7950 Mac Edition Status

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mattww, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Mattww macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    I'm planning on upgrading my monitor shortly from a 20" Cinema display (1680 x 1050) to a 27" 1440p (2560 x 1440) model but I do also game on my machine (in OS X only) so although my Apple supplied Radeon 5870 1GB model has remained fine to date I'm sure I'll need to upgrade to something with more punch. I find that I'm happy with any playable frame rate - for me 30's and over as long as the quality levels are high - I'm not worried about 60fps and FXAA is OK for me.

    I do want to stick to something that runs on the standard power supply and two 6 pin power connectors and need a boot screen as my plan is to sell the 5870 to part fund the upgrade. If getting a PC card I would get a friend to flash it in their PC as I don't have or want Windows personally.

    The Mac Edition GTX 680 is still very expensive and PC GTX 680 models with the part codes listed in the thread on here are not coming up as often used as a few months ago and when they do they sell for more than I would like to spend for something that will have no warranty when flashing.

    The 7950 Mac edition is occasionally coming up at a reasonable price for a new card with warranty but have/will the drivers improve(d)? When the card was first reviewed there were cases of the 5870 besting it...

    Also I know the Mac edition 7950 is a non-boost model but can it be over clocked down the line?
  2. jasonsansone macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2013
    It overclocks like a champion. Stable at 1200mhz core, 1500mhz memory, 1.25 vddc. The drivers however are terrible.
  3. Mattww thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    Thanks for the quick reply - what software did you use to over clock - I'm assuming I'd need to flick the ROM switch and put it in a Windows PC?

    Guess I'd better see if 10.9.2 helps with the drivers....
  4. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2013
    I had to just return my 7950 it was some what upsetting I was so excited to replace my 5770.

    Mac Pro 5,1 (Mid 2010)
    2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    24 GB RAM
    OS X 10.8.5

    Unpacked kit, FIT GREAT, good looking card.

    Boooted up fine, then I noticed it flicker, then flickered again. It flickered liked crazy under certain apps, like FLASH BASED websites and Firefox for some reason. If every window was closed it wouldn't flicker, obviously only when doing graphics intensive stuff.

    ARGH!! So I thought maybe it was drivers. The drivers didn't help. There is one 7950 driver for 10.8.3 on the Sapphire website.

    So I booted over to windows 8.1 In ran great, super fast, I benchmarked it and it was almost 40% faster in Windows 8.1 than OS X!!! WTF.

    So then I tried to overclock in Windows 8.1, it crashed like crazy, would not over clock at all. After long emails with APPLE, SAPPHIRE and whoever. I was lucky enough to be able to return it. I decided not to get another..

    I have no idea if it was a bad card, bad drivers, bad luck? But the biggest problem is if you are trying to decide what it is, you need other options to be eliminated. Since no one makes drivers for it, then your S.O.L. as to what the real problem is. TECHNICALLY apple makes drivers but its a 7xxx driver. So it is not specific to that card at all just all 7000 AMD cards.

    Also the drivers for 10.9.2 are still SLOW as 10.8.5, I was told that right when I returned the card. I am very glad I did, but what now?

    So specific apps run fine, Blackmagic Resolve, Aperture, Apple Final Cut X , because they use their own optimized OpenCL drivers, not generic Apple 7xxx. Also games are about the same speed under windows and os x, for the same reason, but Windows seems to always be faster.

    But Obvisouldy something didn't work out for me and I got a bad taste for the whole AMD Apple thing right now.

    I am waiting for the NVIDIA 680 to drop in price, I know the drivers for that are pretty rock solid and CUDA is well adapted and everywhere. Also for Adobe Products like After Effects and Photoshop its great.

    Hope this helps, I guess, sorry if it doesn't.
  5. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Most of us here have saved rather a lot by buying reference PC GTX 680 cards and flashing with the Mac EFI rom. Takes minutes literally in bootcamp. Used cards with warranty can be bought so the card ends up well under half price over the official Mac Edition card. After flashing it's identical in all but appearance.

    Look at the top Nvidia sticky and here.

  6. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2013
    I watch that forum regularly and I have been looking but every time a card that I know is 100% flashable, when i go to buy, it is out of stock. If you know of any 680's that are 100% in stock and that DON'T require extra power, like 195w and below. I would love to hear about it. I have not been able to find a 680, anywhere. I am avoiding the 4GB 680's out there for the extra wattage reason...
  7. funwithdesign macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    You are misinformed. I don't know of any 680's that actually require extra power, most don't. And the 4GB has the same power requirements as the 2GB.

    I'm running a 4GB FTW on two 6 pin cables just fine.
  8. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2013
    Thanks thats good to know.
    What model are you currently running?
    Where can I find one in stock?
    What kind of cables do you use to covert PCI micro 6pin to 8pin?
    I heard some people say you can just plug a 6pin in an 8pin port. Is that what you are doing.
  9. funwithdesign macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    I am running the EVGA FTW 4GB.
    I'm just using the regular power cables, one plugged into the 6pin, one into the 8 pin. The documentation for the card even shows this as an option.
  10. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Nope, this is completely false. You didn't put the switch on card in EFI position or you got a card from screwed up batch. There's an unknown amount of Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition (from one of latest batches) with wrongly programmed BIOS chip. "7xxx" in ASP means that card does not use EFI but self-init function of the driver.
  11. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2013
    I bought the card from OWC, they switch to MAC EFI, and I checked before I installed the card it was MAC EFI and it had a bootscreen, is that what you mean? Are you saying their where defective cards, with the latest batches? Either way, doesn't matter, ATI/AMD still lost a customer. If it was bad drivers, Defective Card, whatever it is, thats not my concern. I am more than content moving away from ATI/AMD and towards NVIDIA. If I go test drive a brand new car and the wheels fall off during the test drive, and the dealer says, "Its not the brand or model of the car, its just this car, this particular car, its defective, others should be fine.." Are you really going to buy another model of that car?
  12. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    ^I wouldn't buy Sapphire Mac Edition because it's overpriced at first place ;)

    I meant that I've seen at least 2 guys who got their Sapphire card programmed with UEFI ROM on both chips (switch lets you choose Mac EFI or UEFI chip) instead of EFI on one, UEFI on another.
    In Mac EFI mode card will be initialized by EFI portion of the ROM (with bootscreen), identified properly as 7950 in ASP and will use dedicated framebuffer. UEFI mode is for Windows only and card will be treaten as PC one (no bootscreen), initialized by driver, identified as 7xxx and use default AMD Radeon Framebuffer.
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I've followed the 680 threads very extensively and AFAIK there's never been one that needed more than 2x6-pin power. If you get a card with an 8-pin power socket, don't use an adapter, just hook the two 2-pin power cables straight in. Personally I have an EVGA GTX680 4GB FTW.

    The 680 was discontinued a long time ago. They are very hard to find new and, contrary to how electronics are usually priced for their age, the prices are skyrocketing instead of falling. The best deals are for used ones on Amazon and Ebay.

    If you insist on new, I see some on Newegg, Amazon, and B&H, but the prices are pretty high.
  14. Mattww thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    Well I did end up picking up a new 7950 Mac edition when on an offer because used GTX680 prices still seem on the way up.

    It's early days but performance so far varies between good (Tomb Raider, X-Plane 10, Heaven benchmark) and nothing much over 5870 (F1 2012 and Mafia 2) - certainly the drivers need work for older OpenGL.

    The main negative is although the fan is quiet at idle and my PCI fan stays at 799rpm when taxing it the card's fan seems much louder than the 5870 - sounds like a CD drive at high speed.
  15. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2013
    Do you have windows? I felt like I was really able to see what the card could do when I rebooted into win8. It had the real AMD Catalyst application, had more control over the card and its features..
  16. Mattww thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    No I'm afraid not, I'm staying OS X only.

    I do try to support more games coming to OS X by keeping a new enough machine and buying the games so will have to hope the AMD drivers improve some more overtime as it would be nice to see a bigger leap more inline with a 5870 to 7950 upgrade in Windows.

    The 5870 was a great card as it hung on in there for 3 or 4 years.

    I'll perhaps look at upgrading the CPUs later to improve single thread performance (multicore is still OK for my needs so far).

    I know there are third party coolers for the card but it looks like they all take up an extra PCI-E slot and I have an eSATA card installed and a USB 3 card on the way plus might add a Velocity X2 eventually so could do with keeping the same profile.

    At the end of the day my little upgrades have put me in the ball park of some current machines for a fraction of the price so if I can get a few more years of acceptable performance until there is a compelling upgrade path that will be great.

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