Mac Pro 3,1 Graphics card upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by devon807, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. devon807 macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #1
    Hello everyone! Merry Christmas if you celebrate! Anyways, my situation is that I have a 3,1 Mac Pro with an SSD and 8GB of RAM and the stock 2600XT, I am happy with the machine with the exception of one thing: The dreaded 2600XT, things tend to lag from time to time, driving two (will be adding a third) 1920x1080 monitors. So I got to thinking about a grahics card upgrade, I play some games, and edit video from time to time, could someone direct me in the path of a decent graphics card that will last me until I get my 4,1? Or should I sell the 3,1 and buy a 4,1 and upgrade the graphics card?
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #2
    If you will get a 4,1 soon, the GTX680 is a pretty good choice. It's works well in both 3,1 and 4,1 OOTB. And if required, you may flash the card by yourself.
     
  3. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #3
    Thank you!
     
  4. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    If you are on a budget & can live without a boot screen then a used GTX570 is a bargain. Performance is pretty much the same as the GTX680 (may be even faster for CUDA).
     
  5. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #5
    How about a 4GB 960? Do you believe that would be a good card for the 3,1? I have been eyeing that card for a while.
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #6
    That card is good, but make sure you know how to deal with the driver, and how to upgrade the OS, etc.
     
  7. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #7
    I think I am going to go with that one, Which card do you use?
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #8
    I am now using dual 7950. My main GPU demanding usage is FCPX (leisure use), or occasionally gaming in Windows. Dual 7950 works very well for these 2 purposes.

    However, the 79xx card may not work well with 3,1 (a software bug which may cause performance issue), so I didn't recommend it to you.
     
  9. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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  10. h9826790, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #10
    Of course in Windows only, but it works very well, perform as expected.

    The only down side is when I want to boot with crossfire enabled. I must disable the Mac EFI, which is just simply flip the switch on the 7950, but still a little bit annoying.
     
  11. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #11
    If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for your 4,1?
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #12
    The original price, I bought it from Apple when it was just released.
     
  13. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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  14. FilthyMcNasty macrumors newbie

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    #14
    I can get a 570 for £50, but it seems to suck up a lot of power for similar performance to a 750Ti?
     
  15. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #15
    I've heard nothing but great things about the 750ti
     
  16. h9826790, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #16
    The 280X should be the best card you can get with native driver support. It's device ID is same as the D700, so, IMO, it's extremely safe for future OSX upgrade.

    It's good for OpenCL or video editing. And it's gaming performance is on par with the 680. Also, you can flash it by yourself easily + safely if you want the boot screen. However, the biggest down side is almost all 280X come with at least one 8pin connector, and this card do actually draw lots of power from this port. If you don't know how to power this card properly but just use a 6->8pin cable. Under extreme scenario, it may overload the 6pin power supply, activate the self shutdown protection, or even cause permanent damage.

    You better know all the risk and how to deal with them before actually buy this card. And again, this card may suffer from performance issue on the 3,1 (4,1 and 5,1 are fine), so I didn't recommend it at the beginning.

    A quick summary, for the 9xx (or the 750Ti), you need to fix the drivers. Otherwise, all you get is a black screen. And you need to fix the driver on EVERY OSX upgrade (or even after a small security update) until Apple provide native driver for the Maxwell card. Although it could be easily done with remote control, but you better know this issue before you jump in. For 280X, you may need to fix the power supply. The best card that I know can work OOTB and no protential performance issue on both 3,1 and 4,1 is the 680. I never own this card, but this is what I know so far.
     
  17. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #17
    Ok thank you so much! Will decide between the 960 and 280X.
     
  18. FilthyMcNasty macrumors newbie

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    #18
    680 seems to be the least hassle .. is there any particular brand preferred do you know ??

    It's pretty sad that Sapphire and EVGA produced MP compatible cards but in puny numbers

    They must know the demand is there, so something going on behind the scenes....

    edit: incidentally I understand you can leave the backup card in slot 2 and just switch DVI cable for less stress when patching... but then of course you have another fan spinning (my 2600 isn't the quietest). Also having to wait for Nvidea to update a driver before you can apply a security update isn't optimal..
     
  19. devon807 thread starter macrumors regular

    devon807

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    #19
    I would go for the 680 but they are pretty expensive cards, and I can't seem to find one for under 300$
     
  20. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Mine runs pretty quiet (MSI Twin Frozr) & the big advantage is that it is supported natively in OS X so you don't need to worry about OS X updates & mucking about with Nvidia web drivers.
     
  21. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    The GTX 960 won't be any faster than a used GTX 680, which is around $150-$160. The latter can be easily flashed and runs on OS X stock drivers, so it's a quite obvious decision IMO.

    The R9 280[X] will run like **** in a 3,1 because of a power management issue. You'd have to remove some kext files form the system to release it's full power, otherwise it won't be much faster than your ancient 2600XT.
     
  22. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    The GTX570 has the same performance as the GTX680 (even better for CUDA) but is one third of the price. It can't be flashed so you need to live without the boot screen &/or keep a backup supported card. Like the GTX680 it is supported OOTB in OS X.
     
  23. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #23
    This is a quite of an exaggeration, F.
    Almost any card will run circles around 2600XT, especially in 10.9 and above. 280X even throttled will be a few times faster and will support OpenCL. AMD cards are easy to flash and will drive up to 4 displays with ease.
     
  24. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    My R9 280 is really slow when used in a MP3,1 with unmodified OS.
    From my memory it'll become 3 or 4 times(!) faster when removing those PowerManagement.kext files. In this is still well behind its potential in a modern machine.
    Even an old HD 5770 will easily outperform my 280. I'll dig out some screenshots... :)
     
  25. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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