Mac Pro 2008 Harpertown troubleshooting issue

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by anewperspective, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. anewperspective macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2012
    As an amateur Apple enthusiast, I decided to attempt a video card upgrade about a year ago with the release of the ATI Radeon 5870. I was successful and delighted to find just how simple of an installation this was. I understood the "risks" of using an unsupported product in my machine and have had no issues until yesterday when my monitor blacked out on me. When this happened, I was gaming using a mildly graphics intensive game, listening to itunes, and chatting using Ventrilo.

    As background to this, I want to note that I regularly use canned air to dust out the internals of my machine but have never removed the card to run air through it directly (would/could dust build up greatly inside and be causing this?). Again, I know enough about computers to get myself into trouble thinking I know more than I actually do.

    When my monitor didn't "wake back up" after going into stand-by mode, I attempted putting my computer in sleep mode to see if that would re-establish the connection. Once in sleep mode, I had no success, though my itunes music played on. I was forced to manually power down my machine and restart. Once rebooted, my monitor sprang back to life. Again, I want to note that there could be a very simple solution to this and that it may not even be my graphics card to blame; this is just my assumption thus far.

    I popped the side panel off my machine and did notice that my video card was fairly warm, much warmer than right now as I type this. Since yesterday, this problem has occurred several times, all while gaming. Strangely, I was able to play for a stint of 2hrs without an issue and another 2hrs late last night. This morning, within 15mins, it happened again.

    So far, I have installed a manual fan control (Smcfancontrol) and boosted all fan speeds to about 1500rpm's to assist in the cooling (IF that is indeed the issue), but it doesn't seem to be helping.

    About my Mac: OSX 10.6.8
    2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    8GB 800 MHz DDR2
    ATI Radeon 5870 HD using MDP to HDMI on a Samsung LED monitor

    Questions I have:

    -Is there a way for me to monitor the temperature of my graphics card because I can't seem to find a program to assist me?

    -Is there a program that I can use to manually control the fan speed on my graphics card (cannot seem to find a mac-friendly version of the ATI CCC)?

    -I understand that the graphics card isn't supported on my machine, BUT if I installed Windows 7 (blah...), would I be able to find drivers (which I currently cannot locate using OSX) and use the CCC to assist me in my struggle?

    If you took the time to read this post, thank you very much. I hope that I can find a permanent solution to this before something permanently goes wrong. It would be a shame.
  2. NoNaMeUsEr macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2010
    May be it help You.
    - about temperature
    You can try Temperature Monitor, it's free.
    - about Windows
    You can use BootCamp drivers or vendor's driver for Windows.
    I use vendor's driver for my GF8800, works fine.
  3. gpzjock, Apr 10, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    5870 in 2008 is a bit flaky but not serious.

    I use a flashed Sapphire Vapor-X 5870 in my Mac Pro 2008. The card has an excellent cooler and the fan runs up and down as required.
    The screen not waking up from sleep mode can be solved by various methods. My monitor shows static after being woken up from sleep, I turn the monitor off and on again, the 5870 detects it and the signal is activated again.
    Alternatively you can set your monitor to not sleep by using hot corners and leaving the mouse in one that doesn't let it.
    You can also set the screen saver to run for a longer period before letting it sleep.
    None of the above save energy but they will stop you wearing out your Mac Pro's on switch.
    Hope this is useful. :)

    If you have a failing 5870 then the ultimate solution is to replace it. Going down the modification route, you could update your OS to Lion, install the new Nvidia GFX card drivers for OS X and buy a nice new GTX560 or 570 to use (again outside the support area).
    Apple's insistence on making a perfectly good Mac Pro part of Team Obsolete, just so they can sell you another computer is a very cheap shot from a very rich corporation.
  4. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    I have installed a the Mac-version of the Radeon 5870 in my Mac Pro '08. Before that I had the Radeon 4870 Mac edition installed replacing the ol' 8800 GT.

    After about a month of usage (few days a week heavy 3D gaming, i.e. X-Plane 10 for a few hours) I noticed artifacts: wrongly drawn triangles when playing X-Plane.
    These artifacts occur with games like X-Plane and Rage on OS X, 10.7.3 and the latest beta of 10.7.4.
    To make sure it was a hardware issue, I tested the card in Windows 7, latest Catalyst drivers and run an AMD Radeon HD 5XXX demo. Yep, same problems.

    I handed the Mac Pro to my local reseller. It seemed the card had run too hot. The technician asked me if I had ever over clocked it, which I hadn't.

    What seemed to be the culprit: lots of dust had accumulated inside the Mac Pro... The Radeon 5870 runs hot by itself... So a poorly ventilated Mac Pro can seriously damage a new Radeon 5870!

    So, be aware!

    Don't forget that the Radeon 5870 Mac edition is only "supported" in the '09 and '10 Mac Pros. Therefore having it replaced while being used inside a '08 Mac Pro can be a nuisance for the technician trying to replace it under warranty. The serial number of the 2008 Mac Pro cannot be used....

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