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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > [solution] Install/Update Windows ATI graphics drivers for Mobility Graphics Cards

[solution] Install/Update Windows ATI graphics drivers for Mobility Graphics Cards
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Jun 6, 2007, 05:42 PM
 
Summary

Using DriverHeaven's Mobility Modder utility, you can modify the desktop ATI drivers so that they can be installed on Macbook Pros and iMacs in Windows XP or WIndows Vista. Bootcamp users can use this method to update their graphics drivers to take advantage of graphics updates not yet provided by Apple.

Installing the Catalyst 7.5 drivers with this method appears to fix the following problems:
  • Solves instability in games that use DirectX 9.0c
  • Solves intermittent Windows XP crashes, such as blue screens of death and black-screen freezes
  • Reduces instances where Windows freezes without any other symptoms
  • Eliminates the need for "under-clocking" the video card to achieve stability (using tools like ATITool)

While I have done extensive testing with the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 in my Revision A Macbook Pro 17", more testing is needed to determine the effectiveness for other models. I can say with certainty, however, that it has solved a handful of annoying problems in my installation of Windows XP Professional under Bootcamp.

Installing these drivers in this manner does not seem to have any impact on the latest release of Parallels' ability to use the Bootcamp partition.


Background

Ten months ago, I discovered that the ATI Mobility Radeon drivers provided by Apple made my bootcamp installation of Windows XP very unstable when I was playing some games. I tried as many approaches as I could think of to fix the problem. Among the things that didn't work were:
  • Updating the ATI Mobility Drivers by hand
  • Updating to the latest Bootcamp Drivers
  • Installing the "Omega" Drivers
  • Calling Tech Support
  • Adjusting video card settings in Windows XP and within games

Then, while trying to determine if my own video card might be defective, I discovered that I could achieve stability by installing TechPowerUp's ATITool and under-clocking my video card to the same clock speeds that Apple uses in OS X to achieve better battery life. (This process is documented in [solution] Crashes, blue screens, freezes, and GPU recover in games under Bootcamp.)

ATITool, however, is just a beta. It doesn't work for all ATI cards on Macs, and it is unstable. So when I learned that a recent update to Battlefield 2142 was causing it to conflict with ATITool and crash, I set out to find another solution.

That's when I discovered Mobility Modder by DriverHeaven.net. This tool modifies the ATI Catalyst Installer so that they can be installed on laptops. Sure enough, the newest Catalyst drivers (7.5) installed without incident, even though I didn't remove my existing drivers first. Five hours of intensive game play later, I can confirm that these new drivers solve a whole host of problems -- all without reducing the clock speed of the graphics card.

I also happen to use Parallels to access my Bootcamp partition from MacOS X. Installing these new drivers had no noticeable impact on it.

A lot more testing is needed, though. I only have one computer that runs Windows XP. I'm almost certain that this is going to work on iMacs and other revisions and models of the MacBook Pro, but I like to see proof. So I encourage all of you to try the steps below and post your success (or failure) stories. Graphics drivers (especially those from ATI) are notoriously hard to manage, so I hope to catalog all of the problems a person might run into in this thread.


Instructions

Note: These instructions are designed for ATI/AMD Mobility and Radeon Express video cards only -- that means only Macbook Pros and iMacs, so far as I'm aware. Be sure to use the drivers and software appropriate for your computer. Installing the wrong drivers won't hurt it, but you may need your Apple Bootcamp Drivers CD in order to get things working again.

Check the release notes for the ATI Catalyst driver to see if it's appropriate for your video card model.

Before you begin:
  • Completely update Windows XP. Be sure to install the .Net 2.0 Framework, which is required by the Catalyst Control Center. (If you regularly install all required and optional updates by Microsoft, you're set.)
  • (Optional) Burn a copy of the Bootcamp 1.2 drivers from Apple. It will help you recover if you somehow install the wrong driver and want to roll back.
  • It is not necessary to uninstall your existing ATI driver. If you're running ATITool, however, you may want to turn it off.

You will need:

Note: The links above are the newest versions as of June 2007.
  1. Boot your Mac into Windows XP. It's probably best to close all programs, but I left my web browser open while I was working, and nothing went wrong. I did turn off ATITool, though.

  2. Install MSXML 4.0 if you haven't done so already. Don't worry; Mobility Modder will warn you if MSXML 4.0 is not present on your system when you try to use it.

  3. Run setup.exe from the Catalyst driver you downloaded earlier. Allow it to extract its files to C:\ATI\support\.

  4. After extraction, a red screen with a giant red ATI logo will appear, and the Install shield dialog box will appear. Click cancel. You must first modify the drivers with Mobility Modder before you can install them.

  5. Extract the files contained within the Mobility Modder file that you downloaded earlier.

  6. Run Mobility Modder. It will ask for the location of your Catalyst driver. Click browse, and navigate to C:\ATI\support\. Click on the driver folder itself: it will have a name similar to 7-5_xp_dd_ccc_wdm_46743.

  7. Click "Modify" and wait for the process to finish.

  8. In Windows, navigate to C:\ATI\support\, double-click on the driver folder that you modified, and look for setup.exe. Run this to install the modified drivers. I chose not to install the optional free games offer and the "earthsim" program.

  9. Reboot.
     
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Jun 11, 2007, 10:42 PM
 
Looks like AMD has a release of their own, good job tho.
Apple Boot Camp XP Software Graphics Drivers
     
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Oct 10, 2007, 06:38 PM
 
I have a Mac Pro, and none of these solutions work. I do seem to get results by underclocking my card by quite a bit, but the graphics suffer heavily, making it not exactly a solution but a way to deal with it. Are there any new developments?
     
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Oct 10, 2007, 09:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by tequilaguru View Post
Looks like AMD has a release of their own, good job tho.
Apple Boot Camp XP Software Graphics Drivers
Unfortunately they don't (at least according to the linked page) support newer iMacs. Otherwise this deserves some investigation...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Oct 17, 2007, 06:11 PM
 
I have a Mac Pro, and this probably applies to laptops and the iMacs, but I found a GREAT TEMPORARY SOLUTION (workaround, really). I noticed when running XP under Boot Camp that my intake fans and other assorted fans were simply not increasing in speed under any circumstance. When playing next-gen games, my Radeon X1900 fan was spinning away angrily with no help to actually circulate the air inside the Mac, and it would overheat at 116 degrees C and the computer would hang up (black screen, audio loop).

Currently there is no way to adjust the fan speeds of the tower under XP. Therefore you must download the latest version of the OS X utility, smcFanControl, and save a new profile with much higher minimum fan speeds to get some intake. Restarting the computer in XP actually maintains these settings, allowing you to play uninterrupted games, while shutting the computer down resets the settings.
     
   
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