Hi, after scrubbing forums here and elsewhere (such as Tom's Hardware) I have not found a specific user testimonial to success running a GTX 960 in a power-bumped i570.
Is this card supported in the i570? Failing official Dell support, should it work anyway?
The master upgrade thread was posted prior to the 960 and is light on GPU details.
In general, user advice seems to indicate that given sufficient power, which 500w appears to be, BIOS update, and successful gfx driver uninstall, it should work.
What actually happens is: system powers on, all fans spin up, GPU fans spin up, no POST code beeps are heard, boot procedure halts at 'checkpoint NN' (A2, I think. I found a list of the Dell checkpoint codes and it indicated something about failure to start, I assume indicating a failure to initialize the GPU.
I use DDU to strip the gfx drivers. BIOS is current (A06, iirc).
I can boot the system without the card seated, with an additional antique VGA card in the lowest slot on the mobo and the 960 seated, and with the current GPU (gtx 470) seated. when the system boots with the VGA card and the 960 seated the 960 fans do not spin. I have not taken the time to examine the 960 status in device manager in this configuration.
I do not have another wintel machine to test the card in.
Signs seem to point to a bad card. GeForce appears to be willing to authorize an RMA. However, if the card won't work in the machine, it may be wiser to send it back to the merchant rather than the mfr.
UPDATE: Card boots in Mac 4,1 2009 under Yosemite with Nvidia web drivers installed. Currently installing Win 7 on Mac to test boot ability in Windows. Looks more like either a driver issue or a power issue in the i570.
You need an EPS12v 2.92 power supply. 500W is not sufficient.
You need 170W on the 3.3v/5v rails and 15 to 20W on the +5VSB rails and Minimum 375W on the 12v Rails.
This is why Corsair CS750M is the recommended replacement for many dells.
Both the spec and the dimensions of the supply.
Thanks! Currently the lowest-cost options are to return the card or to finally set up the Mac as dual boot, which I am in-process on right now. Have to shuffle around my pile of Windows licenses to see if I have a VMWare install I can dump. Wouldn't really be a net negative to reduce the number of overpriced space heaters under the desk.
The 960 can be made to boot and produce video under Bootcamp Win 7 on the the Mac Pro 4,1. However, it will not do so while the stock card (GT 120) remains seated on the mobo. Pulling the Apple-specialized card removes access to the boot screens including option-boot to display available boot source drives, making dual booting a hassle and therefore not a useful long-term solution. There may be a way to get the cards into shape under Bootcamp but given that we are looking at three unsupported instances on old, old hardware, I'm going back to look at a power bump on the i570.
Further progress or lack thereof.
First of all, thanks to SpeedStep for pointing at power as an issue. I'm not sure that's the solution, however, after doing some investigation.
First, although the Mac does have a 900w PSU, and the actual max draw for cards has not been well-documented, the standard recommendation for dual hi-power cards is the implementation of a second PSU in parallel with the Mac PSU. I can't recall the estimated top draw offhand but I think it was something like 300w, I could definitely be wrong. Given that the 960 comes up, and is described was a low-power card in comparison to others in the 900 series I wondered what its actual draw and PSU reqs were.
This PC World review notes that "The GTX 960 has a scant 120 watt TDP". The GeForce 960 specs state that the minimum PSU available system power - "Minimum Recommended System Power" - is 400w.
The previous card I had seated on the i570 was a GTX 470. The linked specs suggest a min PSU vailable system power of 550w, so it appears I was just lucky getting it to roll with the 500w unit. The wikipedia roundup on the 400-series cards indicate that the 470's TDP is 215w.
(See below in a subsequent post for more info on "Minimum Recommended System Power" and why it's not the same as the capacity of the PSU.)
So to summarize the data, the newer card appears to have a specification that calls for it to have considerably less need for juice than the predecessor card.
The 500w PSU currently installed does also have some deficiencies with regard to the specific available power that SpeedStep recommended, however. In particular, the PCIe jacks are rated up to 18w, not 20w. For the sake of experimental thoroughness, I poked around in my stack of parts and came up with a 450w PSU that had been acquired with the idea of implementing the dual-PSU mod to the Mac to enable dual 470s. This particular PSU was designed for use in the ride-along role and offers dual PCIe power feeds at 20w each. Given that the card would be the only draw on the additional PSU, I felt it should help to eliminate or confirm power as an issue.
As before, with the 960 seated and the on-board video disabled prior to seating and reboot, the system does not complete a boot sequence, and on next restart provides the "System halted at boot checkpoint [A2]." Slotting an antique VGA card into the PCI slot does allow the machine to boot with the 960 slotted, and consulting device manager results in the 960 being reported as active, installed, and working properly. Sadly, there is no video being produced by the card in this state.
There are some quirks in this i570's startup sequence, the most notable being that it seems the USB ports are not being activated until after the initial startup screen, offering F2 and F12 setup options, has zipped past. This of course makes it impossible to get into these startup menus to examine them for video-device options.
So, to summarize, while it's still possible replacing the 500w PSU with a beefier unit might resolve the matter, it does not appear that the card in and of itself requires the additional power by spec, as the unit in this power configuration exceeds the spec's maximum power requirement and can be shown to operate with a higher TDP card.
I still have not found a positive anecdotal report that the 960 can work with the i570 under the current (and probably final) BIOS update, which was released in 2012. There are many instances of people asking this question online and being advised that with sufficient power the card should work; none of these interactions have produced a troubleshooting thread like this one, so I am inclined to think it should be possible.
Thanks again to SpeedStep for prompting me to take a closer look at the power issue.
The specific 960 I use works fine in my Dell Precision T3400 with stock 525W power supply.
500W is not enough because you need 150 to 170W of 3.3v/5v power and 15 to 20W of +5vSB in addition to 375 to 450W of 12v power minimum. The Dell unit says 150W 3.3v + 20W +5vSB + 500W max on the 12v where it actually provides 36A or 432 W You cant have all the power on all max on all rails. But 500W units typically have 100W to 130W max on the +5v/3.3v rail and leaving 370W for the 12v rail and if you count the 20W on the +5vSB then its 350W on the 12v rail or 29 amps which is well below the 400W min needed for cards like this.
This is why for NON DELL power supplies I say that the corsair CS 750M EPS 12v 2.92 certfied supply is required. The dimensions of the 750M are also a factor.
In older dells like Precision T3400 BIOS A09 I've used an EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC ACX 2.0+ 2GB GDDR5 128bit, 02G-P4-2966-KR
I can definitely see how the PSUs I am working with don't meet your spec. The 500w has 130 on the 3.3/5 and 432 on the 12s. The ride-along has 450 on the 12s with a peak of 20 and no spec on the sticker (or load) for the 3.3/5s. What I'm not grasping is why the card would need more juice than its published specs require; there's no question that using a PSU with your suggested specs exceeds the requirements.
EDIT - whoops ,looks like maybe you expanded a bit on your response while I was writing this. Lemme digest and get back with more q's if needed. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
EDIT II - Ok, I see what you are saying.
On your stock Dell 525w PSU, the listed 12v max is 500 but the effective 12v max is 432w. On 500w units the effective max is lower, 370 to 350v. When I run this on the current PSU, I get 353.9. Since that is under 400w, you are reading this as under card spec.
So here's where the confusion happens. On the card spec pages the 400w line is labeled "Minimum Recommended System Power", and I have been reading that as PSU size, but it could be read to mean minimum available system power FOR THE CARD ONLY and in fact it seems more likely to read it that way than as minimum total system power, since Nvidia can't possibly control the power consumption of other devices on the system.
That said, the 470 I have been running on the same PSU for years does show a minimum recommended system power of 550w and has very clearly never had an issue with the theoretical max available of 353w.
Finally, and still making me kinda think it might not be power, the ride-along should offer enough power to at least verify power as an issue - the unit has no other draws than the card, and the unit has 2x 20A 12v.s with a max total of 450w, and the card still did not come up.
At any rate I think I more clearly understand your perspective and I suppose the only way for me to really test it is to try that 750w unit.
FWIW getting the card up on the Mac has involved similar installation yoga and chicken-foot waving. The issue on that side stems from Nvidia and Apple being in a certification and interoperability spat; Nvidia does not provide official support for their products past the 700 series on that side and the Maxwell cards don't work on pre-10.10.x versions of the OS at all. The upshot of this is that in order to get the card working in Bootcamp Win (which was my initial objective just to see if the card was bad or not) has involved pulling the OEM card completely, making the machine a PITA as a dual-booter. Sigh. This is fun, right?