external PSU for graphics card - Mac Pro 5,1 - advice please

shuto

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 5, 2016
146
83
Hi,

Please can someone give me some advice about the correct order to do things to power a second graphics card with an external power supply in a Mac Pro.

(I have looked lots on the internet, but people just say to do the paper clip trick, but I'm unsure about the order to do things in)

I have just bought an corsair 550x power supply to use as an external PSU for my second GTX980ti in my Mac Pro. (The first GTX980ti is powered by the Mac Pro's two mini 6 pin connections).

This is the order I am switching on the computer...

1 - External power supply switched on
2 - connect the PS_ON and GND pins on the ATX cable with a copper wire.
3 - Switch on mac pro.

and then when I shut down the mac pro do I...
4 - shut down Mac Pro
5 - remove copper wire
6 - Switch off External power supply


Many thanks for your help. This setup works but Just wanted to check. Also wish there was a better solution to switching on the power supply than using copper wire!
 

Prince134

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2010
330
141
Please look at the thread.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ultimate-mac-pro-5-1-mod-for-triple-titan-x.2043646/

1. you don't need that bulky PC PSU. 2. no need to manually switch on/off. 3. the extra power for the 3rd Titan X is just like the on board pcie power, no need to take care of it when power on or off since you have a signal line connected with the system.

------------
Here is the photo of the nice small switch to determine whether the extra power from the Xbox 360 175W PSU is needed. But don't be fooled. You don't have to switch manually to get the extra power. The switch is for with or without the 5v signal, meaning I would have switch it off if only two cards are on board. The 5v signal line for the switch is from the optic drive connection. I still have 3 SATA port to use (SATA3 SSDs all have to be naked:D, no choice:oops:). The extra power runs so smooth. You won't feel it at all (there was no fan noise on that). It's just like the Mac Pro 5.1 come with 3 pair of 12V aux power for GPUs.
------------
 
Last edited:

shuto

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 5, 2016
146
83
I leave the pins jumped. That way you can omit steps 2 and 5. You can also get a pre made jumper from Amazon. I have one but for whatever reason stuck with the simple paper clip trick.
Thanks for your reply. Thats helpful to know you always leave the PS_ON and ground connected and just switch it on and off with the PSU on/off switch. I thought maybe doing that might be bad for the PSU, but if other people think its fine then maybe I should just do that.

The rm550x power supply I have is modular so it would be great if I could use it without the ATX cable. I was wondering if I could get a 18 pin ATX connector and connect the PS_ON and ground together like the below pin out guide I found. Does anyone think this would be a bad idea?

500x1000px-LL-d720690e_Screenshot2015-08-2709.12.03.png


Thanks!
[doublepost=1495534702][/doublepost]
Please look at the thread.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ultimate-mac-pro-5-1-mod-for-triple-titan-x.2043646/

1. you don't need that bulky PC PSU. 2. no need to manually switch on/off. 3. the extra power for the 3rd Titan X is just like the on board pcie power, no need to take care of it when power on or off since you have a signal line connected with the system.

------------
Here is the photo of the nice small switch to determine whether the extra power from the Xbox 360 175W PSU is needed. But don't be fooled. You don't have to switch manually to get the extra power. The switch is for with or without the 5v signal, meaning I would have switch it off if only two cards are on board. The 5v signal line for the switch is from the optic drive connection. I still have 3 SATA port to use (SATA3 SSDs all have to be naked:D, no choice:oops:). The extra power runs so smooth. You won't feel it at all (there was no fan noise on that). It's just like the Mac Pro 5.1 come with 3 pair of 12V aux power for GPUs.
------------
Thanks for your reply Prince134. Yeah I have already seen your great mega mega build. I didn't want to solder onto the Mac Pro PSU, so the external PSU seemed the best option for me.

Oh and thanks for your tips about the evga power link. I bought one of these to help better share the 6pin + 8pin of the GTX 980 ti from the two mini 6pins of the motherboard.

Your three GPU setup is impressive - I was wondering if it was throttling with heat without any gaps between the cards. I am using this system for rendering in Octane, and it would be left on overnight, so as much as I love the idea of try to get another 980ti card into my Mac, I worry that they would overheat. (at the moment I have the two of them with a gap between). Maybe I should just do more benchmark tests of the speeds of the cards next to each other, and a gap between and see how much that changes the render speed.

Thanks!
 

Hps1

macrumors regular
Apr 14, 2017
104
28
I don't see why it'd make any difference jumping at the end of the cable vs directly on the box, but I have no bloody idea what I'm talking about.

Also: I have seen plenty of people running three cards stacked despite the lack of space (on 5,1s and PCs) and have yet to see a report of failure.
 

Prince134

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2010
330
141
The blower design has taken into consideration of that. All double wide cards sitting 2way or 3way sli has the same gap. The pcie fan will kick in when needed to blow in outside cool air to GPUs. In fact, octane rendering consume less total wattage than gaming since most of the time CPU is idle. Of course Mac Pro is not server, so the fan noise is lower. I understand your concern. Whoever wants to burn their machine with fur-mark all night? I never will.

If you have two cards, you want the gap, then put slot2, 4. or slot1, 4.
 
Last edited:

SolidCake

macrumors regular
May 20, 2016
101
38
I am going this route with a GTX 1080 Ti in a flashed 2009 cMP. I am using a

Corsair CP-9020090
and a

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

I
am planning to route the cables from the PSU through the back of the Mac (Open PCIE slot) to the card. When I have it up and running, presumably at the end of next, I'll make a post about it.
 

SolidCake

macrumors regular
May 20, 2016
101
38
Please don't mind me asking but what is a SWEX for? The PSU already has an on-off switch. Is that enough?
 

shuto

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 5, 2016
146
83
Only the On/Off switch of the PSU? No.
Thanks for your reply. Just to double check - you are saying it is bad practice to always have the PSU PS_ON and GND cables connected, and then to use the PSU on/off switch to turn it on and off.

Think I need to get me a SWEX then, seems better than using a piece of copper wire.

(edit: SWEX seems soldout / hard to find online.)
 
Last edited:

shuto

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 5, 2016
146
83
The blower design has taken into consideration of that. All double wide cards sitting 2way or 3way sli has the same gap. The pcie fan will kick in when needed to blow in outside cool air to GPUs. In fact, octane rendering consume less total wattage than gaming since most of the time CPU is idle. Of course Mac Pro is not server, so the fan noise is lower. I understand your concern. Whoever wants to burn their machine with fur-mark all night? I never will.

If you have two cards, you want the gap, then put slot2, 4. or slot1, 4.
Thanks for your thoughts about the triple stacked cards. That is really interesting to hear that is how those graphics cards are designed to be used together in a SLI gaming setup.

My cards are the eVGA GTX 980 ti SC+, and it is my understanding that the cooling of these blows the air around inside the case, rather than throwing it out the back like a reference design blower card...
pressshot.jpg


Do you think it would be a bad idea to try and fit three eVGA GTX 980 ti SC+ cards in my MacPro? or do you think that is only ok if all the cards have reference design fans?


(also I wonder if it is a good idea to remove the backplates of my cards? Are back plates for gamers who want the inside of their machines to look cool, rather than helping cooling? I'm thinking getting the most space possible around the cards is better for cooling.


Thanks!
 
Last edited:

SolidCake

macrumors regular
May 20, 2016
101
38
Thanks for your reply. Just to double check - you are saying it is bad practice to always have the PSU PS_ON and GND cables connected, and then to use the PSU on/off switch to turn it on and off.

Think I need to get me a SWEX then, seems better than using a piece of copper wire.

(edit: SWEX seems soldout / hard to find online.)
I just bought a 24-Pin Female ATX PSU Power Supply Starter off of eBay. It seems to do trick and is undoubtedly a better option than a ‘naked’ piece of wiring.
 
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shuto

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 5, 2016
146
83
I just bought a 24-Pin Female ATX PSU Power Supply Starter off of eBay. It seems to do trick and is undoubtedly a better option than a ‘naked’ piece of wiring.
thanks for the link SolidCake. that looks good.

I think you have the same modular power supply as me - Corsair RM550x, it would be great if there was a one of those adaptors that fitted straight onto the 10+18pins of the power supply, rather than the 24 pin tax cable that plugs into the power supply. Don't think this exists though.
 

Prince134

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2010
330
141
Thanks for your thoughts about the triple stacked cards. That is really interesting to hear that is how those graphics cards are designed to be used together in a SLI gaming setup.

My cards are the eVGA GTX 980 ti SC+, and it is my understanding that the cooling of these blows the air around inside the case, rather than throwing it out the back like a reference design blower card...
View attachment 700966

Do you think it would be a bad idea to try and fit three eVGA GTX 980 ti SC+ cards in my MacPro? or do you think that is only ok if all the cards have reference design fans?


(also I wonder if it is a good idea to remove the backplates of my cards? Are back plates for gamers who want the inside of their machines to look cool, rather than helping cooling? I'm thinking getting the most space possible around the cards is better for cooling.


Thanks!
You can use this kind of cooler for the slot 4. But remember you have to choose one that without the DVI socket to put in slot 4. I don't think any GTX 980 Ti without DVI socket. Only 1080 TI and Titan xP that I know of. The other 2 cards has to be reference design, other wise the fans shown aboove just get stock with each other.
 

Itconnects

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
187
18
NYC
I don’t want to do a pixlas mod. I need an external power supply. What else would I need to get it operational? Either the rx580 goes to the external psu or the avid HDX card
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,687
1,951
I need an external power supply. What else would I need to get it operational?
Keeping it simple - PSU, power source, and some cables. Turn PSU on before MacPro. Turn PSU off after you turn MacPro off. Keep with that and it's nearly foolproof.

Some people drill into the side case door to feed cables through with leaving the PSU on top. Others attempt to run through the rear PCIe slot openings. This is not always possible, but any cards available with a short bracket do help.
 

Itconnects

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
187
18
NYC
Okay I can’t go with an external power supply. I have to use some sort of splitter would the gtx680 and an avid HDX card work together ? If I can use a sata power draw? The HDX card is drawing 50 watts. I currently have a rx580 that I want to run with the HDX card but willing to abandon that and use the gtx 680 instead
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,687
1,951
See the specs from Avid/ProTools. You're going to need an older generation card and a GPU with less power requirement to get around the issues. The reason RX 560 is recommended is because it uses BUS POWER ONLY for the majority of the variations.

Every single GTX 680 I've seen (including the official Mac Edition) still requires power from system via dual mini 6-pin power sources. Once those are consumed, there's not enough "left" for the HDX.

The source for "other graphics cards have been shown to cause errors" is 100% due to underpowered GPU/PCIe issues when used in combination with HDX. The only way you can get around that is with an external PSU.

The main reason for all of this - the HDX card (for several generations) is extremely power hungry. It really works better in an external chassis whenever possible with it's own power source.


Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 10.37.22 AM.png
 
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