Screen Flickering with Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cledet, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. AngryRedTicTac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    #26
    No question that you'll see a real improvement over a 5770. Couldn't scrape up the cash for an actual Mac Edition, so I'm running a flashed MSI Twin Frozr 7950 in my 4,1 that replaced the 4870. 10.9 has been a solid upgrade for performance. The little flickering I saw in 10.8.4/.5 are gone in Mavericks. The only sad thing remains the lack of support for Bioshock Infinite. Soooo pretty and fast in Windows. Soooo sloppy and unplayable in OSX. Some day...

    My Tempo eSATA fizzled with 10.9, but reinstalling the drivers fixed it. For now, at least.
     
  2. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #27
    hey guys, thanks for the replies so far.

    I don't game (don't shoot me down) on the Mac i really just use it for work - when did the Mac even become a gaming platform :confused:

    So i ran cinebench on both cards to get an idea on performance, tell me what you think:

    HD 5770: 62.35 fps
    HD 7950: 69.89 fps

    So roughly 7 frames per second increase - that just doesn't sound like nearly enough for what i was expecting from this card.

    I have heard the fans running bit more with the card installed, i'm going to try re-installing the combo update to 10.8.5 and see if that makes any difference.
     
  3. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #28
    Cine bench 11 is a joke.

    Did you get new one?

    Try glview or luxmark
     
  4. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #29
    Since i installed the card the expansion slot fan spins up to 1400-1900 rpm after a cold boot. Starting a test with "Open GL Extensions Viewer" brings them down to a reasonable value. Hibernating and then waking mostly helps also. Screen flicker ended after i upgraded to OSX 10.9.
     
  5. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #30
    I used Cinebench 15 which i'm assuming is the latest one and yes, the card is brand new. It may not be the best benchmarking tool (i have no idea) but surely it can be used as a measure of how much difference there is in performance between the 2 cards? All else being equal (OS X/SSD/etc). Or is it not good enough for such comparisons?

    I reinstalled the OS on a clean SSD, updated using the 10.8.5 combo updater, updated the 10.8.5 supplemental update, made sure all my apps are latest versions and lo and behold… same problem!! Not getting more than 70FPS in cinebench whereas the old 5770 gives me 62FPS under snow leopard + 69FPS under 10.8.5. The old card is 1 frame out vs this new one - surely that's got be a card issue??

    It just doesn't feel a whole lot faster than the 5770 - in fact i've swapped back to the old one so i can have my dual 30" monitors running again at full res ;o)

    I'm going to send it back and swap it for the GTX 680, see how I get on with that.
     
  6. pastrychef, Nov 2, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  7. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #32
    Ok so i tried benchmarking again using GLView and there was a noticeable difference in the results

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This kind of makes me not want to send it back but still having the whole screen flickering issue, cant really justify updating to mavericks as its not stable yet, this is a production machine.

    Although i'm doing all this benchmarking, i'm really more concerned about about real world performance in apps like photoshop, indesign, illustrator, dreamweaver etc. I suppose i want to see the numbers to justify whether it is any better or not.

    From what i understand radeon have the jump over nvidia in this arena because of their openCL/GL implementation? I've only been reading up on this last few days so am willing to be corrected by someone who knows better or uses either cards in their system and can give real-world feedback…

    @pastrychef
    interesting figures there, i see that just above your result are a couple of HD5770 which i had installed and I see the openGL figures cream the 680, which i believe apps like photoshop etc take more advantage of?? Do you use photoshop at all? Any comments on performance?
     
  8. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #33
    Quite frankly, the Cinebench scores don't make any sense to me at all. The GTX 650M from a MacBook Pro got 54 and the GTX 680 got 45.

    Generally speaking, the AMD cards are better at OpenCL (OpenCL, not OpenGL) than Nvidia cards. But, Nvidia cards can also do Cuda, which AMD cards don't. As far as I know, the the Adobe apps support both forms of GPGPU.

    AMD and Nvidia leapfrog each other for OpenGL every time either of them release a new top of the line card.
     
  9. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #34
    @pastrychef

    If you have time, would you be able to run a quick test using GLView? Be interesting to see what results you get on that.
     
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #35
    OpenGL Extension Viewer doesn't seem like the best app to use to compare video cards. I was looking at power draw from my GTX 680 during the test and it was just using 72W.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #36
    Pure speculation - i wonder if it doesn't tax the card as much because it's not optimised in the same way for open gl as the radeon?? The scores are certainly lower but i was almost expecting it from the (time limited) research i've done.

    So looking at alternative solutions really. I just checked out some monster thread about a HD7970 in a mac pro (i believe you were there pastrychef ;o)

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1505726&page=13

    But to be honest, i'm no clearer after 13 pages than before, well, asides from 2 people having shutdown issues which doesn't sound so good.

    Ok, so if the 7950 gives screen flickering and not solved by drivers, what other card (PC cards flashed included) would you guys recommend?

    I'm thinking something along the radeon route, simply for the advantage it has over nvidea in open cl / gl (for the apps i mainly use).

    PS i need it to drive 2x 30" monitors at 2560x1600 (again from my limited reading i understand i may need an "active" mini dv adapter??)

    As ever, your input greatly appreciated people.
     
  12. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #37
    I think Unigine Heaven and Valley are better benchmarks to compare OpenGL. At least my fans spin up...
     

    Attached Files:

  13. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #38
    Any news what could be there other option if the flickering exists on 7970
     
  14. Donar macrumors 6502

    Donar

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #39
    Another question: Who still has screen flicker with a 7950 in Mavericks?

    Mavericks solved the flickering issue for me. The update to 10.9.1 mostly solved the spin up of the expansion slot fans. Maybe it solved it fully, but sometimes i get the impression that the expansion slot fan or / card fan revs up for short time for no reason.
     
  15. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #40
    I still get very rare screen flashes - maybe once every day or two. I am using a flashed (and R17 modded) 7950 and 10.9.1.

    I found that 10.9 fixed the large majority of the flashing issues but never had a fan problem because I have one of the twin-fan non-reference coolers.
     
  16. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #41
    I got the snowy effect on my 5770 on the wake up is that what we are talking about, on my 5870 I was getting pixalization that meant the card was going 5770 is way to slow for me so I need something faster
    Knowing that apple will be working close with ATI/AMD i know they will always support those cards
    so if the issues with 5950 are gone I will grab one tomorrow :)

    THX
     
  17. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #42
    going with AMD 7950 for mac
    will keep all posted on outcome
    the card seems to be a bit faster then the new D500 and a bit slower than the D700 so it will be a good fit
     
  18. h9826790, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018

    h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #43
    For anyone who suffer from the flickering with the HD7950 Mac Edition. I would like to introduce a work around for this problem. You may use it until Apple fix the driver.

    How it works?

    There are 3 profiles in the 7950 Mac Edition card. GPU/VRAM clock at 300/150, 501/1250, and 800/1250. The follow procedure is the way to virtually disable the 501/1250 state. In my own test, by disabling one of the low performance profile, there will be no flickering occur (disable 300/150), or greatly reduced to a level that may be one flickering per few days (disable 501/1250).

    However, if we disable the 300/150 profile, we will make the card idle at 501/1250. Which will draw much more power than 300/150 (~18W vs ~52W), and make the card warmer (~55C) which cause the PCIe fan higher at idle(~830RPM). So I decided to disable the 501/1250 state, and make it only run at either 300/150 or 800/1250. Even though this can only alleviate the problem but not really fix it.

    Please read carefully before you try this fix, it may brick your card!!!

    Software Required


    A) GPU-Z, only works in Windows.

    B) For hex editing, I personally use HexMiner (a free software from AppStore).

    C) To flash the card. I use AtiWinFlash. This tools ONLY works in Windows (NOT working in any VM e.g. Parallel). You may use AtiFlash in DOS.

    This ONLY works for the 7950 Mac Edition, and use at your own risk!

    1) Boot your Mac into Windows

    2) Use GPU-Z to save the ROM image

    3) Make sure it's size is 128k

    4) Backup this ROM image x2 (this is your native Mac EFI ROM image, we won't touch this ROM as a safe precaution).

    5) Open the case, flip the switch on the card to the UEFI BIOS. I did that without shutdown the computer. However, if you want to play safe. Shut it down, flip the switch, and then boot into Windows again (no boot screen).

    6) Use GPU-Z to save the ROM image again + check 128k + backup x2 (this is the UEFI ROM, we will flash our custom ROM to cover it).

    -------------------------------------

    7) Boot into OSX (no bootscreen)

    8) Download HexMiner from Appstore.

    9) Open the Mac EFI ROM image by HexMiner.

    10) On the top left, enter location B005, you should see something like this. If not, make sure it's in "hex" mode, not "txt" mode (upper right corner).

    Native.jpg

    11) click "update" (next to the windows you enter "b005").

    12) edit the 1st 8 pairs of the numbers of the first and second row, make it exactly the same as the 3rd row (ONLY the 1st 8 pairs of the number, should looks like the following image).

    edited.jpg

    13) save this image to a NEW rom file (e.g. fixed.rom)

    14) reboot into Windows (still no bootscreen yet)

    N.B. You may use any Hex editior to finish the same job between procedure 7-14 in Windows, and no need to boot into OSX (or reboot) through out the whole procedure.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    15) Open AtiWinFlash (as admin if applicable)

    16) click "load image" to open fixed.rom in AtiWinFlash

    17) Click "program"

    18) Wait and DO NOT TOUCH anything until it finish (may take up to few minutes)

    N.B. At this point, the procedure is done. If you want to do some test, you may do the following. Otherwise, you can boot back to OSX and the card should be flickering free.

    19) reboot in to Windows after the flash completed (Should have bootscreen)

    20) Open GPU-Z to monitor the graphic card.

    21) Check the GPU frequency is at 300

    22) Load it up by furmark, and check the GPU frequency switch to 800.

    23) open IE and scroll through facebook, make sure the GPU either idle at 300 or switch to 800 and NEVER get into 501MHz.

    If your card perform as expected. You may now reboot back to OSX, and may have a flickering free HD7950 Mac Edition card (or much less flickering).

    -----------------------------------------------

    For anyone who only want the ROM image file. Here you are.

    View attachment 7950_var_clock.rom.zip

    However, this ROM image MAY NOT fit your card. It's because apart from the above modification, I further lower the voltage to 0.981V and made a custom fan profile to minimise the fan noise (this will make your card run cooler and quieter). Even though this voltage should be good for almost all 7950 Mac Edition card. I still recommend that you use Afterburner in Windows to manually set the voltage to 0.981V, and run some tests to make sure your card is stable for that (e.g. a 5min OCCT error test).

    If you just want a quick fix, you may simply download this ROM image file and flash it to your card (recommended you backup the UEFI ROM and cover it, but NOT cover the native Mac ROM).

    -----------------------------------------------

    Last but not least, if you prefer to run the card only at 501/1250 and 800/1250 (disable the 300/150 state), here is the ROM image. This ROM should 100% fix the problem, but consume more power when idle.

    View attachment 7950_fix_clock.rom.zip

    or

    Hex edit your own ROM image address B008 with "E8 01"

    Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 07.51.26.jpg

    In this case, you can check if the GPU idle at 501/1250 in GPU-Z right after reboot.

    --------------------------------

    If you want to go back to the stock setting, you can simply flip the switch back to the native Mac ROM and reboot the machine.

    Again, I personally recommend to try disable the 501/1250 state first. Even though it may not able to entirely solve the problem. It's a more balanced solution between reduce flickering and minimise the power consumption. Only if it doesn't work, then fix the VRAM at 1250MHz. This is a 100% working solution, but will make the card consume ~200% more power at idle.

    N.B. This flickering will only occur in single monitor setup. For those who has multiple monitors connected to the card. Your 7950 will automatically disable the 300/150MHz profile. That means your card won't suffer from the flickering issue, but also has higher idle power consumption.
     
  19. Arron Rouse macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Location:
    Chichester, UK
    #44
    That's really good work. Thank you. I'll give it a try some time in the coming week.

    One thing, how do you boot into Windows without the boot screen?
     
  20. h9826790, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #45
    Select it from the system preference.

    Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 07.46.46.jpg

    Then your Mac Pro will always boot into Windows until you re-select OSX partition in the bootcamp apps (in control panel).
     
  21. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Location:
    Europe
    #46
    Hi guys,

    sorry for bumping the thread. I too have the 7950 Mac Edition installed in my Mac Pro 5,1.

    How exactly does that flickering you guys are talking about look?
    I get grey stripes sometimes, very quickly, over the screen. This happens very rarely. I believe it happens when I'm on Youtube/Safari the most, but it happens so rarely that it's hard to tell. (I'll take notes now)

    One thing I know is that it doesn't happen when pushing the card. I have installed a game just for testing, I've put it to the highest settings and highest resolution (2560 x 1440) I did not get the flickering or grey stripes a single time.

    But those stripes are usually a hint that there's a problem with the card; that's what I was told by other users.

    It's still under warranty but I don't know if I should send it back or not. Perhaps it's normal. I'm scared of getting another card that's even worse maybe and that will pose problems in the long term.

    How can I know if my card is okay? :)

    Thanks
     
  22. h9826790, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015

    h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #47
    From Your description, your card is normal.

    From my tests, this kind of flickering only occur when the VRAM frequency change. Under heavy loading (e.g. 3D game environment), the VRAM should stay at 1250MHz, so no flickering will occur.

    I am now lock my card's VRAM at 1250MHz, so no flickering anymore, but it will consume more power at idle, and require flash the card.

    As you said, it's just happen very occasionally under your work flow. You may just leave it, and hope that Apple will fix it in the future (it's driver's problem. Not hardware problem. This kind of flickering never occur under Windows).

    For me, I don't really care about the extra power consumption, and I really hate it when it happen. So I just lock the frequency and enjoy to use my computer.

    For your info, if there is almost no flickering in your current setting, think twice before updating the OSX. In my experience, different version of OSX may cause a lot of differences. In OSX 10.10.3 B2, there is almost no flickering. But once upgrade to 10.10.3 B3, the flickering is worse than any other version of OSX (few times a day).

    I will keep testing it after every OSX update (and report the problem to Apple). If they do fix the problem. I will go back to stock setting and make a post at here.
     
  23. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Location:
    Europe
    #48
    Yes, at the moment I'm under 10.9.5 and I will stay here for a while. :) I use Logic Pro X and the only compatible version is the last version of Mavericks, which I am on.

    I really dislike Yosemite, so I will not update.

    But when you're talking about flickering, what sort of flickering is that? Can you tell me what exactly you see? I am scared that what I'm describing is not the flickering that everyone has.

    If it is, then I must say, it doesn't really bother me. It happens so rarely that it is really not even noticeable. Maybe once a week or less. Maybe more, I don't really know, because it happens so rarely that I can't tell. From now on I will write then when it happens, basically what I was doing + the date of when it happened.
     
  24. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #49
    For me, it looks like the screen suddenly distorted for less then half second and then back to normal.

    I didn't really pay attention on that if there is a grey strip on the screen, it's just too quick for me to know what's happening on the screen.

    Since you said that your card perform perfectly under heavy load, so I will say 99% that your card is a normal card. If it's a hardware problem, it should fail under load, but not browsing in Safari (exactly same as my card, Safari suffer the most).
     
  25. crjackson2134 macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #50
    Is this flickering problem unique to the 7950?

    I've never had any such issue with the 7970 (which I thought was just like the 7950 but a little faster).
     

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