GPU upgrade for 3,1 has head spinning

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ocharlas, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. ocharlas macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #1
    Hey everyone, I've had my Mac Pro since new in 2008 and it has been awesome to me, but lately it's been showing its age (since I left Snow Leopard for Mountain Lion). Everything is taking longer, more spinny wheels. I'd like to be able to keep for a while yet, so I've been looking for things I can do to freshen up its performance.

    Current setup is 8-core 2.8, 6GB ram (4 more in the mail), original XT-2600 card 256MB, and 10.8.5

    On top of it, I'd really like to upgrade to Mavericks. I've heard of people having problems on this machine, and people…not having problems. I'd love to be the latter.

    I don't game, but do do some fairly heavy lifting - Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Digital Performer, etc…and FCP REALLY doesn't like my 2600. It tells me so every time I open it.

    Basically what I'm looking for is an inexpensive (read: non Mac model), reasonably powerful, card that will work FOR SURE, with this machine, and 10.9. I've been reading thread after thread, wikis, cruising ebay etc…, and it's a little overwhelming, after a while the numbers just start bouncing off you. I'm ok with having to download drivers, or a couple workarounds, but I don't want to deal with flashing, or anything that's going to give me a chance to screw up. Something that works right out of the box would be great, don't care about the boot screen so much. Would love to keep it under a hundred bucks, fifty would make me even happier. Any suggestions?

    Thanks guys and girls
     
  2. clamnectar macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2009
    #2
    Can't make any specific claims for 10.9, but I'm on 10.85 with the same machine, and I just popped in a $90 ASUS GT-640. It's not a particularly amazing card, but it's cheap and it works. I run 3 monitors from it all day long, no issues. No drivers to download. OS X just knows what to do with it.
     
  3. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I've got the machine in my sig and it hasn't given me any issues on 10.9. I think you'll be fine, though you may want to do a clean install to avoid any issues.

    As for graphics cards, the 5770 I have would be a major step up. They're pretty cheap now too.
     
  4. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #4
    Thanks for the replies

    The 5770 looks like a good card for me - I'm assuming you have the apple version. Do you know if the standard version will drop in and work? Apple versions seem to start around $120 vs $50 for an ATI or Sapphire card
     
  5. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #5
    You can certainly pop in a PC version. If you have access to Windows, you can even flash the 5770 (or 5870 for that matter) with Mac EFI for a boot screen and full PCIe 2.0 bandwidth in BootCamp.
     
  6. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Cool. I don't have access to a PC, but I'm not really worried about the boot screen. Also, I thought I read that if I left the 2600 in the second slot it would default to the 5770 for everything but use the old card to boot. Is that right?
     
  7. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #7
    It would depend on what monitor you have plugged into what card. For example, when I got my GTX 660, I kept my 2600 XT driving my side VGA monitor so I could have a boot screen. The boot screen would obviously only appear on the monitor that card was driving, but any graphical intensive things occurring on that monitor would rely on the 2600 XT. For example, I once put a Source Twitch stream on the monitor driven by the 2600 XT and it was stressing out like crazy. My other two monitors were driven off the GTX 660, and those of course, were fine. Just no boot screen during the startup process.
     
  8. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #9
    You didn't mention it but putting in a SSD for your boot drive and apps will make things much faster.
     
  10. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Yeah I know that's a big one, but right now they're a bit too pricey for me. Ram upgrade plus GPU is still going to come under half of an SSD probably. It's on the list though
     
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #11
    The 250gb Samsung 840 Evo is only $140 on Amazon. The 120gb gets it down to $90 but I think that's too small. Cheaper than the memory or the graphics card.
     
  12. Lucas Godfrey macrumors 6502

    Lucas Godfrey

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    #12
    While you're at it, get yourself an SSD to replace your boot drive. That alone should stop all hangs in your system, I don't believe that the spinning wheels you're getting will be solved with a new graphics card. Assuming you've still got the same HDD you have since purchase then that hard disc is approaching 5-6 years old and might be on the fritz.
     
  13. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    I know what you guys are saying about the SSD, but the fact is my card no longer meets the minimum reqs to run Final Cut Pro, and while it does do it, it is ultra painful. Most of the stuff that suffers is definitely graphics related.

    Anywho the 5770 and 4GB ram just set me back $80 total, so hopefully a new HD can be hot on their heels.
     
  14. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Well the good news is I got the Radeon 5770 last week!

    The bad news is it didn't come with a power cable, and good luck finding it in a store.

    The good news is that I ordered one!

    The bad news is that it took a few days to arrive.

    The good news is that it came today, and the card is up and running!

    Verdict: Wow.

    I don't know what is playing a bigger part, the RAM or the card, but to say that the computer is snappier is an understatement. Things that used to lag (Final Cut Pro, pro audio software and photoshop) like crazy are now running completely smooth, no lag at all. Programs that took 6-8 bounces (iTunes, Google Chrome) now open in 2 bounces or less. Things that took two or three bounces like Mail and Safari now open in under one. iPhoto, which for some reason used to take about 1-2 minutes, is now open in one bounce, occasionally two.

    Thanks guys for all your help, it's honestly a much more drastic difference that I was expecting.

    I almost don't want to update to Mavericks, but I guess I should...
     
  15. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Glad to hear you've seen good performance increases.

    Honestly I think that 10.8 and 10.9 have been really solid releases, and you should see additional gains related to things like OpenGL and memory management if you upgrade. I didn't spend much time with my Mac Pro on 10.6 before I upgraded, but I haven't felt like my machine's slowed down at all under 10.9.

    Whenever you get an SSD in there you'll be even more gobsmacked by the performance boost, I'd wager :)
     
  16. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #16
    Congratulations on the upgrade! I have to say, Mavericks is a great OS. I think it works a lot more fluidly than Lion or Mountain Lion did, but has all the features I've come to need such as built in iMessage. What are the final machine specs after all the upgrades?
    -N
     
  17. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Ok I'll do it!

    Specs are 2008 2.8GHz 8 core Xeon, 10GB RAM, ATI Radeon 5770 1GB DDR5, 320G HD (original!) and a couple externals. Currently in 10.8.5
     
  18. pnachtwey macrumors newbie

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    Jul 24, 2014
    #18
    I bought a HD 5770 for my Mac 3.1 (early 2008)

    The video part works well but one of the reasons I bought the card was that the mini-display ports were supposed to also allow one to get audio out using a mini-display port to HDMI adapter to my TV.

    There is NO AUDIO through the mini-display port!!!

    The MacPro or OS X does not recognize that the HD 5770 is supposed to be be able to send audio through the mini-display port. There is no option in the Audio preferences for a mini-display port output. Why? I have the latest version of OS X.

    I am not a happy camper. :(
     
  19. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Have you tried to set up an output using MIDI setup in the utilities? https://discussions.apple.com/message/16141488#16141488
     
  20. ptdebate macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #20
  21. pnachtwey macrumors newbie

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    Jul 24, 2014
    #21
    No, I will look into it.

    This was not covered in the HD 5770 installation manual. The manual just said the HD 5770 was capable for sending audio through the display port. It didn't say how or provide any setup instructions.
     
  22. ptdebate macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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  23. gpzjock, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  24. ptdebate, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014

    ptdebate macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #24
    Thank you!

    By the way, are there any potential drawbacks to using an OOB PC card? I heard that you won't get the apple boot screen. Does this mean it will be hard to switch between partitions, say if you're running Windows through boot camp?

    Thanks again.
     
  25. ocharlas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 14, 2014
    #25
    So just a quick update -

    I did wind up downloading Mavericks, and unfortunately, well...let's just say whatever improvements I noticed with the hardware upgrades are gone, and then some. Everything is running very very buggy (the preference pane up top will freeze when if I hit the drive icon and only a restart will fix it), dock vanishes, finder problems. Programs taking forever to open, safari can be up to 20 bounces. Lots of rainbow wheels, and a couple straight up crashes (which was so extremely rare up until now). Having never actually had to use time machine, I figured I would just ZAP! it back to 10.8, but I guess that's not how it works. So right now I'm just limping along.
     

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