Inexpensive GPU for SST 4K at 60Hz running FCPX.

iamMacPerson

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I need to get an inexpensive (sub-$200) GPU for my 4,1. It needs to be able to push a SST 4K monitor at 60Hz and a 1080p monitor at 60Hz as well. Most intensive load would be rendering 4K in FCPX. I'm currently eyeing the GeForce 750 ti (possibly the superclocked from EVGA) and 950 but before I push the button I want to know if there are any others I should consider. I don't have much money, and am still kinda a newbie at video cards, so help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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With Maxwell card (that include both the 750Ti, and 950), your 4,1 won't shows anything (black screen) unless you have the web driver installed and selected. That means you MUST install AND select the driver BEFORE you install the card, otherwise, black screen only (or you can use screen sharing to install and activate the driver from another computer). And almost any OSX update will cause "black screen" again, until you install the latest drive for that particular OSX version. A little more work to maintain to system functioning.

For Maxwell card, OSX 10.10.5 or later is required.

Also, for non Mac EFI card (that means >99% GPU you can buy from the market), it won't display anything until boot to desktop. Therefore, no boot screen available, and also means, unable to use the recovery partition.

For FCPX, AMD card usually work better (assuming the same cost), 7950, R8 280, 7970, R9 280X are the good choices. But all these card run quite hot (especailly compare to the Maxwell card), and draw more power relatively.

All these AMD cards are plug and play (work out of the box) as long as you have 10.7.5 or later. Easier to manage.

You can flash the AMD card by yourself to make it as a "Mac Edition card" (have boot screen), however, since you want to drive a 4K screen at 60Hz, you better leave it run without EFI. Which give's you exactly the same performance, but just no boot screen. Otherwise, you cannot boot with the 4K screen connected (Mac EFI for these AMD card not working well on 4K 60Hz mode, they work fine after boot, but can't boot at 4K 60Hz).
 
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iamMacPerson

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Original poster
Jun 12, 2011
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With Maxwell card (that include both the 750Ti, and 950), your 4,1 won't shows anything (black screen) unless you have the web driver installed and selected. That means you MUST install AND select the driver BEFORE you install the card, otherwise, black screen only (or you can use screen sharing to install and activate the driver from another computer). And almost any OSX update will cause "black screen" again, until you install the latest drive for that particular OSX version. A little more work to maintain to system functioning.

For Maxwell card, OSX 10.10.5 or later is required.

Also, for non Mac EFI card (that means >99% GPU you can buy from the market), it won't display anything until boot to desktop. Therefore, no boot screen available, and also means, unable to use the recovery partition.

For FCPX, AMD card usually work better (assuming the same cost), 7950, R8 280, 7970, R9 280X are the good choices. But all these card run quite hot (especailly compare to the Maxwell card), and draw more power relatively.

All these AMD cards are plug and play (work out of the box) as long as you have 10.7.5 or later. Easier to manage.

You can flash the AMD card by yourself to make it as a "Mac Edition card" (have boot screen), however, since you want to drive a 4K screen at 60Hz, you better leave it run without EFI. Which give's you exactly the same performance, but just no boot screen. Otherwise, you cannot boot with the 4K screen connected (Mac EFI for these AMD card not working well on 4K 60Hz mode, they work fine after boot, but can't boot at 4K 60Hz).
I knew that about the Nvidia cards, but not the AMDs. So to be clear, I won't need web drivers or have to horse around with them after an OS update with an AMD card? Interesting.

What other low end AMDs would you recommend? I see the R7 360 from MSI is very cheap (sub $100 on Amazon), and it looks like it can push 4K@60Hz. Do you think that would be a good purchase for use in FCPX?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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I knew that about the Nvidia cards, but not the AMDs. So to be clear, I won't need web drivers or have to horse around with them after an OS update with an AMD card? Interesting.

What other low end AMDs would you recommend? I see the R7 360 from MSI is very cheap (sub $100 on Amazon), and it looks like it can push 4K@60Hz. Do you think that would be a good purchase for use in FCPX?
No, these AMD cards have native support. No driver or anything required, just plug an play.

I am using 7950 and R9 280 (they are effectively the same card). Just $150 (new card), for a used card, you should able to get them at around $100 or lower.

Anyway, any AMD card that newer then R9 280X may have problem (may be not supported at all). So, the quick answer is NO, do not go for the R7 360.
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2007
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What other low end AMDs would you recommend? I see the R7 360 from MSI is very cheap (sub $100 on Amazon), and it looks like it can push 4K@60Hz. Do you think that would be a good purchase for use in FCPX?
Nope, it's unsupported (device ID missing).
Have a look here: http://tonymacx86.com/threads/radeon-compatibility-guide-ati-amd-graphics-cards.171291/

In short: Can't recommend any new AMD cards at the moment. R9 380/380X might work. GCN 1.1 has bad drivers and many have their device ID missing.
Good choices are: HD 7850, 7870, 7950, 7970, R9 270X, 280, 280X
If you want to flash the card, you'll want to get a Tahiti card with reference layout.
 

iamMacPerson

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No, these AMD cards have native support. No driver or anything required, just plug an play.

I am using 7950 and R9 280 (they are effectively the same card). Just $150 (new card), for a used card, you should able to get them at around $100 or lower.

Anyway, any AMD card that newer then R9 280X may have problem (may be not supported at all). So, the quick answer is NO, do not go for the R7 360.
If it's no trouble would you mind pointing me to the $150 7950/R9 280? I'm looking on Amazon but I'm only seeing $200+. $150 would be really doable right now. Thank you!!
 

iamMacPerson

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I get that from a local store last year.

Also, try eBay.
Will do. So any brand will work so long as it's that chipset?

EDIT: Second thought, scratch that. I'd really prefer the card be new for warranty purposes. Since it seems the card were clearances out a while ago, the prices are climbing back up. I guess it's back to the NVidia cards.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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Will do. So any brand will work so long as it's that chipset?
Yes, due to you plan to use it with a 4K 60Hz monitor, so, most likely you won't use it with Mac EFI. Therefore 99% of the card should work fine.

However, just in case you may need boot screen for something else later, you better pick a card that with reference design. Which means the port layout is the same as the reference 7950 (also same as the 7950 Mac Edition), 2x mDP, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI.

In general, the non OC card should be cheaper. Also, for non OC 7950 (or R9 280), they should only require 2x 6pin power cable, so, native support from the Mac hardware as well. If you go the OC model, or the 7970 (R9 280X), then you will need a 6pin to 8pin cable, and technically, the power draw is outside the Mac Pro's limit.
 
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Zwhaler

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Jun 10, 2006
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How do I get 60hz from my R9 280X? I'm running a UHD TV with HDMI and no dice. I appreciate any response. Mac Pro 5,1 with Mavericks.
 

Fl0r!an

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Aug 14, 2007
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DisplayPort.

The HDMI port is 1.4, it doesn't support more than 30Hz @ 4K. But I think OS X is still lacking HDMI 2.0 support anyway.
 
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Zwhaler

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DisplayPort.

The HDMI port is 1.4, it doesn't support more than 30Hz @ 4K. But I think OS X is still lacking HDMI 2.0 support anyway.
I thought so... So would HDMI out of the TV into an adapter into mini display port on the R9 280X work? Just checking... Thanks
 

Fl0r!an

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Only if that adapter is explicitly labeled as "DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0". I think Club3D has introduced one last year.
 
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Zwhaler

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Only if that adapter is explicitly labeled as "DP 1.2 to HDMI 2.0". I think Club3D has introduced one last year.
Now I'm only wondering if this would give my TV 60hz on Mac Pro 5,1 or if it only works on the late 2013 model.
 

Fl0r!an

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It should work fine, the R9 280X is perfectly capable of outputting 4K@60hz through DisplayPort. I never used such an adapter myself though, but I've seen positive reports.
 
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Zwhaler

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It should work fine, the R9 280X is perfectly capable of outputting 4K@60hz through DisplayPort. I never used such an adapter myself though, but I've seen positive reports.
Thanks for the help! I can report back my findings.
 

iamMacPerson

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What are your guy's thoughts on this EVGA GTX 960? It seems to be a bit beefier then the 950, but for FCPX is the extra power really needed? It also uses a single 6-pin external power cable, so it should work find with the oMP right?

Also, the 950 would be a 2GB card verses the 4GB on this 960.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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What are your guy's thoughts on this EVGA GTX 960? It seems to be a bit beefier then the 950, but for FCPX is the extra power really needed? It also uses a single 6-pin external power cable, so it should work find with the oMP right?

Also, the 950 would be a 2GB card verses the 4GB on this 960.
FCPX is pretty good to utilise the hardware, I never use either the 950 or 960, but I guess it will make some difference, especailly if you edit some 4K video, that 4G VRAM sure will help.

Anyway, for 960, still the same problem, it's a Maxwell card, you need to know how to deal with the driver, otherwise black screen only.
 
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iamMacPerson

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FCPX is pretty good to utilise the hardware, I never use either the 950 or 960, but I guess it will make some difference, especailly if you edit some 4K video, that 4G VRAM sure will help.

Anyway, for 960, still the same problem, it's a Maxwell card, you need to know how to deal with the driver, otherwise black screen only.
I figured. So long as I wait for the driver to be updated before installing the actual OS update I'll be fine correct?
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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I figured. So long as I wait for the driver to be updated before installing the actual OS update I'll be fine correct?
In addition to that you will have to follow a very specific procedure (see #24 in the Nvidia FAQ) or else you will be stuck in a boot loop that you cannot recover from unless you put your old EFI card back in.

I would suggest flashing it with EFI ROM which makes this a LOT easier, but you are on a very tight budget.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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I figured. So long as I wait for the driver to be updated before installing the actual OS update I'll be fine correct?
Yes and No. You have to wait for the driver available.

On top of that, you have to able to update the driver AFTER OS update, that means black screen only until you install and select the driver. That's the biggest problem, not the waiting. It's possible to finish the whole process by screen sharing, so not to hard at all, but you better have an idea what will happen, and how to do it.
 

Zwhaler

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Jun 10, 2006
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It should work fine, the R9 280X is perfectly capable of outputting 4K@60hz through DisplayPort. I never used such an adapter myself though, but I've seen positive reports.
Btw I did not have success with this product. Just letting you know. Not sure exactly why but it doesn't look like there is an easy solution, if any, for the Mac Pro 5,1. I'm using it with a brand new 2016/2017 55" 4K Samsung KS9500 series TV.

http://club-3d.com/index.php/produc...layport-12-to-hdmi-20-uhd-active-adapter.html

club3d_mini_dpi2hdmi_adapter_00.jpg
 
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Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2007
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Didn't work at all? Or did it max out at 4K@30Hz? Were you using an HDMI 2.0 cable?
Might be possible to force higher resolutions with SwitchResX and/or the Pixel Clock Patch.

If you've Windows on your MacPro, it would be interesting to verify if it's physically working.
 
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