Flashing R9 280X for boot screens/PCI System Information

Mr. Zarniwoop

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Jun 9, 2005
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I have a 2006 Mac Pro running Yosemite (thanks Pike!) and now on to "fit and finish" nits to make it work.

I got an MSI R9 280X Gaming 3GB video card, and it worked great out-of-the-box, but I wanted to get boot screens and get it recognized in the PCI section of System Information. I chose this card because it's not too expensive, and clearly others have had good compatibility experiences in Mac Pros with Mavericks and Yosemite.

So, I read the AMD EFI firmware thread on netkas for a general understanding, grabbed Rominator's 7970 EBC firmware, and used them to make my own MSI EBC Mac ROM.

Works. Dive in. The water's fine. Boot screens and all.

Next step: figuring out how to change the "AMD Radeon HD 7970" text string in System Information.
 

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Mr. Zarniwoop

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Jun 9, 2005
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I've spent the last hour combing through post-by-post looking for one. :)

UPDATE: ok, found one. Appreciate you egging me on to keep looking.

The ROM I made from your work is attached in case it helps others. Thank you so much!

The card I used:

MSI RADEON R9 280X GAMING 3G (TWIN FROZR IV, OC EDITION)
part number 912-V277-067 (on box)
EAN 4 719072 314026 (sticker on card)
UPC-A 8 24142 01599 5 (sticker on card)

Information on the EBC firmware attached here:

Subsystem ID: 0x2775
Device ID: 0x6798
PC BIOS (stock as shipped): 113-MSITV277MS.350 TAHITI B0 XTL C38650 GDDR5 3GB, BIOS Version 015.041.000.000.003435, ROM Revision 113-C3865001-TU5
Mac EBC EFI: (replaced stock UEFI): ATY,Hamachi, ROM Revision 113-E2080C-101, EFI Driver Version 01.00.624
 

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asus321

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May 21, 2014
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I've spent the last hour combing through post-by-post looking for one. :)

UPDATE: ok, found one. Appreciate you egging me on to keep looking.

The ROM I made from your work is attached in case it helps others. Thank you so much!

The card I used:

MSI RADEON R9 280X GAMING 3G (TWIN FROZR IV, OC EDITION)
part number 912-V277-067 (on box)
EAN 4 719072 314026 (sticker on card)
UPC-A 8 24142 01599 5 (sticker on card)

Information on the EBC firmware attached here:

PC BIOS portion: MSI TV277MS.350, ROM Revision 113-C3865001-TU5
Mac EBC portion: ROM Revision 113-E2080C-101, EFI Driver Version 01.00.624
Hi,
nice work!
I got the same problem with my Gigabyte R9 280X. I used the script from Netkas but the card was identified as 7970 :-(
What is the "trick"? Please help :)
Thanks!
 

theitsage

Suspended
Aug 28, 2005
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Hi,
nice work!
I got the same problem with my Gigabyte R9 280X. I used the script from Netkas but the card was identified as 7970 :-(
What is the "trick"? Please help :)
Thanks!
Open 7950mac.efi in the "bundle" folder that you downloaded using a Hex Editor. Search for a text string which contains either 7970 or 7950. Then replace it with whatever name you want your card to appear on System Profiler. Redo the whole process of creating a Mac rom for your card and reflash. I have a Gigagyte R9 280X V.2 and was able to get it done this way. There may be another procedure to accomplish the same goal though.

The Gigabyte card has been working wonderful for me. My 5,1 is able to run 4 monitors simultaneously (3 22" LCDs and 1 82" TV @ 1920x1080). The temp never got above 70 C.
 

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stmp

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2012
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Thanks much for this helpful info!

Apologies if I missed it, but does this EFI also enable PCIe 2.0?

Or is that still a resistor removal trick?

Cheers + Thanks again
 

stmp

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2012
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Doh sorry, I was staring at the signature in the post above my reply while writing...

Thanks all the same.
 

theitsage

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Aug 28, 2005
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Thanks much for this helpful info!

Apologies if I missed it, but does this EFI also enable PCIe 2.0?

Or is that still a resistor removal trick?

Cheers + Thanks again
R17 resistor has to be removed for 5GT/s.
 

theitsage

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digitalmatt

macrumors newbie
Jun 22, 2012
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okay, did some reading at netkas. will this rom work on any 280x? and which cables adapters did you get for the power? somehow that looks like it was an issue for people over there.
 

Mr. Zarniwoop

macrumors demi-god
Jun 9, 2005
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I used ATI Winflash in Windows 7 (using Boot Camp).

Some benchmarks of my EBC-flashed MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming 3G in my 2006 Mac Pro attached. I tried to duplicate a few of the benchmark tests from Bare Feats when they originally tested the Mac 7950 in a 'Mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, although using Yosemite with Pike's boot loader:
My assumption was that on-card GPU tests would likely be faster, but likely not when relying on my slower 5300 series CPUs, 667MHz memory, or 2.5 GT/s bandwidth PCIe 1.1. That seems to be generally true. All in all, not bad considering not many eight-year-old machines can Geekbench around 11000.

I didn't really try to optimize very much, leaving it in 2560x1600 resolution and with iStat Menus running and some other background processes. I did use Quartz Debug set to Force QuartzGL and Beam Sync Disable.
 

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Zwhaler

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Jun 10, 2006
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I'm using it with an ePower 450W external PSU. Did a sick mod and drilled holes in a spare side cover with grommets and the PSU sits on top of the case, with cables running thru it on the side. Card was rated above 225W and if I ever do 24+ hours of rendering I want to ensure that I don't overdraw the logic board.
 

Zwhaler

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theitsage

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^^^ That's what I call dedication!

Do you have any benchmark and power draw while in heavy usage?

I play Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor with a 3x22" Widescreen Eyefinity setup and my 280x seems to hold up fine. There are times when it struggles a bit though. My best guess is lack of sufficient power to the card.
 

Zwhaler

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Jun 10, 2006
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^^^ That's what I call dedication!

Do you have any benchmark and power draw while in heavy usage?

I play Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor with a 3x22" Widescreen Eyefinity setup and my 280x seems to hold up fine. There are times when it struggles a bit though. My best guess is lack of sufficient power to the card.
Not yet, I finished the grommet just some minutes before posting the pics of the case, refer me to some benchmarks and software to monitor the power draw and later on I might be able to get you some useful data.
 

h9826790

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Apr 3, 2014
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Some benchmarks of my EBC-flashed MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming 3G in my 2006 Mac Pro attached.
Do you have the OceanWave performance figure for Mavericks?

It seems the VRAM speed in OceanWave under Yosemite significantly slower than what it shows under Mavericks.
 

Mr. Zarniwoop

macrumors demi-god
Jun 9, 2005
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Do you have the OceanWave performance figure for Mavericks?

It seems the VRAM speed in OceanWave under Yosemite significantly slower than what it shows under Mavericks.
Nope. I had an external drive with Mavericks but it seems to have failed, unfortunately, so I don't have an easy way to try in Mavericks.

I was attributing the VRAM speed to my older 2006 Mac Pro PCIe 1.0 architecture. If there's something I can change in Yosemite as a work-around I'll happily run the test again.