Resolved RX480 Practicalities (how turnkey is it?).

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mattspace, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. mattspace macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

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    #1
    OK, so having an idea that we're got another year or so before thinking hard again about the next platform decision, it's back to the practicalities of putting a new GPU in.

    My workload: primarily computational photography in a Qt/OpenGL app that uses CPU for rendering (woo watching all cores peg on full is fun), but uses GPU for previewing / editing and UI. It's typical workload is stitching ~140 TIFF files of 200mb+ each.

    I've still got the original gt120 (which is really getting unresponsive while trying to edit), which I can plug into the TV that sits above my workstation, so if I absolutely need a bootscreen (I like watching verbose booting), that's covered. Do these cards coexist with newer AMD ones, or am I likely to have un-neighbourly issues?

    As an aside - when folks are referring to not having boot screens, you're effectively seeing a blank screen up until... the login prompt? Or, do you need automatic login enabled to get it to the desktop before the display is enabled? Which part of this process is where non-bootscreen cards kick in?

    So what GPU? The RX480 seems like a good choice, with a boatload of VRAM, single 6pin power (for the blower-style reference model), and significantly less expensive new than what would seem to be a popular choice - a secondhand 980ti (6pin 680s are rarer than roosterteeth here).

    I've looked through It Sage's RX480 guide and the threads here - having to run software update via commandline isn't too big a hassle (does that include security updates - or is it only OS versioning upgrades?).

    Any advice?
     
  2. padams35 macrumors member

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    Nov 10, 2016
    #2
    The screen comes up either at the Apple logo or at some point during the Progress Bar indicator. You can see normal login window, but not the file vault log in window.

    If you have gotten this far using only the gt120 then a simple RX 460 may be more than enough and worth considering since that would save you the command line hassle however minor. Otherwise I've heard good things about the 480 value.
     
  3. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

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    #3
    That's a thought, though looking at that level of performance, I almost suspect I'd be better off looking at a gtx680, which from what I can see the 6+8 would seem to run safely. That's the only thing that gives me pause about the new Radeons - they don't seem to have very good OpenGL performance, and the specific app I use is OpenGL-based.
     
  4. padams35 macrumors member

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    #4
    I've heard that MacOS in general has been behind the curve in OpenGL support but this is the first I've heard Radeon issues. I almost linked to the geekbench GPU results to prove otherwise before noticing those were OpenCL instead of OpenGL.
     
  5. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

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    #5
    I was just looking at this barefeats measurement the 480 vs 680 in OpenGL stuff.
     
  6. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Personally I'd rather go for an (older) GPU which has native drivers and can easily be flashed for boot screens, e.g. GTX 680, R9 280X or a MVC Maxwell card with WebDrivers.

    It's possible to use a RX 480, but this setup will actually be harder to maintain than just building a Hackintosh with recent hardware, which IMO defeats the purpose of a genuine Mac.
     
  7. theitsage macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    IMO a turnkey new GPU upgrade is the RX 460. As long as you're running 10.12 and newer, that sucker works right out the box. It's a nice boost in performance over the GT 120.
     
  8. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

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    #8
    yeah, I might end up going down that route - secondhand GTX 680s are often as expensive as new RX480s here, and while going hardcore for a MVC980ti would be nice, with the macpro redesign on the way and the end of dual cable 5k monitors, it has a lot of downsides. Just seems like a bad time overall to choose any technology path :/
     
  9. mattspace thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

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  10. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    #10
    So would you recommend an RX460 with the GT120 or is the former worth trying to flash for the sake of a bootscreen?
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #11
    No flash avail for RX460 unless you can write the Mac EFI by yourself.
     
  12. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    Feb 16, 2012
    #12
    That would keep me busy until the next Mac Pro comes out! ;-)
     
  13. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    #13
    So think I've settled on the RX460 for simplicity. Is there any specific advantage of the Sapphire over the Asus brands, and do all the ports work?
     
  14. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #14
    Should be no difference.
     
  15. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    #15
    Another option would be the Asus RX480 with 4Gb. It's about £60 more than the cheapest RX460 from Amazon UK. Is this as simple to setup as the RX460, or does it require a bit of extra legwork to get going? Think I recall looking at a page from theitsage detailing the extra steps required in the Mac Pro (mines a 4,1 that will be updated to 5,1 soon).

    Is the performance boost for something like FCP X really noticeable? Thanks for any further input. Want to get the right thing without spending a fortune.
     
  16. theitsage macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    If you intend to use the GT 120 as the secondary GPU for boot screen, I'd say go for the RX 480. It's more effort to make the RX 480 work but definitely worth it.
     
  17. mwb macrumors newbie

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    Jul 21, 2011
    #17
    That's my setup: gt120 + rx480 using @theitsage instructions. I have no issues in macOS. If I was buying a new card today I'd probably get a 1060 or 1070 instead.
     
  18. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    Feb 16, 2012
    #18
    With both the RX480 and say the Nvidia 1060, so all the ports work properly? Any power issues before I get time to look properly later this morning?
     
  19. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #19
    The cMP has plenty of power for these cards. However, the RX480 may draw too much from the PCIe slot. There is no problem in terms of totally power consumption, but the distribution.
     
  20. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    #20
    Is one better than the other in terms of all ports working or most ports working?

    It's a bit of minefield compared to PC's just dropping a card in and off you go, but then I don't want Windows on my Mac Pro or MacBook Pro. That's why I hung on to my old Dell laptop, and have an even older self-built PC if I wanted to flash a card for instance.
     
  21. Stephen Valente macrumors member

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    Feb 16, 2012
    #21
    That's a fair point, and have got your guide open in another tab.

    So power wise, the Mac Pro can cope it would seem. The Sapphire version has 2x HDMI, 2x DP, and DVI. Do all these ports work when put in a Mac Pro, or are some unusable?
     

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