Cheapest replacement GPU (Locally)

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
Hey guys,

My boss just gave me a Mac Pro A1186 -- as he just upgraded to iMacs in our office. Its got 6GBs of RAM and I'll be replacing the HDD (possibly with an SSD) and the GPU. I've read a fair amount of the numerous threads here regarding the GPU upgrades but I can't find a 5770 in store -- except for Apple. Any suggestions so I can finish this weekend project?

(If I can find a different model in store will I have to do a bios update?)

Thanks a ton!
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2008
2,973
145
NH
There is no BIOS in a MAC, the card has to have apple EFI code, so either you buy a card specific to mac, new or used, or you buy a flashed card from someone like macvidcards which you can find on ebay. When these guys flash a card, the add the code the mac is looking for to the card ROM.

Typically apple is the only store that will stock the mac video cards.

The A1186 is like 2006 vintage?
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
There is no BIOS in a MAC, the card has to have apple EFI code, so either you buy a card specific to mac, new or used, or you buy a flashed card from someone like macvidcards which you can find on ebay. When these guys flash a card, the add the code the mac is looking for to the card ROM.

Typically apple is the only store that will stock the mac video cards.

The A1186 is like 2006 vintage?
Oh damn...Well I guess I'm stuck buying the one from Apple. Yeah, it's the Mac Pro 1,1 Model (2006) - I've seen some mods making it an 8 core. I'm going to breathe some life into this sucker.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
Oh damn...Well I guess I'm stuck buying the one from Apple. Yeah, it's the Mac Pro 1,1 Model (2006) - I've seen some mods making it an 8 core. I'm going to breathe some life into this sucker.
If you don't care about the initial boot screens then you can use just about any Nvidia pc video card. I'm using an Nvidia gt 440 that I paid about 50 bucks for on newegg. You just need the Mac drivers off their website....

Edit: I did the octo core upgrade. Got a pair of used x5355s on eBay for 100 bucks. Took all of 30 minutes to swap if you have the proper tools!
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
If you don't care about the initial boot screens then you can use just about any Nvidia pc video card. I'm using an Nvidia gt 440 that I paid about 50 bucks for on newegg. You just need the Mac drivers off their website....

Edit: I did the octo core upgrade. Got a pair of used x5355s on eBay for 100 bucks. Took all of 30 minutes to swap if you have the proper tools!
Wait...any Nvidia GPU? Tell me more :)
 

Librarian580

macrumors newbie
Jun 16, 2012
27
0
With 10.7.4 and the Nvidia drivers installed from their site, you can use any 8000 series or newer Nvidia card in your mac pro (up to the 500 series for Lion). And I mean any (as long as it's PCIE, of course).
Only thing is there's no grey boot screen, so nothing until you reach the desktop. For many that's fine, if you want to switch to windows just use Startup Disk or bootchamp.

Only thing to keep in mind is that the Mac Pro has its own power cables for Cards (google 'Mac Pro PCIE Cable'), and getting the drivers installed initially.
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
Well guys...I yanked the XFX 6870 out of my desktop gaming PC and it worked like a charm! No BIOS/EFI updates or driver changes. (10.7.4) Only thing I don't have is the ability to use bootcamp, but someone left a suggestion for that. Holy smokes this thing screams now!

 

MacVidCards

Suspended
Nov 17, 2008
6,096
1,031
Hollywood, CA
Great job.

For people who aren't unhinged by lack of boot screen/EFI enviroment using PC cards is now a fairly good choice.

Is the card id'd as "n140" or something like that? Or Radeon 6000?

you might find that DVD Player won't work.

And Steam games may have issue, but I am not ATI/AMD guy so perhaps I am remembering incorrectly.
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
Great job.

For people who aren't unhinged by lack of boot screen/EFI enviroment using PC cards is now a fairly good choice.

Is the card id'd as "n140" or something like that? Or Radeon 6000?

you might find that DVD Player won't work.

And Steam games may have issue, but I am not ATI/AMD guy so perhaps I am remembering incorrectly.

Thanks man -- but it looks like you're right, I can't run ANY steam games. Diablo 3 works like a champ... I don't mind losing the EFI boot screen, but do you have any suggestions of a card that's pretty much plug n' play? Maybe a 550/560ti? Or a 460? Is it safe to assume that the nvidia support is better than AMD? I just want to be able to play CS:GO and Diablo 3 on here.

Thanks again for supporting this community!
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
Look in my signature. I have created a database software with Mac compatible firmwares for PC cards. There is one there for 6870 with a comment that suggests it works really well.

You can use Windows to flash them or burn a "bootcd" with atiflash.exe (there is lots of tutorials).

This will give you bootscreen and steam compatability...
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,623
213
Poland
You can use Windows to flash them or burn a "bootcd" with atiflash.exe (there is lots of tutorials).

This will give you bootscreen and steam compatability...
But not in 1,1 that OP has ;)

OP: To cure DVD player and Steam issue install ATY_init from netkas.
 

avemestr

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2012
177
23
Look in my signature. I have created a database software with Mac compatible firmwares for PC cards. There is one there for 6870 with a comment that suggests it works really well.

You can use Windows to flash them or burn a "bootcd" with atiflash.exe (there is lots of tutorials).

This will give you bootscreen and steam compatability...
Not to capture this thread, but a quick question..

I'm contemplating a GTX 570, and would love the hassle-free MacVidCards version. Being in Europe, though, the mark-up in customs, taxes and fees makes it quite expensive.

Would using the ROM by th3joker shown in Freya bring the exact same benefits as a MacVidCards flashing? There's boot screen, but will it also raise the speed to PCI-E 2.0? Will there be any difference in the two "solutions".

(Again, I think MacVidCards provides a great service, it's only due to customs I'm afraid of ordering a card that way)
 

MacVidCards

Suspended
Nov 17, 2008
6,096
1,031
Hollywood, CA
Not to capture this thread, but a quick question..

I'm contemplating a GTX 570, and would love the hassle-free MacVidCards version. Being in Europe, though, the mark-up in customs, taxes and fees makes it quite expensive.

Would using the ROM by th3joker shown in Freya bring the exact same benefits as a MacVidCards flashing? There's boot screen, but will it also raise the speed to PCI-E 2.0? Will there be any difference in the two "solutions".

(Again, I think MacVidCards provides a great service, it's only due to customs I'm afraid of ordering a card that way)
The Jok3r is an actual clown named Adrian Stowe who has "borrowed" our roms. He asked for the rights to distribute our products and I turned him down. Much like the Joker as played by Heath Ledger, he has nothing to offer the world, he just wants to see it burn.

His "work" on them has been solely limited to yanking our name from them.

We have lower cost 570s and cards are valued at lower levels on customs forms.

Please support the people who actually make these cards happen, not the clowns and wannabes.
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
Look in my signature. I have created a database software with Mac compatible firmwares for PC cards. There is one there for 6870 with a comment that suggests it works really well.

You can use Windows to flash them or burn a "bootcd" with atiflash.exe (there is lots of tutorials).

This will give you bootscreen and steam compatability...

I actually ran your app and the screen comes up empty...not sure why.

 

avemestr

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2012
177
23
The Jok3r is an actual clown named Adrian Stowe who has "borrowed" our roms. He asked for the rights to distribute our products and I turned him down. Much like the Joker as played by Heath Ledger, he has nothing to offer the world, he just wants to see it burn.

His "work" on them has been solely limited to yanking our name from them.

We have lower cost 570s and cards are valued at lower levels on customs forms.

Please support the people who actually make these cards happen, not the clowns and wannabes.
No offense intended. I recommend your cards broadly. And in the end, I'll probably buy it from you anyhow to avoid hassle.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
Would using the ROM by th3joker shown in Freya bring the exact same benefits as a MacVidCards flashing? There's boot screen, but will it also raise the speed to PCI-E 2.0? Will there be any difference in the two "solutions".

(Again, I think MacVidCards provides a great service, it's only due to customs I'm afraid of ordering a card that way)
Yup.



Thesandman: wait for next beta, eta next week
 
Last edited:

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
Yup.



Thesandman: wait for next beta, eta next week
Awesome -- thanks for the info, I'm assuming that will help me out running my 6870? Sorry -- I'm really lost in all of this, the netkas site kinda confuses me without a guide/instructions to install these kexts.
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
Well yeah. But to not keep you waiting:
Here is the relevant firmware from freya:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Firmwares/83/firmware.rom

And here is a comment someone made on it:

Flashed the firmware on a Powercolor HD 6870. Works very well on my Mac Pro 1,1 with 2,1 Firmware running OS X 10.8. The noise level is acceptable. Got bootscreen and everything. I have the impression that boot is faster than with my previous firmware
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
367
Sweden
set you up? all you need to do is to flash it.

boot windows with card

download this

maybe download this to backup your current firmware

then flash and try boot OSX

you can try my 6000-series version of Zeus to flash in OSX but it will probably say "card not compatible with zeus"
 

TheSandman2236

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 11, 2008
255
0
Atlanta, GA
set you up? all you need to do is to flash it.

boot windows with card

download this

maybe download this to backup your current firmware

then flash and try boot OSX

you can try my 6000-series version of Zeus to flash in OSX but it will probably say "card not compatible with zeus"

Alright awesome! I'll give it a try tonight when I get off work, if I flash with that new "firmware.rom" in windows -- will I still be able to use the card on my PC, but it will also work with OSX (with EFI)?