RX 580 in a MacPro5.1 - remove backplate

JoeStrummer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
22
1
South Africa
Hello,
I am in the process of upgrading my 2012 MacPro 5.1
Bought a new Sapphire Pulse Rx 580. Installed it this morning. I found that it didn't fit in slot 1. This was due to the backplate. Not enough room underneath the RX 580. It fitted easily into slot 2, but then I wouldn't be able to use slot 3 which would be hidden behind the GPU.
I looked online and saw pics of other RX 580 installed in slot 1 with the backplate still on, so not sure why mine didn't fit?
In the end I removed the backplate from the RX 580 and then it did fit snug into slot 1.

I don't really know if this is a good idea? Is it a bad idea? (to remove the backplate form the graphics card).

Also, there was a thermal pad on the inside of backplate (see image below), is this important? Do I need to try transfer to GPU?

I have installed card and booted up and all is running smoothly for now.

I don't currently have an app installed for monitoring temp but I guess this would be a good idea?

Many thanks for any thoughts and suggestions
[doublepost=1553764025][/doublepost]pic of thermal pad inside backplate 20190328_105447_resized.jpg
 

Quicksilver867

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2007
187
20
Columbus
My RX580 Pulse fit fine into slot 1...

Is the port end of the card fitting correctly into the slots in the back of the case? Are the screw holes catching on the backplate of the GPU?

EDIT: by 'backplate,' I mean the metal part of the card where the screws to hold it go.
 

JeffPerrin

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2014
403
368
I looked online and saw pics of other RX 580 installed in slot 1 with the backplate still on, so not sure why mine didn't fit?
In the end I removed the backplate from the RX 580 and then it did fit snug into slot 1.
Did you push the button on the left fan assembly to release and slide the PCI lock bar out of the way? (I forgot about that myself when I tried installing the Pulse 580)
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
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I would not suggest to completely remove the backplate. Remove the two screws on the PCIe connection side, but LEAVE THE OTHER TWO that hold the backplate on. This will give it a better "fit" in MP5,1 slot #1.
 

XNorth

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2018
167
83
United States
I don't really know if this is a good idea? Is it a bad idea? (to remove the backplate form the graphics card).
Bad idea. The backplate provides cooling and protection. I would removing the cooling only if I could modify with a better cooling system and don’t need the warranty.
 
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JoeStrummer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
22
1
South Africa
Hi, read this thread, you'll find some info, about the RX 580 Pulse. ;)

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...580-8gb-spacer-wedge-for-pcie-slot-2.2134562/
Thanks! Yes I did look at this thread but it was mainly about a slightly different issue (lack of space between GPU in slot1 and whatever is in slot2. My issue is that I can't get the GPU into slot1)

Did you push the button on the left fan assembly to release and slide the PCI lock bar out of the way? (I forgot about that myself when I tried installing the Pulse 580)
Yes! I did remember to do this :):)

Bad idea. The backplate provides cooling and protection. I would removing the cooling only if I could modify with a better cooling system and don’t need the warranty.
Ok yes this what I figured :eek:

I would not suggest to completely remove the backplate. Remove the two screws on the PCIe connection side, but LEAVE THE OTHER TWO that hold the backplate on. This will give it a better "fit" in MP5,1 slot #1.
Ok so the only way I could get GPU to fit was to remove backplate completely
I will pull it out again and try this again

Thanks
 

JoeStrummer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
22
1
South Africa
It just doesn't fit!
I have removed 2x screws as suggested above, but when the backplate is on, it just doesn't fit!
I removed all drives and PCI fan to get better access
I can slide the GPU connectors into the PCI slot1 but then the card is sticking up about 10 degrees from horizontal.
I can only think that the processor cage, which sits below the GPU, is somehow 'out of spec' or not sitting properly.
All the other drives that I have connected to the PCI board line up 100% with the cage, so the only logical thing that can be out of whack is the processor cage below?




20190329_174508_resized.jpg
20190329_174410_resized.jpg
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
2,601
1,265
Please post a picture from the same two angles without the GPU in place.

----

Also, did you engage and slide the PCIe "bar" open? There is a button on the fan that you push and sort of pull/slide the unit to the front of the tower.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,958
5,839
Hong Kong
It just doesn't fit!
I have removed 2x screws as suggested above, but when the backplate is on, it just doesn't fit!
I removed all drives and PCI fan to get better access
I can slide the GPU connectors into the PCI slot1 but then the card is sticking up about 10 degrees from horizontal.
I can only think that the processor cage, which sits below the GPU, is somehow 'out of spec' or not sitting properly.
All the other drives that I have connected to the PCI board line up 100% with the cage, so the only logical thing that can be out of whack is the processor cage below?

View attachment 829253 View attachment 829255
If your card was inserted "into the slot", but not "the bottom of the slot". Then I also can only assume your cage is somehow higher than normal.
 
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JoeStrummer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
22
1
South Africa
20190329_183055_resized.jpg
20190329_183008_resized.jpg

[doublepost=1553877694][/doublepost]
Also, did you engage and slide the PCIe "bar" open? There is a button on the fan that you push and sort of pull/slide the unit to the front of the tower.
Yes for sure!
[doublepost=1553877936][/doublepost]
If your card was inserted "into the slot", but not "the bottom of the slot". Then I also can only assume your cage is somehow higher than normal.
Yes...if i look through the slot opening (where the HDMI cable connectors etc are ) I can see the GPU connectors are in the PCIe slot, not below!
 

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MikkelAD

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2018
118
7
Be sure to position the Mac Pro upright and let gravity help a little. Had the exact same problem...

It can be done! It's not perfect or quiet as good as my GTX 970 G1 from Gigabyte but I think my setup looks fine...


IMG_0522.JPG IMG_0520.JPG IMG_0521.JPG
 
Last edited:

bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
2,601
1,265
What is the exact model of the GPU?
What is the PN and SKU on the box? (This is near the barcodes on box.)

Photo of Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB installed in slot 1. Only two screws near PCIe side were removed from backplate. Slot 2 is Angelbird Wings PX1 NVMe right above the GPU (with some thermal pad stacks). The two removed screws had "springs" on them. Backplate of card is basically flush to the bottom of the case.

Angular perspective is hard to tell if the board lines up the same as yours. Cannot get "barebones" empty PCIe photo anytime soon.

example.jpg
 
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XNorth

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2018
167
83
United States
It just doesn't fit!
I have removed 2x screws as suggested above, but when the backplate is on, it just doesn't fit!
I removed all drives and PCI fan to get better access
I can slide the GPU connectors into the PCI slot1 but then the card is sticking up about 10 degrees from horizontal.
I can only think that the processor cage, which sits below the GPU, is somehow 'out of spec' or not sitting properly.
All the other drives that I have connected to the PCI board line up 100% with the cage, so the only logical thing that can be out of whack is the processor cage below?
The GPU shouldn't be sticking up at an angle. It should lay flat on top of the CPU cage/housing. Something is off, likely with with the card, unless the CPU housing or the mobo has been messed with and not properly seated.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
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Looking at these photos again, are you 100% positive the PCIe was 100% seated correctly in Slot #1? It looks like the GPU's PCIe connection may not be inserted into the slot, possibly below it. With the tight fit on the PCIe side with RX580, it is possible. Actually might be of assistance to "line up" if the PCIe blank covers were in place for slots 2, 3, 4. This would "hold" the slot positioning correctly to ensure the GPU ports line up where they are meant to be.

I'm not at all saying this card is the 100% perfect fit for MP5,1. It's a little too large and fans are in an awkward position, but it's Apple's own recommended and it does work...
 
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crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
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Charlotte, NC
Looking at the OP’s pics, it appears to me that the angle of insertion places the PCIe edge connector below the bottom edge of the slot itself.

I suggest you lay the tower on its side, and let the GPU rest flat against the top of the processor cage as you guide it into slot1. Do not try to angle the card during insertion, that’s not needed.
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2012
2,601
1,265
also no problem with my sapphire pulse RX580 8GB
no screws removed !!!
Removing screws on PCIe side ONLY helps with using all four PCIe slots. If you're not using slot 2, it doesn't make a difference.
 

JoeStrummer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2019
22
1
South Africa
Thanks for all the feedback!
After some careful fiddling, I can confirm that, for my machine, the GPU does not fit correctly into slot 1 because the processor cage is in the way.

My machine is 'mid-2012', single processor, MacPro 5.1 (Model A1289 / EMC2629)
The graphics card is Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8G GDDR5 with PN 299-1E387-000SA and SKU# 11265-05-20G (that's what it says on the box). Bought brand new.

I initially posted pics (above) of the GPU inserted in the PCIe slot at a steep angle. A number of people asked if I was sure that the GPU connecters weren't in fact underneath the PCIe slot, thus causing the alarming angle. I tried with the machine lying both vertically and horizontally, and carefully laying the GPU flat on the top of the processor cage, and visually confirmed, by looking through the empty slots above, that the GPU connectors were butting against the top edge of PCIe slot. See pic below.

20190330_110227_resized.jpg



I confirmed that all the PCIe slots lined up correctly with the 'box/chassis' by trying different combinations of covers and PCIe devices. Everything seemed to line up correctly.
So then I pulled the processor cage out of the machine completely.
With the processor cage out, I then inserted the GPU into slot 1...and everything fitted perfectly. The card was at 90 degrees to logic board and the 'cable connections' part of the GPU fitting perfectly into the slot in the chassis. See pics below

20190330_115427_resized.jpg


20190330_115606_resized.jpg


Once I had the processor cage out I thought that in fact it did not look perfectly 'square' and perhaps had a very slight 'bow', if I lay it on a flat surface there is a couple millimetres rock to it?
Gave everything a clean and put it all back together.
Tried inserting the GPU again and it was certainly improved but still a long way from 100%! See pic below
20190330_131644_resized.jpg


I tried various combinations of removing screws from GPU backplate (side nearest PCie slot, both sides, none, removing springs from screws etc) and the best result (as seen above) was removing 2x 'springed' screws nearest PCie slot.

It requires a bit of force to get GPU 'level' and to line up so that cable connections are fitted to chassis properly and retaining plate screwed in.
This pressure is hinged directly on the GPU connectors which are in slot 1 - this is far from ideal

I booted up and everything appears to be running ok.
As far as I can tell, my options at this point are....
1. continue running with GPU forced into slot 1
2. remove backplate from GPU and fit to slot 1
3. fit GPU to slot 2 and lose access to slot 3

My final thought was to drill holes through the bottom of the processor cage and the chassis/box and insert bolts in an effort to try 'clamp' the processor cage downwards :)

Thanks for all the suggestions much appreciated !
 

crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
4,576
1,680
Charlotte, NC
Thanks for all the effort and updating with those pics. You sure have an unusual situation on your hands. I’m confined to my bed at the moment so I can’t check right now, but judging from the last round of pictures, it looks like your processor cage has an abnormally raised pad in the center. I believe mine is nearly flush. I think this raised portion is the major difference that’s causing your problem. If someone else could confirm that theirs is flush or nearly flush perhaps that would solve the mystery. If that turns out to be the case, perhaps you can either find a method to correct this, or even replace the processor caged. I’m guessing one can be found if you search the internet.

That’s all I’ve got... My 2¢ ....

Good Luck, I hope you get this sorted out...
 
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