Mac Pro3,1 GPU upgrade worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MythicFrost, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Hi,

    I've got a Mac Pro3,1 w/ a dual quad-core 3GHz and the GTX 285 1GB for Mac. Running El Cap. I use OS X for general use, but I game only in Windows 7.

    I'm wondering if it's worthwhile upgrading the GPU. The only Mac card I can get is the 7950 Mac Edition, but it's $1000 in Australia and $750-800 if I bought it from OWC and shipped it here. At that point I may as well be putting it towards a new iMac.

    I've heard you can get non-Apple cards working at the cost of seeing the boot screen but I don't think that's too bad. (I'd keep my 285, and my even older 8800 GT, safe in a box somewhere if I ever needed them.)

    Is there a card out there I can use which will be better than my 285 but reasonably affordable?
    Appreciate any input!
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    HD7950 has performance issue in 3,1, so unless you are ok to modify the system file, don't go for it.

    There is no need to buy the Mac Edition if it's too expensive. Get a cheap PC 7950 and flash it by yourself can achieve exactly the same result.

    Search the 280x thread and you will know more about this.
     
  3. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #3
    Thanks. I probably will steer clear of the 7950 then. I'm thinking maybe a GTX 680 or maybe a 650 Ti. But I'm not certain the latter will perform better than the 285 by much, if at all.
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #4
    Then go for the 680, even not flashing it, the card will still work (without boot screen). Also, the 680 is self flashable, you can always make it perform identical to the Mac Edition card.
     
  5. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #5
    I was hoping to spend a little less. Would the 650 Ti not be an improvement over the 285, do you think?

    It'll work in both OS X and Windows?

    Also I'm running one 2560x1600 display. No intention of using a second display.

    What is self flashable?

    Appreciate the help, thanks!
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #6
    You can flash the 680 by yourself to make it have the boot screen. Which is no big deal in general use, but extremely useful when something goes wrong.
     
  7. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
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    #7
    Ah I see. I won't bother with that I think, as I'll be keeping my 285 and 8800 so I can always chuck them in if need be.

    >>>

    I assume it does -- otherwise it wouldn't make much sense, but I do want to be doubly sure that it will work not just in Windows (7) but also in OS X (El Capitan)
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
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    #8
    The 680 is safer than any other card because there is a real Mac Edition card. Theoretically, it will always has native OSX support. Plus Nvidia also supply their own driver, it's actually double safe in OSX support (in this point of view, it's even better than AMD card).
     
  9. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #9
    I see. Thanks. Sounds like it's the best way for me to go. Appreciate the help!
     
  10. Twimfy macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #10
    The 650Ti will be a sizable performance upgrade over the 285, if not in raw power certainly in technologies (shaders, DX11 etc).
     
  11. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #11
    Did you consider the GTX 750Ti? The cards don't cost an arm an a leg and don't need extra power (at least the not overclocked ones).
    I have one vanilla GTX 750Ti alongside a HD5770 Mac edition, which gives me the bootscreen.
    Yesterday, I played the Star Wars Battlefront Beta. The game looked just gorgeous on the 750Ti.
     
  12. MythicFrost, Oct 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015

    MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
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    #12
    Interesting... is the 650 Ti known to work well in the Mac Pro? (in OS X and Windows)? Are there actually drivers built in like with the 680?
    I haven't. I wasn't aware the 750 Ti worked in the Mac Pro. Will it work without any other card in there? Just the 750 by itself? (Without the boot screen, of course.)

    Also how does it work with two cards exactly? How does OS X know to boot up on the 5770 and Windows with the 750 Ti? If that makes sense.

    EDIT: Would the DirectCU II model work as well? What model did you choose?
    https://www.umart.com.au/umart1/pro/Products-details.phtml?id=10&id2=405&bid=4&sid=202354

    Does it have input to connect a 30" ACD?

    Appreciate the replies everyone!
     
  13. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #13
    It should work with the caveat, that the builtin NV driver crashes on Maxwell cards like the 750Ti. You will always need the most recent Nvidia Webdriver, especially if you want to upgrade the OS.

    IIRC, the EFI on the Macos scans the PciE bus for cards that have a compatible EFI and the first one wins.
    The 3,1 has two 16 lane slots, so it shouldn't matter which one you use. But there is reality which could be the showstopper ;-)
    In my setup, I have the 5770 in the first slot, connected to an old 1024x768 display for boot screen and as secondary display, while the 750Ti is hooked to a Full HD display as primary.
    This works for MacOS and Windows.
     
  14. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #14
    Ah so that means it won't boot unless I install the web driver first? And I won't be able to upgrade until an update for the web driver comes out supporting the next minor release? (10.11.1, .2, .3, etc.)

    And in the scenario that "somehow" the driver decides to roll back to the built in driver, I'll need to put the mac card back in, attach the display, boot, update drivers, and take it back out again?
    Ah right. So I'd need two displays. I'm only using one.

    I'm not fussed about the boot screen, so I'll probably just have the 750 Ti installed.
     
  15. JoSch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #15
    Well, yes. Without bootscreen, it seems like the only possible route.

    [/QUOTE]
    Well, I used my setup as a possible scenario. You should do what suits you most ;-)
     
  16. must101 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    #16
    I have Asus GTX 750 ti 2 GB on my Mac Pro 3.1. No boot screen. Got only vga port working on El Cap, but all ports work on Win 7 @ Boot Camp. Star Wars Battlefront beta and Wolfenstein The Old Blood run great.

    About using second display for boot screen from older display card... Why not connect both cards to the same display, if it has enough ports? Just change the input signal. I did that when installing 750.
     
  17. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #17
    Thanks!
    So a 23" ACD (which uses DVI) won't work in El Cap? That may be problematic...

    How does that work, connecting both cards to the same display? Do I need some kind of an adapter or...?

    Cheers!
     
  18. must101 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    #18
    I don't know about other 750 ti cards, but I couldn't get dvi output work on that Asus card with El Cap. At least, not yet.

    Like I wrote, "if it has enough ports". My display has hdmi, dvi and vga inputs, so it is easy to connect. With ACD with only dvi port I guess you need to change the cable to different card when needed, or get a 'display switch' (sorry, not sure what those things are called).
     
  19. weezerr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    #19
    I have a GTX 570 HD in my 3,1 running 10.11, runs like a dream
     
  20. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #20
    I see. Thanks guys. Maybe it's better I get a GTX 680 -- I've heard it works really well

    Does anyone know the maximum dimensions for a graphics card in the 3,1? I've looked around but just can't find anything!
     

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