2008 Mac Pro and Radeon 6870...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by violst, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. violst macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #1
    I know that there have been a lot of GPU topics floating around here but I am still a bit confused, so I apologize if this question has already been answered.

    I currently have a 2008 8 core 3.2 mac pro running 10.6.8 and a Geforce 8800 GT. I have been doing a lot of 3D work lately that is very graphics intensive and realized I need a much better GPU.

    The applications that I use most are Cinema 4D, Photoshop, Illustrator and on occasion Zbrush.

    I am planning on updating my OS to 10.7 or 10.8 for the better openGL support and GPU support.

    The GPU I was thinking of getting is the Radeon 6870. will this card work out of the box if I have the updated OS. Will it have full capabilities besides not having a boot screen. Is there a difference in compatibility between the 1 and 2 gig versions with my mac. and will I be able to drive both my dell monitors with the 2 DVI ports. Dell u2711 27" and Dell u2313 23"

    I like the Geforce GTX cards as well but I have read that it takes some work getting Cuda and openCL working at the same time?

    Any advice as to which is the best card out of the box that fits my applications needs best will be greatly appreciated.

    I know that there are some extremely knowledgeable people when it comes to GPUs on this forum so I know this is the best place to ask.

    Thanks for any help and advice in advance
     
  2. Asgorath macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    #2
    Get a GTX 570 or GTX 680 with no more than 2GB of RAM, install 10.8.1 + the 304.00.00f20 driver (and the latest CUDA driver) and everything should just work.

    The only real issue with Mountain Lion at this point, as I understand it, it the OpenCL hack required to make cards with more than 2GB of RAM work. Note that this is not NVIDIA specific, it applies to all vendors.

    See the FAQ thread for more details, though I'm still fleshing out the OpenCL sections.
     
  3. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the quick response Asgorath. Your FAQ page is a great help.

    Is there any reason so many people seem to going with the Geforce GTX's as apposed to the Radeons?

    Is one card more stable then the other in a mac pro.

    Thanks.
     
  4. ratfink macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    #4
    I have an XFX 6870 1Gig in my 2008 Mac Pro and I've been more than happy with it. It worked out of the box except for the boot screen, DVD Player, and Steam. I flashed the card to get those working. I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to do it here.

    At the time I flashed the card, firmware for the 2 Gig version was more "iffy" than the 1 Gig.
     
  5. violst, Sep 18, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012

    violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #5
    Hi ratfink, thanks for the reply.

    Quick question. Did both your DVI ports work right out of the box?

    I need to drive two DVI dell displays.

    So flashing the card enabled a boot screen, and make the DVD player and steam work. Are there other benefits to flashing the card?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. ClassObject macrumors 6502

    ClassObject

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #6
    no the two dvi ports won't work. The other three will. I drive four 1080p monitors. 1 dvi, 1 hdmi, and 2 active mini-displayport to dvi adapters. Skip the nvidia cards unless you want loud fans - get the 6870.
     
  7. ratfink macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    #7
    It's true that the upper DVI port won't work after flashing. My fans are whisper quiet though. I'm not aware of any other benefits to flashing the card, no.
     
  8. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #8
    Thanks guys for the quick responses.

    What brand of radeon 6870 did you guys buy?

    I have a dell u2711 27" display@2560x1440 and a dell u2313 23" display@1920x1080

    So I guess I would attach the 27" to the working DVI port and get a mini-display port adaptor for the 23"? will that setup work.

    Also are you guys running os x 10.8.x?

    Thanks again all the info is starting to clean a lot of things up for me.
     
  9. ratfink macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    #9
    I bought the XFX Double D HD-687A-ZDFC . I originally installed it under Lion and it's running fine now under Mountain Lion. I've heard from several people who used the ROM I posted in the link above to flash their cards and they said it worked fine. Not that I'd recommend it without backing up your old firmware.
     
  10. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #10
    Thanks ratfink,

    I read that some people had to put the card in the second PCIe slot in stead of the first because of some issues. Did you have the same experience? Or were you able to just use slot 1.

    I know I'm asking a lot of questions sorry. But I noticed that the sapphire version of the 6870 had different display port options then some of the other brands.
    for example the sapphire had a display port in stead of the mini-display port, which would be a better option for my monitor set up if that port works?

    One monitor on the DVI and one on the display port?

    Thanks again for everyones help.
     
  11. SpookyLars macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Poland
    #11
    I know that the noise level is very subjective, therefore I want to ask you if this card is noisy? I've a nVidia GT120 and it's dead silent. I consider upgrading the graphics card and I want the silent one.
     
  12. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #12
    Hey SpookyLars,

    ratfink commented that his fans are quiet, if that helps.
     
  13. SpookyLars macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Poland
    #13
    Thanks violst,
    I didn't notice his comment earlier.
     
  14. ratfink macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    #14
    I've had no problems with the card in the first PCIe slot. I haven't heard of that being an issue with the 6870s.

    I'm not aware of the differences between the mini-display port and the normal display port. I don't know if the boot screen shows up on the display ports or not. I'm only using the lower DVI port.
     
  15. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #15
    I hope everyone realizes that the reason we have an EFI for 6870s is that Netkas created it from an iMac rom.

    I helped him with initial testing/debugging but it was his baby.

    Oddly, people reposting roms and rom hand-out programs tend to like to forget that someone had to actually go to some trouble to make the things they so generously hand out.

    The 6870 EFI works on 2008 or later 3,1 or later Mac Pros.

    It shows boot screen, but in every one I have seen it is only on lower DVI port. Using the HDMI port at same time will cancel out boot display frequently.

    THe MDPs will NOT show boot screen but frequently you can use them without it canceling boot screen on DVI. It is possible that some oddball version of 6870 will follow different rules but this has applied to every one I have come across.

    Using the EFI rom will KILL the upper DVI port, but considering all of the things it fixes, it is a good trade off.

    Everyone can use a 6870 unlashed, but it has more issues this way. For 1,1 and 2,1 owners this is only option. SOme of the issues can be fixed with ATY_Init. (another Netkas creation)

    If you end up flashing a 6870 and find it useful, why not send him a $5 or $10 donation for his work? He did the hard part, not the code monkey who reposted it.
     
  16. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #16
    @ratfink thanks again for all of your input it has been a great help.

    @MacVidCards I don't think any one was taking credit for programing the roms that you and nekas had developed. I just think people are trying their best to help answer all of my noob questions and it has been very helpful to me so far.

    Your input as well is very helpful. But I feel like the risk of flashing a card vs the reward would keep me from flashing the rom. I don't really see what the benefit would be besides the boot screen, DVD player and Steam working?

    But if you think flashing the rom has more benefits then I would consider it.

    Thanks
     
  17. ClassObject macrumors 6502

    ClassObject

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #17

    Cool story. Why the obsession with credit for hacking someone else's hard work? You make $$$ off that hard work - should be credit enough. Netkas is awesome and all but I really doubt he cares about the credit. I'm guessing its about the challenge.

    Give advice - cool. Bitch about not giving credit for hacking - not cool.

    ----------

    Flash the card, it'll work great.
     
  18. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #18
    Everyones input has been a great help.

    Now I guess in a nutshell which card out of all the ones we discussed (GTX 570, GTX 680, Radeon 6870) works best out of the box without flashing the card.

    Which ones have the best display port option without flashing? Which one is the most stable and which one causes the least conflicts in 10.8.2.

    I am most interested in the most reliable card right out of the box?

    Thanks
     
  19. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #19
    If you want the most stable upgrade then get the Apple HD5870. Despite the numbering the HD5870 is faster than the HD6870. All the other cards are about the same compatibility-wise. You lose out on the boot screen but stability while you are in the OS is the same (they are all quite stable).
     
  20. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #20
    You are right lixuelai. I did look into the apple branded 5770 and 5870 but to charge those prices for such a dated card in ridiculous

    I thought by now I would have the most updated Mac Pro, but now I will wait to see what apple does with the Mac Pro in 2013. So I need a better video card but I don't want to break the bank on it. One way or another in 2013 my 2008 mac pro is going bye bye.

    Thus I want a cheaper GPU alternative to hold me over for the time being.

    Just my crazy logic.
     
  21. AnalyzeThis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    #21
    Good news for 9870 owners!

    Apple fixed some nasty OpenCL bugs(10.7.4) in 10.7.5 ATI6xxx drivers. It is working great now. The good thing about 6870 - inexpensive and all ports are functional. You need just a little tweaking for all ports to be recognized on the board ie correct default duckweed port mapping to match your card config (DVI-DVI-DP-DP or DVI-DVI-DHMI-MDP-MDP).
     
  22. violst thread starter macrumors 6502

    violst

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    #22
    Do I need to install any drivers with the 6870 or is it just plug and play right out of the box with osx 10.8.2

    Also it seems like the consensus is that the XFX version of the card is the best?
    I did notice that the MSI branded card had a mini-display to DVI adaptor that came with the card, but I don't think MSI is selling that card anymore?

    Doe's anyone have a different branded card they are happy with?

    Thanks
     

Share This Page