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Author Topic: iMac Holy Grail achieved ! Boot screens on 780m in 2011 iMac 27".  (Read 23833 times)
Rominator
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« on: June 27, 2018, 12:18:30 PM »

A few years back I paid $800 or so for a FireGl that had Dual DVI ports, just like the Apple X-800 from the G5s. I placed a larger EEPROM on it and flashed a modded Apple rom. Then I put it in my G4 and there are few words to describe the thrill when I hit the power button on my trusty Quicksilver and saw the grey Apple boot screen. To this day, folks are still flashing these cards for Macs as a result of that gamble.

I had another one of those moments with my 2011 iMac today. I have been working on MXM cards for these machines. A 2012 iMac with a bad GPU is headed for e-recycler since it require a whole new logic board to change GPU.

But on the 2011, a dead GPU has had a similar result since the MXM cards may be replaceable, but there are few options as to what to replace WITH. As a result, the Bake-A-Thon AMD 6970s get re-balled and re-flowed over and over and over and then sold for more than a 2011 iMac is worth.

That is about to change.

For first time ever, a NEW NVIDIA GPU has been created for iMac and given a Bootscreen. GTX780M is quite a step up from a 5670 or 6970.

So, big plus is it is id'd as the internal iMac display and you can hold option and choose your boot disk.

As I have written more than 50 roms for this card so far, it was nice to finally see that grey screen and loading bar. Really nice.

Unfortunately, the battle for boot screen is over, but the war to make this perfect has only begun.

Caveats:

1. No brightness control yet.
2. MDP/TB ports on back not working yet.
3. Needs Nvidia Web Driver to have iMac display work. So no Recovery yet.
4. Weirdness in Windows, display works but so far I can't get Nvidia drivers to install, even when 1080Ti eGPU running using them at same time. (But Intel iGPU has shown up too, maybe AMD card kept it hidden?)
5. In short, rom isn't done yet, not even close.

But I hope the word gets out, there WILL be Nvidia MXM cards for 2009-2011 iMacs. They will run cooler and better than the AMD clod hoppers in these machines now. Hopefully this will permit some of the undead AMD cards to be allowed to die for last time. In reading some posts at Rossman Group in NYC, I discovered that AMD MXM heat issues became a self-fulfilling prophecy. (another thread, but basically to keep cards on the market the BIOS has been hacked to run at higher clocks , thus burning up these re-balled cards even faster)

I also swapped the old WiFi and BT cards for the ac Wifi/BT 4 combo card. Little soldering involved, but now the GPU and BT and WiFi are all kosher for Mojave. So 2009-11 iMacs can be retrofitted to run next OS. Powerbooks of same era will require software hacks that will partially cripple them to even try to run Mojave. And they will still never run it like these iMacs will be able to.

So, a milestone has been passed. New iMac GPUs are coming.

It is likely that what I learn doing this will also allow other Kepler MXM cards to work like 680M,  and 765M, etc. Once these are figured out may have a crack at 980M and 1070, etc. But those cards are all crazy expensive, not sure how much market there is for a $800 GPU for a $300 iMac.

No, I'm not going to post the roms. The cards will eventually be available from MVC. Many fun options to explore, problem is time. eGPU just started shipping. Mojave Metal requirement has created mad demand for GT640s. In response to Nvidia June 6th new EFI update and APFS text bug, we are rolling out EFI V2 for all of our Maxwell and Pascal cards. (rewrite a hundred or so roms, yippeee)My Mom and Dad want me to come visit them in NY. I might be getting married. 2 big shot producers are waiting for script re-writes due to my placing in some contests recently.

And I need to water my plants.

But please get word to iMac crowd. There WILL be Nvidia MXM cards. No need to junk your old 27 inch or install another reballed space heater AMD card.

I have added some temp workers here to power through the cards, but some things I have to do. Like writing these roms.


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« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 04:52:39 AM by Rominator » Logged

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Arch Stanton
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 03:57:01 PM »

Nice work!  Admittedly I have a fairly narrow interest in the Mac Pro scene, but I had no idea there was demand for this on older iMacs.  I'll link you up at MacRumors.

Cheers
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vidkidd
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2018, 04:59:22 PM »

Your genius work in EFI is greatly appreciated.     Smiley
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eksu
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2018, 09:14:49 PM »

Congrats, Rominator.
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Rominator
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2018, 04:18:41 AM »

So don't know if I mentioned, but the 2011 iMac that came with 6970 has a really big heatsink with I think 3 pipes, there is another version that is smaller . The guy in the 765 thread  has a smaller one IIRC.

In any case, to fit the 780M, or in fact many of the Nvidia MXM cards you need to create some clearance for two large inductors. Here shown with "R22" on them. If you don't make room, the card won't sit flat and the die won't contact the milled surface. That could quickly kill the card. So it is very important to test your MXM card to be sure it will make solid contact.

Would most folks savvy enough to get the iMac that far apart be able to bust out a drill and do this? Or would it be better to offer some sort of "trade  in your heatsink" type deal where I swap them out with a modded one ready to go?

Have a look at the comparison of 680 4GB to the 6970 1GB I removed from machine. The 680 and 780 have nearly identical layout, note the tall inductors where the AMD card has nothing that high, this is why you need to grind down some metal.

Next I'll touch on the X bracket on back of card. I discovered the hard way that wrong one can short back of Nvidia card, meaning you put the damned thing together just to take it back apart.

BTW, does anyone remember which thread had the pix with the iMac that had a giant hole cut in the back so they could swap GPUs easily? I laughed at the fervor before, now I'm checking my Dewalt to see if I have a metal blade.

It is not fun to work on like a cMP is. Everything is absurdly tiny and fragile, Of the 3 I have taken apart in last couple weeks, 2 had various screen connectors ripped out of the boards. There are 4 of them, 3 are made of pixie hairs, single strands. You have to raise an edge, hold it, then get other hand inside to undo the 4 DIFFERENT clasps. One is 2mm thick and has an elaborate jewelry like thingie that really needs 2 hands.

I have no doubt they made this really un-fun to work on on purpose. From 2010 to 2011 they made one of the screen plugs 1/8 the former size, and a gazillion times more delicate. They want you to rip it out of the logic board. This isn't a MacBook Air, there is plenty of space for robust connectors. If you take your time and follow the iFixit guides TO THE LETTER you will be OK. Most critical moment is getting screen off, rest pretty OK.


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« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 04:27:35 AM by Rominator » Logged

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Rominator
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 08:00:09 AM »

Metal Capable GPU - Check
WiFi AC band - Check
BT 4.0 - Check
Sound Fix - Check

So I'm staring at a gorgeous 27" iMac running Mojave. I got it for $200 and chucked a few parts in it.

BANG! Ready for Mojave.

Amazing machines if you aren't scared to open them up. And I must say that the magnetic glass is just about a BAZILLION times more elegant and easy to deal with versus the "glued" 2012-2017 versions. (Don't need a hair dryer to work on it)

Just for giggles I tossed a few eGPUs on too.

Somewhere I ran tests on it before I handed the old spinning rust 5400 rpm drive into the bin, will have to find those #s. Had an i5, but I always thought 7 was a lucky number, so I put an I7 2600 in there while I had it spread eagled on the workbench.

All of the iX iMacs with MXM could have a similar fix and run Mojave, I believe.

The AC Wifi and BT 4.0 did require soldering 2 wires. The MXM card is a Bxxxh but hopefully someday I finish the rom. The sound was the easiest fix, I plugged my trusty 24" Cinema Display in to USB, and BOINK I have sound.

The SSDs (3 of them) were just for Beach Ball Abatement.

No reason to junk these yet, especially the 2011s with TB ports.

Geekbench lets you choose which GPU to test. Worked perfectly, see the spikes where I ran each one?

Gonna go chase some...anyhow, when I get back I'll type up the caveats. Not perfect yet but you don't get tp the end if you don't start.



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NOTNlCE
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 05:21:52 PM »

REALLY looking forward to these. I have a whole fleet of 2010/2011 iMacs I've accrued over the years, many with dead or failing GPUs. I just swapped out my partner's 27 inch 2010 because Apple thinks it's obsolete. Magnificent display - would love to see it run Mojave.  Grin
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highvoltage12v
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2018, 05:39:32 AM »

Hello,
I have completed the same 780m swap on my 2011 27" iMac. I have attempted both the 765m and 780m and have confirmed both need the same heatsink modifications when using the larger 6970m heatsink. I ground down my heatsink and all 4 outer sides of the x clamp using a Dremel, and wrapped the x clamp in electrical tape to be sure nothing is touching any capacitors on the rear of the board.

My thunderbolt port closest to the FireWire 800 port is functional over display port and can display 4k@60hz. I cannot boot into any kind of recovery partition, I went as far as to create a Sierra Dual Layer DVD which it can boot from while holding C but no display after 30 minutes.

I have taken this iMac apart about 12 or so times with the trial and error between the faulty 765m I received, and the good 780m installed now. I am thankful for your time and research in creating a rom for the 780m for the 2011 iMac, my ambition for upgrading to the 780m was not because my 6970m has failed, but because this iMac has been so good to me over the years that i'm willing to modify it to continue to use it on Mojave and future OS's. I'd be willing to mail my 780m to MacVidCards and have it flashed to gain EFI support, if that becomes an option. I'm user highvoltage12v over on MacRumors Forums and have posted pictures of the modification process of my 780m and the system running Mojave.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2011-imac-graphics-card-upgrade.1596614/page-35#post-26184097
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 06:28:39 AM by highvoltage12v » Logged
Rominator
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2018, 04:48:38 PM »

Currently I have got the initial boot screen working. Let’s you choose boot disk. I will hopefully find time in next couple weeks to get more working.

I strongly recommend setting up Screen Sharing before anything else on MXM iMac.

Another big help is eGPU with EFI.

After 6 or 8 GPU swaps to “get back in” these became crucial.
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moopha
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 05:58:34 PM »

Currently I have got the initial boot screen working. Let’s you choose boot disk. I will hopefully find time in next couple weeks to get more working.

I strongly recommend setting up Screen Sharing before anything else on MXM iMac.

Another big help is eGPU with EFI.

After 6 or 8 GPU swaps to “get back in” these became crucial.

Hey dear fellow!

Are there any news? I am owning an '11 27 iMac and would like to make a pleasant upgrade with i7 2600 an appropriate MXM GPU.
But these issues (no boot screen & brightness control) really stop me from acquirung GPU.
By the way, what GPU is best? 780@4Gb? 880?

Please, wouldn't you provide any additional info about Holy Grail progress? Thank you in advance!
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 06:00:44 PM by moopha » Logged
highvoltage12v
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2018, 12:38:19 AM »

Hello Rominator,
Have you tried your 780m on the newest build of Mojave 18A336e (18A326g had the issue also) I'm experiencing a kernel panic waking from sleep that doesn't happen in High Sierra. Since your card is EFI flashed I want to know if you are experiencing the same issue as well.


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Rominator
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2018, 01:32:46 AM »

Hey, I've been crazy busy. Went back East for 4th and buried in stuff here.

I'll try to bust the iMac out but I couldn't get screen output in Mojave before.

I've decided to take a Dremel to the back so I can quickly swap our GPUs before I do any more flash testing.

Seeing my previous work on 780s being handed out like free candy on MR doesn't give me much motivation to finish this.

Someone explain to JeffreyA that he is going to keep me from finishing 780m rom. And if I don't do it...



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vidkidd
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2018, 02:07:42 AM »

It's complete and udder bullshit that the Mac Rumors Moderator refused to remove the ROM.

Mac Rumors / Arnold Katz needs a take down notice sent to their front door.

Come on.. there have to be some Legal types out there who can help out.  The key word is help.   Without the $ signs attached.   Cool
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Rominator
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2018, 10:34:46 PM »

They were only too happy to offer help after the rom was down and I wrote them.

In any case, it's down.

I hope to get back to 780m for iMac soon.

Right now it has the boot screen, but I'm having trouble getting Windows to install drivers and TB screen sharing doesn't work, etc.

Also, usual issue with brightness. I imagine all is fixable, just not sure when I will have time to toss some more days at it.

Can't do any more stuff if MR becomes a Warez site.
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JeffreyA
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2018, 09:00:44 PM »

Hello everyone,

I'm JeffreyA the OP of the MacRumors thread that MVC is mouthing off about. I can prove this is actually the person and not just a fake account. I'd just like to clarify what happened on this thread a little bit with my side of the story. I dumped a ROM off a GTX 780 that I assumed was generic and posted it on MacRumors. I had no idea it was made by David's company as it didn't have his typical markings on the card nor on the ROM itself. I posted it thinking it was some breakthrough ROM that I stumbled upon that was either made by an individual hacker that didn't have a business or a business that was now defunct. I was wrong and David emailed me. I took down the ROM immediately and have apologized for it publicly and in several emails to David. All this crazy talk about legal action and stuff on this forum and MacRumors is a bit much. All I did was dump a ROM. I was a bit upset when I read that David was going to consider cancelling this project after hearing about what had happened. This MXM ROM if completed will allow people to continue to enjoy using their 2011 iMac's. I may never have a use for this as I'd never use one but this is great news for anyone that has one. I don't want him to stop producing this ROM and I mean him no offense which is why that 780 ROM was taken down so quickly. This is my side of the story and I hope everything is all good now. If anyone has any questions let me know. I personally can't wait for his new EFI ROMs to come out and I'm following the developments of this MXM EFI ROM as we speak.

Thanks,

JeffreyA
They were only too happy to offer help after the rom was down and I wrote them.

In any case, it's down.

I hope to get back to 780m for iMac soon.

Right now it has the boot screen, but I'm having trouble getting Windows to install drivers and TB screen sharing doesn't work, etc.

Also, usual issue with brightness. I imagine all is fixable, just not sure when I will have time to toss some more days at it.

Can't do any more stuff if MR becomes a Warez site.
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