Easiest video card upgrade for 2010 MacPro 5,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by avro707, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    I've done a bit of reading on here about graphics card upgrades and the like.

    I've got a 2010 MacPro 5,1 with its stock ATI 5870 1gb card, and it is running OS X El Capitan, and using the 27" LED Cinema Display and a 20" A1081 as a second screen (with mini display port to DVI adaptor).

    It is getting a bit old now and I'd like to upgrade it, but the talk of flashing the graphics cards and non-EFI compatibility makes me shudder a bit.

    I'm an old hand at building PCs, but the Mac is something I prefer not to tinker with too much. What's the best bet for an easy upgrade as far as the graphics card goes?

    Would a GTX780 Nvidia work (6gb would be nice), or am I going to have to look at a eVGA 680 "mac edition"?
  2. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2006
    Easiest by far is to flash a GTX 680 for a Mac. They're cheap and readily available. Next would be R9 280x. It's also flashable as diy. It gives about the same performance as the GTX 680. To make it run at PCIe 2.0 requires you to remove a tiny resistor.

    If you don't care for boot screen, the GTX 780 will work. As will most of Nvidia's offerings.
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Yeah, the most cost effective and hassle free upgrade is the GTX 680. Flash it yourself to keep cost down.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Same advice at the others. However, if you really just want the easiest, but don't care about the cost. There are 3 choices.

    1) Real GTX 680 Mac Edition card (which should be only avail on the used market)
    2) Real HD7950 Mac Edition card (new card avail, but considered insanity expensive now)
    3) MVC's flashed card, You can get a flashed 780 from him which has boot screen, plug and play.

    There are lots of badly flashed card on the market, so, I personally won't recommend anyone buy those card from an unknown source.
  5. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    GTX 770 (behaves like a GTX 680, same chip), if you want boot screen buy it from MacVidCards.
  6. avro707 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    Thanks everyone -I had looked at the MVC site before I posted this, but it looked a little anonymous so I was sort of wary of it. The reply above gives me some more confidence. A 780 with 6gb sounds like a good option.

    And then get the RAM up to 32gb, which I should have done ages ago (but it has worked so well so far).

    I'm also seeing that I could do an upgrade to a Xeon X5690. It's only when you have to upgrade do you realise how good these Mac Pros are, you can go quite a while without needing to upgrade. :)
  7. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    The man asked for easy, so I'll second the recommendation for MVC. Pick whichever suits your budget and desired performance levels.

    MVC periodically gets suspended from here due to his direct posting style, but he's very much in business and responsive to customer needs.

    Mods, if you're listening - he really needs to be reinstated here. Such a wealth of information. People need to learn to do some research of their own and stop expecting to be spoon fed knowledge.

    You can also find him as Rominator on netkas.org forums.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
  8. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    If you have a dual CPU MP, then you need the X5600 series. X5680 is 40% less than 5690 for only 4% slower.

    If you have single CPU MP, then a W3680 or 90 will do just fine, for significantly less $$$
  9. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    You can use the X5670, 80, or 90 in the single core models as well. The last time I checked, they were cheaper than the W3600 series chips.
  10. DPUser, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016

    DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    That was then. Check again.

    Then I checked again. Prices have equalized as of late... When I bought a few months back I was surprised to find the W series considerably cheaper. Currently, it looks like W3690 will save a little ($20-30 per CPU) over X5690, the 80 series look really close with the 3680 saving $10-20 per processor.
  11. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I have also seen complete workstations with the processor in them sell for less than the loose processor by themselves.
  12. benny gsr macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2015
    Thanks for this thread - exactly the same sort of question I was going to ask.
    Is the gtx 680 SC still DIY flashable to mac??
  13. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY

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