Replacing my ATI 5870

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DenBeke, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. DenBeke macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Location:
    Antwerp
    #1
    I'm having problems with the fan of my ATI 5870 card (sometimes the fan doesn't start rotating when starting up, causing the Mac to panic due to overheating). After searching a bit, I found out that to fix the fan, I will have to open the whole card, which means using thermal pasta... (I'm a bit afraid of that)

    I was now looking for another graphics card, and the Sapphire HD 7950 seems popular for Mac Pro's (and actually seems really cheap).

    The only problem is that I want to keep the bootscreen. So I will need to flash the 7950 card. Is it common that people brick their card while doing so or isn't it too hard?

    Or shouldn't I flash the card, but use a cheap "real" Mac card for the bootscreen?
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #2
    Open the card is not hard at all. I never open any card until few weeks ago, then I decided to open my 7950 to apply some AS5. No reference video, no real tutorial. Just watch few YouTube video that's for other graphic card.

    It's simple, remove all screw, pull to open a little bit, detach the fan connector, and then completely remove the heatsink.

    In your case, the card is dying anyway, why not just open it, give it a deep clean and try to fix it?

    For the 7950, get a card that have dual rom. Then you will be very safe to flash the card. I just use AtiWinFlash, the laziest way to flash the card, never have any problem. Even though you kill one rom, you can still boot with the second rom, and then recover the dead rom. As long as you keep one rom safe and never touch it (apart from booting from it). You are basically bullet proof.
     
  3. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thank you for the reply.

    So opening and re-assembling a graphics card isn't too hard at all. Even not applying the thermal pasta and changing a fan?

    And from your post I also conclude that flashing a card isn't hard at all?
    Can you brick a card by following the guidelines?
    (And is one non-mac card enough to flash, or do I need two cards in order to flash one?)

    Last question... :)
    If I buy an old Mac Pro (or even G5) Mac card for my current Mac Pro. Can I then use that card to show me the bootscreen on every startup, and use any non-EFI card to do all real stuff? Will OS X allow me to have those to cards (and choose the correct one)?
     
  4. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #4
    The 5870 is a fine card and although all you need to change the cooler is a small phillips screwdriver, a lot of q-tips and either some rubbing alcohol or ArctiClean, you may prefer to ask a computer-minded friend to do the work for you in return for a few beers/pizza.

    If you want to tackle it yourself, have a look for guides.

    One cooler that is listed as compatible is this... http://www.arctic.ac/eu_en/accelero-xtreme-9905.html

    On the Products page, it does list that cooler as compatible. It is a fat cooler taking up space above the Apple card though.

    I used an older version of the cooler when I replaced my Apple 5870 cooler and showed pictures here... http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1097022
     
  5. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #5
    There are following good Mac Pro cards with Bootscreen:
    EVGA GTX 285 Mac Edition its worse then your 5870 but its really cheap for a mac card, 150 bucks on ebay.

    AMD Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition 3GB GDDR5
    EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition
    You could even get a NVIDIA GT 8800 they are like 40 bucks and can play games like Battlefield 4 on low settings
     
  6. h9826790, Nov 11, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #6
    Open the card is a simple job. As long as you are not doing some silly thing (e.g. pull very hard to open the card without remove all screws), the card is not that easy to break.

    Reassembly the card is quite easy as well. Plug in the fan connector, put the heatsink back to it's correct place, and then put the screws back. Very straight forward.

    However, in your case, once you open the card. You MUST clean all the current thermal paste and apply the new one. Basically you have to do that every time you open the card.

    Apply thermal paste is not that hard. There are plenty of youtube videos to show how much you should apply.

    Flash the card is simple. The easiest way is to do that in Windows, just few clicks, no command line, no complicated stuff. However, you need to have the correct rom, or make the EFI rom yourself. This may be the hardest part.

    For a card that have dual rom, you can't brick the card with only one flash application. Unless you intentionally switch to the good rom and kill that again. It's not that way to brick the card accidentally.

    You only need one card in the Mac Pro in order to flash it. In your case, you can boot from the 7950 itself (with no boot screen), and then flash it. No other graphic card required in this process.

    I don't have any experience of dual graphic card setup. AFAIK, quite a few guys install a GT120 in there Mac Pro for the boot screen, and let the other non-flashed graphic card to do the heavy duty job. I don't know if there is any limitation with this setting. However, it seems the OS will not choose the best card to do the job, it simply choose the card that attach to the screen to do the job. e.g. The 7950 can't be used to play 3D games on a screen that actually connected to the GT120. Of course, for something like OpenCL should not be a problem at all.
     
  7. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    Antwerp
    #7
    Thank you for the answers.
    I have learned a lot, and most of things now are more clear.


    About the dual graphics setup:

    Have you got any links to articles/posts about this?
    I have done some research but couldn't really find any exact information about it.

    Because now I suppose the monitor on which I want to see the bootscreen should be attached to the old GT120, and the main monitor(s) to the new non-EFI cards? Or can I just connect all monitors to the new card, and still see the bootscreen?
     
  8. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #8
    ON a 1,1 or 2,1 you will only see boot screens on efi32 or EBC card.
     
  9. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    I'm on a Mac Pro 4,1 (2009). I should have told that in the first post...
     
  10. sebseb macrumors 6502

    sebseb

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #10
    If you want the 7950, then check MacVidCard, he replied to your topic. He flashes graphics cards for the Mac Pro. There's other nvidia and ati cards. I haven't bought anything from him, but many talk highly of his work and he offers warranty on the cards so you know it works well!
     
  11. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #11
    The fan is a cheap fix.

    They are sold on Ebay for 10-20$ US.

    A little time with a small screwdriver and you are golden.
     
  12. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #12
    Get a card from MVC or send him your own to flash and be done with it. I went R9 280X and is vay nass
     
  13. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    Charlotte, NC
    #13
    Pardon my ignorance, but what is vay nass? Is that some hip hop lingo for a really good deal or something?
     
  14. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
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    #14
    [​IMG]
     
  15. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    Antwerp
    #15
    I have already done :)


    Thanks!


    Thanks for the advice!


    So it will be a flashed non-EFI card, or non-flashed non-EFI card, combined with an GT 120 in case I need a bootscreen.

    I still haven't answer on my questions about the GT120 + HD 7950 (or any other non-EFI card).
    - Can I install the GT120 in another slot than the bottom slots?
    - Do I need any screen connected to the GT 120 in order to have a bootscreen? (I guess so).
    - How does OS X handle dual graphic cards?
    - I have heard that some non-Mac cards work at PCIe 1.0 speed, is that true?
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    Hollywood, CA
    #16
    Yes. Slots is slots.

    Only if you want to see it.

    How do you handle wearing two socks? (being humorous, OS X is just fine, Windows may have issue but usually solveable)

    You have heard correctly.
     
  17. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    And how do I know this before buying a card?

    (I was looking into an AMD Radeon R9 280X 3 GB or an AMD Radeon 7970 3 GB)
     
  18. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    #18
    Read the ad?

    Neither will run at 2.0 until resistor moved.
     
  19. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    So it will be slow on my Mac Pro?
     
  20. flowrider, Nov 14, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #20
    Sounds like some kind of contraction of very nice. Sounds like German, but it's not. German is sehr schön for very nice.

    Lou
     
  21. crjackson2134, Nov 14, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

    Joined:
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    Charlotte, NC
    #21
    Well in the reply to his post, he posted a picture of a movie character named Borat. So I checked the movie since I had it on my media player, and it seems to be that it is just an accent from Kazakhstan. It seems that this is how Borat says very nice.

    I guess he is a big fan of the Borat movie.
     
  22. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Antwerp
    #22
    I don't understand in which add I should read that...
    On the website of my local store (looking for the non-EFI R9 280X 3 GB) there is written "Bus type - PCI express 3.0 x16".
    On your website it says: "PCIe 2.0". On various other websites I read "PCIe 3.0 x16".

    So how am I supposed to know if the card I buy for my Mac Pro will use the full PCIe speed, and isn't a bad purchase?

    Is this driver related? Mac firmware related? Card related? ...
     
  23. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    Hong Kong
    #23
    The cMP (4,1 or 5,1) only has PCIe 2.0 slots (2 of them are x16). So, even though the card support PCIe 3.0, you can only run it at 2.0 speed. However, AFAIK, there is no difference in terms of performance. because the PCIe 2.0 speed is fast enough.

    On the other hand, if you just buy a PC graphic card and plug that into your cMP without any modification. Most likely that card can only work at PCIe 1.0 speed with your Mac Pro. And this will cause performance degradation, because the PCIe 1.0 bandwidth is not good enough for high performance graphic card such as 280X.
     
  24. DenBeke thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    Yep, I knew :)

    Why is that the case?
    I have read the "Frequently Asked Questions About NVIDIA PC (non-EFI) Graphics Cards" topic, and there is pointed out that installing the Nvidia drivers will allow PCIe 2.0.
    So is it better to go for an Nvidia card?

    Is the link speed important? And will this be different on non-EFI cards?
     
  25. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #25
    Basically, the switch for Nvidia cards is in software, the one for AMD cards is hardware.

    I have managed to find them on 90% of AMD cards. It's relatively easy on cards that exist as Apple cards. (2600xt, 4870, 5870,7950)

    It becomes more of a challenge on cards with no Mac Edition. (6870,6970,R9 290X, 7870) We have found them for these but at much greater time expenditure.

    For Nvidia cards it is some minor change in firmware. They have had the magical ability to change where this "switch" is in each card family. We found it for past cards, but Maxwell is still a mystery. And again, since there is no Mac Edition, it will be very difficult indeed to find.

    Games don't seem to suffer as much as GPGPU stuff. And certainly if you have 4 @ PCIE cards having 1 running at half speed is more of an issue than if you only have 1 card running. (Old lady on highway going 30 MPH only a problem if there are others going 70)

    BareFeats may soon be able to quantify this. We have offered to mod his R9 290X to run at PCIE 2.0. He could then re-run the tests he just published and you will have answers. May change things, may not.
     

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