2009 MacPro + 6870 = :-)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by handheldgames, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. handheldgames, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011

    handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #1
    Just received a Sapphire 6870 to replace the 4870 that came with the 2009MP. My goal was to get a boost in performance from the 4870, generates less heat and most importantly reduce noise. This card definitely eliminates the noise generated by the 4870 and helps to reduce the sound footprint of the 2009 MacPro. The 6870 met my needs, and support for it recently has been unlocked by the community. Performance wise, the card is a great boost from the 4870 is was replacing.

    The card can be picked up on special for around $160 after rebates and was painless to get running.

    After a quick download of the drivers, I installed them on my current system Running 10.6.7, shutdown, swapped out cards, put everything back together and powered up. The MacPro booted with the normal chime and an expected black screen since I was not running an 6870 that was flashed to have EFI Bios. After the boot process was complete, OS X initialized the card for the boot screen and I'm good to go.

    Everything seems to run great so far. I still have my 4870 and a spare 2600xt in the drawer in case anything ever goes wrong.


    The card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102913&cm_re=6870-_-14-102-913-_-Product
    Card was on sale for $160ish after rebate. A lot of these cards are going on/off sale. Keep an eye out for great deals.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    NewEgg Price link for 6870's sorted by lowest price 1st: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=+40000048&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=-1&description=6870&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&srchInDesc=

    Comes with Passive HDMI->MDP, HDMI Cable, 2 standard 4 pin molex to 6 pin PCI-E Power cables. It looks like most cards should work, just look for ones based off of the AMD reference design. The above card was cheaper and had a quieter cooler than the competition.

    The Driver: http://groths.org/zeus/ATI_updated_drivers.zip
    Many thanks to Cindori for a one click 6870 driver installation:

    The Details:
    Drivers are for real MacPro, not for HackPro's
    No need to flash. Does not need EFI in bios to work.
    No grey Apple boot screen. Image appears when log on screen appears
    Painless multi-monitor support (no magic needed like in the 5xxx series)
    Supports up to 6 displays at once (4 must be from Active MDP connections)
    2 Dual Link MDP Ports (can be use hubs/dual adapters to get 4 ports)
    2 DVI Ports: 1 Dual-Link DVI , 1 Single-Link DVI
    1 HDMI Port
    Full QE/CI acceleration working across all displays
    Triple-head mode helps maintain better sync with Dual-Link displays. Not sure why, it just works.

    Known Issues: DVD Player, GeekBench, Steam Games, Boot Camp OS selection screen at boot(was recently reported)
    Everything else I tested works: SCII, Photoshop, iMovie, iPhone, Aperture, VLC, Quicktime, etc....



    6870 Reviews from:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776.html
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/10/21/amd_radeon_hd_6870_6850_video_card_review/
    http://semiaccurate.com/2010/10/24/amd-breaks-its-own-naming-scheme-6870/
    [/QUOTE]

    5870 vs 6870
    5870 MDP are known to have problems
    5870 is slightly faster than 6870
    5870 is a first-gen DX11 card
    5870 overclocks better
    5870 is hotter and louder
    Even the official Apple 5870 seems to be buggy as hell

    6870 MDP works
    6870 is slightly slower than 5870
    6870 is cooler and quieter
    6870 crossfire is substantially better
    6870 is a second-gen DX11 card (improved tessellation)
    6870 issues with some apps. (DVD player)
    6870 support going forward unknown.

    The Extras:

    The card needs 2 Power Cables:
    [​IMG]
    Available from MacSales ($15 each): http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/9227128/

    To drive a Dual-Link DVI display over an Active Mini Display Port connection you need this:
    [​IMG]

    Available from Apple ($99): http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB571Z/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

    To Drive a non Dual-Link DVI Display over an Active Mini Display Port connection you need this:
    [​IMG]

    Available from NewEgg ($30 each): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...ve_displayport_adapter-_-15-309-008-_-Product
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
  3. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #3
    No image quality issues what so ever. Perhaps that guy had a bad cable? I just loaded up aperture and the image quality is perfect. Regarding noise levels, the card has less noise than the 4870 that was there before.
     
  4. davidlv, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    davidlv macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    #4
    Any solution for the DVD Player crash on the horizon? That would be :)!
     
  5. handheldgames, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #5
  6. andyh2, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    andyh2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #6
    hey, I'm installing the same sapphire 6870 in my 2009 MP right now also. I can't get it to fit in the PCI express port (the #2 one). should I just apply more force? the part that's blocking it is the part of the pci connector that is smallest (on the right).
     
  7. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #7
    Any reason you are plugging into slot#2? I had no issues plugging it into the 1st slot. There is a metal bar you need to move out of the way. The card should go in without force.

    thx!
     
  8. andyh2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    #8
    I got it after a few tries. It works perfectly! I'm powering my new 27" cinema over displayport and it's working fine. Got starcraft II running on highest settings with a good FPS :)
     
  9. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #9
    What is the fps if you don't mind? I just bought a 5770 (full gfx settings as well for sc2) and want to see how much the boost is.
     
  10. siorai macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #10
    Are there any cables that need to be bought separately? I currently have an 8800GT powered off a molex connector. Will I be able to use the cable that comes with the 6870 or will something else be needed?
     
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    This is what I've been waiting for. Can't wait to replace my GT120+4870 combo with a 6870.

    I've got a few questions, though;

    1. Except DVD player, do all other video apps work (VLC, Plex, iTunes)?
    2. Are active miniDP-DVI adapters required with this card as well? I know that you need active adapters for the 5xxx series cards. I have three DVI displays to connect to the card.
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #12

    2) It sounds like you can use two DVI ports and you'll need one active adapter. From AMD FAQ: You can connect up to two non-DisplayPort monitors at one time to an AMD Eyefinity technology-enabled graphics card using non-DisplayPort connections or passive DisplayPort dongles. To enable and drive 3 or more non-DisplayPort monitors at one time, the additional non-DisplayPort monitors must be connected with an active DisplayPort dongle.
     
  13. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Darn, another 30 quid down the road for an adapter.
    Still way cheaper than an Apple 5870, though. :D

    Thanks for the quote!
     
  14. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Did this card have to be flashed when you bought it from newegg?
     
  15. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #15
    I just updated the 1st post, answering everyones questions. I'll recap:

    Compatability: DVD player appears to be only issue on 10.6.7. All other apps happy (itunes, aperture, photoshop, starcraft, etc.)

    Whats up with Starcraft: 2560x1600 @ 65 fps with Ultra everything.

    Do I need to flash the card: No need to flash. Just live with a black boot screen until the login screen appears.

    Multi-Monitors: Up to 4 displays supported. This requires 2 active MDP connections + 2 other connections on the card to be used.

    Thx!
     
  16. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #16

    Thats great news! Since i rarely re-boot the black boot screen wont bother me at all.

    Now to see if they ship to the UK.....
     
  17. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    Why not simply ordering on amazon? 170 quid for the 6870s. You'll probably pay more importing them from the US (customs + shipping) and returning them is a pita as well.
    You can get the active DP adapter on amazon as well.

    handheldgames, thank you very much, definitely going this route now. I'll probably leave a GT120 in my closet just in case I ever need a bootscreen.
     
  18. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #18
    Glad to assist and enjoy the new toy! I have a spare 2600xt & 4870 set aside as well.

    Now that I've eliminated any Hummm from the video card, I can focus on failing CPU Intake and Exhaust fans. Both seem to have acquired an annoying rattle over the past year. I'm debating replacing them with quieter parts that forgo OS controlled speed or trying my luck with parts from a 2010.

     
  19. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Québec
    #19
    Hello,

    Been looking to upgrade my 120GT (in my '09 MP) for a while, but I don't know much about the different GPU models.

    2 quick questions:

    1) how does this card compare to Apple's 5770?

    2) how noisy is it compared to the very silent 120gt?

    Thanks

    Loa
     
  20. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #20
    Is there a card with more memory? 1GB split acroess 3 screens can already cause a bit of a hit... so 1GB split across 4 screens will be worse.
     
  21. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    So does this mean i could buy a 6870 (or 5770 for example) from anywhere and the only issue is no boot screen? I've never flashed a card so please excuse my inexperience in this area.
     
  22. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #22
    Wait, you went from a 4870 to a 6870? Aren't those essentially the same performance?
     
  23. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Denmark
    #23
    No, the Radeon HD 6870 compares to the Radeon HD 5870, while using less power and has working Mini-DisplayPort connectors.
     
  24. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #24
    I see, thanks. AMD's numbering schemes regarding performance continues to confuse me.
     
  25. seek3r macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    #25
    Unfortunately that's not true, you would be better off with a 5870, or possibly even a 5850 in some rare situations (though the 6870 does run cooler than either of those cards). Some sources:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776.html

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/10/21/amd_radeon_hd_6870_6850_video_card_review/

    http://semiaccurate.com/2010/10/24/amd-breaks-its-own-naming-scheme-6870/
     

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