Can $600 provide significant upgrade over Dual 5770s in 2012 12-core?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by looking4anotebo, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. looking4anotebo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #1
    A 3.06ghz 12-core Mac Pro Mid 2012 recently fell in my lap, and i've never had a Mac Pro and navigating all the information on GPU upgrades hasn't left me with any clear vision.

    My priorities


    1) Amateur Final Cut Pro X user- learning it right now, would like optimal performance
    2) I am getting a 4k or 5k display in the next 6-12 months, I want the gpu to be able to drive it easily
    3) Some gaming- I want a card that can run basic games on windows well, the most intensive being something like BF4.

    I haven't put these 5770s through their paces yet as I am waiting to upgrade the slow hard drive in this Mac Pro to a big SSD, but it sounds like they could handle most of the things I want to do.

    If you had a budget of $600, what card or cards would you go with? Keep in mind I know nothing about flashing or modifying power supplies.

    It looks like I can get about $150 for each of the 5770s.
     
  2. haralds macrumors 6502

    haralds

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #2
    I upgraded from a single 5870 to a single 7970. On Mac, the performance difference was not significant. I would stay with the cards and save the money.
    It really depends, what Apple will support with decent drivers.
     
  3. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    #3
    I had a 5870 in mine at one point; picked up a 7970 for $60. It was a pretty significant upgrade for me. Made a world of a difference; depending on the task at hand. If you have a budget of $600 and are a smart shopper, you can literally get just about any card you want. You don't even need to flash many ATI cards. "Apple specific" cards are a joke. Avoid blowing your money on those at all costs.
     
  4. h9826790, Aug 8, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    You can get this
    http://www.macvidcards.com/store/p45/Nvidia_GTX_970_4_GB.html

    Or this
    http://www.macvidcards.com/store/p24/AMD_Radeon_R9_280X_3_GB.html

    under $600 and has some sort of 4k / 5k support.

    For these cards (I mean from MVC), you don't have to flash it by yourself. He did all the mods for you, and the card can run with the Mac Pro's internal power only safely.

    Both of them stronger than 5770x2, and good for gaming.

    For Nvidia card. It required OSX 10.10 or above. Require you to install AND activate the driver. It's a better card, faster and more energy efficient when compare to the 280X. However, it's not that fun to deal with the driver especially after an OS upgrade. Nvidia usually release new driver in few days, however, if you accidentally upgrade the OS before they release the driver, it may cause you some trouble.

    For the 280X, it works just like an official Apple GPU. With boot screen, no need to manage drivers (it also means AMD won't give you any better driver than the Apple stock driver), just plug and play. However, it's old tech when compared to the 970, and it consume more power with less gaming performance.

    TBO, I never use any Nvidia card, so I don't know how it works in FCPX. But AFAIK, in general, FCPX works better with AMD card, and 970 better for gaming.

    Also, there is no GPU (including the D700 in new Mac Pro) has prefect support for 4k / 5k yet (especially above 4K 60Hz). They may or may not give you boot screen (depends on monitor and connection type). They may or may not boot with the monitor connected (power on). And possible artifact on some models. So, for me, this will be the very last thing to concern when I choose my new GPU. Because there is no guarantee anyway. And better to do some study before you buy the monitor, some models work much better than the others.

    On the other hand. There are few more choices if you don't need the boot screen (This boot screen doing nothing when everything is normal, however, it's extremely useful when something goes wrong). e.g. a PC HD7950 or PC GTX 680. As long as you get the reference card (2x6pin), they should work OOTB, no driver required (even though you can still install Nvidia driver for the 680, but it's not required, unless you need CUDA). These are the much cheaper option, and you can simply keep one of the stock 5770 for emergency / backup use, which will give you boot screen, and as a backup GPU.

    I just get a new GPU a month ago.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...tem-information.1808938/page-14#post-21607156

    It works very well so far. I flashed it by myself to get the boot screen. It's quiet, easy and safe to flash (even though you won't do it now, you may do this in future), within the Mac Pro power limit, etc. And it just cost me $150 (new card). This card is same as the 7950, just a new name from AMD. So it will also work OOTB without flash.

    If you want a full feature Mac compatible card, and don't want to flash it by yourself. I suggest you get a card from MVC, he is a trustable source, and he will provide support after your purchase. Which cost you more, but worth. On the other hand, if you just looking for performance to cost ratio, then a PC card is the way to go. But I personally suggest you do more study before making any decision if you go for this route.
     
  5. looking4anotebo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #5
    Thanks for the info MacStu. Does a "flashed" card just mean optimized drivers to work with a Mac or what? I don't even know.

    I see 7970 on ebay for under $200, similar to price of my Mac 5770? Why the similar price if the 7970 is a much better card? What am I missing here?
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #6
    The "Mac" card is much more expensive on the 2nd hand market. That's why your Mac 5770 is almost worth the same as the PC 7970. Also, 7970 is a very popular card for bitcoin mining, that's why it's quite cheap on the used market as well (because it may be heavily OCed and stressed).

    And NO, flashed card won't work any better than the non-flashed card (on the AMD side). It just allow the OS to correctly identify the card (which is cosmetic, not performance related), and give you the boot screen (which allows you to use recovery partition, single users mode, and choose boot drive, etc).
     
  7. looking4anotebo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #7
    Thanks for the great information. I appreciate it.

    Is this the same as the one from MVC?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Radeon-...438?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ceec8eaa6
     
  8. looking4anotebo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #8
    So I can't boot into windows without a boot screen, right?
     
  9. h9826790, Aug 8, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
    TBO, I don't know. It's been proved that other sellers quite often sell you a normal PC (or poorly flashed) card and said it's a Mac card on ebay. One of the member here even report that he got a card normal PC card with an Apple sticker on it :eek:. So, I will either go for a trustable seller, or the PC card. But not try to find a cheap Mac flashed card.

    Besides, this 280X is powered by 2x8pin input, which technically may draw up to 150W from a single 6pin line which limit should be 75W. For normal ops, it should not be a problem. However, when the GPU is under stress (you can simulate it by running Furmark), most likely it will draw too much power and shut down the Mac (possible damage).
     
  10. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #10
    You can, but not via the boot screen. In fact you can still do it with black screen, the computer is working, and the monitor will work once the driver is loaded by the OS. But it's much harder since you can't see what you did. An easier way is to choose the boot drive via system preference, and the restart the computer.
    Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 11.12.06.jpg
     

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