Do I have to flash a GPU not originally meant for use in a Mac?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by PowerMac G4 MDD, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I know this is dealing with an Intel Mac, but I like this forum a lot and participate here regularly. I suppose what I learn can also be applied to PowerPC Macs...

    I found out my ol' 2600XT card in my 1,1 Mac Pro is all over eBay for upwards of $120. I was thinking I could actually buy a new GPU with that money, if I were to sell this one. However, that wouldn't cover the cost of another Mac GPU, but rather one meant for Windows PCs.

    Would I be able to use a GPU in my 1,1 Mac Pro that wasn't originally meant for Macs? My brother has a 2013 EVGA GPU in his 2008 Mac Pro, which wasn't advertised as being for Apple computers, yet he didn't even have to flash it, and it works fine. What are the advantages/benefits to flashing a GPU?

    To be fair to this forum, I'd also like to know if it's possible on PowerPC Macs to use a non-flashed/non-Mac GPU (and when I say non-Mac, I mean not specifically said to be for Apple computers). I have seen Mac GPUs identical to ones for Windows PCs, yet for much heftier prices... can't I just use the one meant for Windows and find some Mac drivers for it or something?

    Sorry for my blatant inexperience in this subject matter...

    -Thanks
     
  2. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #2
    You need to flash it for EFI support. I think some fully compatible cards may work without flashing (not sure, might only work with Windows) although you won't see anything until OS X starts to load drivers. Most will need a Mac ROM, however, plus there are other pitfalls to consider (EFI32 vs EFI64 suppport) depending upon the age of your Mac Pro.
     
  3. asvensen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2015
    #3
    Sorry for my bad english


    Hi! I was mad about flashing graphics cards few years ago. I had 3 G5, 2 macpros, 2 g4. I think i know something about flashing, but i'm not pro.
    Yes it is very easy to make PC gr.cards work on Mac Pro 3.1 and higher. It just work without any flashing, just out of the box (But you won't have boot screen). Making PC cards working on Mac Pro 1.1 much harder - sometimes you'll need flashing, sometimes you'll need only additional kexts (http://netkas.org/). My first flashing was ATI 4870 for 1.1. So i replaced my old 2600XT with new 4870.
    The next big idea was changing gr.card in my PPCs. Making PC cards work on G4 is a real challenge. Finding or making proper ROM is not enough, you'll need tape pins 3 and 11 and sometimes even soldering.

    You do not need to tape pins for G5. But it is not easy to find proper card for some models of G5 cause they have different slots: PCI-X, AGP-Pro, PCI Express. The most popular card for flashing on G5 is Nvidia 7800gt(x) or Nvidia Quadro FX 4500. You can flash 7800 wit Quadro Rom and G5 will recognize it as 4500. But be careful - not every 7800 card is good for flashing, card could be based on different chips G70 & G71. Not every chip is compatible. I've spent a lot of money buying different cards on ebay for flashing (including original cards).
    But now, let's dicuss the main question! To flash or not to flash? The answer depends on wht you want to get from flashed card. If we speak about Intel Mac Pro i would say - yes! Flashing PC card for Intel Mac definitely worth it. It is much much cheaper way to get a good card then buy original. Good video card will give you a lot of benefits - perfect quality of games, GPU acceleration for video coding, rendering, playback or whtever, online Flash video harware acceleration etc.
    If we speak about flashing card fot PPC PowerMac i would say - .... Hmm... I don't know. GPU in PPC won't give you a lot of benefits. It can help you to play some old games on PPC if you have one (for example Age of Empires). There is no GPU acceleration for flash video or static video in VLC. VLC do have harware multithreading acceleratin in PPC, but it is a CPU acceleration not GPU.
    I am able to play 1080p mp4 video on my G5 with Nvidia Quadro FX 4500, but i could do this even with 6600LE. I have not noticed any changes in HD playback. Maybe you'll get some profit in Shke and Motion in Final Cut. But I a'm not Final Cut professional, so it'll be better to consult Final Cut Professional editors.

    Sorry for my bad english. I'm not native speaker.
     
  4. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #4
    Thanks for your input, asvensen. Your English is fine and better than that of many native speakers.
     
  5. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #5
    I have the 1,1 Mac Pro. I have asked elsewhere, and people say that there wouldn't be any issues... I just don't know if they have the correct info though, even though they are aware of my first-gen Mac Pro.

    ----------

    Thank you for your answer! I will have to research how to flash a GPU, as I have never done it before. I am not certain that I will get a new GPU, but it's an idea that I am willing to consider.

    Your English is pretty good!
     
  6. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #6
    The Mac Pro 1,1 has a 32 bit EFI. Some of the more recent cards only support 64 bit EFI. It is something you need to check before splashing out on a card to flash. I know that there is a hacked efi64 bootloader you can use to boot 10.8+ on earlier Intel Macs but I am not sure whether it solves the problem with graphics cards and drivers in general.
     
  7. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #7
    Ah, that clears things up. I guess I'll have to research which cards support a 32-bit EFI; I am assuming that's not really advertised when it comes to GPUs?
     
  8. asvensen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2015
    #8
    I believe the best option for 1.1 is 5870. You can buy flashed card on ebay of flash it by yourself. Don't forget that there are 3 parts of sucsessful flasing & using PC card in Mac:

    1. Finding proper software (nvflash, atiflash, ROM, hexeditor)
    2. Successful flashing
    3. Hardware part (you'll need a special power cords like these - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mac-pro-PCI...S_Power_Cables_Connectors&hash=item3cef7fb7d2
    you also should know that there is a bigger chance to get successful flashing if you use reference graphics card)
     
  9. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #9
    Thanks for your answer! Currently looking at a couple cards, including one pre-flashed one.
     

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