Display Mirroring on Sandy Bridge Hackintosh

Posted on 29th November 2012

Ever since Apple released Mountain Lion, I have always wanted the capability to use the new Display Mirroring feature with my Apple TV. When the updates came down, my wife’s iMac and MacBook Pro both immediately were able to utilize this feature while my 2009 MacBook Pro and Hackintosh were unable to. I knew that I would never get this to work on my MacBook Pro, but I wondered about the Hackintosh. One day, a simple solution presented itself.

My current setup includes:

  • Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3
  • Intel i5-2500k (Sandy Bridge) 3.4Ghz Quad-Core
  • XFX Radeon HD6770 1Gb DDR5

The Intel i5-2500k Sandy Bridge processors include an integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics while the newer Ivy Bridge processors have the Intel HD 4000. Some of the newer iMacs and MacBook Pros utilize the same CPU/Graphics combo.

My setup uses the XFX Radeon HD6770 1Gb DDR5 graphics card for both the primary and secondary monitor. This card seems to not be supported by Display Mirroring. Since I have a few graphic intense programs, I rather continue to use this card for video output.

In my search to find a way to “force” the system to allow me to use Display Mirroring, I stumbled on a nugget of a hint. Some other users had success using the feature on their Sandy Bridge systems while using the HD 3000 or 4000 as their primary display. Since these graphics controllers had their support added recently, I figured I would see what happened.

The first step was to boot into the EFI Bios and re-activate the on-board/on-cpu graphics support which I had previously disabled. On reboot after activating the option, the screen was black. Since there was hard drive activity, I decided to wait for it to die down before I forced a power off before removing the Radeon card.

Display Mirroring on the Menu Bar.

To my surprise, after around 1 minute (about the time it takes OSX to load), I was greeted by the user login screen. Surprised and curious, I logged into the system. What I saw was stunning. The AirPlay button was now showing on the menu bar.

I was still not optimistic and had to make sure that the feature was in fact working. I fired up my AppleTV and engaged it through the AirPlay icon on the Hackintosh and then selected the Mirror slider. The screen on the Hackintosh acted a little weird, but the display on the AppleTV was incredible. The Display Mirroring was working pretty well. There was some artifacting on the Hackintosh’s connected monitor, but not on the AppleTV.

So in the end, Display Mirroring is working on my custom Hackintosh. One caveat is that during the boot-up process, starting with Chimeria, the screen is black until the User Login screen is presented. This can be an issue if you are trying to dual-boot OS’s one that one machine. The easy way around this would be to use the integrated HD3000 or HD4000 as the only video output. At least if you need it, you can use another video card for the better graphics and just deal with the black boot-up screen or disable the integrated in the BIOS unless you need the Display Mirroring.

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