Windows 8/8.1 EFI on Mac Mini (mid 2011 - amd video card)?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by trimiton, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. trimiton macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2013
    Hello folks,

    I've read tons of articles and forum posts regarding the installation of Windows 8/8.1 by means of EFI instead of emulated BIOS.

    Before anyone asks, the current bootcamp/emulated BIOS/CSM mode brings some disadvantages:
    - slow disk speeds (because it uses the IDE driver instead of AHCI, even on SSDs - it cuts the speed almost to half).
    - No usage of the Intel integrated card -> run hotter on idle/light work than Mac OS X.
    - Once you try upgrading to AHCI, you'll get a bunch of improvements but also problems:
    * Very good speeds (SSDs will use their max speed), even HDDs work better
    * Sleep doesn't work anymore. (It's important for me)

    Overall, an EFI model is the ideal (both technical and from a performance point of view) way of running Windows on Macs. If we'd able to use EFI to install Windows it would all be good because there's no more need for emulation. However, there is the known problem that Windows 8/8.1 doesn't work on machines with EFI less than 2.0 (which is the case of Mac Mini mid 2011 or others: The current EFI version for Mac Mini is just 1.7.

    Pushed by the success of others on MBPs, MBAs or Mac Pros, I ignored the fact about EFI 2.0 requirement, and I tried myself to use the EFI installation and I got the following results:
    - Good installation (one important thing to note here is that the MSR partition HAS to come after the EFI one, otherwise it won't boot - got that working by trial and error), and Windows 8/8.1 boots very fast (not taking those pesky 3-4 seconds after the boot sequence)
    - Installed the Bootcamp drivers but couldn't get the audio working and all video-related ones, altough it recognized then the AMD radeon video card (all other worked fine - bluetooth, wifi, etc). Maybe this is a problem that happens with Mac minis that have the AMD dedicated card? I saw one user with Mac Mini 2012 with Intel video card had no problems.
    - It would randomly crash with KERNEL_SECURITY or what not, if I try to do something related to upgrading the drivers for audio/video controller.
    - It seems there is no sleep functionality AT ALL. Not even the sleep button and no sleep command. It's like the mini wouldn't be able to sleep at all. (writing this, it occured to me that I should have tried to use the power button to see what happened. But probably it wouldn't have worked either).

    I've read (too late though) that not installing certain bootcamp drivers would allow the mini to work without throwing BSODs (so as that bootcamp drivers are BIOS-compatbile not EFI-compatbile)... but otherwise it wouldn't be usable.

    Has aynone else from here had more success on installing Windows 8/8.1 on a mac mini through EFI? I saw that the MBA folks are very happy (especially the 2013 ones) since EFI is de facto for bootcamp.

  2. Quackers macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2013
    Manchester, UK
    I'm sure EFI is the future. It uses GPT so all partition limits are removed in a stroke. BIOS and CSM are the past - I hope!

    I don't have a Mac mini but I've had EFI installations of both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 on my mid 2012 retina MBP.

    Windows 8
    It's a bit of a pig to install because the boot files do not automatically get written to the EFI partition. I had to copy them over manually then it booted.
    It booted to a black screen so (as suggested elsewhere) I deleted the Intel graphics driver (igdkmd64.sys) from Windows/System32/Drivers and it then booted.

    Sound did not work even though other Macs with exactly the same cirus setup did work.

    Windows 8.1
    Installs much easier (if a little slowly) and the boot files get written.
    Initially it boots fine but on looking in device manager you can see that both the Intel and the Nvidia cards are present. Oh good, you think - but not so.
    Intel shows as having a driver loaded and working normally but it never is used.
    Nvidia shows as working with the 327.02 driver but will still work with the 331.82 driver.
    However, if you go to adjust resolution on the Windows side you will see there are 2 screens showing! On a laptop! :eek:
    Windows considers the first screen as being used by Nvidia and the second screen as being used by the Microsoft Basic Display driver - none for the Intel card.
    But, Nvidia driver thinks it's using the second screen, not the first. Problems.

    As soon as you enable the Nvidia driver the PnP monitor drops out - no display.

    I had to disable both Intel and Nvidia and just use the MS basic display driver.
    It's quite snappy though and boots in a few seconds.

    Sound still doesn't work on mine. Sleep does.

    I suspect firmware updates will be required to fully utilise EFI, but that's just my guess.

    I'm living in hope :D Though I suspect I'll have a different Mac by the time it's supported fully.

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