Best 5870 (To patch or not to patch)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Ommid, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Ommid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    #1
    Hi all!

    Looking to get a 5770/5870 for my 2008 MP :D

    Should I:

    1. Buy Apple
    2. Flash my own

    And if the answer is 2. which do people tend to go for?? Looking for an uber silence solution!
     
  2. gpzjock, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #2
    Check the prices first.

    Flashing a PC card is an economic solution, I did so back in September with a Sapphire Vapor-X HD5870 and saved about £90 on an Apple HD 5870.

    This one is a bargain but has a standard cooler: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-147-XF&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=1502
    and the ROM is available at netkas.org.

    Or this is identical to the one I used it's the quietest version available as stock I think: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SAPPHIRE-TECHNOLOGY-Radeon-5870-Vapor-X/dp/B004FMJTJ2/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1297875769&sr=8-11

    Either are viable and much cheaper than the Apple Arm & a Leg version at £377.
     
  3. Bob Kiwi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    #3
    I went with a Flashed 5870 for two reasons for my 2,1 MP- one was that it was available before the retails started shipping.

    The big one was that I could get a 5870 with 2xDual DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI all on board, so I could do 2xDVI and DisplayPort triple monitors without costly adaptors (Mini-Displayport to DVI, had to be $30 dongle or whatever).

    No issues with mine, regarding heat, noise, OS upgrades, etc.
     
  4. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #4
    Just with these new high power video cards, with the fans going from from to back the cards will build up dust in the cards out vents. So check the video card output vents about once every 2-4 months when cleaning dust out of the Mac Pro. I was very surprised that my video card fan noise was caused by dust in the video card itself.
     
  5. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #5
    Everything works fine, Bob? You just don't get the  logo at startup, right?
     
  6. Bob Kiwi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    #6
    Yeah, the machine turns on, you see activity, then it goes dark, then a few seconds later it comes back to blue and eventually the desktop.

    With an SSD boot drive, something I have to get one of these days, I bet you would barely even notice the lack of boot screen. Well, unless you need to do something at that point (like manually choose a boot drive or something)
     
  7. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #7
    I've got a 120 GB Vertex 2 and I still see a boot screen. But it's not for more than 5 seconds (if that).

    So display output works perfectly from the DVI ports and the display port? No hitches or limitations? Any audio passthrough? Does the HDMI port work?
     
  8. Bob Kiwi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    #8
    HDMI worked, the OS gave me options for TV resolutions and such.

    I connect to a Dell 3008WFP so it has HDMI/DisplayPort, but I prefer DP for the monitor.

    I wouldn't be able to test audio as the connection is straight to a monitor, sorry.

    But I've been 6 months or so with 2xDVI and DP (23+20 on DVI, 30 on DP) no issues. I usually rotate the 20 to vertical mode and no probs there either.
     
  9. mac666er, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011

    mac666er macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    I have got an XFX 5870 1 GB card that I put on a Mac Pro 2,1

    Pros:
    1) Cheap. Bought on NewEgg and was way cheaper than an Apple version.
    2) Fast. Can run 3D and video applications faster than ANY other official mac cards
    3) Two dual link dvi connectors + HDMI. I have two old 30 inch monitors that have dual link dvi connections. If you buy an apple version, you get two minidisplay ports and one dual link divi port. I am so glad I didn't have to buy an apple adapter from minidisplayport to dual link dvi. Read the reviews from the apple store, it is a craps shoot to get a working device. May not be an issue for you if you don't have old, large displays.

    Cons:
    1) Non-Apple. I had to put it in the mac pro, run windows, flash it with a rom from someone else that mixed EFI code in the BIOS of the card in order to use with Snow Leopard. This included also getting a special cable to power the card. (The card comes with an extra power cable that won't work in a mac, had to buy it in ebay)
    2) Can't see boot screen. I don't know if this is with any flashed card, but I can confirm this is still the case on a new MacPro 5,1. I boot and can't see the apple logo, which is a non-issue. But if you press the Ctrl key while booting, you can choose a different boot volume, but you can't see it. Is like flying blind. Still, not a deal breaker for me, but may be for you.
    3) Game performance on Snow Leopard is subpar vs windows. Sad but true. Pick any game in both platforms it will perform better in windows. For example, I can run StarCraft II on a 30 inch screen full resolution (2500x1600) in win 7 and get 30+ fps. In Snow Leopard? I can't get resolution that high and still get 30+ fps, more like 20~25 fps. Same with Civilization, Half life, etc. (OK, not really a con between flashed vs non-flashed cards but thought you should be aware of this)

    Overall, I am glad I bought it! Definitely worth it! :D
     
  10. thegreatdivorce macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Location:
    Upper Left USA
    #10
    So, for #2, when you hold Ctrl to choose whether to boot into Windows or OS X, you can't see when the options come up, or which one you've selected? You just guess when the screen is up, and hit the arrow key in hopefully the right direction?

    That's allllmost annoying enough to pony up for the official Apple version.

    Maybe there will be another solution by Novemberish (when Skyrim comes out).
     
  11. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #11
    I have the same blank screen till log in with my flashed card, if I need to switch OS I just let it boot into whichever it is currently set to then manually switch it with the Bootcamp control panel from the inside. Simples. :)
     
  12. mac666er, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011

    mac666er macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #12
    Yup. That is a personal preference, since as gpzjock said, you can boot a number of ways. I have 5 bootable volumes, so I already memorized them anyway. When I put the new flashed card in, I can't see the choices anymore, I press the ctrl key and press the right arrow key a certain number of times while staring at a blank screen. However there a a number of ways you can boot also:

    1) Put in a bootable cd and press the 'C' key at the chime.
    2) Install a boot loader like GRUB in a non-GUID drive (a MBR - Master Boot Record - formatted drive) and select it as the boot volume. This will give you the option everytime you boot that volume to select other boot volumes at startup, GUID or not.
    3) Change preferences in the control panel to switch startup disks. This will work for sure on OS X drives, and windows disks that have bootcamp drivers installed.
    4) Get a different card to flash? Maybe my XFX has this issue and others can see the boot screen after being flashed?
    5) Buy an apple card and forget about this.

    The better option depends on you preference. I am sure people would value the options differently.

    I am just saying it is great to have options!

    :D
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    Has there ever been a report of any 5870 that did show the boot screen?

    I've seen threads where someone reports that such-and-such card works perfectly. Then of course people ask about specific questions like all three outputs working or bootup screen working, where then the person admits those don't work.

    I've come to the conclusion that a lot of people have a different definition of "works perfectly" than I do.
     
  14. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #14
    According to Netkas and Cindori (The only resident experts at MacRumors since The Rominator left), there's currently no way to get a flashed 5870 to show the boot screen for reasons relating to EFI.

    It seems like Bob Kiwi's report describes a 5870 working pretty close to perfectly, though - that would make it the first report of a Mac that isn't a Mac Mini outputting video through HDMI...
     
  15. thegreatdivorce macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Location:
    Upper Left USA
    #15
    I feel so smart. I didn't even know you could do that. I just tell it to restart and hold Alt. Ha!

    Much easier to swallow now. Hmm... wait a couple months, or buy now?
     
  16. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #16
    I'll try the restart and alt key next time I have a Windows build on mine, thanks for the tip. :)
    I'd buy now as the Sandybridge chips that Apple will want to refresh with are not out till Q4 2011 according to the pundits. Shame the prices are so insane atm.
    BUT If you are running a 2008 MP why bother? They have plenty of grunt, save up another 2 years then see what Apple have come up with.
     
  17. thegreatdivorce macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Location:
    Upper Left USA
    #17
    It's fast enough for my work (i'm a photographer), but the GT120 isn't cutting it for play. I just want a faster video card for games. :)

    Tempted to just build a gaming pc, but I don't have the time or inclination.
     
  18. Atomic101 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #18
    or just hit tab return for windows ? tab tab return for linux ?
     
  19. lewdvig macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    South Pole
    #19
    In Canada the Sapphire 5870 1GB hit $170 this week.

    The 5870 is a pretty smart choice at these prices.
     

Share This Page