made is that the new UEFI PC's still use a BIOS emulator to boot Windows, just like a Mac.

    That said, eventually we will have more EFI cards. But Sandy Bridge doesn't change things as much as this thread implies.

    I had an EFI Intel machine years ago, before Apple even adopted EFI. EFI has been around for a long time. But it's pretty much just a layer that runs before the BIOS emulator loads for Windows. And until Microsoft decides to drop BIOS support, the card makers have no reason to make EFI firmware.
     
  9. Evil Spoonman thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Several folks are simply not building a GUI for their motherboards. It is still EFI under the hood, but they've kept the simple/easy BIOS input method because they are lazy. Any board based on an Intel P67/H67 chipset will be EFI under the hood, and companies that are not offering a GUI will be soon enough.

    Right, EFI is not new nor revolutionary however, it is just now becoming standardized it seems. Your point is well taken, though... it isn't a magic bullet. I was hoping that a company like AMD, that has traditionally been fairly forward-thinking in designing their video boards, would simply do it out of course.
     
  10. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #10
    mac efi is still not = pc efi.

    we are still gonna need bootloaders like chameleon etc.

    (for hackinosh)
     
  11. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

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    #11
    Actually, the gigabyte boards DO use UEFI, they just didn't have the time to create a nice looking gui for it. So basically they just stuck with the old BIOS look, though it actually is running UEFI. They even claim to release a firmware update to update it to a nice looking gui, though they have not mentioned when.
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    Hmmm, good to know, thanks. I just read that on some Hackintosh forum so looks like the lads in there were wrong.
     
  13. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

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    #13
  14. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    #14
    How much do you know about the mac EFI, specifically if it is actually at all possible to 'hack' it to allow FSB, multi changes etc?

    Wouldn't mind being able to give my 2009 MP a small kick to 10% over stock or something.

    Whats the current state of play regarding that? From my previous reading it was basically not possible?
     
  15. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #15
    i know this: it's closed.

    nothing u list is possible :/

    i've actually been looking at clocking inside the OS though, like ZDNet OC tool for Mac Pro 1 and 2. drowning in school work now though so that is not gonna happen anywhere soon.
     
  16. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    #16
    So how is clocking inside the OS possible? Using the same kind of programming as these Windows based overclocking tools?
     
  17. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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  18. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #18
    any mac user with mac from 2010 or 2011 and got Leopard?
    wanna try overclocking?
    pm
     
  19. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    #19
    kern.clockrate: { hz = 100, tick = 10000, tickadj = 4741712, profhz = 100, stathz = 100 }

    I could install 10.5 on a USB HD, but not now, too much to do!
     
  20. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Got some time now, so I could find a leopard disk and try it for you?

    Although I think all my disks are Snow Leopard :eek:
     
  21. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    #21
    I never saw this post... Yes.. Yes and Yes..
     

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