Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chameleon's GraphicsEnabler vs. Enabler Kexts

Not too long ago, one of the only ways to enable certain graphics cards was using enabler kexts such as NVEnabler.kext and ATY_init.kext. These standalone enablers do an adequate job in identifying cards and enabling full graphics acceleration, however there are numerous issues.

For example, when using the latest ATY_init.kext, you are stuck with running the kernel in 32-bit mode.  If you need to change the default frame buffer for your card, you need to manually edit the kext. Finally, this enabler only supports a limited number of HD 5700 and HD 5800 cards.

With NVEnabler, you are limited to only 9xxx cards and earlier. Of the more recent cards, it only supports the GTX 260 and GTX 280. It will not recognize nor properly identify any other newer cards.  In that case, you're stuck with Unknown Graphics Controller in System Profiler or a barely functional card. Finally, there has been no further development since the last release in October 2009.

While the benchmarks are the same, it's more advantageous to use Chameleon's GraphicsEnabler instead of these kexts. The Chameleon team as of Chameleon 2.0 RC5, has been advancing GraphicsEnabler development. For instance, there are 89 more supported cards in Chameleon 2.0 RC5 r699 GraphicsEnabler than in NVEnabler. While in Kabyl's branch of Chameleon 2.0 RC5 r700, there is now support for the HD 5400, HD 5500 and HD 5600. With his branch, you can also configure the frame buffer at boot time or in Kabyl has stated that his branch will get merged into the main Chameleon trunk as soon as testing has completed.

So it  makes sense to switch from these enablers to GraphicsEnabler. For NVIDIA cards, use the main trunk version, 2.0 RC5 r699 or newer. For ATI/AMD cards, use Kabyl's branch, 2.0 RC5 r700 or newer until his code get merged into the trunk. As always you can find the latest version of both in MultiBeast.

How to Use Chameleon's GraphicsEnabler:

If using a DSDT, simply make sure that your includes:

If you are not using a DSDT, Chameleon will most likely not identify which slot your graphics card is in. In this case, make sure that your includes:

Good luck- and use GraphicsEnabler!

-MacMan & tonymacx86


Audio01 said...


There're some problems with the display-cfg properties in Chameleon's GraphicsEnabler that interferes with correct screen resolution change (solid-blue screen issue) or mirrored displays (non-working). NVEnabler works ok most of the time, but it's not infallible. There's a trunk (AnVAL) that although it isn't working perfectly, it seems to work ok with screen resolution change and mirrored display. Anyway, I hope someone will come with a definitive 100% working solution for video card detection. Also please, still noone made dual video card detection. Cheers!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

finaly a nice explanation rite on ill come back more often

Stephen said...

Several people on the tonymacx86 forums are reporting performance losses using 5870's when they switch from ATY_init.kext to the graphicsenabler method. Any input or comments on this?

Kire said...

RC5 r700 works fine with my new 5770 using GraphicsEnabler=Yes. Only trouble is that both screens (one on each DVI) are black until I unplug then replug them, wierd ?

Anonymous said...

In the current release there is 50HAL version 256.00, since I am not able to install retail nVidia drivers 256.01 because of "No Driver Update Needed", is there any performance difference between real drivers and chameleon drivers? What to do to install normal drivers regarding the future normal update from nVidia and also to have official system preferences for a Graphics card.

This comment is for those with hardware Apple has used compatible or nearly compatible, which I hope is my case with GTS 360M in Asus G60/51jx. SL 10.6.7 legacy 10.7 cuda 3.2

How to remove chameleon drivers, normaly delete? And will it help for "No Driver Update Needed"?

aelfwyne said...

Sounds nice, but my 8800GS 384mb does not work provide accelleration in Lion without the nvenabler.

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