Radeon 280X Card + AUX Power in cMP 5,1

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Hello,

As the title reads, I am thinking of upgrading my video card, I want to keep my cMP 5,1 (home computer) for another 2-3 years:p I currently have a GTX 680, overall it is a good card, good for casual gaming as well. However I have been doing some light video editing lately in FCPX for friends and relatives, it really slows things down when I add 2-3 video effects.

I mostly use Quadros/FirePros at work, I edit video files once in a while at work (just dragging video files in the timeline and rendering it). But I am not ready to invest in pro cards for my home cMP. I know a GTX 780/780 Ti would be a nice upgrade but my budget is very limited this time ($300 max).

Since both Adobe and Apple pro apps are now optimized for OpenCL, I think it would be great to swap the Nvidia video card for an affordable Radeon card with decent OpenCL performance. I do not edit videos daily, so I would like to hear from you. I know some of you here have their cMP`s equipped with Radeon cards. Could you please let me know whether a 5870/7950 would help in FCPX? What card would you recommend as an entry level to edit in FCPX?

Thanks
 
Last edited:

0x2102

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2014
69
0
Depends on how much you want to spend. I am running an MSI Radeon 280x 3G Gaming in my cMP 5.1 on internal 2 x 6PIN (with 6 to 8 PIN adaptor). The card works OOB (no boot screen) and is fairly quite under full load.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Depends on how much you want to spend. I am running an MSI Radeon 280x 3G Gaming in my cMP 5.1 on internal 2 x 6PIN (with 6 to 8 PIN adaptor). The card works OOB (no boot screen) and is fairly quite under full load.
Thanks, how is the performance of the card in FCPX? I actually just did a quick search, and found this

Is that the card that you are running right now? Looks within my budget:D
 

0x2102

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2014
69
0
Yes, that's the card I am running. It's basically a Radeon 7970 Ghz Edition.

It's difficult to say how well it performs in FCPX since I don't have a Geforce to compare to.

One thing I have noticed in FCPX benchmarks is that two midrange cards are better than one high end card. If you are strictly interested in FCPX performance you might be better off buying two Radeon 7850 if you can still find them. They usually only require 1 x 6 Pin PCIE connector.

Looking at Barefeats benchmarks the GTX 680 isn't too bad in FCPX - close to a Radeon 7970. Not sure you will see the expected performance boost with a new single GPU.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
@0x2102

Thanks for your help, I am actually not interested in dual cards setup, it will cost more, and I do not like the noise and heat with dual cards. But it does help with dual, triple displays. I am just looking for an entry-level single card. Hence I wanted to know how for example, how 7950 scales compare to a 7970 in FCPX. I could not find any info about the overall performance in FCPX on the web...I guess no one here either is in the mood to share more:confused:

Anyway, I bought this today , it was the cheapest 280x I could find on ebay and I also ordered the epower AUX juice box from newegg (for $35), just in case I need some extra power.

BTW if I may, why you did not efi-mod your card?
 
Last edited:

TzunamiOSX

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2009
310
51
Germany
@0x2102

Thanks for your help, I am actually not interested in dual cards setup, it will cost more, and I do not like the noise and heat with dual cards. But it does help with dual, triple displays. I am just looking for an entry-level single card. Hence I wanted to know how for example, how 7950 scales compare to a 7970 in FCPX. I could not find any info about the overall performance in FCPX on the web...I guess no one here either is in the mood to share more:confused:
I hope this will help:
http://barefeats.com/tube05.html
 

pertusis1

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
395
90
Texas
I use a 7970 on FCPX, which is probably just at the margin of your price range. It is noticeably faster than my 5770, but I'm not sure whether it will be much better than the 680. Overall, I have been very happy with it. I got mine from MacVidCards, although if the boot screen is unimportant, I think you can use an un-flashed card. If used by itself, it does not require any additional power source.

As an aside, I recently ordered a used 30" ACD, which I am totally stoked about. Should be here early next week :)
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,623
211
Poland
FWIW mine 7950 WF3 @1175/6000 does BruceX in 40s (to ProRes 422HQ). MP 4,1/5,1 W3570, 48GB 1066 MHz, stock 640GB HDD, FCP X 10.1.1.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Thanks guys, appreciate the feedback. I have received my video card:). It works OOTB, show up as 7XXX in system profiler with no information when I try to get PCI cards info.

I can definitely say that FCPX works much better with AMD cards. I can add 2-3 video effects and the ATI is all right, no image tearing, it also helps in the background rendering tasks and preview does not slow down too much compare to GTX 680.

I have tried Bruce X rendering file, render it to ProRes 422LT in 68 seconds (GTX 680 was around 130 seconds). I will be doing some testing with other apps, just to make sure everything is working as it should be with the new card:p



Update 1: I am done on the mac side, everything worked fine. I am testing on Windows now, I just uninstalled Nvidia drivers and installed latest Radeon drivers, went fine.

Update 2: After playing around with gpu clock and voltage, it seems that the best settings for my card will be 1170/1700. If I add more voltage to reach 1.3V, I am stable at 1215/1750, however, it generate a lot of heat. I even tried 1.4V for fun, as AB & TRi would not let me. So I went extreme and mod the voltage on the bios, but it just gave me 1220/1750, not really worth it.

Update 3: Lastly, just patch the bios for efi (big thank you to Netkas)...done for today. I will be very busy coming 2 weeks, feel great to wrap up the gpu upgrade within the weekend:p

[url=http://postimg.org/image/wpzd9esxr/][/URL]

Thank you all for your helpful comments and time.
 
Last edited:

0x2102

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2014
69
0
Good to hear everything is working for you.

In regards to overclocking in Windows...I usually run FurMark the same time I increase the GPU clock and memory to see how much I gain in regards to FPS vs. heat. I usually have my default profile that is set to "under clock" and "under volt" to keep the fan noise for me within an acceptable range and then I have a "gaming" profile when noise doesn't matter so much :)

...

I have tried Bruce X rendering file, render it to ProRes 422LT in 68 seconds (GTX 680 was around 130 seconds). I will be doing some testing with other apps, just to make sure everything is working as it should be with the new card:p
This export takes approx. 28 seconds on the nMP 6C with dual D300 (Radeon 7870). This test is very light on the CPU. Activity Monitor shows approx. 200% -250% CPU utilization. The performance gain here comes directly from the dual GPU setup.
 

emmab2006

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2008
106
117
Stoke on trent
Sounds Good

Just Curious as to which Version of the R9 280X You went for ? MSI , Sapphire , i am after a new card for my 2008 Mac Pro, as my 5870 is getting Old now and i really need a better card for X Plane 10 , and i would rather not Buy the Official 7950 from Sapphire as its over £300!! , also i see your card is running at 5.0Gt/s which is excellent , which card was it that you brought ? :) , Emma xx
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
@0x2102 @666sheep
Thank you for your help, appreciate it.

@666sheep
Did overclocking improve BruceX time?

Yes, it did. I can do BruceX at ProRes 422HQ in 46 seconds now (thanks again)
The new FCPX seems to like ATI cards, the difference is huge compare to GTX 680. I have a better response now while previewing and also rendering in the background in FCP. Overall, I am happy with my cheapo investment, I am still waiting for the aux epower, got everything under my initial budget, not too shabby :D
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,623
211
Poland
Aux PSU will allow you to play with TDP. Your card should gain some more power at current clock from raising TDP a bit. This is what holds back 7xxx cards while overclocking. Regarding heat, you can alter fan curve in ROM to temp=rpm, i.e. 60C=60% fan speed etc.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Aux PSU will allow you to play with TDP. Your card should gain some more power at current clock from raising TDP a bit. This is what holds back 7xxx cards while overclocking. Regarding heat, you can alter fan curve in ROM to temp=rpm, i.e. 60C=60% fan speed etc.
WoW :eek:

You are very gpu-knowledgeable, that is exactly what I was planning to do. My plan is to wait for the aux power and do some fine-tuning on Volt, load vbe and mod OD and PT, and play around with temp hysteresis, probably with my dec to hex calculator and hex editor while I am at it. You are absolutely right, I cannot run heaven/furmark with internal pcie power, my cMP will behave badly if I start to suck out over 250W from the internal pcie-power. Sorry, I know this is not a forum dedicated to gpu OC :p

Thanks again 666sheep.....(in my book, you are not a sheep at all, more likely 666wolf:D)
 

TheHerdForever

macrumors member
May 11, 2012
83
1
@0x2102 @666sheep
Thank you for your help, appreciate it.

@666sheep
Did overclocking improve BruceX time?

Yes, it did. I can do BruceX at ProRes 422HQ in 46 seconds now (thanks again)
The new FCPX seems to like ATI cards, the difference is huge compare to GTX 680. I have a better response now while previewing and also rendering in the background in FCP. Overall, I am happy with my cheapo investment, I am still waiting for the aux epower, got everything under my initial budget, not too shabby :D
Careful there. I have the mighty Titan in my 5,1 Mac Pro and it's very fast. Remember that you are bound by cost.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Careful there. I have the mighty Titan in my 5,1 Mac Pro and it's very fast. Remember that you are bound by cost.
Thank you very much for the reminder my friend. Indeed, you are absolutely right. I am limited financially. My first choice was to opt for a GTX card but I do not have the budget for it. I had a very small budget (300 bucks, as I mentioned on my 1st post).

I could not even find decent 7xxx series card at an affordable price, which is weird because the 7xxx cards are older than the new R9 series. Hence I bought a used 280x on ebay (cheapest one, $255) and aux pcie power juice box from newegg ($35, including shipping), so total cost is $290.

As you can see, I am very cost-conscious. I am not trying in any ways to reach the mighty Titan. Thank you for reminding me about the cost :)
 
Last edited:

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Feedback on AUX Power and 280X in cMP 5,1

Just want to update this post, I can confirmed that 280X works well in Mac Pro 5,1. But I could not run the card at factory clock using the internal pcie power. It would run fine, but furmark and occt will shutdown the computer, maybe it could be done while lowering down the voltage. I bought an aux power separately so did not bother too much testing further with the internal pcie power from the motherboard.

For those of you who are planning to buy the ePower juice box, please purchase some quiet 40mm fans. The first thing I noticed when I was testing the unit, is that the fans (3 in all) are extremely annoying (up to 35 dB @ full load). I replaced the fans yesterday with some ultra quite ones, below is a picture of how the epower looks inside.



free image host


Now it is very quiet (16-20 dB max) depending on the GPU workload. I also tuned the GPU and settled down at 1200/1700 @1.25V. I did some extreme tests (1 hour of heaven in Mac, Furmark & OCCT in Windows and so on..) to test stability, all good so far. Luxmark also looks ok.



free upload pictures


Due to the voltage increase on my gigabyte card, I had to increase the fans on the GPU to lower down the temp while testing and using the video card, it reaches 69-75°C when benchmarking and running luxmark. I do have a GTX cooler somewhere, I will try it on the 280X when I have time. Next step, I need to find a way to clean up the mess as it does not look good at all:p



upload pictures online


Overall, if you are looking for a gaming card, go with Nvidia. My 280X even OCed is still little bit slow when gaming. But it does well in video/opencl tasks. If you are into video editing with FCPX, then just buy AMD cards.
 
Last edited:

neeraj3339

macrumors newbie
Aug 16, 2014
5
1
Planning to buy Msi R9 280x 3g for my mac pro 4,1...
Hows this is working with your machines ?
can i go without additional PSU as i have no plans to boost it..
And pls mention the link to netkas to flash this card..
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
Planning to buy Msi R9 280x 3g for my mac pro 4,1...
Hows this is working with your machines ?
can i go without additional PSU as i have no plans to boost it..
And pls mention the link to netkas to flash this card..
@neeraj3339

Hello, I have only flashed HIS (280X), Sapphire (old 5xxx series) and Gigabyte (280X). I am currently using a Gigabyte 280X, I do not know much about MSI 280X.

My 280X card is working ok, I have also upgraded my MACs at work with HIS 280X. However I would recommend you to stay away from HIS. They are unstable under Windows and have some weird HDMI/DVI artifacts from time to time.

Sorry, I did not test my card with the internal pcie power, I bought a separate PSU, so I have no idea whether it will work or not, with internal power. Below is an updated post about the PSU + 280X card, see post #8

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1714592

As for the link to flash, just go to NETKAS forum

http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,7515.0.html

http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,5619.0.html

Lastly, I do not want to sound rude, but there is a great amount of info on video cards on this forum and NETKAS, please kindly do a search before asking such questions. For general questions, we can help here, if you want to know more about say GPU EDID, GPU Framework, GPU EFI, GPU BIOS MOD....and so on, NETKAS is the place to ask for advice. There are some senior members here that are also very active on both forums (NETKAS, MVC/Rominator.. and so on)

Members that have helped me a lot here with regards to GPU tuning; Tutor, 666sheep, 0x2102..(sorry if I have missed anyone)
 
Last edited:

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Jun 10, 2006
6,758
983
For those of you who are planning to buy the ePower juice box, please purchase some quiet 40mm fans. The first thing I noticed when I was testing the unit, is that the fans (3 in all) are extremely annoying (up to 35 dB @ full load). I replaced the fans yesterday with some ultra quite ones, below is a picture of how the epower looks inside.
What fans did you put in? I might be getting the same PSU and would like quieter fans.
 

kennyman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2011
254
35
US
What fans did you put in? I might be getting the same PSU and would like quieter fans.
Hello, good question, the brand name is Tranyoung Technology (T&T). It was purchased on ebay, however any 40mm fans will do.

I would suggest to check the AUX PSU fan noise when you receive it, mine was noisy from day 1. Surprisingly, some of the members here mentioned that the stock fans are very quiet (so it could be that mine was faulty).

So check the noise level when you receive it, if you are lucky, no need to purchase new fans.

Also, there are some more info on this post;

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1714592

Sorry, no time to consolidate these threads into one. But it has some very detailed pictures and have helped others.

Good luck on your upgrade!