black screen when upgrading to ati 5770 on early 2009 mac pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Centaur1, May 7, 2012.

  1. Centaur1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2009
    I am currently running a March 2009 Mac Pro with the original NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card. There are no problems associated with the card but I want something a little faster as I edit photos and video.

    I bought a new ATI 5770 card on ebay. It appeared to be a bargain at less than £100 but you know what they say, if it looks too good to be true it usually is. But I am hoping that's not the case here.

    Placing the 5770 in the same slot that the GT 120 was removed from I booted up. All I got was a black screen and a noisy graphics card inside my previously quiet machine.

    Am I missing a trick along the way?

    There are no Mac drivers on the installation CD, only Microsoft. I assume I can download current ATI drivers for the 5770 from the net. The monitor connects directly into the DVI socket in the back of the 5770 so I assume I do not need an adapter.

    Your advice would be appreciated

    Thanks. Centaur1
  2. dvince2 macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2007
    I just updated to a 6870 in my '09 mac pro.

    I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that the 5770 requires additional power cables from the motherboard that the GT120 didn't have. You should be able to find these on ebay/amazon/newegg fairly cheap. (I know that the 6870 required 2 6pin ones).

    After that, without flashing the card, you can expect a black startup screen (no efi)... and possibly a broken DVD player app and steam games... but everything else should be fine.

    Flashing the card will fix the efi boot screens and broken apps.
  3. ActionableMango, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

    ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    The 5770 should be nearly silent in a Mac Pro.

    It sounds like you bought a PC 5770 and not an Apple 5770. Your PC card is not 100% compatible with the Mac Pro, but it can be made to work.

    Drivers are included in Snow Leopard 10.6.5 or later. I don't think you can download them separately.

    Also you will need a power cable for it such as the following:
  4. Centaur1, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

    Centaur1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2009
    Thank you both for your replies.

    I have managed to track down a UK supplier for the cable(s).

    Much cheaper than shipping them from US. There are indeed two connections on the motherboard for the cables but only one socket on the card.

    ActionableMango I think you are correct in saying I have a PC 5770 card. In the box is a 6 pin cable that splits into a 2 flat three pin adapter. The same male socket found snaking off a PC power unit

    I will send off for a cable in the hope getting the card to work but if the card is not 100% compatible and continues to make too much noise then I will re-sell it on ebay.

    One of the main reasons for using a Mac is the quietness of its operation plus the stability and reliability. I do not wish to compromise those attributes for the sake of a little extra speed.

    Thanks again.
  5. dvince2 macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2007
    Without being flashed, it should be about 90% compatible - you won't have the grey boot screen, the DVD Player app won't work, and steam games will be hit or miss. If you're not planning on using any of these... then it's 100% compatible :p.

    I've flashed my 6870 and have it working with everything. If you do want to go down that route, theres lots of threads here, as well as the guide that I followed here (on page 1 and 12).
  6. Centaur1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2009
    dvince2, if you are looking to put me off keeping this PC version of the 5770 you're doing a good job!

    The link you sent me is link too far. If I have to reconfigure the 5770 graphics card then I should dig a little deeper and buy the Apple version.

    I just have to admit I have bought the wrong card.

    When come to sell it on ebay i will make it clear that it is intended for a PC not a Mac.

    Many thanks for your excellent advice.
  7. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    You're correct that the 5770 only needs 1 power cable.
    The 5870 needs 2 power cables.

    If you have the PC version of the 5770 (which it seems you do) then as mentioned before, it will mostly work (but not completely).

    I understand not wanting to flash the card. It's kind of scary the first time.

    You could try running the card as-is and see if it works well enough for you. Again, you're only missing a handful of things.
  8. dvince2 macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2007
    Haha not what I was trying to do at all :p.

    Getting a PC card is an awesome way to save some money. The exact same card is being sold by apple for £200!

    All I was trying to say was, if you're not going to be doing steam games or DVD player, then the card is 100% usable right out of the box. If you do want these, you'll have to flash it... but its not a terribly difficult process. It took me about 15 minutes from installing my 6870 until I had it flashed in my machine:)

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