Mac Pro 3,1 and ATI Radeon HD 5870 kills CPU power

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rdfiorentino, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. rdfiorentino macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Maybe I should start off by saying the reason for my switch to the Radeon HD 5870. This Mac Pro is in a recording and mixing studio, I do not need any super powerful Video card, but I have a really big problem with the stock video card, ATI Radeon HD 2600. About 4 months ago the fan in it switched in to full power and is blaring. It stays on, and very loud from the second I touch the power button, it is really loud and very aggravating.

    I had a brand new ATI Radeon HD 5870 that I was going to use in a PC, but never did. I decided to try it out. I installed it and removed the old 2600. Perfectly nice and quiet. My problem now was that when I opened up a session to work on, I could hardly play through or record a simple session without an error that my CPU couldn't keep up. My CPU would trip up while my session was in idle. Yes, I am using a lot of processing power for my sessions, but these are sessions that I had 0 problems with prior to installing the 5870. I left all the settings of one of my sessions the same, with the 5870 I could hardly get through 3 seconds without it stopping. I then installed the 2600 and ran the same session with 0 issues.

    I started searching and searching online for fixes and other people who have had similar problems, but nothing came up.

    This is my assumption: the video card is pulling too much power from the PSU which can no longer provide enough power to the CPU. Is this a crazy thing to think or relatively normal?

    My Mac Pro is a 3,1 and it has 8 cores at 2.8ghz. I believe the power supply is 980 watts. I have 14gb of RAM, 3 HDD and 1 SSD, and a Pro Tools HD Native card in it. What seems to be the problem. Is it me or the Video Card?

    This whole thing has had me spend days trying to find something wrong with the 2600 and looking for any info on the 5870 that could fix my problem. I have had no luck, so I am posting here. Also, If you think you have a fix for the 2600, I would be more than willing to listen. Thanks
  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    do you have 2 power cables connected to the 5870? (i.e., how are you powering it?)

    Did you ever flash it or does system see it as "Radeon 5000 series"?

    You can probably buy a replacement fan for 2600, if it is an Apple OEM one the fan is a standard 4 pin.

    If it is a flashed one, it will have 2 pins/wires.
  3. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    I do have 2 power cables connected.

    The system shows it as a 5000 series.

    I will look in to replacing the fan on the 2600 if I need to, it is the 4 pin.

    Thank you.
  4. TableSyrup, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    TableSyrup macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2012
    What slot do you have the Native Card in???

    I set up a system I had to throw the native card in slot 4
    EDIT: Older MP, I think 1,1 - 2,1 - 3,1 SLOT 2 .... 4,1 up SLOT 4
    Potentially a slot order issue that wasnt a problem with the 2600 but is with the new GPU ????

    Also - check your PCIe config and make sure it isn't changed and choking out your native card or GPU

    Expansion Slot Utility, located in /System/Library/Core Services
  5. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012

    Yes, I am aware that the native card has to be in slot 4 and it is indeed.

    From the link:

    Mac Pro (Early 2008)

    The Mac Pro (Early 2008) computers implement PCI Express revision 2.0 which support twice the data rate per lane as the PCI Express revision 1. Slots 1 and 2 are both x16 revision 2.0 slots. Slots 3 and 4 are both x4 revision 1 slots. Placing a revision 1 card in a revision 2.0 slot, or visa-versa, is supported and results in a revision 1 link.

    The number of lanes for each of these slots is permanently set for the Mac Pro (Early 2008). The Expansion Slot Utility doesn't apply.

    It does not let me open it.
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    so you have the correct power cables that connect to main board?

    You should probably flash the card with a proper rom, as currently it is just being id'd as a family, not specific card

    not sure if that is current issue but it can only help
  7. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Yes, the proper power cables are connected.

    Could you direct me on how to flash it with the proper rom?

  8. Baytriple macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2012
    strange. I have a mac pro 2,1 with a 5870 card running just fine.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles
  9. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Well, everything works perfectly fine until I start pushing my cpu.
  10. ratfink macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2012
    I've never heard of a "CPU can't keep up" error. What the heck is that?

    Also, the 2600 fan might be spinning up because of dust. Try cleaning it with compressed air.
  11. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012

    It is properly known as a H/W buffer size error. The CPU processes the audio a certain amount of samples ahead but if it does not go fast enough it trips and misses a sample, this is when the error comes up.

    I did clean the fan and entire video card.
  12. mkokimoto macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    what happens if you place the card in a slot with a reduced data rate, with the intentions of choking the card?
  13. TableSyrup macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2012
    The HD Native Core is 4x - so I wouldn't worry too much about choking it I guess.... and the vid card shouldn't be either.
    I didn't realize that the slots couldn't be configured on that.... so it rules this out.

    As far as slot order, I still can't get a guaranteed answer on slot order for the HDN card.
    This is something which hasn't been officially addressed by Avid.
    Avid says to use the slot closest to the vid card.... slot 2.
    But, I know this is an issue on SOME models.... Known issue in the community.
    But, again, I thought the slot 4 scenario started on 4,1's
    Have you tried the HDN in Slot 2?
    Pages 13 & 14 describe slot order as Slot 2

    I have seen people discuss their card in slot 4 not taking Firmware updates, and moving it to slot 2 corrected the issue.
    And I've seen performance issues in slot 2 that are corrected by moving to slot 4.
    I wish I had a solid answer as to the reason for this.

    Also, have you flashed the HDN Firmware since you got it?
    Which version of PT are you running? And which did it ship with?
    Versions shipped with 9 had firmware issues with 10 and should be flashed with the update.

    As far as Pro Tools goes, did you recently trash prefs and lose your settings?

    What do you have CPU Usage set to ????

    Avid/Digidesign recommends setting the number of CPU's used to 1 less than the total number of cores.
    This makes a HUGE difference

    Also, setting it to around 85-90% seems to be my sweet spot.

    7 Cores, 85-90% and I'm screamin.

    Of course, this whole performance issue seems to be wrapped around this PC version 5870....
    so I wouldn't instill too much confidence in the card.
    Who knows, maybe PT isn't playing well with the card in a Mac
    Avid supports ANY APPLE CARD, but, you don't exactly have an APPLE card in there.

    As Mac Vid Cards pointed out, it isn't being seen properly either.

    So, the more I think about it, the more I point at your Video Card.

    Have any other cards you can test????
  14. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Okay, I switched the 5870 to slot 3 and the HD Native card is in slot 1. Everything is working much, much faster. I can see by my CPU activity that it still is not as stable as it was with the 2600, but definitely much faster, I can run the session at a buffer size of 64 samples with very few problems.

    Unfortunately, I do not have any other card to test with. This seems to have almost completely fixed the issue though. I guess by putting it in a 4x slot, the video card is being choked.

    I am going to install the card in slot 2 and see if it becomes even more stable.

    Thank you mkokimoto and TableSyrup for the suggestions.
  15. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    Everything is working great.

    My only issue is that I don't like my Video Card being right up on my HDDs and the HD Native card right up on the bottom of the video card. Should I worry?
  16. TableSyrup macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2012
    Umm... Well... You may be inhibiting some airflow with the Vid Card....

    Are your sleds full of drives? If you have one open, you could stick that one at the intake in order to provide a little more flow....

    This whole thing just doesnt seem right tho. I'm betting just cause its a PC card

    I would maybe look for a cheap vid card, and if you don't need Open CL or anything, or if you don't need tons of GPU power for video or graphics, something fan-less like a 7300 may be a good option for you

    (Off topic, but what are you doing with the 2600? I could maybe repair it and use it as a helper if you wanna unload it)
  17. rdfiorentino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2012
    I am going to switch the HDD and SSD placement so the fan on the video card can breath better. I would be happy repairing my 2600 I just could not find a fan for this one. If I can't, I'll let you have a go.
  18. BenClement1978 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2011
    Antwerp Belgium
    Maybe a stupid thing to say, but you have a non Apple 5870? are they 100% the same as a apple branded?
  19. tomhenry macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Hi Rdfiorentino,
    I have almost an identical system (and HD Native) except with a ATI 5770 video card and i am experiencing the same CPU problems...! I have tried everything except changing the video card... I was suspecting it was this all along because problems get worse with more demanding graphics (e.g.when i open meter bridge on Izotope Ozone 5 plugin).

    I am happy to find your post cause i think if i change the card or it's position i might see big improvements.

    Can u tell me if you have found out any thing further... Do you know what card i can replace it with.. (i'd still like reasonable graphics but i'd definitely prefer a better running system!).

    Weird that not many others (no one!) is experencing this??


    ps. my CPU chokes are less with 4 processes running... if i run more processors (6 or 12 for example..) CPU spikes are worse...!!!
    i can not understand this? Same for you?
  20. macz1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2007
    Maybe the 3D-acceleration is not working correctly?
    If the card is not recognized correctly (not flashed) maybe some OpenGL/CL calculations are offloaded to the CPU. Is Quartz extreme supported and enabled in the system profiler? Does dragging around windows result in high CPU usage?
  21. gpzjock, Dec 19, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    I flashed my Sapphire Vapor-X HD5870 back in 2010 before attempting to boot OS X with it installed, I've never had any CPU restriction problems even with Handbrake running full speed and other processes in the background or foreground. The card runs fine in either slot 1 or 2 on my MP 3,1.
    My original HD2600 died years ago but I do have a 8800GT for comparison purposes.

    I would try flashing it to see if it helps.
    Which brand of card is it? I'll try to find a suitable ROM over on
  22. tomhenry macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Thanks for your replies... after re-reading everything, i realised that although it is the same problem, I'm on a mac pro 5,1 (not a 3,1). Although i'm sure this changes things i'm convinced my problem is still very similar.

    I tried opening ProTools and moving /opening more windows... when i do this CPU performance does get worse! More spiking... So i am excited that you might of found the problem...!

    Unfortunately i'm not that much of a tech but can change card slots, install firm ware etc..

    Should i try changing the video card or HD card to a different slot?

    How do i flash the card?
    I couldn't find reference to quartz extreme in my system profiler??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated...this problem has taken up waaaay too much of my time already... and even my most computer literate friends can not understand. We have tried clean installs, all sorts of upgrades and updates and no fix yet!

    Below is some more info on my system. Hope it helps.

    Thanks Tom.

    Processor 2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

    Memory 12 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC

    Graphics ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB

    Serial Number YM10805VEUH

    Software Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 (11E53)

    ProTools 10.3.2

    Audio Card: HD Native (slot 2)
    Interface: Avid Omni (via Digilink cable)

    SATA(audio) Drive:Hitachi HDS723030ALA640:

    ATI Radeon HD 5770:

    Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 5770
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    Slot: Slot-1
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 1024 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x68b8
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-C0160C-155
    EFI Driver Version: 01.00.436
    Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Display Serial Number: 102INGQ8Y471
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Rotation: Supported

    ATI Radeon HD 5770:

    Name: ATY,Hoolock
    Type: Display Controller
    Driver Installed: Yes
    MSI: Yes
    Bus: PCI
    Slot: Slot-1
    Vendor ID: 0x1002
    Device ID: 0x68b8
    Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x106b
    Subsystem ID: 0x00cf
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    Link Width: x16
    Link Speed: 5.0 GT/s
  23. hamx0r macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Dell version also works in a Mac

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to share that the Dell PC version of the HD5870 also works in the Mac Pro (I have it in an Early 2009 model, 10.7.5, 2.66GHz quad core). The benefit is that i don't have to buy cable adapters to use non-Mac monitors. Also, you can find them a lot cheaper than the $450 pricetag of the Mac version of the card.
  24. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Thanks for sharing. Does the card support the 2 DVi ports? I mean do the 2 DVi ports work in your Mac Pro?

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