Mac Pro 1,1 GFX upgrade advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rog210, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Rog210 macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    My PS3 BR drive died and, seeing as Sony won't be seeing a single cent from me ever again, I'd like to upgrade the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256 MB in my 2007 Mac Pro.

    I'm running Lion but I've not looked into PC GFX cards ever since i bought a G3 iBook all those years ago so I'm not sure what to get. I run Lion and I hear some cards are supported out of the box without having to pay through the nose for the official Apple versions. I also hear that, because of the limitations of my machine, some cards won't operate at their full potential.

    Can anyone recommend a card? 5770s are supposed to be OK, 6870s better - but can my Mac take advantage of the extra power? I'm also bewildered by the different brands, are they all the same, performance-wise?

    I'm looking to use the card for gaming and it would be great if someone could recommend a card for around $150, maybe more if the performance would be worth the extra. I run two DVI displays but a third HDMI would be nice to add at some point.

    Thanks guys!
  2. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    To my understanding the 6870 has trouble running more than two displays under osx because its not an Official card from apple. It does however work out of the box but the dvd player and boot screen will not show. You can fix that by flashing it through

    The 5770 would be a good solution for you. its plenty powerful and won't break the bank and is supported by Apple. Everything will work smoothly.
  3. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
  4. BigJohno, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    You are going to have to flash it. Might be a pain in the ass if you are not familiar with it. I would just get the I know its quite a bit more expensive but you won't have to flash anything.

    You could also get this Which will work right out of the box.
  5. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    Thanks again!

    This is where I get confused. The Apple 5770 runs at around $230 but I can get the 6870 you mentioned for $190. Will my 1,1 Mac Pro get the benefit of the extra horsepower?

    There's this that runs under $150 w/rebate. Is it the same as the card you mentioned, i.e. just plug it in and go?

    Sorry to be a pain, I just want to get the right one and have it work right away without returning it. I'm also not adverse to flashing a card if I have to, I'm just after a card that's going to give me great gaming performance for a few years.
  6. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    The reason why the Apple card is so much is because of the "Apple Tax". Everything that apple sells will be more expensive than the PC market thats just the nature of Apple products.

    This link will help you find the right 6870.

    Another xfx 6870 in a mac pro

    I have the 5770 is a great card. I have it and play Battlefield 3 at high setting and 1080p. That is said to be the best visually looking game and I have no problem running it.

    If you don't want a hassle get the 5770 or 5870 from apple.
  7. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    Thanks! I'll give that thread a good read.

    I'm not paying the Apple tax. What with their current practice to stifling competition through suing everyone for IP infringement, I'm not a fan of where they're heading these days.
  8. NoSole macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2011
    I too am on the same quest, but I don't feel like paying apple pricing because I'm broke.

    Big J, could you please explain to a newb like me why there are so many variations of the same graphics card? I'm confused for a couple reason. 1.) the pricing is noticeably different from brand to brand (i.e. xfx -> sapphire -> apple), and 2.) the design (although they are technically the same model) looks totally different
  9. t0rr3s macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2010
    I got my apple 5770 for 115 off a tech forum. Lovely spot of luck that was, saved me more than a few quid. Working great.
  10. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2010
    Check the specs here (for the 5770 for example):

    If the maker you are buying from has different specs, then don't buy it. Macs really only play nice with the "reference" IE the original ATI design - cards that differ from this specification probably won't work.
  11. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    I should just point out that Mac Pro 1,1 and 2,1 have PCIe slots that run at 1.1 not 2.0. so any new card is not going to run at its full potential unless put in a PCIe 2.0 slot. Are you likely to notice a difference, probably not, but I thought I would point it out anyway. I had a 5770 in my 1,1 and it ran fine, no issues. I would not recommend flashing a non Apple card or using a non Apple card, the few dollars you may save, you will more then likely wind up with frustration with future OSX updates, or who knows, just not worth it in my opinion.
  12. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    There isn't an EFI flash for 1,1 and 2,1 Mac Pros.
  13. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Most notable difference is the cooling solution (noise!). Check reviews for the model you're interested in. Other differences may lie in the quality of the components used (e.g. voltage regulators, capacitors, Ram [speed]), where you usually won't notice the difference unless you plan to overclock the card.
  14. Vapor matt macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2010

    there is a efi flash to convert a 1.1 into a 2.1 but it won't make it 64bit but you can upgrade to mac pro 2.1 cpu,s if you want to.

    I fitted a standard PC 6870 in my daughters 1.1 and it works fine, she plays her sims 3 on it all the time no problems, and the fans don't go crazy either!
  15. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I don't understand what any of this has to do with a Sony PS3 blu-ray drive failing?!? :p
  16. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I guess you didn't like the PS3 enough to buy another PS3? If my 360 broke, I would buy another one in a heartbeat!

    Regardless, exploring PC gaming is awesome too. Take the word of people here or do your own research of which PC cards work on your 1,1 and go for it, the hassle isn't that much and worth saving $100.
  17. teohyc macrumors regular


    May 24, 2007
    I bought the 5770 to replace my 4870 on my Mac Pro 1,1.

    I won't recommend that. I sold the 5770 just a few days after buying it

    The 5770 seems to be giving slightly choppier movements - like when using Expose the windows don't slide as smooth.

    Not sure about how good the 5770 is in gaming over the 4870 though.

    ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Card for Apple Mac Pro by Parka81, on Flickr
  18. gpzjock, Jan 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Mac Pro 1,1 GFX cards are a matter of choice vs. hassle.

    Replacing a PS3 with a Mac Pro 1,1 for gaming has several options all involving varied degrees of expense or trickery.

    Expensive but easy: Buy an Apple brand Radeon 4870 ebay or 5770 ebay again, install a Windows 7 build gawd bless ebay using Bootcamp, play Windows games up to a reasonable resolution. About £250 all in.

    Cheaper but trickier: Grab a PC card and flash it with the knowledge of the Netkas community or buy a flashed one from a good vendor Oh look ebay again and use Windows 7 again to play all the PC games it will manage. About £195 all in.

    5870 and 6870 cards increase the cost or hassle for MP 1,1 with little return in performance due to the limited PCI 1.1 connection and 32 bit EFI boot. I would avoid them. Bare Feats tested the 5870 here: Why bovver?

    You choose, your Mac Pro, you da boss. :)
  19. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    I bought the cables and an XFX 6870 and installed last night. It works in Lion fine apart from a few issues. Obviously, no boot screen but that's a non-issue for me, I rarely need to reboot and even when I do, I don't need to see a boot screen.

    When I first booted the displays wouldn't give me a dock or menu bar, it seemed that the mac had decided that the 7300 was the primary display even though nothing was plugged in. cmd+F1 fixed that issue.

    Other issues - Batman Arkham Asylum won't run without the old 7300 card in slot 4. It's not even hooked up to a display but if I take it out, the game crashes straight after launching.

    FIFA 12 crashes regardless which is a pain that's one of the reasons I bought the card. Oh well. Other games run fine. With the 7300 in, Arkham Asylum runs very smoothly on maxed out setting, stunning looking.

    Anyway, my advice, if you're buying this for gaming on a 1,1 Mac - check compatibility first if you can. It's an unsupported card at this point so I doubt it's a priority for developers to check compatibility until new Mac Pros (hopefully) can ship with an Apple-branded 6xxx card in them.
  20. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
  21. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    Hey :)

    FIFA isn't a Steam game.

    I installed the package - entered password and got the 'fingers crossed and reboot' message. The installer hangs after this and I had to force quit. I rebooted and the displays got messed up, showing my desktop in a corner of the display like the resolution was screwed up. A few CMD + F1 presses fixed this.

    DVD player still crashes though. Also, in system/library/extensions/ I don't see an ATY_init. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?

    I was reluctant to install the .kext, i read I lose a DVI port. They're still both working (one DVI display, one DVI-VGA) I'm not sure what's happening here.

    I'd love to get FIFA working but I don't even know where to start. I'll happily try any suggestions as long as I can get things working again if i screw something up. At least I have the 7300 in there should the 6870 stop working.

    Side note - even after a few hours of Arkham Asylum, the card was fairly quiet, not silent but not the terrible fan issues I've seen reported.

    This is the card:
  22. Jarpo macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2008
    Is there anywhere else do download this file? I can't get it past 0.5MB/17.3MB. Tried last night and right now.

    EDIT: Nevermind...something's up with my connection. I can view websites and listen to Spotify, but can't download any files or torrents. Strange.
  23. The Cat Empire, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

    The Cat Empire macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I bought Dirt 2 and Arkham Asylum from the app store and neither of them launch for me. Any ideas? I tried installing the ATY_Init kext and I got no video after I restarted... hmm..

    By the way, I have the same card you posted from NewEgg... Just got it!
  24. Rog210 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2004
    My solution in the end was a bootcamp partition for games. It works great!

    Games are very much hit or miss on the OS X side with the 6870. You can use the ATI app on the windows side to overclock too should you wish.
  25. The Cat Empire macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    I GOT EVERYTHING TO WORK!!! Steam is working and my App Store games are working as well!

    I have the same exact card as you so I guess I should tell you how I did it.

    Here's the instructions I used (slightly modified by me to make it more clear in case I ever have to do it again)

    boot with old way to get 6870 working in macpro.
    Open and insert this command:
    ioreg -l -w0 | grep bin_image
    you will get a big array in between < and > there
    copy it (with < and >)
    open plist of ATY_init in property list editor (important), find section of 6800 series
    addnew key to it - ATY,bin_image, set type - data.
    and paste from buffer to content of that key, save file.
    1. right click on ATY_init.kext
    2. Show Package Contents
    3. open the "Contents" folder
    3. Open the info.plist in a Text Editor or PListEdit Pro.
    4. If using PlistEditPro expand IOKitPersonalities, if using textmate or textedit or some other app just do a find for ATI Radeon 6800. Then goto step 
    5. Then, expand ATY_Init.
    6. Scroll down to your card. In this case it is ATI Radeon 6800 Series. Expand that.
    7. Scroll down to ATY,VendorID under the first column (That is your 'Key' columns in PlistEditPro)
    8.* add a "New Sibling" with ATY,bin_image as the key, the second column select "data", and put all that hexadecimal between < and > in the third column.
    8a. If using a program like Textmate add the following:
    <data> Your hex output (yes, it will be roughly around 65500 bytes) </data>
    ***make sure you are adding that under your Radeon 6800 Series card and not another.
    9. Save it.
    10. Add the next to System/Library/Extensions via terminal or one of the many app's that exist... (Kext Helper b7)
    Make sure you know how to load kext via terminal or via an application such as Kext Wizard. You will notice a change under about this mac > more info > graphics/displays... after a restart.
    The other weird thing is... everywhere I read said that only the TOP DVI port works, but in my case (probably your case too since you have the same exact card) you need to use the BOTTOM port not the top. So I'm not sure if editing the file did the trick or if simply switching display ports did it. Either way... it worked and I'm STOKED! I just got done playing Dirt 2 and Batman.

    Good luck man. I can get you on iChat or something if you need more help. Hope this works for you like it worked for me.

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