Best Metal-compatible graphics card for MacPro5,1 (Mid 2010) running High Sierra

torarne

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 6, 2017
2
0
Hello,

I have a Mid 2010 Mac Pro (MacPro5,1), running High Sierra, that is in need of Metal support for graphics development purposes (not gaming). What's the current state of graphic cards with Metal support?

As far as I've understood, the limitations posted by Apple of not supporting models before 2012 are due to their own configurations of Mac Pro never shipping with a compatible graphics card, so it's not due to the HW of the Mac Pro itself, or any artificial limitations on the software side.

I'm currently running four displays with a ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB card + a NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256 MB, neither of which supports Metal as far as I can tell.

  • As this is for development purposes, what options do I have for cards that are stable/have stable drivers?
    • AMD vs NVIDIA?
  • Do these cards need flashing of custom firmware/ROMs?
  • Is there a card that will give me the same 3 outputs as I have with the ATI Radeon HD 5770, while also supporting Metal?
Thanks for any tips!

tor arne

Edit: Lots of nice info on http://www.macvidcards.com/
 
Last edited:

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
9,312
3,245
Hello,

I have a Mid 2010 Mac Pro (MacPro5,1), running High Sierra, that is in need of Metal support for graphics development purposes (not gaming). What's the current state of graphic cards with Metal support?

As far as I've understood, the limitations posted by Apple of not supporting models before 2012 are due to their own configurations of Mac Pro never shipping with a compatible graphics card, so it's not due to the HW of the Mac Pro itself, or any artificial limitations on the software side.

I'm currently running four displays with a ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB card + a NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256 MB, neither of which supports Metal as far as I can tell.

  • As this is for development purposes, what options do I have for cards that are stable/have stable drivers?
    • ATI vs NVIDIA?
  • Do these cards need flashing of custom firmware/ROMs?
  • Is there a card that will give me the same 3 outputs as I have with the ATI Radeon HD 5770, while also supporting Metal?
Thanks for any tips!

tor arne

Edit: Lots of nice info on http://www.macvidcards.com/
The current AMD cards use Apple's built in drivers, which is much more convenient than having to keep Nvidia's Web Drivers updated every time there's an update to the operating system. That alone would steer me toward an AMD card unless I needed to run something that required CUDA.
Neither the Nvidia or AMD cards require a flashed ROM, but they don't show you any video until the drivers load, so you can't do things with the computer that require boot screens.
 
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torarne

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 6, 2017
2
0
The current AMD cards use Apple's built in drivers, which is much more convenient than having to keep Nvidia's Web Drivers updated every time there's an update to the operating system. That alone would steer me toward an AMD card unless I needed to run something that required CUDA.
Neither the Nvidia or AMD cards require a flashed ROM, but they don't show you any video until the drivers load, so you can't do things with the computer that require boot screens.
I see, thanks! What about the other points listed on http://www.macvidcards.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-buying-a-flashed-card.html ?

2. When installed in a Mac Pro a stock PC GPU will only be able to utilize the outdated PCIe 1.0 format. A card flashed with a Mac BIOS will be able to work at PCIe 2.0 speeds, supporting twice the data rate.

3. Cards with our Mac BIOS are able to run their full monitor arrangement (unless specifically noted) and make use of the most up to date technologies, including 4K monitor support and CUDA, OpenCL and OpenGL support.
It seems http://www.macvidcards.com only has NVIDIA cards, is there a similar overview of AMD cards? Specifically ones that allow 4K screen + two regular ones?
[doublepost=1512567246][/doublepost]I guess this is the minimum?

Any GPU that is DX12 and Vulkan ready will also support Metal 2.0

That means AMD R9 200 series and above, and GeForce 900 series and above.
So I need to find an AMD card that is recent, has 4k + extra outputs, but still stable drivers.
[doublepost=1512568700][/doublepost]This seems to be the reference card used by Apple in their eGPU dev kit:

http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?pid=77B48A1E-9FCB-4F19-BC2D-17C3087E4852&lang=eng

Should be a solid bet?
 

mattspace

macrumors 65816
Jun 5, 2013
1,395
1,047
Australia
This seems to be the reference card used by Apple in their eGPU dev kit:

http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?pid=77B48A1E-9FCB-4F19-BC2D-17C3087E4852&lang=eng

Should be a solid bet?
The specific card used in Apple's eGPU seems to be scarce as hens' teeth from what people here have been saying.

I'm actually curious as to whether anyone with a cMP is experimenting / has experimented with using a Modern Nvidia card for display / 3D, as well as having an AMD card for compute. Are they able to play together (aside from finding enough power)?
 
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jeanlain

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2009
1,340
302
I would recommend an AMD card at this stage. Even if nVidia cards are faster for the same wattage, Apple appears to be abandoning nVidia entirely and who knows for how long you will be able to use web drivers without issues.
 
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albert1028

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2007
279
13
The specific card used in Apple's eGPU seems to be scarce as hens' teeth from what people here have been saying.
Newegg had them in stock this past weekend and I ordered one and received it yesterday! You could if you wanted to play around get the Sonnet Developers Package straight from them instead of Apple.
 

MarkC426

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2008
1,001
289
UK
I recommend the sapphire rx 580 pulse 8gb.
I have two because I pre-ordered one from amazon (3 month wait), but then found another store selling them so grabbed it.
Don’t know your geo location, but have a search around online for tech sites you know.
In HS it’s literally plug it in and away.
 

webraider72

macrumors newbie
Oct 9, 2017
4
0
The current AMD cards use Apple's built in drivers, which is much more convenient than having to keep Nvidia's Web Drivers updated every time there's an update to the operating system. That alone would steer me toward an AMD card unless I needed to run something that required CUDA.
Neither the Nvidia or AMD cards require a flashed ROM, but they don't show you any video until the drivers load, so you can't do things with the computer that require boot screens.
Do you know if the Saphire HD7950 Mac Edition would work with Mojave? I would like something plug and play, and that lets me use my Mac LED display (Mini display port). Any advice would be welcome
 

tsialex

macrumors 604
Jun 13, 2016
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Do you know if the Saphire HD7950 Mac Edition would work with Mojave? I would like something plug and play, and that lets me use my Mac LED display (Mini display port). Any advice would be welcome
Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 07.02.39.png
10.14.HD7870.png

Yes, it works. Btw, any AMD GCN1.x card works with Mojave, so HD7870/7950/7970/R9-280/R9-280x and others works with Mojave and can have boot screens if you flash it.

One more thing, with you want to test Mojave DP2/PB1 you have to install it with startosinstall with AMD GCN1.x cards. At the moment, the standard installer only installs RX480/RX560/RX580 cards.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,510
6,750
Do you know if the Saphire HD7950 Mac Edition would work with Mojave?
I think there is a more than fair chance that things may change between the betas and the release. So if working with Mojave is important to you, then you should wait for the gold master and see how things pan out before making a purchase.
 
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StuLaFish

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2007
4
0
Westchester County, NY
View attachment 768844 View attachment 768845
Yes, it works. Btw, any AMD GCN1.x card works with Mojave, so HD7870/7950/7970/R9-280/R9-280x and others works with Mojave and can have boot screens if you flash it.

One more thing, with you want to test Mojave DP2/PB1 you have to install it with startosinstall with AMD GCN1.x cards. At the moment, the standard installer only installs RX480/RX560/RX580 cards.
Hi tsialex,
I don't really know much about this stuff - sort of a "plug and play" kind of guy. :)
Is flashing a card a big deal? What would it take in terms of hardware and software?
Also, what does "DP2/PB1" above stand for?
Please let me know.
Thank you,
Stuart
 

tsialex

macrumors 604
Jun 13, 2016
7,398
8,110
Brazil
Hi tsialex,
I don't really know much about this stuff - sort of a "plug and play" kind of guy. :)
Is flashing a card a big deal? What would it take in terms of hardware and software?
Also, what does "DP2/PB1" above stand for?
Please let me know.
Thank you,
Stuart
Depends, flashing PC Nvidia GTX-680 with eVGA GTX-680 for Mac firmware is easy, just boot Windows and use nvflash to flash the firmware. Read here: Step-by-Step Instructions for Flashing GTX680.

AMD flashable cards are a different beast, you have to add the Mac EFI by yourself, so you have to learn a thing or two before trying that.

If you are a plug and play guy and need boot screens, buy a PC eVGA GTX-680 and flash it.

If you don't need boot screens, just buy one of the two Apple suggested GPUs:

with recommended Metal-capable graphics processor, including MSI Gaming Radeon RX 560 and Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 580
DP = Mojave Developer Preview and PB = Mojave Public beta. It's not needed to use startosinstall anymore.
 
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Takima

macrumors newbie
Oct 2, 2018
3
0
View attachment 768844 View attachment 768845
Yes, it works. Btw, any AMD GCN1.x card works with Mojave, so HD7870/7950/7970/R9-280/R9-280x and others works with Mojave and can have boot screens if you flash it.

One more thing, with you want to test Mojave DP2/PB1 you have to install it with startosinstall with AMD GCN1.x cards. At the moment, the standard installer only installs RX480/RX560/RX580 cards.
Hey I'm looking to upgrade my iMac 2011 with a mobile ATI card and then plan to flash it. I was hoping to have 4GB or more of ram on the GPU.

Which card is best to use for that? Would a HD 8970M work and allow my 2 thunderbolt / mini display ports to still provide Graphics to a second screen? Or do you recommend a better card?

I use this machine to edit video... so would or could I destroy my machine because of the heat? Should I use a third party fan app to keep the fans running constantly?

My other thing is I want to run mojave... Would this work for that and is there any questions I should be asking that I haven't?
 

tsialex

macrumors 604
Jun 13, 2016
7,398
8,110
Brazil
Hey I'm looking to upgrade my iMac 2011 with a mobile ATI card and then plan to flash it. I was hoping to have 4GB or more of ram on the GPU.

Which card is best to use for that? Would a HD 8970M work and allow my 2 thunderbolt / mini display ports to still provide Graphics to a second screen? Or do you recommend a better card?

I use this machine to edit video... so would or could I destroy my machine because of the heat? Should I use a third party fan app to keep the fans running constantly?

My other thing is I want to run mojave... Would this work for that and is there any questions I should be asking that I haven't?
I can't answer any of your questions, i don't have iMac upgrade experience. Go to this thread and ask them: 2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade
 

G10

macrumors newbie
Oct 24, 2018
14
1
I was just released on the 15th, so I am kinda skeptical on whether i should get it or not
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,007
6,623
Hong Kong
Is the RX590 compatible or no ?
Yes it is, someone already tested it as an eGPU on other Mac.

So, if it can work as eGPU. It should able to work properly as dGPU inside the cMP.

The RX590 has same Device ID as RX580 (67DF), which means the driver is there.

RX590 has identical architecture as RX580, but with FinFET 12 rather than FinFET 14 manufacture process. Therefore, that's virtually the same card as RX580, but just with lower power consumption (at same clock speed). And this is why the BIOS is programmed to run at higher speed, which let the card to draw more power to squeeze out the very last bit performance.
 

G10

macrumors newbie
Oct 24, 2018
14
1
Yes it is, someone already tested it as an eGPU on other Mac.

So, if it can work as eGPU. It should able to work properly as dGPU inside the cMP.

The RX590 has same Device ID as RX580 (67DF), which means the driver is there.

RX590 has identical architecture as RX580, but with FinFET 12 rather than FinFET 14 manufacture process. Therefore, that's virtually the same card as RX580, but just with lower power consumption (at same clock speed). And this is why the BIOS is programmed to run at higher speed, which let the card to draw more power to squeeze out the very last bit performance.

Thanks very much, I am a noob when it comes to graphic cards. I dont know what to look for before buying a graphic card as non of them actually says "metal" supported.

I am not going to be gaming nor any graphic design work. I am just trying to make use of the cmp I have.

Thanks
 

MarkC426

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2008
1,001
289
UK
Yes it is, someone already tested it as an eGPU on other Mac.

So, if it can work as eGPU. It should able to work properly as dGPU inside the cMP.

The RX590 has same Device ID as RX580 (67DF), which means the driver is there.

RX590 has identical architecture as RX580, but with FinFET 12 rather than FinFET 14 manufacture process. Therefore, that's virtually the same card as RX580, but just with lower power consumption (at same clock speed). And this is why the BIOS is programmed to run at higher speed, which let the card to draw more power to squeeze out the very last bit performance.
Just looked on Sapphire website, RX580 is listed as <225 whereas RX590 is <250 with 6pin and 8pin!
Would this be underpowered in a cMP?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
14,007
6,623
Hong Kong
Just looked on Sapphire website, RX580 is listed as <225 whereas RX590 is <250 with 6pin and 8pin!
Would this be underpowered in a cMP?
No difference than the Nitro+ RX580, the 6pin still optional. As long as use dual mini 6pin to feed the 8pin. Everything will be fine.
[doublepost=1542924546][/doublepost]
Thanks very much, I am a noob when it comes to graphic cards. I dont know what to look for before buying a graphic card as non of them actually says "metal" supported.

I am not going to be gaming nor any graphic design work. I am just trying to make use of the cmp I have.

Thanks
Then no need to go for the Nitro+ RX590.

1) more expensive than the RX580 or RX560

2) You don't need the GPU power but spend 2 PCIe slots (at least) for this card

3) No Apple recommended card

If you don't need those extra GPU power. Stick to the Apple recommended Sapphire PULSE RX580 8GB or MSI RX560 4GB make more sense.
 
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