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Author Topic: Fermi Comes to Mac  (Read 26476 times)
Rominator
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« on: February 19, 2011, 10:27:33 AM »

Been working with Netkas on this Fermi thing.

Wow.

Apple must REALLY hate Nvidia.

Can't guess why else there is so little support.

And the cards are all RIGHT THERE.

As in, anything that our Hack brothers have been easily able to get working with latest Quadro Drivers can (and would be) running on our Mac Pros if there were 256K chips ($1) and EFI ROms on all of those cards.

The DRIVERS are there. Sort of. Someone left out OpenCl support, my feeling is this is a snub from Apple.

In any case, Netkas gave me some nudges in right direction and BINGO we have FERMI APLENTY.

It is a complicated and tedious process that currently would need to be done specially for each and every card. I am going to look for a good candidate for a Public ROM.

But, #1 caveat...of the 4 Fermi cards I have checked, all have 128K chips.

And Mac ROM will be more than that. So, need to find cards with 256K chips, or get chip replaced.

In any case, at end of long road is a working, EFI booting Fermi card.

And when I say that any card working at Insanely Mac on Hacks, my guess is that this is true. If someplace we find cards with Native 256K chips, great.

I have tried this on GTS450, GTX460 and GTX480. The GTX460 was DOA so no answers on that.

Here is where Mac GPU fans need to take a seat. I have patched together an EFI ROM for GTX480. You put it in your Mac with 10.6.6 and latest Nvidia drivers and hit "go". It boots and runs. No "helper" cards or hacks or injectors.

Sadly, there are a bunch more caveats here. Power issues to start. And I am stuck with single display right now. AND......issue with changing resolution from whatever it starts up on. Which makes it difficult for "Mommy Knows Best" games like COD4 and SC2 to work with them.

But of the 2 different Fermi cards I have taken a whack at, I have a 100% 2 for 2 on getting them into EFI booting shape.

Performance shows what silly, ineffectual drivers we have. The GTX480 benches much like the GTX285. But then so does the GTS450. No wonder they don't offer these cards.

Anyhow, if there is anyone in LA area who would like to join EARLY Beta stage of Fermi/Mac/EFI testing, get in touch.

I would like to point out some things:

1. 99% of people are better served to use Netkas' ATY_Init and a Fermi card in slot 1 with either a GT120 or 7300GT in slot 3. The Mac EFI card gives boot screens and Fermi runs normally after desktop reached. No soldering or ROM finagling to be done. Install, boot and go !!!

2. There are MANY problems with Fermi EFI cards in a real Mac Pro right now. MANY. And they run much better in ATY_Init.

3. If you have anything other than a Cupertino Special, move on. None of this will help Hack folk, unless we uncover some driver "switches". But "flashing" a card for a hack is beyond pointless.

3. I will accept a LIMITED number of LA based folk with 4xx series Fermis for a Beta test. You bring card and a six pack (Stella or something from GB) , I solder on chip and write an EFI ROM. You agree not to discuss my poor housekeeping but also agree to test card out and post about it. Whole process will take longer than an hour, and who knows, may fail.

When I get this thing just a touch better, I am going to contact Rob-Art at Barefeats a sample card to try out.

But what I can tell with my CPU bound Octo 2.26 isn't full story. Anyone want to trade some new FASTER Xeons for a Fermi?

Did I mention the power issues? Or that lovely smell of burning electronics? Whatever ends up being "public rom" will likely be for 450 or 460.

I am also keeping in mind what a fiasco the whole EFI 4890 thing turned out to be. I won't be accepting any long term commitments to re-write ROMs and I'm not a patch person. These cards are running without any help from anything but genuine system software from Apple and Nvidia. I won't be doing further work on patches for them, should they ever become needed.

I believe that Master Netkas has agreed to help finish these Fermi issues. I have an idea where to look, but always easier with (smart) help.

If he decides to be the King of Fermi, maybe he will find a way to compress these further into 128K.

I'm still amazed this worked. Thanks to Apple, Nvidia, Netkas and Mark K with whom I was working on Mac Pro 4,1 to 5,1 project.

The Fermis are here.


* gts450 u.png (87.12 KB, 611x483 - viewed 905 times.)

* fermi#1.png (82.87 KB, 612x451 - viewed 3062 times.)

* mac fermi pci gpu.png (110.63 KB, 637x551 - viewed 790 times.)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 10:31:04 AM by Rominator » Logged

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Rominator
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 11:39:27 AM »

Well, might as well start with the Bad news first. I don't think that the GTX480 is ever going to be a good Mac Pro card. I ran some benchies with COD4 then decided to play a little bit. Was enjoying it when a hard "click" accompanied everything shutting off. This was using regular power cables and a short 6 to 8 adapter.

Last time I saw behavior like this was when I had a 4870 x2 in Mac Pro and I was running Crysis in Bootcamp. I'm guessing that I hit a spike in gameplay and we went over the limits set by the wise men in Cupertino, the PSU shut down the party to keep the cops from getting called.

Switched back to an external PSU and everything nice and smooth now.

But I doubt many Mac folk will want to go to that level of bother. I am going to get some thicker copper wire and make a "HD" set of wires but I doubt that a little less resistance is going to do it. But who knows.

If the 480 is going to be too much I am going to try the 460 and 470, perhaps one of them could be nice until the 570 drivers get finished.

The GTS450 seems to suffer the same issue that Hacks have said of the and GTX460s, that they tend to freeze when allowed to go into low speed. I have noticed this more since I installed CUDA so may try removing and see if that helps.

Ran COD4 and Doom3 at 2560x1600 with everything maxed (except AA).

GTS 450 COD 71.5/70.8   D3 72.4/92.6
ZGTX480 COD4 85.4/86     D3 87.8/120

I will come back and ad GTX285 for reference. Attaching OpelGl pix at open throttle and load. Not sure what to think of the nearly identical scores when load applied. Doesn't speak well for either Nvidia drivers or the Viewer benchmark.

Watch over at InsanelyMac. When a new driver enables GTX570 in Hacks, we may have something exciting.

Dud 460 going back to Fry's tomorrow so I will report on that.

UPDATE !!!

Got the GTX460 up and running. It also had a 128K chip and needed re-chipping but now it works !!!

Same caveats as the others, single display, difficulty changing res but otherwise nice.

Boot screens no problem. Hopefully Netkas can find the missing piece. The odd thing is that the card is the size of a 5770 but has 2@ 6 Pin power plugs.

Will make a very nice Mac card if we get the resolution thing figured out.

Update # 3 - Good news...GTX460 matched the GTX480 in COD4.

Bad News: It just did the dreaded "I'mBored" freeze up.

Guessing that the VID states specified in ROM don't correspond to those in Fermi driver for Quadro.

Going to try moving VID Bitmask and power states from Quadro ROM.

FWIW, the GTX480 hasn't done this. Next to try a GTX470. If anyone in LA/Hollywood has one and is up for some experiementing......

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« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 01:55:07 AM by Rominator » Logged

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jeanlain
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 11:24:30 AM »

Thanks for the effort.

But, without considering the scientific interest in this, I think most will be better off with a flashed radeon 5XXX, since support is very partial (no openCL) and performance disappointing.  Undecided
We were already lucky that the quadro 4000 drivers works for other fermi cards.

Any idea why an injector works better than a ROM flash?
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Rominator
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 09:00:22 PM »

When Netkas first started sending me 5870 ROMs I spent hours looking at solid blue walls with some dancing black pixels. I spent countless hours fiddling pointlessly in IOReg explorer, trying to find a way to make them work.

His first "working" ROM only worked on EFI64 machines and only ran 2 monitors.

I don't recall you tell us then "Thanks for the effort" and that people would be better off with a GTX285 or 4870, since both were less buggy at the time.

Naysayers get very little done in the world of innovation.

When Snow Leopard came out, Apple made some grand promises about GPU accelerated apps. As far as I know, there are 2 apps that use this to any useful extent. Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve. DaVinci Resolve just recently added the ability to use MULTIPLE GPUs for even more power. You can get a Cubix chassis and keep adding more GPUs to speed up color grading. The only problem here is that to either program, a 5870 is just a 2600XT with more RAM. It has 0% acceleration due to it's lack of CUDA. The crappy little GTS450 I just flashed will run circles around an Army of 5870s in those apps.

I live in Hollywood and work in the film business. I can tell you that MANY editors have shelved FCP as Premiere has taken the lead. The ability to use a GPU for real time rendering is what those people have been waiting for. (Edit Suites are routinely $500/hr, would you rather wait for a render or edit your movie?) Currently they are stuck with used GTX285s for $300-400, or "new" Quadro 4800s for $1200 or new Quadro 4000s for $800+. I imagine a GTX460 or GTX470 for $200-400 with more power than either of the Quadros might make a VERY attractive option for them.

Are these Fermi cards done? Absolutely not. I have faith in Mr. Netkas to help iron out the things I can not. In a perfect world, we would find a way to compress the ROMs further or use an injector WITHOUT a helper card. But to me your post sound slike..."So, you have invented electricity? So what !! Nobody has invented light bulbs so what good is it? I'll stick with my candles" We didn't give up on 5870 and it got better. I'm not giving up on Fermi, and they will get better. They certainly won't get better by sitting around complaining about them.

With any luck, some of these Fermi's will find their way into Edit Suites here in Hollywood. They will be used to edit the movies that you will be sitting at a cafe and complaining about next year.

As to why they behave better using ATY_Init my guess is that the ROMs aren't perfect. Some key value isn't getting into the register it needs to hit. ATY_Init sets certain values instead of using those from card. If anyone can figure out that crucial piece of the puzzle, it is Netkas. And I believe he will.

Meanwhile, you can do your part by continuing your support for 5870s and write a ROM for the guy with the Eyefinity 6. You have written working 5870 ROMs and the guide to do so so you should be perfect. And it will leave me more time to keep plugging in different values in these Fermi ROMs. Thanks for your support.

And still I say...Fermis are Here !!!

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jotovato
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 11:01:13 PM »

LOL how much weed have you smoked today  Grin
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jeanlain
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 12:21:08 AM »

Rominator, I did thank you and netkas after you made PC radeons work in Macs, although I didn't suggest that people would be better off with using other cards. There were several reasons for that. The same cards, together with drivers, were provided par Apple, ROMs could fit on 128KB chips and there was hope that Apple's cards would be using EBC.
We don't have that for fermi cards.
But I should have added "for now" somewhere in my previous post. My apologies if it hurt your feelings.  Embarrassed
I truly hope that by the time Apple/Nvidia (but preferably Apple) provide us with a new fermi-based Geforce, your efforts will be rewarded.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 12:24:20 AM by jeanlain » Logged
Rominator
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 11:27:35 PM »

I realize that I have failed to deliver a "run to Best Buy and flash your card at home easily in one step" experience like 4870/5770/5870 have been.

But I am going to keep working on these, even if nobody cares. (not a single positive response)

The GTX470 seems like best one yet. Simple, easy EFI boot screen (try that on your flashed 5xxx cards)

Powerful and quiet. Has same issues as other Fermi cards I have flashed so far, but I feel that I will solve these.

No love in Lion, but hopefully that will get ironed out too.

An hour of COD4 in Mac yesterday and no power crashes, so it seems a better fit then the GTX480. Benchmarks similar. Though everything seems to be bound by a GTX285 speed limit. As in, I can barely get any of these cards to do better than GTX285. Hopefully, next Nvidia driver release will bring the speed on. Don't forget a GTX480 is a faster card than a 5870, at least when the drivers are equal.

A really sweet card.

Did I mention the EFI boot screen working?

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C4SI0
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 03:01:07 AM »

Rominator, I'd like to add a positive comment to this post.   Smiley

Anyway, I am about to buy a new card and I am torn on what to get.  I really need to have a boot screen for selecting my boot drive... If I buy a gtx 470 would it be possible to get that rom from you?  I live in Oklahoma so dropping by is unfortunately out of the question.  If I read your posts right, the card does not require a solder like the 285 did?  If that's the case I would assume the flashing procedure is similar to the 8800GT?  

I realize the rom is still in the testing stage, it sounds like it is pretty close though.  I guess my only real concern is the power issue but it sounds like the 470 is safe, it isn't a whole lot higher draw than the 5870 from what I read.  

Edit:  Nevermind, I reread your first post.  I know there are some threads about this already, but how well does the stock 470 run on the Mac?  ie. do the fans run right?  Does it perform at that same 285 level you mentioned?  What about the 465?  I appreciate the help.  This graphics card thing almost makes me wish I was still running a hackintosh.  This GT 120 is killing me.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 03:12:44 AM by C4SI0 » Logged
MG_Andrew_Jackson
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 08:16:20 PM »

Try not to take the negative attitudes to heart, Rommy, hard times about for lots of folks, these days. It's not as easy to compartmentalize and burry ourselves in tech.

THANKS for the hard work Grin

I think the rift with Apple/nVidia has more to do with a bug in Fermi multi display configurations drawing far more power than Apple deems acceptable, as a larger % of Apple users run multi displays+Fan noise is still a factor.

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1461/19/

This "Power bug" was still a factor in the GTX 560 Ti, as nVidia has not gotten control of the issue.
 
Fermi's multi display power consumption in "2d" desktop mode is abysmal vs comparable speed AMD Radeon's.

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Rominator
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 09:59:29 PM »

The GTX480 is a power hog.

Like I stated above, the only other time I have been able to get a Mac Pro to SHUT DOWN in the middle of running a game was a 4870x2 running Crysis. And that was 2 @ 4870 cores.

One GTX480 accomplished same thing.

Will be nice when the GTX570 appears in the drivers., I feel that may be nice one for Mac.

The 470 is sweet though. I am hopeful that Netkas can find the missing piece, though I can see all this Lion stuff has got him bizzy.
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Neex
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2011, 08:03:20 PM »

Hey Rominator, sent you a PM.  Maybe I can help out with things?
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Rominator
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 08:40:56 PM »

Neex ---always glad for help. I think you mentioned running Hacks. If you find any means to get these cards to live up to potential, please feel free to post it right here. Currently the drivers just aren't there. Any of the EFI work I did isn't applicable to your card, but if you are able to get a measurable bump in speed from these versus GTX285, please detail it.

When first round of Fermi drivers appeared last summer, the GTX480 was MUCH slower than the GTX285

It appears that the 2nd round that came out in November are BETTER but still not actually finished. I was unable to find a benchmark other than GLView that showed the GTX480 to be significantly faster than GTX285. I have now heard back from a leading Mac software company who leverages CUDA. They tried a GTX460 and a GTX470 and were unable to get better performance than with the GTX285. While we may be pleased to note that mid-level Fermi = Top of Line G200 card, the fact is that the 480 SHOULD have DOUBLE the speed. That particular company wasn't interested in trying the 480 since it's power draw would exceed that available in a Mac Pro and therefore unusable by their customers. I sadly have to agree.

He also mentioned that they have been unable to recommend The Quadro 4000 as it too shows lower performance than GTX285 in their CUDA heavy app. So the problem lies with immature drivers that Apple apparently wants nothing to do with. The fact that there are ATI drivers for cards that Apple doesn't yet sell but NO drivers for an Nvidia card that has been available since November really tells the story here. Apple doesn't want Nvidia muddying up their computers with Nvidia's hardware. They have pushed it out in Taiwan on the assembly lines where all of the Macbooks just dumped Nvidia for ATI, and out in Cupertino where the drivers get written.

A second party has a GTX480 for testing. They have been sourcing a means to power the beast in a Mac Pro. They will be testing it in a broad variety of apps. I am concerned that they too will find the card to be not much faster than a GTX285, and therefore of questionable value when used 285s are available. But who knows, maybe he will find that one particular app where the Fermi cards can stretch their legs and reach part of their potential.

I have found an app. If I leave OpenGlview on "single" cube it will score about 25-30% higher than a GTX285. The GTX285 betters the 5870 as well, BTW. However, once put in "Multiple Cubes" the Fermi cards are brought to nearly the same EXACT scores as a 285. I thought that perhaps my Octo 2.26s were CPU limiting the results, but I don't have any 3.0s to toss in. ANyone got a spare pair?

In any case, I am eager for another round of Nvidia drivers. They can't seriously expect people to pay $800 for a card that is slower than the $400 card that they discontinued. Nvidia is about to release new CUDA drivers, let's hope the fix comes then.

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alexj
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2011, 02:26:41 AM »

Hi Rominator,

i am from Germany and reading your Posts with great interest. I am working in the German Movie Industry and maybe you could really help to bring a Fermi Card into our workflow to finish the next Feature Film for National Television on Da Vinci.

Me and my colleauge also might have an upcoming shoot in LA next week and go to NAB so that could come in Handy.

I would be willing to power the GFX Card externally too, the most important thing is CUDA Power and only use of one slot. so GTX 460 470 580 590 is in the Selection Range. 590 would be smashing of course.

But it seems the app you refer to that does not go over 285 performance is da vinci with cuda it sounds like ?

so i would be willing to buy a gfx here this week and bring it over to LA next week if there would be a good chance of modding it in a way that it at least performs on a level of a gtx 285 and kind of stable enough to use it in post production, and with the hope to get it running faster in some weeks / months when driver support / new firmware / efi flashes are out...

happy to hear from you and some imported german beer probably sound really good ?
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Rominator
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2011, 02:55:44 AM »

Hi, hope you make it here.

BTW, do you need an Art Director for your shoot? That is my primary employment and I always enjoy working with European production companies. I have done 3 campaigns for "KiMs" chips, and 2 or 3 for Nordea bank a few years back. The "Carlsberg" campaign was fun 3 years ago, got lots of good beer. The stuff they brought from Denmark was MUCH better than the US version. I know DPs and can recommend an expendables place or two. (I guess you call them "DOP"s, yes?)

Anyhow, the GTX5xx cards are not workable yet, they just don't exist in the driver.

So, best card is a GTX480. Probably easiest if you just bring one like mine and we trade. Process to convert one is time consuming and boring. We can work out something equitable.

We would be of the understanding that the ROM on the card would stay there. I don't want any more of my work posted about for others to claim so I would need your word that the card and ROM would be for your testing only.
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Mitay[007]
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 01:44:00 PM »

Rominator:
How do you put EFI part in the firmware for GTX470/480? I did some experimentation of combining EFI part from firmware of quadro 4000 and gtx470 but was unsuccessful. It never booted on mac, not recognized with helper card (only dev ID).
Be so kind to describe how you unpacked and changed the EFI part to change the links to an initialization procedures.
Or, if you did not do it, what other way?
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