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Re: No GRUB with brand-new GPU

On 12/27/20 12:19 AM, The Wanderer wrote:
> I have for some years been running Debian with an older model of AMD GPU
> (Radeon HD 6870) for graphics.
> I recently purchased a relatively recent model of GPU (Radeon RX 5700
> XT), and today swapped it in and attempted to boot with it.
> I was expecting to get no graphics support (e.g., X, et cetera) until
> after adjusting some combination of installed driver- and
> firmware-related packages, module-blacklist settings, boot-time options,
> initrd state, GRUB configuration, and possibly other (again, e.g., X)
> config files. I'm generally fine with wrangling that, and based on my
> pre-swap research, was expecting to be able to get up and running with
> the new GPU today.
> What I got, instead, was not even that far.
> With the new GPU in place, I get video output during POST and in the
> BIOS (yes, this machine is old enough that it doesn't have a UEFI)
> without problems. That demonstrates that the GPU isn't dead on arrival,
> and that signal is getting through to the monitor on a basic level.
> However, as soon as the machine tries to hand over control to the
> bootloader, I get a hard freeze; the screen goes black (albeit I think
> still with backlight), the keyboard light toggle keys stop responding,
> and the GRUB menu never appears. Waiting a long time doesn't change
> anything; even after roughly half an hour of waiting, pressing the Power
> button once (no press-and-hold) shuts the system off immediately, which
> indicates that the system hasn't progressed much (if at all) past early
> boot.
> Thus far, Google has not been helpful. I find plenty about black screens
> after GRUB, but very little about before GRUB and after POST, and what
> little I find is from other distros - some Ubuntu (earlier versions,
> mostly 2010-era), some Arch, some RHEL - which don't necessarily handle
> either graphics drivers or GRUB in a way that will let their directions
> reliably translate to Debian.
> Any suggestions for what to try?
> I'm back up now with the old GPU, since researching this on my
> smartphone was going nowhere. I've dug into /etc/grub* and /boot/
> looking for anything which seemed related, with no promising hits yet.
> Barring other discoveries, my current next step is to dig up a suitably
> recent Debian-based live-boot environment, boot to that, and see what it
> does. If it gives me usable graphics, I want to see what it's doing at
> bootloader time, and what parts I might be able to transpose into my
> primary install.
> However, given that live-boot setups don't always handle the early parts
> of boot the same way as hard-drive installs do, I'm not positive this
> will be fruitful. Also, given how relatively new this card is, I'm not
> sure I'll be able to find a suitable environment which does work with it
> to the level I need.


I'm not a hardware expert but I found the following on Internet:

 - the interface for this card is PCI-Express 4.0 and I guess that your
old computer doesn't support that

 - BIOS Support - Dual UEFI - I'm not sure what this means but is it
possible this card not to be supported by non-UEFI systems ?

Kind regards

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