Radeon HD 7950: Mac Edition only?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Grogfoot, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Grogfoot macrumors member

    Grogfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    #1
    I'm sorry for the naive question here. I see the FAQ about Nvidia cards, but I'm not sure I quite understand this.

    What exactly is the difference between this card (Radeon HD 7950) and this one (Radeon HD 7950, "Mac Edition")?

    If I tried to use the non Mac edition in my 5.1 Mac Pro (mid2010) would it not function at all? Is it really $135 extra just to work with OS X vs. Windows?

    Thanks.
     
  2. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #2
    The PC version will work fine in your 5,1 under 10.8.3 with two caveats... you will not get the grey boot screen allowing easy swapping of boot drives and it will only work at PCIE 1.0 2.5GT/s instead of the full PCIE 2.0 5GT/s.

    The first issue can be got round relatively easily by flashing a Mac EFI bios onto the card and there are instructions at Netkas.org. You are stuck with the second issue (unless you purchase a card from MacVidCards who can modify the card for you).

    I have a Sapphire PC 7950 3Gb Flex with Boost in my Mac Pro right now and I did the bios flash after some reading here and at netkas. I get the boot screen but not the PCIE 2.0 speeds.
     
  3. Grogfoot thread starter macrumors member

    Grogfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    #3
    Excellent! Thank you for the reply.

    I think I'd be ok with using that Bootchamp I've read about on these forums here, or trying the EFI bios flashing, but is there a noticeable performance hit due to the smaller PCIE bandwidth?

    This would mostly be to enhance gaming. Any opinion on whether its worth the additional money for the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 instead?
     
  4. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #4
    The nVidia cards tend to depend on nVidia for drivers but if you can get the 680 4Gb with 2x 6-pin for power (the MSI Twin Frozr is one) it is a really sweet card.

    Consider the 7950 as equivalent to the 670 rather than the 680.

    For gaming you will rarely notice the PCI 1.0 limitation. The 7950 is very fast and excellent value for money.

    BootChamp is an excellent tool and I use it regularly but I must admit it is very nice to have the boot screen.

    If you get the exact same 7950 as I have (11196-17-40G) then I can PM you a copy of the original ROM and the EFI-modified ROM. You do still have the dual BIOS switch for an emergency fallback if you mess it up. I used ATIWINFLASH to do the flashing.
     
  5. Grogfoot thread starter macrumors member

    Grogfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
  6. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #6
    You have to chip off a resistor on the 7950 to get 5GT/s :)

    It is easy, compared to soldering on a new chip like the nVidia cards!!
     
  7. GP-SE macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    #7
    x2, you can get 2.0 Speeds by removing a resistor on the card, however the performance in games is like 1-2 FPS, so not worth it unless you know how to solder\take the risk to remove the resistor.
     
  8. snarfquest macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    #8
    I went the route of buying an ATI 7970 3GB ddr5 from macvidcards and am very pleased with it. Best of both worlds IMO. Cheaper cost for a EFI card with boot screens and a better card!
     
  9. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #9
    For gaming purposes it's certainly better to get PC version of 7950 with boost. Sapphire Mac Edition runs with GPU clock 800 MHz, while PC boost versions run @925 MHz. And they could be overclocked quite easily, if you're don't afraid of Hex editor and ROM flashing.
    7970 is of course even better.
     
  10. Grogfoot thread starter macrumors member

    Grogfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    #10
    I've seen several references to macvidcards on here. A google search provides one website where there doesn't seem to be a way to purchase anything, and then a seller of modified GPU cards on ebay. I assume everyone is talking about the latter?

    The cards he's offering on ebay aren't even remotely competitive. For example he's offering a flashed PC version of the 7950 for Mac Pro for $440. The thing is even used. I could get the official Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition from Amazon brand new and shipped for less. What am I missing here?

    ----------

    Thanks, more good news. :)
     
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #11


    I don't know if caring about competitive pricing matters as some of these cards are not available anywhere else for the end user that does not want to hack it themselves. You are paying a little more for you (or I) not messing up the cards. Removing transistors and flashing and voltage tweaks to keep them in the power envelope of the Mac Pro PSU seems to be work worth a bit more money to me. Things like the 7970 for $490.00. Better deal by far. Way faster. Slightly more $ for the convenience is a normal thing in the market place. You are paying an individual not a corporation with deep stock.
     
  12. snarfquest macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    #12
    We have a winner. Exactly.
     
  13. leucomax macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    Location:
    Klagenfurt
    #13
    Hi Daniel,

    I´m just new to this forum as a registered user - but have been around for quite a long time.
    I own exactly the same card as you and I´m very interested in those rom-files.

    Could you please be so kind to send it to me?

    regards from Austria

    Wolfgang :)
     
  14. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #14
    Thanks, Wolfgang - I am glad the advice has been useful.

    PM sent.
     

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