Mac Pro Graphics Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HelloKristopher, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. HelloKristopher macrumors newbie


    Oct 15, 2016
    Hello, I currently have

    Model Name: Mac Pro (mid 2010)
    Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 8 MB
    Memory: 16 GB
    Processor Interconnect Speed: 4.8 GT/s

    Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 5770
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    Slot: Slot-1
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 1024 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)

    I would like to upgrade my graphics card as I'm in photoshop/games all the time and really noticing my computer struggle. I have zero idea about this stuff and would like some advice as to the best card I can upgrade to. Anything would be a great help. Thanks in advance. p.s. I'm already doing something about my RAM.
  2. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    Any modern GPU will be a massive improvement over what you have now. If you tell us which games and Photoshop functions you use most, folks will be able to recommend a GPU specifically targeted to your needs. If you need an all round improvement with no hassle, hit up for a flashed GPU.

    Couldn't hurt to check that your games are also not CPU bound. 4 cores is plenty, but they might want a bit more GHz. But yeah, for 99% use cases, throw a macvidcards 970, 980, or Titan in there and you'll probably be ecstatic.
  3. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
  4. CapnDavey macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2015
    You could buy a high end card from macvidcrds or if cash is an issue a GTX680 or HD7950 work well OOB .and they are easy to flash and can be had cheap with OEM PC rom 100 bucks or there about
  5. lordelesar macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2016
    I am in exactly the same place as the OP.

    I am trying to figure out what the best graphics card is for the MacPro 5,1. Without needing to add an external power supply or hack drivers etc, which is the highest end GPU one could add?
    On the issue of the PSU, since the MacPro has plenty of power (980W) can we add two SATA/Molex-PCIe adapters and provide the extra power?
  6. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Best Card with existing (web) drivers for OS X is GTX Titan X (Maxwell). Installed one from MVC with a 6 pin to 6 pin power cable and a 6 pin to 8 power cable. So far had never a hard shut down.
  7. lordelesar macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2016
    First of all thank you very much for your reply.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I understand the only difference between the the cards from MVC and a generic Titan X/980/970 etc is that the generic one does not show the grey screens. I am thinking to leave one of the old cards for any case that is needed and just use one of my generic 970s.
    So there is no problem with the power draw? Are you connecting the 6 and 8 pin PCIe cables to the motherboard slots?
  8. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Yes, the MVC Cards have boot Screen, and therefore Option Boot and Recovery Boot is possible. Important: In Windows they achieve PCI-E 2.0 speed. Vanilla PC Card's don't.

    There is no problem with power draw for GTX Titan X and GTX 980 Ti, as long as you don't overclock the card, or buy an already overclocked card. Doesn't matter if MVC-Card or vanilla PC Card.

    With GTX 980 and GTX 970, which do not draw the maximum of the officially supported 225 Watt, you will now less than ever have a power problem.

    And yes, I'm using the Motherboard slot with a 6 pin to 6 pin power cable and a 6 pin to 8 power cable.
  9. lordelesar macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2016
    Thanks again Synchro.
    I will then look into getting a stock 980Ti or 980, depending on local prices.
    My only remaining concern is with PSU ageing. All 5,1s are now at least 5 years old and the PSU is bound to not provide the full 980W load. Anyway, will cross that bridge when I get there.
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    For gaming, high end video cards will be CPU limited in Mac Pros 1,1-5,1.
  11. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Not so much with 4,1 or 5,1, at least in high resolutions @1440p and beyond.

    Very noticeable with 1,1 - 3,1. Best Card for these Mac's is GTX 680.
  12. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    #12 got 52 FPS with a GTX 980 in Valley using a 6 core 3.33GHz Mac Pro 5,1:
    Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 5.57.56 AM.png
    I get 70 FPS with a GTX 980 using a 4 core i7 hackintosh:
    Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 5.56.57 AM.png

    High end video cards will be CPU bound by the old Mac Pros in gaming.
  13. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Synchro3 said cMP not necessary CPU limiting in 2560x1440, not 1600x900.

    May be 90% of games will be CPU limiting, but sure not all games in any resolution. e.g. 4K gaming.
  14. pastrychef, Oct 19, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016

    pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I was only able to find Barefeats bench using the Extreme preset.

    Here is a video comparing different CPUs for gaming. The oldest CPU used in the test is an i7 2600K which was released in 2011 (same year the X5690 was released). Also, keep in mind that X5690s run at 3.46GHz and there's no overclocking ability on Mac Pros. The OP is running W3530 at 2.8GHz.
    Intel Skylake Core i7 6700K vs 4790K/3770K/2600K Stock Gaming Benchmarks - YouTube

    Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 6.35.52 AM.png Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 6.37.07 AM.png
  15. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    The OP is on a 2.8 quad not any of the higher end stuff
  16. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    i think the topic has gotten a bit out of hand, we need more info from HelloKristopher to give good advice
    for Photoshop speed up depending on task get a SSD for a scratch drive and a SSD to work on photos
    upgrade CPU the the 4c/8t X5677
    maybe get more ram but only if your working on big/complex images (you may not need more adobe has info on how to find out if you have to little on the websites in the help section)

    GPU dose not affect Photoshop that much (ie it's lower on the list than anything else i have mentioned)

    for games, it depends gtx 770 from ebay is a good option or if your on osx10.12 you may want to look at the rx 480 (but you may want to wait a bit as the drivers are still a tad new)

    display size relay dose not matter depending on games and 4K downsizes to 1080p relay well too
    you will get better gaming performance in windows (boot camp)
  17. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    • For general system use, an SSD will make your whole computer feel more responsive. A simple SATA SSD is fine.
    • For Photoshop, you would probably get a much larger benefit from a CPU upgrade than a GPU upgrade. A CPU upgrade may also help gaming, as people are pointing out. See my signature for compatible CPUs.
    • For gaming, yes a better video card will help out. If you have a low experience level and just want stuff to work, the GTX 680 is a good bet. It will be a big improvement over what you have and work perfectly with native drivers and Photoshop. There are much faster cards, but they have caveats.

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