Mac Pro Tower - 5 or 6 Monitors

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacProScreens, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. MacProScreens macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #1
    Hello,

    I have a project where I need to get 5 or ideally 6 monitors from an old style mac pro.

    I have two machines available to me, but if it's possible to use just one that would be great! The end goal is to have a curved array of monitors to display a panoramic style video.

    Aiming for a resolution of 1920x1080 on each display.

    Any help with what graphics cards would work, WOULD BE GREAT!
     
  2. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #2
    Sure use two cards and run three screens off each
     
  3. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #3
    Install a 2nd GPU, or use a 6 port Eyefinity card. The search function can help. There is a thread about the Eyefinity card not long go.
     
  4. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #4
    Thanks guys, so would installing two ATI Sapphire Radeon HD5770's work? Giving me six outputs.

    I've found two on eBay which have been flashed to work on OSX, would I need any other drivers, or should it just boot up?

    Thanks again. I'm used to making noise, not dealing with video.
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    It would help to know which Mac Pro you have, what video card is already in it, and how many slots are free. Also what input ports are on the monitors.

    It's definitely possible though. There's someone here who has done 10 monitors.
     
  6. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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  7. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #7
    Hello, I believe it is a mac pro 3,1 with a GT120 already installed. One slot has an AJA Kona LHi, but the only purpose of this machine is for this project, so all the slots and current cards can be taken out.

    Would I be correct in believing that two ATI 5770's would work? Some people seem to believe that would only give 4 monitors, but the cards are capable of three each.

    I have another identical machine available with the same cards. All the inputs are DVI.
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #8
    Two ATI 5770's will work.

    The following is critically important. On each 5770, you will hook up the three DVI monitors as follows:
    • One with DVI cable
    • One with an ACTIVE MDP to DVI adapter
    • One with an MDP to DVI adapter (active or passive doesn't matter)
    Good active and passive adapters are available at a decent price at Monoprice.com.

    For boot screens, at least one of the 5770s will need to be an official Apple 5770 or at least a PC one flashed with Mac EFI. The second one can just be any PC 5770.

    Official Apple 5770 should come with the correct power cable. Flashed ones may or may not. Off the shelf PC ones almost definitely will not.

    This is the proper power cable. You will need one for each video card.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    Some flashed 5770s are fine. Some are hack jobs and may not support all ports. But if it has the same port layout as the official Apple one (DVI MDP MDP), it will probably work.
     
  10. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #10
    Thanks, this is great! So the cards I'm currently looking at are both standard 5770's, not the Mac upgrade ones. However they have the 6-pin cable supplied and the latest apple firmware loaded on. The connections on them look to be two dual link DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DP. Will these work, or do I need at least one of the apple versions? There is about a £50.00 price difference between them, so would prefer to go with the standard models.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    Some people sell flashed cards where not all of the ports are active in OS X. Heck, I've done that myself when I sold my card used on Ebay. But I disclosed the fact that one of the ports didn't work, and not every seller discloses this. Some may not even know whether they all work or not because they don't have enough monitors to know.

    I'd say that if the seller guarantees that all three ports are working in OS X, then yes, it will connect fine.

    You will need to connect them as so:
    • DVI to DVI cable
    • HDMI to DVI cable (or HDMI cable plus HDMI to DVI adapter on the monitor)
    • Displayport to DVI active adapter, plus DVI to DVI cable
    Just to be absolutely clear, the third one must be an active adapter, not a passive adapter. Also I don't recommend the Apple adapter because people have problems using it with non-Apple monitors. Get one from Monoprice.

    @Fl0r!an knows WAY more about 5770 flashing than most anyone else currently on MacRumors. Maybe he can chip in. I don't even know if there is a working flash at all for all ports on a 5770 with different port mappings than the Apple one.
     
  12. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #12
    In best case, a flashed 5770 will have boot screens on 3 out of 4 ports (1 DVI missing) and OS X on all ports (max. 3 at the same time, one has to be DP).
    This should work with any "reference design card" (1x DP, 1x HDMI, 2x DVI). E.g. Sapphire cards (especially Vapor-X) seem to be quite popular due to their good fan design.
     
  13. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 22, 2012
    #13
    You can flash a used GTX680 yourself for boot screen & support of four monitors (2xDVI, DisplayPort & HDMI). A Mac ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT gives 2xDVI.
     
  14. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502

    ZombiePhysicist

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    May 22, 2014
    #14
    I'm running 6 30" apple cinema displays with this card:

    http://www.amazon.com/VisionTek-Radeon-GDDR5-MiniDP-Graphics/dp/B0085O90SQ?ie=UTF8&keywords=7870 6 display&qid=1459492059&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

    This works in a 2010 Mac Pro (5,1) with no modifications. It boots up with no boot screen, but the screens popup on login in. I'm running this with 6 30" Apple Cinema displays. They are all plugged in with the the apple mini displayport adapters. So it's a big step up performance from my two 5770 cards. All 6 screens work. Metal/OSX acceleration full supported.

    Two issues.

    1) When restarting/rebooting, one or two screens will often stay black and not come on. Same when the system goes to sleep. So when the system goes to sleep, the easy way to 'nudge' the sleeping display back awake is to hit COMMAND-OPTION-EJECT which will put all screens to sleep, and then waking them again will often nudge on the sleeping display. Bit cludgy, but not a big deal once you figure out how to do it.

    2) Once the system is up and running, the fan on the video card can kick up when the system really isnt being stressed. For example, if you use the trackpad gesture to show the desktop and hover all the windows half way before they are off the screen, you will hear the fans kick up until you release the gesture. The fix is weird. If you run a 3D game like Elder Scrolls online, it apparently initializes something on the card, and thereafter, the fans act normally and don't kick up. The card runs super cool even when pushing it. You get pretty good frame rate, for example, on Elder Scrolls online even with max detail on the 30" cinema display, no fans kick up.

    Realistically, if you want a decent speed video card, that supports Metal acceleration on the mac, and supports 6 displays all on one card, this is your only choice. Other than the two annoyances above, it's pretty much totally trouble free and zippy. Not bad for a PC card on a mac.

    It continues to work on El Capitan 10.11.4, even after the updates, with no problems.
     
  15. mattspace macrumors 6502

    mattspace

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    #15
    Any chance of a photo of this arrangement while it's running?
     
  16. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502

    ZombiePhysicist

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    May 22, 2014
    #16
    This is when I was running 10 screens, but you can see the first 6.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #17

    Could you see the VisionTek 7750 Eye 6 2GB DDR5 PCI Express Graphics Card working in a mac. Did you have to flash you card, or did it just work out the box?
     
  18. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502

    ZombiePhysicist

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    May 22, 2014
    #18
    So I also have the visiontek 7750 cards. They worked great, but stopped working somewhere around 10.10.x for no good reason. I haven't checked to see if they would work now, as they are much slower than the VisionTek 7870 eyefinity 6 I'm using. But since the support stopped suddenly like that, I've been hesitant to try.

    Up until that point, the 7750 worked great as it is a single slot card, very low power draw (it's powered completely from the slot, no power cables required). In practice, the 7750 was a bit slower than the 5770, but worked well enough. However, with 10.11 i found that the 5770 was very much more sluggish as it doesnt support metal acceleration, and 10.11 dropped whatever form of acceleration that the 5770 used to support. I would fear the 7750 would be slower still.

    Unfortunately, this is a production system, and I cannot just pop the 7750 in to test it for you. But even if it did work, I would not recommend it as it stopped being supported for at least the last year, for no good reason.

    Both of the VisionTek eyefinity cards, the 7750 and my current 7870 required now flashing. It worked out of the box. It just didnt have a grey boot screen, which I really don't need/care about.
     
  19. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #19
    So I've found a powercolor eyefinity 6 HD7870, would anyone see this working, or do you think it will need to be flashed?
     
  20. VikNomad macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2009
    #20
    I think best way would be Apple original ATI 5770 I has lower power requirements (I think). Second native best is 5870 but it needs more power sockets.
    Eyefinity 6 will definitely need flashing for "proper" useable boot screens.
     
  21. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502

    ZombiePhysicist

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    May 22, 2014
    #21
    havent tried the powercolor, but there is a decent chance it will work just like the visiontek. Problem is those cards cannot be flashed, so it will boot without the grey bootscreens, but should otherwise work with the built in drivers.
     
  22. William_si macrumors regular

    William_si

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    Apr 4, 2016
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    Croatia
    #22
    I run a flashed R9 280X and a stock R9 270X on a 4,1 single CPU in slots 1/3 - no issues.

    Connected 6 24" 1080p before without issues (also had that on a 1,1 with 7950+6870, no prob) and now 3x 28" + 2x 24" (pic) also without issues by DP/DVI.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. MacProScreens thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2016
    #23
    Hi Guys,

    Sorry, this is the last one I promise. I've got the 5770 and gt 120 both working in the machine. All 5 monitors are also working.

    I'm just about to purchase 5 27" monitors which have a resolution of 1920x1080. The current monitors are slightly lower res than this. Will the cards be able to support 5 monitors running 1920x1080. I can see the max resolution output on the website, but can't work out if this is per output or shared across the card?

    Dan
     
  24. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #24
    AFAIK, that's per output.
     
  25. macworshipper macrumors newbie

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    Jan 27, 2017
    #25
    Hi, I got a 2014 mac mini and a pcie socket "BEAST v8.4d EXP GDC" connected via an expresscard to thunderbolt adapter by Sonnet. I'm actually looking for a Graphics Adapter for running 6 Display Port 1.2 capable displays (Dell U2417H) and came across this thread. Will I be able to run the mentioned "Radeon 7870 2GB GDDR5 6M" or the "VisionTek Radeon 7750 2GB GDDR5 6M" with the above setup? Will I have to flash it? With which ROM? (can you post the right one or link to it?). Which alternatives will I have if that card won't work for any reason? I'm using el capitan.
    Thanks for your valued reply.
     

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