Coolest and quietest way to drive 4k display?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JazzyGB1, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. JazzyGB1, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    JazzyGB1 macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002

    I'm looking for a recommendation for the quietest and coolest running graphics card to fit inside my 2010 classic Mac Pro to drive a Dell UP3216Q 4k display.

    I currently have a flashed 2GB GTX680 card which works fine, but it's a bit noisy and produces a lot of heat too which becomes an issue when it's used... as mine is, in a soundproof music studio!!!

    So if anyone can recommend an alternative graphics card capable of driving a Dell 4k display at 60hz I'd be grateful.

    I don't need blistering frame rates or anything like that, I'm not gaming, I'm purely looking to use a large 4k screen as I really need the screen real estate and wish to do it more quietly and (hopefully) cooler than I currently am.


    PS: I'm running legacy software and hardware too, so the latest OS I can use is Mavericks (10.95) as Yosemite or later 'breaks' certain things (like my audio interface).

    I would consider going the whole hog and upgrading to Sierra if I absolutely have to, but it would mean changing my hardware and losing a few software synths, so I'd prefer not having to and only if this would definitely give me a nice, quiet, cool running Mac Pro again like I used to have when it had the GT120 card in.
  2. Muckd macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2017
    I have 2 flashed 680s.
    Both reference cards with dual 6pin. With the same flashed rom.
    One card runs perfectly. Low fan speed.
    Second card runs noisy. higher fan speed.

    Trying running the open gl extensions test, available on the AppStore. To speed up the fans. Once it completes. The fan should operate at the right speed again until you shutdown.
    A bit annoying. But might do the trick.
  3. Squuiid, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    Squuiid macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Hmm, I think you're going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade to Sierra if I'm honest. This will then allow you to install a modern card which can easily drive 4K, such as the Sapphire RX 580 Pulse 8GB which is the current go to (works out of the box) card at the moment.

    It should also be noted that Mavericks is no longer supported by Apple (as of September 2016) and is consequently rather insecure. I'd recommend not connecting it to the internet ;)
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    For just driving the UI, 680 should be more than enough, and it should not produce too much noise and heat. The card basically running idle most of the time.

    Is that with the reference cooler or the open fan cooler?

    If the noise is clearly from the card, please make sure it is not dusty. And if possible, consider re-do the thermal paste. Or even install a after market GPU cooler. By assuming you won't stress the GPU, even a fanless cooler may work in your case.

    If you can hear the fan noise by not sure if that's from the graphic card. Did you check the PCIe and PSU fan speed? As Muckd points out, that's an known bug, the fan won't go to idle until something stews the GPU (only need few seconds).

    Another way to keep those fan at idle is by running MacsFanControl and force these 2 fans stay at idle RPM. This is safe, but better really not to stress the GPU. And I assume your studio has proper air conditioning, so the PSU can still stay a reasonable temperature (nothing really too danger, but high temperature can significantly shorten the PSU's life).

    Anyway, since you mentioned "flashed card" and "GT120", I assume you need boot screen. I am not sure if it's possible for you to have boot screen on 4k display with Mavericks. 4k 30Hz may be possible, 4K 60Hz should be impossible at this moment. If you need 4k 60Hz boot screen, you must upgrade OS, and get a MVC flashed card (Maxwell or Pascal).
  5. JazzyGB1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Thanks for the responses.
    The boot screen isn't vital, but it is handy as I have 3 different Mac operating systems installed on 3 different drives in my Mac, and it's reassuring to be able to see the boot screen rather than operating 'blind'.
    You're right that mavericks will only show the boot screen via HDMI which allows only 30hz, but for booting purposes 30hz is fine. I have the Dell display connected to both the Display port and HDMI port on the 680 and simply change the input on the display itself to HDMI if I need to see my boot screen. :)
    The important thing for me is screen size and resolution - and 32" is great and a big upgrade from the 27" Apple display I used before. :)
    I dislike using multiple monitors and don't really have room now for more than one anyway, so I'm just trying to find a way to drive the display in the quietest, coolest way possible.
    The studio is air conditioned but that too is noisy and so not ideal and the studio warms quickly with my Mac Pro acting like a room heater. It's much more severe now than when I ran a 27" Apple display from the GT120, so I was hoping to be able to lessen the heat it produces whilst still being able to run the Dell display.
    A quick peak inside show a little dust on the fans of the 680, but nothing particularly out the ordinary IMO.
    They might be worth a clean, but I'm not sure how best to clean them or any of my Mac's fans tbh, so any advice on this would be welcome.
    I couldn't find the open GL extensions test app on the app store, so am unable to see if that helps.
    Will download and install MacsFanControl and see if that helps.
    Will report back how I get on.
    thanks again everyone for the advice - much appreciated. :)
  6. Muckd macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2017
    Sorry. On the iPhone. Can't search the store properly.
    There will be a couple of tabs showing different information.
    You'll have to find the one that contains the test. And pick the kings one and let it do its thing. And the fans will ramp up during and if you have the bug. It should be reset to quiet after.

    A can of compressed air. Can send the dust out of your video card pretty quickly.
  7. JazzyGB1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2002
    Thanks for that. :)

    Well I decided to give it a really good clean out. I removed the logic board tray and hoovered out the dust and gunk from the fans. I also removed the GTX680 and then took it apart (you just remove 6 screws) and did the same.
    Some of the blades on the 680 heatsink were blocked and they're all nice and clear now! :)Put it all back together and there's a significant improvement - yay! :)

    I installed Macs Fan Control and before I cleaned the Mac and the GTX680 the fan sped for the PCI slot on auto was over 1300 - after the clean it idles at 800! :) (see attached)

    I downloaded and installed the Open GL Extentions app and put it in test mode. Tbh the fan ramped up a little, but not much and then returned to normal afterwards, so I don't think my card has the bug.

    According to Macs Fan Control, all my fans are now idling at the slowest rate automatically accept BoostA and BoostB which are running at 1366.

    All in all I think it's as quiet as it's going to get now and certainly quieter than it was before.

    Seems to be running a little cooler too, so thanks to you and the others for your help.

    Much appreciated. :)

    Attached Files:

  8. Squuiid macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2006
    Too late now, but a tip, never use a hoover around electronics.
    ALWAYS use compressed air if you value what you're cleaning.

    Glad you saw an improvement however. Hopefully the static generated hasn't damaged anything. Removing the logic board was a good precaution to take however.

Share This Page