Looking for a self-flash friendly "It just works" GPU for cMP 5,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by zoltm, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. zoltm, Jun 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017

    zoltm macrumors member

    May 9, 2017
    Hi guys,

    I have recently joined the camp of the used cMP 5,1. It was my replacement for my beloved Mac Mini early 2009 that recently failed on me.

    As you can tell I can still live with a Mac Mini 2009, I am not a very demanding user. I use my computer mainly for daily web surfing, some office application, casual family photo processing on LR, quite a bit of youtubing and ebanking stuff nothing heavy. No gaming, nothing really very critical and heavy.

    The cMP comes with a RADEON 4870. It works OK but main concern is about the heat generated by the card and possible lack of power efficiency on the card. Base on some homework done in this forum, GPU technology seems to have advanced quite a bit, and it makes some "yesterday" technology more affordable and that's great for value-minded soul like me, i.e. cheap skate.

    I set out the following requirement for my next GPU "upgrade".

    Must Have
    1. Tinkering once is OKAY but once done, it has to be "Just Work". Hence I want the boot screen and being able to do future macOS upgrade without too much fiddling like swapping card.
    2. Ability to drive 4K@60Hz for at least ONE display operation in the future. I currently is running a 27" 1080 HD mon, find it a little lack in display real estate. Seriously looking at good 4K monitor
    3. Budget of $50-100 range, sorry, I am a cheap skate. :p
    4. Stability and quietness in operation is higher priority than sheer speed & feed. Don't want a card that would set the Mac Pro fans going crazy.

    Nice to have
    1. Ability to drive a 4K TV alongside (@30Hz) with a 4K@60Hz monitor. I was told this is NOT something can be easily done with 1 single card (please correct me if I am wrong).
    2. I read somewhere that it is great to do scaled mode 1440 in 4K display for text sharpness. I do quite a bit of reading on my computer, currently, having the 1920x1080 in 27" with the Samsung C27F391FHC, the text quality is a little bit to be desired comparing to my previous 24" Dell Ultrasharp.

    Candidates in mind
    1. Radeon 7950 or R9 280
    2. GTX 680 or GTX 570

    Feel free to share what's the PC card that you use and self-flash with success in a short notes, I want to get a feel on which card is ideal to hunt for the self-flash operation.

    Currently, I am looking at this http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?Pid=D9A64D5D-60F4-41C4-BF78-8773BA2C3974&lang=eng a source is offering this at $60. It is some kind of dead stock coming out of Sapphire, like new condition.

    So much for now. I really love this community, there are load of very knowledgable people and willing to share the knowledge.

    Thanks and have fun!

    --- Post Merged, Jun 5, 2017 ---
    The source could also provide this http://www.sapphiretech.com/productdetial.asp?Pid=9213647F-B1DB-4945-BE33-8E1353666B91&lang=eng for the same price.

    The concern is this card does not have the same port config as the reference card. There is no two mini DP in the reference card.
  2. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    I believe the reference GTX 680 would fit all your needs. I'm afraid I don't know anything about flashing GPUs, but the specs seem to match what you require.
  3. zoltm, Jun 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017

    zoltm thread starter macrumors member

    May 9, 2017
    Guys, upon doing more homework, I found that the RX460 card may be a good budget card with the right ports that I can drive 2 4K devices. The card normally comes with 1xDP (1.4), 1xHDMI (2.0), 1x DVI .

    Thus far I realise 1 or 2 active member in the forum are using this card. I would love to hear from more kind souls if you are indeed running a RX460 in your cMP.

    I do understand that currently there are no easy self-flash solution for the RX460. However, given its low power consumption, no needs for extra power supply, quietness, OOTB plug & play. I think I can do away with the boot screen.

    It looks like the Gigabyte and MSI are the two good brand to go with, really good price to performance ratio.

    Do share your thoughts.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2017 ---
  4. CapnDavey macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2015
    Most GTX 680's are easy to flash the ATI 7950 is also easy to flash both cards can be found in PC version for around 100 dollars no brainer
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Keep your old card around as a backup.

    Boot screens are like seat belts. You don't need them every day, but when you do need it, you REALLY need it.
  6. IIcx macrumors newbie


    Jan 29, 2017
    x11 what ActionableMango said.

    Dang, would love to pick a 7950 up for $60 bucks. The curency miners have even started driving the price on those up, used they are around 160 ish now.

    Regarding the rx460, they only work in Seirra on up, and are not flashable for boot screen support. From what I have read, you would want to look for a Gigabyte Windforce version, as users reported other brands were flaky/did not output video. Closer to the reference design the better.
  7. jscipione macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2017

    I also recently joined the Mac Pro owners club, long after the party was over, after switching from an Early 2009 Mac Mini. My Mini didn't die but I had outgrown it. I wanted a Mac with Internal BluRay drives and large capacity spinning disks and the cMP is the last and best Mac there will prob ever be at that task so I got one and I couldn't be happier with it.

    I put a Radeon RX 580 in mine, oob driver worked great in High Sierra but I was displeased with no boot screen so I went back to using the stock Radeon HD 5770. This card works fine for me now but if you figure out a better hassle-free solution I'd be interested in hearing what you come up with. Best advice I got is to buy an Nvidia card pre-flashed from macvidcards.com. I have read that you can flash the PC version of the card used in the trashcan Mac Pro to work on the cMP but I'd need to look into it more.
  8. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I guess you mean that we can flash the 7970 (AKA R9 280X, same Device ID as the D700 inside the nMP) by ourselves. This is correct. The procedure is very simple, and since the reference has dual VROM design, the process is very fail safe.

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7 June 5, 2017