Win 8: bootcamp or EFI install?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by sneak3, May 26, 2014.

  1. sneak3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    Im ready to try win 8.

    Should I go old way with bootcamp or straight EFI? Ive read that going EFI might lead to driver issues, especially nvidia stuff. Is that true?

    Which one should I pick?
  2. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    I always found installation through BootCamp easy and completely straight forward. In 5+ installs, I've never had an issue before.

    Best of luck!
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I did bootcamp. EFI supposedly boots faster, but bootcamp takes 10 seconds to boot anyway.
  4. Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    It depends on your machine. My 2012 rMBP is using Bootcamp... but I REALLY wanted EFI booting, primarily for switchable graphics. In Bootcamp it will always use the discrete card (if your machine has two cards). The problem with EFI though is that the audio driver doesn't work and there isn't going to be one that works any time soon... It's quite technical, but it's something to do the the Bus Controller on boot up not allocating enough memory to even make the audio card visible in device manager. So... Bootcamp it was for me, because I needed audio, and switchable graphics was causing blue screens every time I switched.
  5. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    wait...EFI boot allows switchable graphics? How does it work?
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    In newer rMBPs, Boot Camp will actually use the UEFI installer of the Windows 8 disk.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I don't know about EFI is being used for my rMBP but bootcamp is the preferred method to getting windows on a Mac. I'd say go with what apple built as its seamless and works well.
  8. sneak3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2011
    Thanks. That was the info I was looking for.

    Ironic isnt it? We finally get the graphics switching but along with it BSODs and no audio. Awesome.

    Bootcamp it is anyways!
  9. Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    Not at all in the same way it does on OSX. OSX makes it seamless... unless you have GFX Cardstatus you'll likely never know it's happening. On Windows one card has to boot prior to the other. This will enable both devices in Device Manager, but... both cards are then running, and generally the iGPU is hosting some virtual screen that's not connected (the other scenario is the discrete card hosts two virtual screens). In this scenario, the battery life is dismal at best.

    The way to make this all work beneficially is to design a way to, on boot up, disable one of the cards, and force the other one to run. This works with no problems when using the integrated GPU, but results in blue screens when you try to switch back to the discrete (you can remedy this by uninstalling the iGPU before shutdown. I have designed a way that allows me to share my Windows installation with both EFI and Bootcamp (and further Parallels). I used the Mini Drive (Check amazon) and a mini sd card (The reason is because it's flush with the side of the Mac). It's configured with rEFIt and will launch any of the Operating Systems with a beautiful menu (note again, I'm using two Distros of Linux, OSX 10.9.4 Alpha, and Windows 8.1 Blue). The benefit of this was that in each Windows OS Selection, I was able to use Windows File Junctions and hide one card from the other. This alleviated the blue screens... but doesn't make it seamless. I still have to reboot.

    The debate about the audio problem is the fault of Apple, Intel, and Microsoft... and currently no one is taking any blame. Intel could create a chipset that could borrow and allocate plenty of memory for the Cirrus Audio device. Apple could edit their version of EFI so that it's compliant with the standard version. Microsoft could make changes to their EFI that would accommodate Apple's desires of fulfilling Open Firmware and other various tweaks, thus allowing Apple to use their implementation of EFI, or create a hybrid. Currently... no company desires to comply with each other, and therefore the consumers are being hurt.

    I hope that made some sense... I'm not an expert in these fields, I just use all these Operating Systems everyday. Hey, You CAN use switchable graphics in Linux though! Audio works too! Funny how the open source and free community can figure out what the bigwigs can't.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Can you tell me more about how you force-disabled the dgpu for windows? That sounds like something that could be very helpful. About half the time I am using windows, I just am running office. Better battery life would be great.
  11. Fimeg, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014

    Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    Sure, using Windows File Junctions, I moved the necessary drivers of each card into a separate location and hard linked them into their needed locations. Using some "Windows Magic" (a guide I found online somewhere) I learned that I could specify which junctions I wanted to load and how to put that into a command.bat file that would be added to the boot options. Each file allowed the hard linking of one of the drivers. Using rEFIt, I was able to tell it to make two separate bootable options that pointed to two separate BCD configurations, i.e., each pointing to different hard links.

    So basically, when I load one of the Windows installation hard links, it still sees both cards, one is just driverless *I should note that I remove the basic video driver from the computer, therefore it gives the error 39 and consequently that card is shut off with no power being expended.

    This isn't a great workaround for my own needs though, since I still need audio. I have been successful in using a bluetooth speaker, but it's not entirely satisfactory since I'll often need the computer on the road.
  12. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    How did you get Windows to see both cards though? That's my main issue with getting this to work. With a bootcamp install, device manager only sees the Nvidia card.

    I must say that I am impressed. To my knowledge, you may be the first person to ever get this to work.
  13. Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    Well, thank you for that... but I might disappoint you to say that this is done only in EFI mode. Apple's bootcamp has used some special technique in their implementation in EFI 1.2 (as opposed to the standard 2.0) to block the iGPU on boot up if you're using their bootcamp software. I'm not going to pretend to understand how EFI really works, but I'm guessing that it's similar to the unavailability of the audio driver in EFI installs. Somehow there isn't memory allocated to the correct Bus...

    When I was using the shell box (rEFIt), I was able to send some tests to the various bits of hardware, but when running that box after using Apples Bootcamp software, the same hardware codes shoot up errors. Others have speculated that this could be fixed at the kernel level of Windows... but that's a little beyond my expertise. I own a small computer shop and fix computers for my local town of 2000 people... which is honestly mostly email woes. I think that Bootcamp's BIOS emulation must be the root cause, but I'm not sure where to begin even looking at it. I actually haven't messed around with it for over a year. This talking is quite fun, and I might start poking around a bit more. If I come up with a solution I'll post a guide, and post it here... but DO continue to ask questions. You might be the person who finally puts all the pieces together! We need someone who knows Apple's EFI, and then someone who knows how BIOS works at it's fundamental levels.

    I know there is a way to install the bootcamp software into a preexisting EFI installation, but I've never done it the other way around. It's must be similar to installing AHCI in bootcamp, but with many other variables.
  14. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Hmm I see. You seem a bit beyond my level of expertise lol. Not sure how much I can help. That's interesting that EFI installs can see both cards in device manager. That really opens up a lot more options. Can you use an external monitor on the iGPU in bootcamp? With gfxcardstatus in OSX, forcing the iGPU makes external monitors not display at all. I wonder if that is a hardware limitation or a software limitation.
  15. Fimeg macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    It's both. Yes, you can use an external monitor, but at least on the 2012 rMBP it can't render both screens with the same performance. The external display doesn't like a refresh rate of 60hz. If you do, you will notice some stuttering. It's useful for me though since I primarily use a second monitor for research papers.

    You can definitely help. I just started tackling the issue, I don't really understand most of this stuff. Just trying to explain what I did. :)
  16. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Any way to do EFI boot without reinstalling windows 8?

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