I have a Mac Pro from late 2007, early 2008 and I want to perform a clean install but nothing comes up on my monitor. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GT 120 and the hard drive is an Intel SSD. I am assuming the graphics card is the problem but all comments point to it being supported.

How do I do a clean Snow Leopard install with the given hardware?

  • 2
    When does nothing come up on the monitor? When you put in the install disc? When you boot the new OS? Jan 15, 2011 at 15:48
  • If you hold the "option" key at startup do you get the nifty screen that lets you choose a startup disc, or does the screen remain blank? Jan 25, 2011 at 6:51
  • @Christian L. Nope nothing but I'm able to boot Windows and Linux discs. Jan 25, 2011 at 12:17
  • It's most likely a firmware incompatibility. Apple switched the EFI firmware from 32-bit to 64-bit in that timeframe, and newer cards only support the 64-bit EFI firmware. Since Windows and Linux don't use the EFI interface (usually) they don't have a problem, but the Mac OS depends on it to properly recognize the card. Jan 26, 2011 at 7:31
  • 1
    Can i upgrade the firmware to the 64bit version and if so how? Jan 26, 2011 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


The Apple NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 Graphics card is not compatible with the 2007/2008 Mac Pro, so in order to do the fresh install you will want to remove the GT 120 and re-install a compatible graphics card that will work with the 2007 / 2008 generation of Mac Pro.

As noted on Amazon the following system requirements are noted for the Apple NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 Graphics card.

Product Features

  • Requires Mac Pro (Early 2009 with 1066MHz DDR3 memory) with PCI Express 2.0 slot
  • Requires Mac OS X v10.5.6 or later

If you have reset the NVRAM to clear the device tree and let the mac have the best chance to run the installer, you still have some options to resolve this.

  1. A newer retail OS X DVD should have the original and updated drivers to drive that monitor (making a failure more likely hardware and less of a driver question) than the DVD that originally shipped with that model.
  2. Taking the drive (or the whole Mac) to a shop that has all the boot images and several retail OS DVD on hand might be needed.

DeployStudio running on another mac has saved my day more times than I can count. Their boot loader is quite up to date - the closest to a universal image as I have seen. If that fails, you may have to resort to installing an OS to the drive connected to another mac in target mode or by a dongle for SATA drives.


You have to keep the stock video card in the first slot, and the new one in the second slot, then OS X should boot because it senses the EFI patched video card and allows you to see it.

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