Flashed eBay Cards

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tucom, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #1
    Anyone have any experience with these?

    For example http://www.ebay.com/itm/PowerColor-...7&pid=100005&rk=1&rkt=6&sd=121687764459&rt=nc


    After a super sour experience with a faulty EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition, it's on it's way to being returned and I'm not sure if it's worth splashing on a high end GPU again. I would like to stick with AMD this time, but is it worth getting a flashed 7950 over say an official Apple 5870? There's no way I'm going to pay $500 for an "official" 7950 from MacSales, either.
     
  2. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #2
    The 5870 is pretty fast in most benchmarks as compared to the 5770, but you can do a lot better. The 5870 doesn't support metal. If you're going to upgrade, then skip that model.

    Many people have and enjoy the 7950, but there seems to be an issue with this card glitching and pausing once in a while. I passed that one up myself and got a 7970 3GB reference card flashed by MVC. He modifid the card for full 5GT/s link speed, 2x 6 Pin power plugs, and full boot screens on every port. It cost $360 and was worth every penny. It's been flawless, fast, and very quiet for me. If you're going to stick with AMD and don't want to spend $500, it's a winner. If you want to go that route, email MVC or Chris through their website and give them a few days to reply. That's how I got mine. It's always showing out of stock, but they got me one in less than 48 hrs. This card is the same as the D700 in the nMP and supports the new metal API.

    There are much faster cards available, but they come in at a much higher price. I don't regret going this route at all. I never have driver issues upon OS updates either. It's a great card for FCPX and Phoroshop CS6. I don't game, but it should smack your 5770 around like a red headed stepchild.
     
  3. Tucom, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015

    Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #3
    Nice, maybe I will go that route - you mention the dual 6 pin connections; I thought all 7970's had one 6 and one 8? Is the 7970 100% safe in terms of power draw? I can't risk melting my one and only machine.

    EDIT - According to this - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-ghz-edition-review-benchmark,3232.html

    The 7970 is 25 watts passed the safety TDP threshold of the Mac Pro. Reason I'm even considering the 5870 is due to the 7950 not being THAT much faster in benchmarks under OS X, however I didn't forget Metal, and that may be the tipping point.

    Maybe I'll pass the 7970 and get a 7950 from him.

    Are there any difference between the eBay ones and MVC?
     
  4. crjackson2134, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #4
    He mods them to run on 2x 6-Pin supply lines. I'm told it's completely safe. I've pushed mine hard and haven't had any issues ever. I was initially concerned, but I've come to trust it fully. A lot of people run this card and beat it to death without causing damage. I've not run across a single complaint or report of failure. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I haven't found any so far.

    Just google HD 7970 killed my Mac Pro and see if you can find anything. I found nothing but praise. I'm sure you know as well as I do that MP users scream loudly when something goes wrong. I didn't find anything.
     
  5. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #5

    Cool - Also I edited my post above an additional question, but I was curious if there are any differences between the MVC GPUs and these eBay ones.

    I'd like the MVC if it has additional benefits, even if better support past the warranty he/they provide. Also I definitely want a reference cooler design.

    What OEM does MVC use for his reference GPUs?
     
  6. crjackson2134, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #6
    His have been tested to work correctly, and has subtle modifications to make sure you don't have to worry about issues. I think some clocks and voltages are tweaked to reduce power draw, but I can't swear to that.

    Many of the cards on eBay have issues. Some can only get boot screens on particular ports. Some have stolen MVC code and flashed to the wrong card model. Some are really beat to death from data mining and have lost efficacy of heat sink compound etc...

    MVC used cards are usually light use samples. He takes them apart for inspection & cleaning. Then tests them out before sending it to you. He removes the surface resistor that prevents 5.0 GT/s link speed too. The difference is that of a professional vs. that of a weekend hobbyist. The little bit of money you save by going with eBay, may be the difference between cursing yourself for buying yet another problematic GPU, and finding a satisfactory PNP solution. If you don't like MVC cards, you can return it and make another selection. eBay is a roll of the dice. I like to install my new toys and just enjoy them without worry. I can do that with MVC.

    If you want, you can buy a brand new R9 280X which is a repackaged 7970. He sells them too, but it's a fair jump in price. I didn't mention it earlier because you mentioned keeping down the price.

    Mine is a Saphaire. It's the card of choice from all I can tell.
     
  7. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #7
    Excellent man thanks for all the replies!

    I think I'll go with a 7950 from MVC. The GTX 680 refund should be completed in week to two week tops, and I have some cash from selling my PS3 - that I sold for this exact reason - and hopefully all will be smooth sailing.

    Super stoked about Metal, makes sense to obtain a GPU that future proofs me for that new API.
     
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #8
    Do keep in mind that you'll have a 60 day warranty, and no more. I had a MVC 7970 that worked fabulously well. . . for 4 months. Then died. And no warranty. $100 month for the use of that card.
     
  9. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #9
    Yes, that can happen but it's the exception rather than the rule.
     
  10. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #10
    Of course. But it happened to me, and was very costly. And the fact that the manufacturer's warranty is voided isn't an exception. It's the rule.

    The OP can do his own risk/benefit assessment.
     
  11. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #11
    Wow. Thanks for letting me know... That couldn't ever happen on an eBay purchase either. ;)
     
  12. monokakata, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015

    monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #12
    It was to let the OP know.

    Are you trying to start a fight? I'm not interested.

    You edited yours, I'll edit mine. This has nothing to do with eBay or buying direct from MVC or in fact with MVC's operation either.

    No matter who flashes the card, the manufacturer's warranty is voided. Period. MVC doesn't support the card after 60 days. He doesn't hide this.

    In my case, I bet on the strength of my 20 years experience with graphics cards from all kinds of manufacturers -- not a one ever failed. I lost the bet on the 7970.
     
  13. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #13
    It's definitely a risk/benefit thing - spend more get a better warranty, spend less and chance it being reliable or not.

    I'm still at a toss up as to what to do. Maybe EVGA could fix this 680 and all would be well. Unsure still. I know I said I wanted to def. go with AMD, but if this 680 really could be fixed then I'd be on happy camper, and have an official Mac GPU.

    I'll keep you guys posted and will be sure to frequent both threads about this whole thing with any more questions.
     
  14. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #14
    No not at all, sorry about your thin skin. Such can happen when intent of a post is misinterpreted. One could have realised that the OP is smart enough to make his own choices, while gathering information and soliciting opinion. The whole "Are you trying to start a fight question" is boorish. Go get some sleep and laugh it off. No one is picking on you.
     
  15. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #15
    There's another option, which I'm going to follow if I decide to keep my Mac Pro. I have an old card - a 3870 that was sold as a Mac card -- which gives me a boot screen, but is way too wimpy to do useful work. I may buy something like this (a card that MVC recommends)

    http://www.amazon.com/PNY-GeForce-G...=1435902917&sr=8-6&keywords=pny+graphics+card

    and run it unflashed (no boot screen).

    You could do something like that with an AMD design -- pick up a cheap 3870 or the like, and then use a regular AMD card of some kind. Your AMD card's warranty is preserved, and you get a boot screen. True, you lose a slot.
     
  16. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Flashing a HD 7950/7970 (R9 280/280X) is completely fool-proof due to the dual-bios feature. Even if you do something completely wrong (which is already quite hard becase there's not much to do) you can easily switch to the 2nd vBIOS slot and everything is back working again. The only crucial step is the selection of the card (you need the reference port layout of the 7950 Mac Edition). The flashing process is described at netkas forum.
    Btw, I wouldn't go with the reference cooler design, this is usually crap.

    If I were you, I'd get a PC card and flash it myself. I'd also keep a copy of the original vBIOS, so in case the card becomes glitchy I'd flash the original vBIOS on and try to return the card, I'm quite sure that no one will be able to proof that the card has been modded.
    I'd also test the card extensively before flashing to see if everything works as advertised.

    Just for the sake of completeness, consider that neither a unflashed PC-card nor a flashed PC card will run at PCIe 2.0 speed, this needs (as said before) the removal of a resistor. In my opinion the resulting performance hit isn't big enough to justify losing your warranty, so I'd live with 2.5 GT/s.
     
  17. VAGDesign macrumors 6502

    VAGDesign

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    #17
  18. Fangio, Jul 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015

    Fangio macrumors 6502

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    #18
    The Sapphire 7970 is a nice card performance-wise, but that single fan black/red model gets really noisy when stressed. I had one in my cMP (which sits on the desk not below) and it was too annoying for my taste. Google HD 7970 fan noise and you'll find many models are notorious for that.

    Sold it 4 weeks later and got a 280x instead, with a way better, and noticeable more silent cooling solution. And got a speed bump as bonus on top. Just my $0.02, YMMV.
     
  19. Inutopia, Jul 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015

    Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    #19
    With these older AMD cards it seems you can still flash them. 78XX etc? If so, definitely do that, it's an easy job and much cheaper than buying a flashed one or a mac edition. I used to have a 6870 and it was super reliable.

    Avoid the stock coolers, they're terrible. Unless there is some reason you have to get a stock cooler, just avoid that. Remember, the stock cooler isn't necessarily the same thing as having a reference board.
     
  20. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #20
    My 2008 Mac Pro has a flashed 7950 3GB from Ebay - dual fan XFX version - and I have had no issues at all in either Yosemite or Windows 7. It's very quiet and performance is fantastic.
     
  21. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #21
    If you really must choose Radeon wait for the R9 Nano to see if there will be OS X support for it. Very small form factor and just 175w. AMD says double the performance of 290X.
     
  22. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #22
    Looking forward to this card, I hope works well for cMP / OS X. I guess it's going to be a wait and see thing.
     
  23. netkas macrumors 65816

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    #23
    >AMD says double the performance of 290X.

    double performance per watt of 290X, that makes nano to be about 20-30 % faster than 290x at 175W
     
  24. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #24
    I'm guessing that this means way faster than the 7970?
     
  25. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #25
    Thanks all for the replies. I'm actually in the process of getting the EVGA Mac Edition replaced under warranty. Even if OS X gaming performance is abysmal again, I'll at least rule out it's the GPU's fault and conclude OS X gaming just isn't really viable at this point in time, and probably just dual boot Windows for games, and utilize the 680 under OS X for when Metal comes around and for pro apps.
     

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