Help - GTX570, GTX580 Upgrade Questions.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by akrantz, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. akrantz macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Hi All,

    I am considering buying an upgraded video card for my MacPro 4,1 and I could use some advice.

    A little background info:
    I currently use an HD5870. I also have a Quadro 4000 but it has been having issues with over heating when I game in Bootcamp so I removed it. I am primarily looking for a card that will be good for gaming on Windows but also for work. I use software like After Effects, Cinema 4D, Modo & Photoshop regularly.

    I am considering buying a card from MacVidCards on EBay.

    My questions are as follows:

    How difficult is the GTX580 installation? I know nothing about installing additional power supplies and it is well outside my expertise. Is it hard to do? Had anyone on this board done it successfully?

    The MacVidCards EBay page lists as a resource for an OpenCL fix. What is that? Why do I need it?

    The MacVidCards EBay page also mentions a boot screen. Sorry if its a stupid question, and I get the feeling it is....but what is that?

    Additionally I am curious if buying a card like this and installing it will mean that every time Apple releases an iteration of OSX. (e.g. 10.8.1) I will need to download and install new drivers and fixes.

    If any of you have had any experience with these types of cards or issues I would love to know the details. Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. initialsBB, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012

    initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    All of this info is available on posts here and on I know it's becoming a bit of a pain to sift through all of the posts, but have a look at least at this thread:
    Fastest Mac GPUs with full EFI boot screens, etc, GTX570 & GTX580

    Apple seem to have blocked OpenCL running on cards that have more than 2GB VRAM, if you need OpenCL (Photoshop uses it); look on page 15 of the above linked thread.

    The MacVidCards GTX 570 and 580 cards have had a chip changed on the board allowing OS X to show initial boot screen (boot drive selection, single user mode, etc...). Without this mod, in OS X, you only get a picture when you arrive at the desktop, meaning you have to use system preferences or BootChamp to go back and forth between Windows and OS X. If you ever need to use the Recovery partition in case of an OS X crash or reinstall, you also need the boot screen.

    Maybe, maybe not... right now the drivers are built in to Mountain Lion - no need to download anything - but who knows if that will change. The OpenCL fix may have to be applied with all updates, unless Apple decides to unblock it.

    Get a GTX 570 and don't even worry about all that.
  3. akrantz thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Thank you so much for your courteous and informative response without being ostentatious. A rare find on tech related forum posts in my experience.

    Thanks. I did find this and I am sorting through it all. There is a lot to digest.

    This is how I am leaning. My only hesitancy is that according to the barefeats the 570 is not significantly better than my Quadro 4000. While it would still be an upgrade I have to wonder if it would be worth it or if I should just go the full monty and get the 580 if I am going to do anything at all. To be honest the whole thing annoys me a bit with Apple. With the work I do there is no such thing as to much speed. I still regularly have renders that run over night and I have lately been debating just converting my MacPro 4,1 to a windows box so I can enjoy being able to use the latest greatest.

    Thanks again for all your help!
  4. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    A 570 is many times better than an unplugged/unstable 4000.

    I find the 580 a hard sell. Why all the trouble? 570 is proven, works, hassle-free.

    For better performance, go 680. You'll miss the boot screen for now, but it works, is as easy as 570 to install (power-wise) and will most likely get better support the coming months. More "future proof" (if there's ever such a thing) than 570/580, but more fiddling around to be expected in the coming months.

    Also, buy a card with less than 2GB if possible. Apple don't like those with more.
  5. akrantz thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Haha. True story.

    hmm interesting points. I'll check out the 680.
  6. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    No graphics card will suddenly shorten those renders by X factors of magnitude except for very specific tasks that rely on OpenCL or CUDA (After Effects raytracing for example). I doubt you'll see drastic improvements to Cinema 4D or After Effects render times. If you feel you'll be better served by building a hackintosh, go for it. It will certainly cost you less (not counting the time to get it up and running).

    For gaming, yes, but not for GPU compute. Apparently there wasn't a big enough difference between consumer and pro cards on the 500 series, so nvidia changed things on the 600 consumer cards to make upcoming pro cards look better.
  7. Jmx macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2006
    Weird thing... installed an EVGA GTX 570 2560MB in my MP 1.1 and it's working fine with OpenCL apparently working alright in 10.7.4. CUDA is reported to working fine as well with CUDA-Z tester but i can't seem to get CUDA to work in Blender 3D.
    OpenCL works in Blender but no CUDA.
    Rebooting into Win 7 Blender has OpenCL and CUDA working fine.
    I know my MP 1.1 is old but new hardware seems to work fine in Windows but not in OS X. That just makes me pissed.....
    OK i'm waiting for the next Mac Pro and have done so for a LONG time but it just feels bad when windows can use just about any hardware but OS X can't.
    No wonder why pro users go windows these days.
    I love OS X and i very much prefer it to Windows but if things will be restricted in OS X I'll be a sad guy forced to go windows to get normal hardware working.
    I really really hope the next Mac Pro will open up for using standard hardware like graphic cards without having to hack/patch just to get things working.
  8. akrantz thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    True enough. But any improvement is an improvement no matter how incremental. Really though, the urge to do this is born out of dying Quadro 4000 and the need to replace it. I might as well get the best I can within reason. Which is of course what makes the whole process so frustrating. I would much rather there be some official channel then have to buy flashed cards from some guy on EBay who is so busy dealing with people like me he doesn't have the time to ask the myriad of questions I have, not to mention the lack of tech support should something go wrong.

    Certainly not looking to build a hackintosh, but rather considering using my MP as a WIN only box, and not even seriously considering it at this point. That being said, Hardware is the number 1 reason I think about switching to Windows. I wont debate the OS, I use both at work every day and I prefer OSX hands down. It's the litte Spotlight or Quicklook that annoy me every time I use my windows box at work.

    For a long time the biggest drawback has been switching software over, that is starting to get better though now that Adobe offers both PC and Mac versions with the same purchase via the could.

    Interesting. What things did they change?
  9. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    True, hence my speculation that the coming months probably would require some fiddling around with stuff, if one wanted to use the 680. We can hope, that the throttling can be circumvented by "enthusiast ROMs".
  10. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    GTX570 isn't going to be a huge improvement over the HD5870 in terms of gaming. If gaming in Windows is very important then you should go with the GTX670. Pretty sure the GTX670 can be made to work with the apps you have listed but don't quote me on it.
  11. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    The 570 seems to beat the HD5870 in "all" games:

    With everything from a small margin to more than twice as fast.

    EDIT: But yes, the 670 is even better for gaming:
  12. lixuelai, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012

    lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    I actually have a GTX 570 in my closet. For the games I play (D3, BF3, Civ etc. I play at 2560 x 1600) it wasn't a huge improvement. I am not sure how the Anandtech GPU comparison works (I don't think the test rigs are identical looking at some of the numbers. For example the huge Civ5 performance difference seems to indicate the GTX 570 being tested with a newer CPU. It may also be that the numbers are wrong considering that the framerate went up as resolution increased...).

    p.s. A quick glance at Anandtech's GTX 570 review seems to validate my suspicion. Obviously driver may have matured since then but i doubt it would make that much difference. GTX 570/580 was re-hashed Fermi however and didn't have the driver issues at launch the GTX 670/680 did.

    The OP may well be happy with the GTX 570, however i wasn't particularly impressed by the difference coming from a HD5870.
  13. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    I read this page in the way, that both GPUs was tested in the same machine.

    He provides an explanation on the Civ5 performance here.
  14. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    That is the review I looked at as well. However the numbers in that review does not match the GPU comparison you linked.
  15. akrantz thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Thank you all so much for the feedback!

    So, gaming aside, do any of you have any anecdotal experience with using the GTX570 with Pro Apps? Anything Adobe, or anything 3D?

    Also, do any of you have experience with MacVidCards? I am leery of the ebay world typically but this seems like the only available outlet for these cards.

    Thanks again guys I really appreciate it.

  16. Henahn macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2012
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I am having the same issue, EVGA GTX 570 1,2GB on MacPro 3,1 and MacOS 10.8.

    I got CUDA working in this build:

    Apparently it has something to do with CUDA kernels prebuilt or something.

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