Video card options for Mac Pro 1,1 with Lion?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Spades, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Spades macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    I have a Mac Pro 1,1 with Lion, and it used to have a PC Radeon 4870 in it. The card died a horrible death this last week and I've had to reinstall my old GeForce 8800 GT. Well my 8800 has problems of it's own, and it's also a quite old card by now, so I'm looking at my options for a new video card for the Mac.

    Looking around I see people are successfully using Radeon 6870s out of the box with Lion, with the caveat that the boot screen doesn't work. I also see some people are having a less than perfect experience. And then there's the work people did to make PC 6870s work with Snow Leopard. Does that matter with Lion? And then there's the 5770, the 5870, the 4890, the 6770...not to mention Nvidia cards.

    So, can anybody explain for me in clear terms exactly what the options are for a Mac Pro 1,1 with Lion? If the 6870 works, exactly what models are working? Can cheaper models like the 6770 and 5770 work? What does it take to make them work? Would trying to find another 4870 to flash be the safest option? If so, where do you find them for a reasonable price? How well do the Apple 5770 and 5870 work with a 1,1? Are there any other cards I should consider?

    I'm looking for an easy, cheap, and safe option for getting a new card for my Mac. I appreciate any help you all can provide.
  2. carrerabahn macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2011
    apple 5870 works in Mac Pro 1.1

    hello spades

    coming from own limited experience I can add the following solid information

    * Apple genuine 5870 works in Mac Pro - near flawless

    -> just one little handicap: temperature inside the case rises and the MacPro PCIe fan is continuously blowing at least 1500 and more. (but the card's fan is very quiet)
    -> was the reason for me to sell it away.

    best regards
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Barefeats benchmarks state that the fastest card you can take advantage of in a MP 1,1 is 5770.

    Apple 5770 is mostly safe and easy. It is officially unsupported by Apple, but rarely has anyone had a problem.

    PC 5770 is somewhat less expensive, but has many problems. Most of the problems can be overcome with a small amount of research and work, but not all. Also, future OS and driver updates may increase or decrease compatibility. For the best chances, get a reference card.

    IMO if you make your living off of your MP or you want to be hassle-free, get the Apple 5770. If you are more of a tinkerer and hobbyist, get the PC 5770.
  4. AngryRedTicTac macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2011
    The Mac 5770 does work flawlessly, and without any fan speed issues. It's quiet, powerful and waaay cheaper than the official 5870. Benchmarks indicate that the 5770 is really close to the 5870 in OSX on a 1,1 2.66, and has now worked without any hiccup for me for 8 months. This has included some lengthy SC2 marathons. If you want plug and play, complete with a boot screen on a 1,1 I'd go with a 5770.
  5. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    I'm using an Apple-branded ATI Radeon HD 5770 in my Mac Pro 1,1 and it seems to work fine with both Snow Leopard and Lion (specs 2.66GHz, dual processor, 6GB DRAM). In fact, it even works under Panther (10.4.11 -- although Panther's Quartz Extreme is NOT supported with the HD 5770). I also have an ATI Radeon HD 2600 installed in the same machine, but that card will not boot under Panther.

    The only reason I say "seems" is that I've had some booting problems where the system hangs at startup. It's usually fine but maybe one out of ten restarts results in a blank screen with no disk activity. However, it may not be the HD5770 that is causing those problems, I actually suspect that it may be an old eSATA card or the fact that I'm booting Lion from an internal RAID 0 setup.

    Interestingly enough, Apple's RAID utility does not seem to be that well supported under Lion/Snow Leopard. If you boot from a RAID they do not support a recovery partition under Lion and I've noticed that under Snow Leopard's "Startup Disk" panel it sometimes identifies each of the two physical drives in the RAID as a different bootable Lion partition. In fact, the more I think about it the more I believe that it is my RAID that is causing the booting problems.

    Also, I'm not a gamer so I can't report on game compatibility with the HD5770. However, I can say that I was able to install Compressor 4 which Apple didn't allow with my original equipment NVIDIA GeForce 7300 (although Compressor 4 seemed to work fine on that old card if you just did a drag install of the software).

    I also can't comment on whether the HD5770's Mini Display ports work with the Mac Pro 1,1. I'm using the DVI output and I've actually seen differing reports on whether the Mini Display ports work on the earlier Mac Pros.
  6. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    I boot Lion on my MacPro1,1 from the original AppleRAIDCard and I am having no problems. Lion upgrade from Snow Leopard did create a Recovery Partition in my case, and RAID utility seems to work consistently.

    See below, output from command-line version of RAID Utility, Disk Utility.


    $ raidutil --verbose list versioninfo
    Using default controller: AppleRAIDCard
    Version information for the targeted AppleRAIDCard RAID device:
    CoreRaid Framework Version : 107
    EFI Version                : 0018
    Mac OS X Version           : Version 10.7 (Build 11A511)
    Plugin Type                : AppleRAIDCard
    Driver Version             : 208
    Plugin Version             : 208
    Hardware Version : 1.00
    PShim Version    : 12
    OS Version       : M-
    Firmware Version : M-
    UBoot Version    : M-
    Controller WWN   : 50:08:00:07:00:1E:2D:2C
    $ raidutil --verbose list status
    Apple raidutil version: 1.3.0
    General Status: Good
    Battery Status: Charged
    Controller  #1: Hardware Version 1.00/Firmware M-
                    Write Cache enabled
    Volumes       Status      Raidset       Type          Size  Comments
    R1V1          Is Viable   RS1           RAID 5       1.31TB  Condition: Good
                                         Total     Avail
    Raidsets      Type       Drives       Size      Size  Comments
    RS1           RAID 5     1,2,3,4    1.31TB    0.00MB  No tasks running
    Drives  Raidset       Size      Flags
    Bay #1  RS1           500.11GB   IsMemberOfRAIDSet:RS1 IsReliable
    Bay #2  RS1           500.11GB   IsMemberOfRAIDSet:RS1 IsReliable
    Bay #3  RS1           500.11GB   IsMemberOfRAIDSet:RS1 IsReliable
    Bay #4  RS1           500.11GB   IsMemberOfRAIDSet:RS1 IsReliable
    Alert ID    Date and Time         Severity  Acknowledgement  Alert Message
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                --------------------------
    No events found.
    There are no tasks running at this time.
    $ diskutil list /dev/disk3
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.3 TB     disk3
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk3s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            1.3 TB     disk3s2
       3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk3s3
  7. spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    Sorry to follow up to my [already long and slightly divergent from OT] post, but I had a few more thoughts:

    First of all, it occurs to me that perhaps I was [erroneously] assuming that your setup is a hardware RAID, as opposed to the software RAID configurable with Disk Utility. If in fact you have a software RAID, then I am not surprised that Recovery Partition is not supported -- as it is the OS which is managing the RAID.

    If it is a software RAID, do you see any errors related to the array in the /var/log (system.log, kernel.log, etc.) when you see the problem on boot?

  8. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    As others have said, the 5770 seemed to make the most sense when I went through this last month.

    I got it and it's been working great for me for 4 weeks now.
  9. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    Another vote for the 5770, absolutely no problems with it, running two older 22" monitors off of it, love it.

  10. peoplemover macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    I just today got an XFX 6870 for my 1,1 Mac Pro to replace the GeForce 7300 GT that was in there. I am running standard-issue Lion. So far (about 6 hours in) my experience mirrors what's been around on the web. Out of the box, the card does mostly work - except Steam games crash. There's a few other issues that I've seen people report that I assume are also true, but seeing that was enough for me to know I needed to get that resolved.

    After installing the kext from here:, Steam & the games that I've tried have worked just fine. I had some weirdness where my audio stopped working, but a restart fixed that, and I'm not sure if it's related. I've heard with this kext installed you lose one of your DVI ports - though I haven't tested that, I imagine it's true.

    Assuming things stay this way, it's been a relatively pain-free process. I always appreciate the "just work-ness" of the official Apple products, but I just couldn't bear to pay $249 for a 5770 when I can get a better*(for gaming) 6870 for $80 less.

    This is the exact card I got:
  11. PJALM macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2007
    Have you tried booting to Windows with that card installed?

    I would love to get that same card but I am just a little worried about how I would see to chose which OS to boot to.
  12. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    no bootscreen. to boot other OS, select it in System PReferences>Startup Disk.
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
  14. peoplemover macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
  15. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    Yes, I'm using Apple's software RAID that is part of Mac OS X and thanks for the suggestions. I'm fairly certain that I've checked the logs and I've not seen anything that helps. I think the hang happens very early in the boot process even before the system is able to record anything to disk. In fact when this problem happens the only thing I can do to recover is to perform a forced shutdown so I'm sure the contents of memory are lost.

    As far as the OS managing the RAID that is obviously true. However, since the OS is also managing the recovery partition why can't the two parts of that process co-operate? It might be difficult from a technical perspective but I can't see why it would be impossible. I think Apple is just not willing to take the effort to support it, that's why I suggested that Apple's RAID utility may not be that well supported under Lion/Snow Leopard.

    Again, thanks for the help.
  16. PJALM macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2007
    Sounds good but the windows drive dosent show up in Startup Disk selector due to the fact I have ACHI enable for windows to support all 6 sata ports. This also cause the Startup Disk selector to not work at all in windows :(

    I need to find a new video card soon, this 8800 I hav is dieing, I have to keep baking it to get it working again.
  17. PJALM macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2007
    Yay I downloaded that Quickboot and it does in fact see my windows drive so now just for windows.

    One quick question, if I don't care about the video card working in OSX and just need it for gaming in windows, can I then use any PC Video card and also keep either my nVidia 7300 or 8800 mac video card in there also for OS X?
  18. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008

    but some pc cards can go 100% fan speed in OSX or even cause kernel panic because the OS can not initialize them.
  19. peterb81 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Does the 6870 support 3 monitors in OSX on the mac pro 1.1?
  20. perpetualpoet macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    They also state the the 5770 gives the same performance as the 4870. So you may as well get a 4870 on ebay that's flashed for mac and save a good chunk of change!
  21. StructAural macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2007
    The Netherlands
    This is useful too: :cool:
  22. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    Please be careful giving this advice. As I said in another thread, flashed 4870s are far more trouble than you're suggesting. From someone who had one.

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