MAC UPGRADE: ATI RADEON HD 4870 VS 5770 (Diablo) or EFI

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by majormike, May 15, 2012.

  1. majormike macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    #1
    Hellow there fellas,

    I'm currently on the verge of upgrading my 2600 xt to either a 4870 or 5570 by ATI.

    It just has to serve the purpose of allowing me to run Diablo 3 at a decent resolution in high details.

    Is there anybody out there who's employing a mac pro along with either of those graphics cards?

    What about flashing a 5870? How safe am I to have a properly running card? I wouldn't want to put a ticking time bomb into my Mac Pro, especially if there are issues controlling the fan speeds under a particular stress level.

    It'd be nice to get some support on that matter :)

    Mike
     
  2. peabo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #2
    Between those 2 cards, the 5770 is the better choice as it is almost the exact same speed as the 4870, but half the width, quieter and uses less power.

    The 5870 is double-wide like the 4870 but it is the fastest card officially supported by Apple and available as a BTO config in the current Mac Pros. It's quite a lot faster than the 5770 too.
     
  3. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #3
    What about flashing a 5780, will it go flawlessly or is there too much to worry about?

    Since Diablo 3 is mostly based on DX 9.c, i don't think i'd make use of the 5770 right? Especially considering I'd be playing on mac osx.

    Mike
     
  4. tony3d macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2006
    #4
    My son is playing Diablo 3 on a quad core 2.8 gig early 2008 Mac Pro with the 5770 with no problems at all. Everything is on high with vsync on as well. Works great!
     
  5. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #5
    Also read about people putting a ATI Radeon HD 6870 right of the batch into their Mac Pro (Got an eight core whore from 2008).

    In case this works, will it also run under bootcamp?

    I also read about running the GTX 5x cards in your system but the information is so little that it seems more like an experiment than something you'd be using on a regular basis :/
     
  6. Asgorath macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    #6
    I'd hardly describe a 6-page thread here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1330964

    and another 5-page thread here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1360927

    as lacking information. Plenty of people have had great success running the GTX 570 in particular.
     
  7. derbothaus, May 15, 2012
    Last edited: May 15, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    Jul 17, 2010
    #7
    Vsync does not denote any kind of "ability" one way or the other. Usually used for weak GPU's as Vsync locks you to 30 or 60 FPS depending on what your card is closest to on average. It also slows down mouse movements and is generally turned off on powerful systems. It does fix certain screen tearing elements when running very high FPS and out of sync with clock. Personally I frame lock NOT Vsync. But I am way nerdy about stuff. But I would pass on the 4870 (heat and noise and power monster). 5770 can do DX9 just as good and DX10/11 even better. Plus it is quiet. 6870 would be best though price to performance wise. Almost as powerful as 5870 and, as stated, very well supported for being "unsupported".
     
  8. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    Hollywood, CA
    #8
    I think you have a few facts backwards on V-Sync.

    It is usually used on FAST GPUs that are creating FPS beyond the refresh rate. Using it on "weak" GPUs actually creates the possibility that your FPS will be cut in HALF to keep the GPU and display in lockstep. It has no purpose or use on GPUs running below the sync speed of display.


    From a Google search:

    "There is however a more fundamental problem with enabling VSync, and that is it can significantly reduce your overall framerate, often dropping your FPS to exactly 50% of the refresh rate. This is a difficult concept to explain, but it just has to do with timing. When VSync is enabled, your graphics card becomes a slave to your monitor. If at any time your FPS falls just below your refresh rate, each frame starts taking your graphics card longer to draw than the time it takes for your monitor to refresh itself. So every 2nd refresh, your graphics card just misses completing a new whole frame in time. This means that both its primary and secondary frame buffers are filled, it has nowhere to put any new information, so it has to sit idle and wait for the next refresh to come around before it can unload its recently completed frame, and start work on a new one in the newly cleared secondary buffer. This results in exactly half the framerate of the refresh rate whenever your FPS falls below the refresh rate.

    As long as your graphics card can always render a frame faster than your monitor can refresh itself, enabling VSync will not reduce your average framerate. All that will happen is that your FPS will be capped to a maximum equivalent to the refresh rate. But since most recent monitors refresh at 60Hz, and in many recent games it is difficult to achieve 60FPS consistently at your desired resolution and settings, enabling VSync usually ends up reducing your overall FPS. Fortunately, because this problem is pretty much caused by the frame buffers becoming filled up, there is a solution: enable a third frame buffer to allow more headroom. However this is not a straightforward solution, and to read more about it see the Triple Buffering section of this guide."

    http://www.tweakguides.com/Graphics_9.html
     
  9. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #9
    HD4870 is a bit faster than HD5770 however it is noisier, more power hungry and doesn't support some of the features of HD5770 (though in OSX there is barely any difference feature-wise). If you are willing to do some work though flashing HD5870 is easily the best solution. You don't even have to worry about getting EFI bootscreen since you have a HD2600 already. My Mac Pro with a HD5870 can play D3 with everything on the highest settings at 2560x1600.
     
  10. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #10
    Alright, meaning that the EFI flash serves purely for the purpose of having the card recognized by the system while booting? And as soon as it's switched to the operating system, it'll be fully functional?

    How about fan control and such which is usually handled by drivers? I mean, before I got the Mac, I had the habit of keeping my windows machine up to date as frequent as possible and I know that the wrong handling of cooling measures can be the death of a card under a certain stress situation. How is this covered for Mac machines?

    There are sometimes people putting a 6870 into their mac pro, which would be step up in terms of noise and heat dissipation. Is your HD 5870 an official upgrade kit or a regular PC card? Could you enlighten me a bit on that matter?

    My skype account is mikeintheattic if you don't mind wasting a few minutes and helping another mac compadre out :) Facebook as well: https://www.xxx(facebook page url).com/atticmike
     
  11. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 29, 2008
    #11
    My HD5870 was flashed (reference board, Sapphire branded) though its been awhile so I can't really help much. You can find information on flashing here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=980733. It covers pretty much everything. You should be able to use netkas injectors as well. Flashing is just more "elegant".

    Anyway OSX (after some version of SL but should be in Lion) has the kexts for the HD5870 already and controls the fans automatically. All you are doing really is getting OSX to recognize the card as a HD5870 for the kexts to take over. My card doesn't even have the reference cooler and fan speed controls works fine.

    p.s. HD6870 is a step down in terms of heat (as in lower power consumption) but is also less powerful. The comparable card to HD5870 in the HD6xxx family is the HD6950/70 .
     
  12. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #12
    Strike it, reverse it. Well aware of Tweakguides. It does hinder mouse movement algorithms and is well documented. To avoid this issue you can hard code a 60FPS (or 30FPS depending on where your average sits) limit in most games and turn Vsync off for better performance. You match refresh and you loose the lag. I am sensitive to these things. Had to do it for Skyrim.
    Depending on where your avg FPS are at (per game) it can be positive or negative in regards to frames AND actual tearing. But that seems to change with game engines and even other factors.
     
  13. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #13
    Alright, so you are saying that in case I get the HD 5870, it has to be flashed in order for the osx to properly recognize and the kexts to take action?

    Since you said there is a dedicated kexts file for the fan, i don't think it'd be a good idea to put an HD 6870 into your mac.

    Well, how can i figure out whether the card delivers in terms of flashing. Are there any cards that won't do and what are the chances? Don't feel like playing roulette :D
     
  14. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #14

    Where exactly did he say there was a "dedicated kexts file for the fan?"

    Instead of roulette, you may want to try a fun game we call "research". Inside that word you will see the other important word, "search" which corresponds with a little rectangle up in the right corner of each page.

    The odds are better than in Roulette though the payoffs might be less spectacular. Dozens of people have posted lost of valuable info regarding their experiences. You can access this valuable info for free, try it. Your odds of getting someone to post info specific for your uses increase greatly if it is obvious that you have put some effort in first.

    Try it, it won't hurt.
     
  15. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #15
    Hey MacVidCard. I did. But most importantly, I want to understand how the cards work under MacOSx because I'm also rather experienced on that matter I want to make sense of how the card operates and is controlled.

    Since you're saying "wtf has the flash to do with employing the card under mac osx", it'd mean i don't have to necessarily flash it when running either the latest version of snow leopard or lion?

    Guess that's what bothered me the most besides all the user-based experienced in single cases.

    And considering the roulette and what card to pick, I suppose anything close to the reference card is a steady bet. Having seen several 6870 flashed on ebay, again I think that the whole process of adding EFI to the card just allows you to marvel at the glamorous bootup screen? For that case I'd keep the 2600 XT.
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    Hollywood, CA
    #16
    !. Where did I say that?

    You seem to be choosing what to read into things. Just look at what people say and that is what they are saying. Are you perhaps coming from another language? These things you are typing don't seem connected to what you are talking about.

    If MR poster Zeke1000 puts a 5870 in a Mac like yours and it does A, B, and C then odds are it will do A, B, and C in yours too.

    Computers are simple logical machines, they follow easily predictable patterns. Just about any question you could ask has already been answered, just READ and stop reading into your own context. The facts are as presented.
     
  17. majormike thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2012
    #17
    Well, I may have pulled things weirdly out of context though you sort of indeed questioned the fact that kexsts files carry a functional significance with running regular cards in a mac pro by simply answering to it, regardless of whether I had answered to the reference I sort of created myself.

    But you are right, sorry for not having done enough research before posting on behalf of this thread. Will do now and get back in case there is something still in question.

    I guess I came to the conclusion since lixuelai answered as follows:

    "All you are doing really is getting OSX to recognize the card as a HD5870 for the kexts to take over."

    So putting you in context for the dubious kexts predicament was prolly not intended on my part.
     
  18. gpzjock, May 15, 2012
    Last edited: May 15, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #18
    Flashing cards is pretty easy if you know how.

    I have flashed Sapphire 4870 and 5870 cards for my Mac Pro 3,1 and with sufficient homework in advance you can easily do the same.
    The benefit of doing so is a serious price drop compared to Apple's extortionate pricing policy for "genuine" OS X ones.
    Alternatively you can buy one prepared by Macvidcards: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/macvidcards/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686
    Performance wise the 4870 scores a little higher than a 5770 and the 5870 is streets ahead of both:
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gp...Radeon+HD+4870
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gp...Radeon+HD+5770
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gp...Radeon+HD+5870
    The primary difference between the 4870 and 5770 are purchase price and running costs.
    Personally I would get a 5870 from MVC on ebay if I couldn't be bothered to learn how to flash them myself.
    Oh yeah, I did learn how to..... :D

    The only things Vsync ever did for either card was make them both run cooler and the fans spin slower while capping the FPS to 60 while playing WoW; it hampered both cards ability to react to sudden changes with heavy loads during busy raids so I turned it off. The 4870 did 60 fps at Medium settings and the 5870 did 60 fps at High settings with Vsync enabled. With it switched off the 5870 could do up to 200 FPS but this is kinda pointless with a 60 Hz monitor.
     
  19. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    #19
    Since he already has a 2600XT that can be kept for boot screen, he has many options.

    The lack of boot screen on 5770 or 5870 or even 6870 isn't a problem if he keeps it around.

    So an unflashed 6870 with ATY_Init may even fit the bill.
     
  20. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

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    May 4, 2009
    #20
    With all due respect I wouldn't trust a 2600xt to last forever, Apple have replaced many of them due to a manufacturing flaw.
    Better to get a card that didn't rely on it IMHO.
     

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