Surely AMD GPUs are the safe bet?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Melbourne Park, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Melbourne Park macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I am looking to install a replacement GPU into my 5.1 dual processor machine.

    I looked up the driver and web files, which are mandatory for matching the driver to the operating system.

    I looked up various vendors - one (who mostly has no stock of GPUs - Macvidcards - says in their driver guide table page http://www.macvidcards.com/drivers.html:

    Please note that AMD GPUs do not require additional drivers; they are built directly into OS X.

    Surely therefore, its much easer to use an AMD GPU for my 5.1? And which are the best to buy? I use the machine for photography, video but also I need some better cad line work smoothness.

    If an Nvidia is a better choice, please explain why ...
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #2
    The most plug and play (and safest) cards are the reference AMD HD7950 or the Nvidia GTX680 (dual 6pin input version, not the OC model that with 8pin input). Both run OOTB, no extra driver require.
     
  3. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    You can easily flash a PC GTX680 yourself to have an Apple boot screen. GTX680 are only going to be found used now but on the plus side this means that they are cheap.
     
  4. Melbourne Park thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Yes, well ... I prefer new GPUs. My son had two very expensive GPUs for his games machine, and they both failed ... one a month after its warranty , and the other not at all long after. The warranty was three years too.

    Yeah its cheap, but from what I understand, AMD and Apple are together with GPUs now and hence a Power Mac may run them. I think the negative issue is mostly that OS Sierra will drive such cards with little effort and will allow them to boot with no effort in many Power Macs (but to get acceleration some effort is then needed). nVidea seems to be more flakey, in that if an OS change comes (as Apple is want to do) then their (nVidia's) GPUs require more work to get working properly again.

    I am not an expert though.
     
  5. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #5
    The folks answered your questions..

    You can use other GPU's but all will require you do some work and be deliberate about updates.
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #6
    Since both 680 and 7950 has official Mac Edition card, they should have better support then any other non official Apple GPU.

    If I understand correctly, you mean you want brand new GPU, but not necessary new model, right?

    You may able to get a new 7950, they just renamed as R9 280. And OWC still selling the official 7950 Mac Edition card with an super expensive price (a new PC 7950 should cost at or below $150 by now, and OWC selling it at about $500).

    If you are running macOS Sierra, but not any other OSX. The RX460 is also a known plug and play card at this moment. The RX460 is a much newer card, has better efficiency, and the cMP can natively run 2x RX460 if you want to. I don't know if there is any OOTB 4GB card can have better cost to performance ratio than it. However, since it's never officially supported by Apple, no one knows will Apple drop its support in short future.
     
  7. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    #7
    The answer is pretty simple:

    If you use a GPU that was featured in an official Apple product, or an official add-in card for the old Mac Pro, then the OS will have drivers that will just work. If you want to use a newer GPU or a GPU that wasn't featured in an official Apple product, you'll need to do more work. This is also true for AMD, where you might need to patch the kernel extension to add your device ID etc. It's not like AMD R9 Fury X just works out of the box, the difference is that you have to modify the stock Apple drivers rather than download additional drivers from NVIDIA's website.
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    #8
    It's not a matter of an entire brand being safe or not--so that is not the right question to ask. It's down to specific cards that are or are not supported, or how well they are supported. This is why people are recommending exact models.

    The reason why people are recommending old cards is because Apple only bothers to include driver support for GPUs they actually sold. Some of the newer AMD and Nvidia cards work, but may require workarounds, may have bugs, and may have their accidental compatibility removed at any time (something which has happened in the past).

    So at the moment, your request for a new model that's also safe is inherently conflicting and not yet possible to answer. However, after some time when new Mac models come out with their new GPUs, a newer card could likely be safely recommended.
     
  9. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a

    prvt.donut

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    #9
    This is something that I am thinking about also. I recently bought a GTX970 but sold it again because the card I got only had 1 display port and I would like to run three 4K displays (because awesome!).

    The RX570 is around the same price ($200) as a used gtx970, is quite a bit slower but only requires a single 6pin power adapter and also should support three 4K displays via 3 displayports.

    I like that the rx570 and 580 drivers are seemingly prebaked into the OS even if the 580 needs a little massaging to get it to work. I just think that the current price performance sweet spot is still with a used GTX 970.
     
  10. Melbourne Park, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Melbourne Park thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Yes, I understand that. with some though, the non oem version of the card will work but not accelerated. Then with a bit of work, it will work well but typically only provide the monitor when the OS is almost fully booted i.e. no booting grey screen.

    If I was happy with Sierra, then yes the 460 or temptingly the 480 are no brainers.

    I have seen the R9 380 - I presume that was the 7950? I have not seen an R9 280 though, although I have seen R9 notebook cards, such as the R9 M295X , but those I think have been notebook cards.

    Is there a way to flash any of these card in MacOS? I have seen a way to do it from a CD drive ... but it takes some time as you have to put a version of DOS onto the CD, and then type in some DOS commands and also put the right files where they can be found. Flashing 7950 or an R9 seems a safe bet if I am not going to use Sierra.
     
  11. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    That's a rare excuse. Most unsupported GPUs will give you nothing but a black screen. Only the new Polaris cards (RX 470 & 480) will show this behavior, since their device ID is present in the basic framebuffer drivers but not in acceleration kexts.

    R9 380 is a rebadged R9 285 (or R9 M295). They work in OS X but can't be flashed.
    The R9 280 is equal to the HD 7950, both can easily be flashed for full Mac compatibility (not in OS X though, you'll need FreeDOS or Windows).
     
  12. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #12
    No, there is a big difference between 460 and 480, not just performance, 460 is a OOTB card, no kext mod required, just plug and play. On the other hand, 480 is NOT OOTB, not really a no brainer card.

    NO, I said R9 280, NOT R9 380. They are different. A little search on Google can tell you what's the difference. May be you can't see the R9 280 in the shop now, but you should still able to get that on the internet. e.g. This HIS R9 280 is a good card for cMP.

    http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-801.shtml

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...tem-information.1808938/page-14#post-21607156

    Notebook GPU may has another naming scheme, don't assume they belongs to the same family as the desktop card. And they don't fit the cMP's PCIe slot anyway.

    No, you cannot flash the card in Sierra, but can do it in Windows or DOS.

    No matter you flash the 7950 or not, this card works fine in Sierra.
     
  13. Melbourne Park thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I am running Sierra now on a partition of a drive. its seems fine. It even ran filmmaker pro 8.5, CS6 Photoshop and Lightroom version 5. Not running my version of Final Cut Pro which is a worry, I hope there is a simple way to get it going.

    Concerning 7950 and R9 280 cards, yes thanks (to all) I have now found used ones, but new ones in Australia are now listed as being no longer sold.

    Incidentally I also have a Windows 7 via bootcamp available. So I could flash a card. I have no idea how to do that though, but I guess its not that complex if someone can provide a description and the right files.

    The 7950 cost a heap when I bought my 5.1 (new too) and now used ones are mostly cheap. R9 280 cards come in many flavours though, including the 280"X" variety, and I've even seem 6GB memory versions. Some have said the Sapphire standard card works more easily, one without the "X".

    For what I want - maybe I use a mini display port cable, which is easier to remove from my monitor, so I can put the cable into the 5770 if I have problems with the new card.

    And then I get a 460 card and run Sierra. An RX 460 costs here around $Au230 or so dollars (our dollar is the same value as Canada's). An RX 480 is around $Au100 more. I may check the upsides and downsides of each for running under Sierra. If I need to go back, then I have the 5770 card I guess.

    I'll think about the 7950 or R9 280, but with so many flavours out there, I fear such a card would be just as complex as running Sierra with a RX 460 or maybe even a 480.
     
  14. orph macrumors 65816

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    #14
    one thing you need to keep in mind is what you want from a gpu and what apps you run.
    nvidia is good if you need cuda
    ati is good if you need open cl

    if you dont care about both then you have more options ^^

    do you need to run 4K or are you just on 1 dvi 1080p display?

    if budget is important a gtx 670 is cheep and fast (almost 680 fast) but you cant flash it but it will work with the native drivers and the GTX 760 is anthere good option a tad slower but close (im using a gtx 660 at the mo) there all fairly cheep on ebay (the 680 cost more but can be flashed to mac but thats not needed, just keep your old mac card)
    the ATI options have been mentioned above by h9826790

    if you want a new card then it's a tad harder you may be able to pick up a gtx 9xx card but they only run on nvidia web driver which can give bugs & be a tad more complex to run.
    or if your on osx10.12 then the new rx 460 as mentioned will just work or you can wait and see what happens with rx 470/480 support.
     
  15. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #15
    TBH, if you are OK with the RX460, that should be a good option, no need to make it too complicated.
     
  16. Melbourne Park thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I'm running just a small monitor - a 24". An Eizo ColorEdge CG243W. I have intended to get another monitor though. Also I sit somewhat close to the monitor, and a larger one would make me want to be closer, due to the text sizes ... and then I would have to move my head around more. I still have my 24" iMac ... when I looked to replace it, I did not like the 27" iMac monitors. I have never felt comfortable with the larger monitors, due mostly to the text being smaller.

    Has Sierra made the text more flexible? I'd rather not run the ColorEdge all the time but I do ... it even turns 90 degrees, although I only use that to access the ports. The 5770 supports rotating the monitor - I'm not sure the 460 would. I also have a colormunki device to enable the monitor's software to produce colour accurate prints. It does too, which still amazes me. A problem with the monitor is that it does not properly go to sleep when the Mac does ... perhaps there's now an upgrade though that would allow that. Currently I have to remember to turn the monitor off. In Windows, the monitor will fully de-power itself when Windows goes to sleep. Its a pain actually.

    But 4k on the monitor is not a requirement.
     
  17. theitsage macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I'd recommend pairing an RX 470 to a LG 34" 1080 screen. This pair is in my main Mac Pro and the text size is perfect. I tried the higher resolution version but had the same concerns you mentioned.
     
  18. lordelesar macrumors newbie

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    Oct 17, 2016
    #18
    What about AMD 390(X)? Is it at all possible to use these with full support or not? Also, would one be able to run off the on board power leads or do we need an external PSU?
     
  19. orph macrumors 65816

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    #19
    for osx 10.12 the rx 460 is the easiest option if your not playing big games or need a relay fast gpu it's plug and play with no real messing around.

    ps if you need 10bit video then dont get a nvidia GTX card as there all 8 bit (only nvidia quadro cards give 10 bit out)
    not shore about ati cards (dose osx support 10 bit video out?)
     
  20. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    OS X only started supporting 10 bit colour in El Capitan and only for some newer Radeon cards. It's not working on the RX 470 connected to my Eizo.
     
  21. orph macrumors 65816

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    #21
    well thats disappointing that the rx 470 has no 10bit out on osx, :confused: why apple
     
  22. Jaho101 macrumors member

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    #23
    They might not actually end up using any 470 GPUs, but have 460 for low end, 480 for higher end, and Vega if they do a Mac Pro.
     
  23. orph macrumors 65816

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    #24
    be nice to know if the rx 460 has 10bit :/ at the mo the rx 470 is so close to price to the 480 it's kind of odd
     

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