Mac Pro 3,1 and 4K Monitor

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by apple.fiend, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. apple.fiend macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Hey guys,

    I recently bought the Dell 28" 4K monitor, as I wanted the maximum screen real-estate but I ran into some issues I didn't anticipate.

    My main issue is the mouse is laggy. I realize that I am running at only 30Hz, but I don't feel that is the issue, I mean you see the mouse "trail" as a result of the low refresh rate, but the mouse is just laggy to use. It's mostly noticeable in Photoshop when using the brush, its not 100% responsive to my actions.

    Here are my specs,

    Processor: 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory: 10GB 800MHz DDR2
    Graphics: ATI Raedon HD 5770 1GB
    Software: OS X 10.9.3 (12D43) (I'm running latest Beta OS X which has much better 4k support, but its still not ideal).

    Any recommendations as to what I can look to change/fix/upgrade to get the performance I desire? I will be upgrading to the new Mac Pro next year, and need my work station to work well for at least another solid year.

    - George
  2. gpzjock, Apr 19, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Upgrade everything.

    Difficult to say if 4k is viable when everything is so out of date apart from the OS. If you change the 5770 for a much newer card and still have lag you will have to change everything from the ground up.

    The GFX card is the obvious place to start, a Radeon 5770 is very underpowered compared to newer models:

    If that doesn't speed it up, the slower DDR2 RAM and a 6 year old Xeon CPU could be the bottleneck, in which case you would need to sell the whole lot and start again with a newer workstation. Comparing the Harpertown Xeon in a Mac Pro 3,1 with a modern i7 Haswell desktop CPU shows a large performance gap too:

    Back in January Anandtech recommended 2x R9 290X cards for the best 4k experience in Windows but your MP 3,1 will not supply enough power to run a pair of such high performance cards without serious modification and an external PSU.
  3. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I do realize having such an old machine, it would have trouble running the 4k screen. I am quite happy with how it runs now, but its not 100% perfect the way I want it.

    Is that graphics card you recommended, the Radeon HD 7950 Mac, compatible with my 3,1 Mac Pro? It seems its sold out everywhere and quite an expensive upgrade. I want to shy away from a major overhaul since I am currently looking to upgrade to the new Mac Pro later next year. Just need something to help me in the mean time and for now I will pursue that graphics solution.
  4. gpzjock, Apr 20, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
  5. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2008
    I bought this card for the mac pro 2008 (swedish site, but you should be able to see the specs at least):

    That Zotac GTX 680 with two 6-pin power cords works awesome with a 1440p screen and it will surely beat the crap out of a 5770 at 4K, hands down. 4GB memory is nice for that bigger screen.

    You don't get a boot-screen though but otherwise it works awesome out of the box.

    // DL
  6. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    All of these people blaming the performance of X component are tripping. He isn't gaming. A 5770 can drive a 4k desktop.

    How do you have it hooked up? Do you have a PC 5770 or an Apple 5770? If it's a PC 5770, is it still on the PC ROM or has it been flashed?
  7. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Im running the Mac version. I am connected from the monitor's display port to mini display port via a single cable, it came with the monitor. I can run 4K fine, I just notice lag in the mouse in relation to my movement and what I see on screen. For normal use its fine, but when I try to do fine adjustments or movement in PS with either mouse or tablet, its really noticeable and makes it harder to edit photos efficiently.

    I am considering the AMD 7950, as well as adding more RAM, would the 7950 be able to get me the performance I desire? Its tough to really know before hand until I buy it and test it out. Just want some more assurance that it can do what I want it to.

    Investing some money now will allow me to use the computer for another solid year and upgrade to the Mac Pro a little while longer.
  8. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
  9. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Its hard because you can only really see/feel the issue when using it. Everything runs great, I can play videos fine, games, even 4K content, and only very slightly glitches. The problem is minor, but noticeable when working. The best way I can put it, it feels like very very slight input lag, where I would move the mouse physically, and the cursor on the screen is micro seconds slower to respond. Does that make more sense? I'm just not sure if its a CPU or GPU solution, or if its worth it just to wait it out and get the new Mac Pro. Its easier for me to spend $500 on a GPU now than to spend $3,000 on a new computer. I'd be ok to grab the GPU 7950, and see if it works, and if not just return it, but I'd rather not deal with that hassle, and just have a better idea if it is the solution to my problem. With every OS X update, the performance gets better, but its not perfect.

    My Dell 4K, runs at 4K @ 30Hz, is the problem just that the refresh is slower and maybe not my GPU at all? If thats the case, that changes how I see things. I don't really know how to diagnose where the problem is coming from.
  10. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    When you describe it like that, it sounds like 30hz is the problem.
  11. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Makes sense the more I think about it, the low refresh rate may be the problem. My old Cinema Display was 30hz as well, but because of the smaller res, the problem is not apparent at all. At least saves me money now not buying a new GPU. Have to rethink for the future.
  12. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    How is your Dell 4K monitor connected to the 5770? As far as I have read, DisplayPort 1.2 is the way to go as far as 4K output goes, which the 5770 lacks. As many have said above, you're probably going to want a stronger graphics card. The GTX 680 Mac Edition does NOT have a DisplayPort 1.2 port, it's only 1.1 - therefore you might want to look into that Zotac card, which can be flashed with a Mac EFI ROM if you so desire a boot screen. There is a thread a few pages back in the forum with a guide on how to do that.
  13. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    As others have said, that video card can easily drive 4k. I had a 2011 mac mini with the AMD 6630, and it had no problems in 2D. The 5570 is a way, way better card that that.

    Other threads have recommended smoothmouse to help with mouse lag ( I've used it on w/ my 30Hz Seiki 4k TV (SE39UY04) and it does seem to help, but hard to quantify. When I first got the display I had to run at 18Hz, and that was really hard to use, but I'm able to use 30Hz without much complaint (NOTE: I don't use photoshop so can't comment specifically there)

    The other thing that makes a big difference with a 4k TV is if it has any sort of motion compensation. I have to keep turning it off Motion Estimation/Correction when I hook my laptop to my TV or it adds a terrible lag. The Dell *probably* doesn't have anything like that being a monitor rather than TV but it might be worth checking.

    This is the Dell P2815Q - their cheap 4k? Reviews do complain about mouse lag - I wonder if they are doing some processing and adding frame lag (I have no personal experience with this model though)
  14. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    I am connected via DisplayPort.

    I actually just downloaded SmoothMouse and it pretty much resolved my issue. Its not 100% perfect but much closer to what I want. I will continue to play more and see what I get. In no rush to spend money but I am on the right track.
  15. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Yes a 5770 can run a 4k display, but it wasn't designed to do so with high performance.
    AMD claim a max resolution of 2560 x 1600 over Display Port:
    but they also state that a 5770 will support 3 monitors at 2560 x 1600, so it should manage a single 4k display in 2D.
    I assumed the OP was expecting good 3D performance. My bad. :eek:
  16. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2013
    DMV Area
    Hey OP, what "28 inch Dell 4K monitor" did you buy - the "affordable" one that is really hitting the market ONLY RUNS at 30Hz as a display hardware restriction.
  17. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    The other thing to consider is getting a better mouse. I'm not sure which one you are using, but some of the fancier gaming mice (A Razer DeathAdder for instance) support high DPI. The support for better precision will make the choppiness your current mouse has as the OS overcompensates be far more minimal if not entirely disappear.
  18. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    I have the Seiki 39" 4k. I'm also using a Mac Pro 3,1 with a PC firmware GTX570 connected via the DisplayPort > HDMI dongle. Getting the maximum 30hz allowed and it is a big improvement over the 23hz I was getting from the straight HDMI connection.

    As an experiment, try running it under 30hz and you will find it so bad. If you did a side by side comparison of 30hz with a 60hz, you'll know for sure it is the latency of the refresh rate that is causing the issues you're having.
  19. apple.fiend thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Yes I do have the entry-level 28" 4K Dell. I didn't think the 30Hz would be so bad, and for general use its not. Just struggling with mouse latency that has been fixed with smoothmouse, but still not perfect.

    I'm using a random, cheap Dell USB mouse, since my Magic Mouse was giving me issues and experience the same performance with both mice, except I dont always have to change batteries.

    When I first got the monitor, I even tried it side by side with my older 20" Dell monitor that had 60Hz and had 0 issues. Same with my old Cinema Display, which only had 30Hz also, but since the resolution was so much smaller, there were 0 problems as well.
  20. kamcma macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2009
    I and others have disproved this—If you run Bootcamp with this card in a Mac Pro, with a 4K display set to accept DP 1.2 (in my case, the 24 inch Dell), you can get 4K 60 Hz. Frustratingly, even with the newly released 10.9.3, I cannot get OS X to send a 60 Hz signal. If anyone has any idea what I might be doing wrong, I'm all ears.
  21. Moogulator macrumors newbie


    Dec 13, 2014
    4K on MP

    Hey guy, I found this thread - some questions on 4K on MacPro
    (I am running a 2009 MP 4,1 8core with HD5770)
    atm on 2.5k and 2k displays.

    well I read you (apple fiend) are using Display Port - but the HD5770 has only 2 DVI ports plus HDMI

    I had to buy one since Yosemite slowed down all GFX a LOT. so - since Display Port is not present on this card - do you think it can handle 4k? I don't think so, but since you managed to do so - what was the trick? a converter?

    I strongly assume you must have had something to get this done and I read those 2 DVI connectors on the HD5770 won't do 4K. right? and this is sort of an old GFX card but I got it for 150€ and needed to not be annoyed by 1minute of using zoom with GeForce 120 *G*

    I am NOT planning to switch to a new mac pro since it is not really perfect for music and just more than expensive so this MP will be my last and it's still a good machine compared to most macs - and adding HDs is hard on any new mac - so next mac will be different and hope to keep this mac for some years for this reason).

    since you did it - my MP and HD5770 but with DVI should do 4k as well, right? (at 30 Hz as most macs do these days - seems there's no 60Hz at all - maybe except the MP but it won't never be in my price range unlike all those MPs I had in my life..)
  22. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    The only way I see you could get 4k with that card it 3840x2160 (17Hz). I'm not totally sure this is even possible under OSX, but that was the configuration I used under linux briefly until I got a better card.

    17 Hz is really terrible to use. 30 Hz is barely acceptable, but basically need either displayport or HDMI 1.4 to get that. 60Hz requires displayport 1.2 or HDMI 2.0
  23. Moogulator macrumors newbie


    Dec 13, 2014
    HDMI is included but the 5770 is quite an old piece of hardware.
    Since he said he did use it and managed to get 30Hz 4k (of course it is not 4000 but just 3840pixels..) - I am curious how he managed to do so.

    Since I got the same hardware it should be possible but I'd not got below 30Hz - and it's just thinking - there's a nice 800€ display and some of those are even below - as a mac user of non 4k Macs I will not get to use that resolution soon -

    but if it's possible - I really enjoy hiresolutions for many reasons ;)
    I do not play games (since I am a mac user - haha)
    so there's only videos that may need more power - so I am using music stuff and stuff -so I'd assume it is "ok" but not perfect.

    but I assume it isn't that much recommended - rather then waiting for apple to make something that is made for this kind of resolution with a decent GFX card - and there seems to be no mac that can handle more than 30Hz - except the new MP which I won't buy because it is simply too expensive (SSDs at apple charge for twice the cost of it etc..)
    I will be jumping off the Pro line for the first time since 1994. but I never had to spend 3000€ for a machine that I could not really use (256GB SSD is a joke - and not anything near "pro")..

    but that's nothing to talk much about, I am just not in - and will just get a macbook pro in 3-4 years or so as a main machine or possible an iMac like the Retina which is nice - but too early ;)

    so - if some1 is hear to tell me the trick with my MP and HD5770 to get 30Hz 4K - just using those DVIs and that HDMI... since there is simply no Displayport on that card!

    I am die hard mac user - since most of my music stuff won't run under linux - almost no audio interface is supported - and windows isn't an option either. so looks like just keep it with what I already got and just wait 2-4 years - I really believe it is that kind of time period to wait for something that is worth buying and significantly faster and worth buying something to put my mass storage stuff in and still keep working with SSDs .. but Apple are quite evil you can not change anything yourself.. and I guy that won't get better but possibly 1-2TB will be standard in 2-4 years and I just need to add 2-3 HD drives with 6-10TB ...

    but - well - I'd still try it.. one day.
    since it seems to work..!?
  24. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    You should read more.

    Plenty of ways to get 4k @ 60hz in cMP.

    5770 isn't on list but there are Nvidia and AMD cards that can.
  25. Moogulator macrumors newbie


    Dec 13, 2014
    I read quite some forums and stuff -
    but seems it isn't always that clear if NEW GFX cards really work with the MP under - say - the next OS X 10.11 AntAttack (or the like)
    but I got the idea that the 3-digit-ones seem to be able to work with - of course I will not see the start screen and the ALT-boot dialogue - like on my HD5770, ..

    well - so I may need to wait and see - but there are several things to do - like PSU connections aren't available on the MP 2009.

    I also saw these
    which is a 280X pimped to work with the mac (unsolder one resistor from SMD optional to see the boot dialogue and PSU stuff necessary)

    see #2 of one solution.
    Denis' solution is smarter -

    so - seems like one need to do that. or at least switch to another GFX card - but I just bought this, so I must simply live with this one for 1 year or so to make me feel I did not buy something for nothing - I am not sure if I dare to do that PSU mods.. but I am sure I can do that..

    so - I better do not try 4k the very next time. But I might want to for silencing my Mac back to the Geforce120 feeling which was totally silent ... ;)

    but- what I don't really get
    Apple.Fiend is using Graphics: ATI Raedon HD 5770 1GB - the same card as I do and he did it 30Hz 4k - and he said there is a display port connector - so - was there another version of the HD5770 or what did I do get wrong here? My HD5770 only got these
    So, Mr Fiend - if you are here - ??..

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