Old 2008 Macbook Nvidia Ubuntu black screen fix

All the credits are for Andreas @ https://askubuntu.com/questions/264247/proprietary-nvidia-drivers-with-efi-on-mac-to-prevent-overheating/613573#613573

Nvidia is always a pain in the ass on Linux. Especially with a old white 2008 macbook. I have black screen issues every time so I create this article so I can easy find it when I reinstall this laptop 😉

First find the right identifiers.

We need both the IDs for the graphics card and the PCI-E bridge that it is connected to. Issue the following command in a shell:

~$ sudo lshw -businfo -class bridge -class display
[email protected]:00:00.0              bridge         MCP89 HOST Bridge
[email protected]:00:03.0              bridge         MCP89 LPC Bridge
[email protected]:00:0e.0              bridge         NVIDIA Corporation
[email protected]:00:15.0              bridge         NVIDIA Corporation
[email protected]:00:16.0              bridge         NVIDIA Corporation
[email protected]:00:17.0     >!!<     bridge         MCP89 PCI Express Bridge
[email protected]:04:00.0     >!!<     display        MCP89 GeForce 320M

Have a look at (1) the line saying display and (2) the line with bridge right before that display line. Write down the PCI-E bus ids (format XX:YY.Z) of the bridge device (here 00:17.0) and the display device (here 04:00.0) and remember which is which. Note: Those IDs may be different on your machine, depending on your Mac model and revision.

Create a GRUB script for setting the PCI-E registers during boot

Fire up a text editor with sudo nano /etc/grub.d/01_enable_vga.conf and copy/paste the content below. Make sure to paste all 4 lines into that file! Replace 00:17.0 with the PCI-E ID of your bridge device noted in step 1. Replace 04:00.0 with the PCI-E ID of your display device noted in step 1.

cat << EOF
setpci -s "00:17.0" 3e.b=8
setpci -s "04:00.0" 04.b=7
EOF

Finally, make the created file executable and update your grub config files using the following TWO commands.

~$ sudo chmod 755 /etc/grub.d/01_enable_vga.conf
~$ sudo update-grub

Install Nvidia drivers and enjoy!

Author: Thomas Faddegon

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