Precise instructions for getting x2 ATI Radeon HD 5870's in your Mac Pro (2009-2010)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blackwoodfx, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. blackwoodfx, Jan 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

    macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #1
    I made this post because despite the presumed simplicity of the task, it wasn't easy getting everything together, making sure I had the right parts, making things fit without knocking out big bits of case and/or slicing off digits in the process. Following these instructions, it's a 2/5 on the difficulty scale. Maybe even a little less. Without these instructions, it's a frustrating bitch of a chore. Hope this helps everyone else.

    Pre-requisites for these instructions; must be a 2009-2010 Mac Pro with only 1 optical drive. If you have more than one optical drive, you'll need to remove the second one (bottom bay). You're also going to need tin snips for modifying the internal frame of the Mac Pro case lid.

    PARTS LIST

    1. You're going to need to buy the ATI Radeon 5870 graphics cards from Apple or a reseller. I purchased x2 from Apple using my Apple OS developer's discount to save a few bucks. Total cost for x2 cards was $808.
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC743ZM/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

    2. You'll also need a 5.25" power supply to power the second card as each of the 5870's require x2 of the 6-pin 12V plugs. This is the one I purchased:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...1044&cm_re=modular_psu-_-17-101-044-_-Product

    3. Next, you need a SATA power adapter to go from SATA to 4-pin molex. This is necessary to switch the 5.25" PSU on and off, as you turn on and off your Mac Pro using the main power switch. Without it, the PSU will not self-start.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...+and+gender+changers-_-Nippon+Labs-_-12816038

    4. For CrossFire under Windows (I'd recommend Windows 7 and Boot Camp for dual booting between the Apple OS X and Windows PC environment), you'll also need to get the CrossFire bridge:
    http://www.amazon.com/HIS-CrossFire...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1217047612&sr=8-1

    5. Beg, borrow or buy tin snips for modifying the internal frame of the case lid.
    http://www.amazon.com/Bostitch-14-255-10-Inch-Aviation-Straight/dp/B003HGH462/

    6. Finally, you'll want a SATA splitter to allow that 4-pin Molex to SATA cable enough length to connect back to the Mac Pro SATA cable assembly.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...68&cm_re=sata_splitter-_-12-200-468-_-Product

    STEP BY STEP ASSEMBLY

    Once you have all of the pieces and you're ready to assemble, follow these steps;-

    1. Remove the side door of your Mac Pro
    2. Unplug x2 6-pin power cables from your existing graphics card. Slide the graphics card fan to the left to release the card. Unscrew the PCI slot guide frame (two screws). Reach past your graphics card and gently depress the graphics card release bar. Pull the graphics card towards you to remove it.
    3. With consistent pressure, pull on the optical drive bay chasis to remove it from the case. When the chasis has been pulled approximately 2" away from the case, reach around to the back of the optical drive and gently remove the SATA connection cable.
    4. If you have two optical drives installed, you will need to remove the 4 screws holding the bottom drive in place and then slide the drive out face first.
    5. Unpack your 5.25" PSU and find the two 6-pin 12V graphics card cables that connect to the black plugs. Slide the PSU into the optical drive chasis butt first. Do not screw in the PSU as the front-end heat sink is too large to fit inside the Mac Pro case, if aligned by screws. Instead, the PSU will need to securely "float" within the chasis.
    6. Align the PSU's face to be approximately 1/16" from the end of the chasis. Very snug fit to get these pieces together. You'll need to squeeze the PSU's face against the optical drive sliding door, while still allowing enough room for the required plugs in the rear.
    7. From the back, connect the 6-pin 12V graphics card cables to the PSU. Also connect the SATA to 4-pin Molex adapter and then connect the SATA power splitter to that and the other end of the SATA power splitter to the second slow of the existing Mac Pro SATA cable. Go ahead and snap off one side of the SATA splitter cable lock to make the fit. Just push hard with your thumb and it will easily pop.
    8. Fish the PSU power cable connect through the top PCI slot at the rear of the Mac Pro case. Guide the PSU power cable up to the PSU.
    9. Reconnect the optical drive SATA cable and then slide the combined chasis with optical drive and PSU back into the case. This is very snug and requires a bit of consistent but forceful pressure. There are half-sunk guide screws on the floor underneath the chasis carriage that help to align things but in general, you're going to be pushing and squeezing quite a bit here to make things fit. Be mindful of not breaking the Mac Pro SATA cable.
    10. Push the optical drive chasis back into the Mac Pro case as snugly as can bear. There will be a small gap in which the x2 6-pin 12V and the PSU power supply cable are pinching out. You'll now want to bundle these 3 wires as flatly as possible and then align to the right of the third (from left) HD securing lever. See my photo below.
    11. Unpack and insert the first 5870 into the bottom PCI-16 slot. Plug in the x2 original Mac Pro black 6-pin 12V power cables. Make sure the card is snug and secured into the logic board.
    12. Unpack and insert the second 5870 graphics card and now connect the x2 new 6-pin 12V power cables from the 5.25" PSU we added under the optical bay. Again, make sure the assembly is snug to the motherboard.
    13. Snap the graphics card fan back to the right to lock the graphics cards into place. Re-secure the PCI opening guide panel (two screws) and then bundle the triple wire assembly from the PSU.
    14. Next, unscrew all of the small screws that secure the lid inner frame. There are 2 screws hidden beneath rubberized feet. Instead of cutting off or peeling off the feet, simply aligned a phillips head screwdriver over the middle and begin digging for the screws. Much simpler that way. Easy to find the screws.
    15. Using tin snips, cut an approximately 2" notch out of the case lid inner frame, as aligned with the third drive's security lever. Again, see photo. Tin snips make this a simple job but you should still wear eye protection.
    16. Re-secure the inner case lid frame with the numerous small screws. Set aside the lid for now.
    17. Now to test. If you have one monitor, simply plug it into the primary/bottom graphics card and click the power button. If you have two monitors, connect a monitor cable to each graphics card treating the bottom card as your primary (probably left monitor) and the top card as your secondary (probably right monitor).
    18. If you are using two Apple LED monitors like I am (dual 27" Apple LEDs), connect your primary LED monitor to the right Mini DisplayPort connector on the primary graphics card (bottom) and your secondary LED monitor to the left Mini DisplayPort connector on the secondary graphics card (top).
    19. Click the power button and try booting up. If you've got power and picture on both monitors, you're in good shape. Go ahead and apply strong force to the case lid to properly secure back into place. Job finished and well done. If one or the other monitor does not turn on, expect power line to be the culprit and begin troubleshooting your connections working backwards from the graphics cards.

    CrossFire works natively in Windows 7. No additional hacking required. Just install the latest ATI drivers and you're good-to-go. On the Mac side, utilizing a separate graphics card for each monitor, particularly when pushing 2560x1440 with the Apple LED 27" or Cinema Displays, you'll save a lot of overhead and get much stronger performance out of apps like Photoshop and After Effects. Anything GPU rendering in general will be much faster. I did not run prior benchmarks, but there is a big difference upgrading from my single 4770 to these dual 5870s. Good improvement.

    TOTAL UPGRADE COST
    Approximately $830 w/ ADC, $920 w/o ADC
     

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Earth
    #2
    thank you very much for taking the time to post these great directions.....much appreciated :) i've got one 5870 and have been curious as to how i would get two of them into my Mac Pro.

    wonder if a similar process would get two Quadro 4000's into a Mac Pro.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #3
    This is amazing! Thanks alot for you time in posting this... words cannot convey my happiness in finding this; I was seriously considering buying a PC because I couldn't get two decent Graphics cards in a Mac Pro - you saved me from making the wrong decision!

    THANK YOU!
     
  4. Fesco, Jan 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Stupid question to ask but does this completely void your warranty or apple care protection plan?
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Nice tutorial! Good job!

    I'm still wondering why no one attempted routing the cables internally, though.
    At least that's what I'd do. Making custom cables isn't really a hard job and disassembling the whole machine is pretty simple as well. That way you definitely don't void the warranty and don't damage your side panel.
    I know that the gap between PCIe section and ODD bay is tight, but I reckon with custom cabling two 8pin PCIe cables, plus the power cable would well fit in there.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #6
    Great to hear. Good luck with the build and hope this helps.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #7
    No. You can buy a new lid from an Apple parts reseller, if need be. There is nothing else destructive about this type of a build.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #8
    Simply put, that's much more of a pain in the neck than this procedure is. You need to remove every component to route even custom cables through the Mac Pro chasis. Greater risk of component damage, seating and alignment issues, warranty voiding mishaps and other potential problems. Better to cut into the side panel inner frame (which shows no cosmetic damage on the exterior). You can always cheaply replace the lid -- if you'd ever want/need to, but not sure why you would.

    Also, it would be custom micro 6-pin to standard 6-pin, not 8.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #9
    One last question

    I can't seem to find the 5.25" Modular PSU anywhere in the UK and Neweegg does't do international shipping.

    Do you have any sugesstions on where to obatain this or a UK equivalent Modular PSU?

    I've found everything esle ... this is the last piece
     
  10. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #11
    Psu

    Hey!

    I also only have the problem of locating the PSU. I cannot find a reseller in Germany.. I have asked newegg to make an exeption in my case but they wont :(

    any ideas? this cant be the only place where i can order these..

    i also have problems gettin a crossfire bridge. they told me that they are always sold together with the 5870.. not with the mac version.. ebay US sells them but ebay Germany doesnt.. and ebay US wont ship to germany in that case..
     
  12. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #12
    Short version. Don't do it, unless you know what you're doing. Really.

    :p
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    Cindori

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #13
    Short version: get 2 5870, get psu, install them, done.


    also, this works fine on 2006, 2007 and 2008 mp...
     
  14. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #14
    Off the top of my head, I'd try posting an advert on CraigsList in one of the major U.S. cities and offering to pay a small fee if someone will reship the PSU to you, once it arrives to them.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #15
    While the cards will work with those systems, the installation is different. There is enough room in the '06 and '07 chassis (and a very tight squeeze in the '08) that makes the steps I outlined unnecessary.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #16
    Crossfire bridge is available on Amazon, including international. Check there. Good luck finding the PSU - try contacting an eBay seller directly for international shipping or post an ad on Craigs List in a major U.S. city and offer re-ship fee.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    blackwoodfx

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #18
    can it be that one can reach millions of people per one mouseclick in this world but it is not possible to get a stupid PSU to get shipped to Europe from the states.. it cant be that newegg are the only folks selling this PSU! The clerk at my computerstore looked at me like I were from outer space or something because of the weird format of PSU i requested. It seems to me like a very reasonable place to install a spare PSU for dedicated device support. Does anybody know if this can somehow be ordered at a store that will ship to europe? I will probably have to pay a fortune when it reaches customs. I think Mac oughtta build bigger PSUs into their machines.. its very normal for a high performance 3d rendering machine to have 2 of the biggest GPUs is it not? They should make things more customizable when you buy them.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #19
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #20
    Yeah, I agree; it's really weird that you can't get that thing anywhere else.

    Maybe its something to do with the differing Voltage ranges in Europe and the US? Or something along those lines?
     
  21. macrumors G5

    jav6454

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  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    Houma LA
    #22
    Double Video

    My kind of experiment..... gr8 job
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #23
    fresco. looks just like the thing we need.. i think it would work.. its 450W and it has the same connectors..

    however.. I just wanted to order it.. and yes they ship to europe but they charge a shipping fee of 107$ which is way over the top and i am not willing to pay that as i know for sure that ill be paying a fortune for customs anyway!
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #24
    check the bay. about $100, shipping to europe included.
     
  25. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #25
    I've looked for Fesco before (BTW, the unit is also known as a Juice Box), and nothing turned up in the UK, nor anywhere else in Europe for that matter. :( Amazon sells it, but it's listed for domestic (US) shipping only (there's other sellers there, so you could contact them and see if they'll ship to you - here). But I'm wondering if it's not been tested (or passed if it was), for use there (thinking in terms of noise, as IIRC, it has a 115/230VAC switch on it for wall voltage). :confused:

    But I also found the thing under a different brand name (Visiontek). Dell even sells it here, so it might be easier to find a vendor with this one (fingers crossed). Unfortunately, it's more expensive (cheapest I've seen in the US is $80).

    So I'm with revelstudios on the idea of Craig's List or better yet, if you have friends or family in the US, let them place the order for you from newegg, then re-ship it.
     

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