Mac Pro 2009 upgrade (4.1 to 5.1) - Which GPU?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by polanskiman, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. polanskiman macrumors member

    polanskiman

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm upgrading my Mac Pro from 4.1 (to 5.1) with new hardware. The machine came with a Radeon HD 4870 when I purchased it and would like to know what would be a good GPU upgrade (if any) without braking the bank.

    Thanks for your recommendations.
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
  3. polanskiman thread starter macrumors member

    polanskiman

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    #3
    150-250 USD perhaps. I will be looking into second hand of course.
     
  4. h9826790, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    Then plenty of choice.

    For OpenCL or FCPX, HD7950 (R9 280) or HD7970 (R9 280X) are good choices. Dual 6pin (same as your 4870) 7950 will be easier on power management, but not as powerful as the 7970. Both card easily flash by yourself to become a Mac graphic card (enable to boot screen).

    On the Nvidia side, 680 is a good choice, easy to flash, have dual 6pin option, and OSX has native driver support.

    If you don't need the boot screen, and don't mind to deal with the Nvidia web driver, you may go for the low end Maxwell card.

    I don't know your usage, but I personally quite happy with the 7950, it's just like an upgraded 4870, plug and play, everything has native support. (Except you have to fix he boot screen part by yourself if you buy the PC version).

    I am now using this card, it only cost me $150 (new card) last year.
     
  5. polanskiman thread starter macrumors member

    polanskiman

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    #5
    Thanks. What's important to me is to keep native support from OSX. Having the boot screen is a must. I have no need for too much GPU power.

    So you use the 7950 and the R9 280. Which one do you prefer?
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #6
    They are effectively the same GPU. I personally prefer the R9 280, because it has the better cooler, run quieter, and may be a newer PCB compared to the 7950.

    After flashing, it will ident itself as the 7950 anyway. When you get a card for flashing, looking for the correct card is important. Reference design is highly recommended, which means has 2 mini display port, 1 HDMI, and 1 DVI output. I personally prefer the 2x6pin card, which make no headache on power management. And you can simply keep your current cable from the stock 4870 to power the new GPU.
     

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