Want 4K. Getting video card and monitor but not sure what.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iamnotme, May 13, 2016.

  1. iamnotme macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2015
    SW Ontario, Canada
    So I really like my 2009->2010 12 core mac pro. I can and have added plenty of accessories including USB 3, I got 64 gigs of ram and 2 500GB solid state drives, one of which is PCIe and it's plenty fast but I want 4K. I don't really need it but I want it for my webwork and even for coding, plus putting my 2 virtual machines on the same screens. I'm thinking about buying a decent 4K monitor and a video card which will cost about $1000-$1500 (CAD) which is a lot and makes me wonder whether it's actually worth it considering that's half the cost of a new 27" iMac and it doesn't matter how much $$$ I put into the mac pro, I'll never be able to sell it for moe than 30% of what I have in it. Granted I know that on multi core tasks, the old 12 core will eat the the basic dual quad core i5 and even the 4GHz i7 by a large margin and then some.

    Anyway, other than power consumption, does it matter whether I get nvidia or AMD for El capitan? I'm thinking of an Asus 28" monitor or this LG.
    LG 31MU97-B 31" Digital Cinema 4K IPS Ultrawide LED Monitor
    - 4096 x 2160, 1M:1

    Ideally, is there a card that will do 60hz 4K over a single HDMI cable instead of 2 display ports?

  2. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    The Nvidia 680 GTX is a good card, but not for 4K via HDMI. 4K doesn't require 2 DP cables, you're thinking of 5K.

    The 680 I believe is the lowest card capable of 4K@60Hz via DisplayPort. via HDMI it can still do 4K but only at 24Hz.
  3. PowerMike G5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2005
    New York, NY
    I have the LG 31MU97-B monitor. It's a fantastic monitor!

    I am running it off an Nvidia GTX 980 (standard PC card, not flashed) using the web drivers from Nvidia. I've had zero issues (continues knocking on wood) and run in full 4K @60hz off one display port card.

    This is a solution if you can get by without the boot screen using an unfleshed PC card.
  4. bookemdano, May 13, 2016
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

    bookemdano macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2011
    For 4K if you want to run it at the native resolution with no scaling I suggest you look for a 40"+ screen size (which can then have issues if you sit very close to it). Screen elements (especially the menu bars and mouse pointer) can be too small running 3840x2160 on a smaller screen. YMMV of course depending on your vision and preferences. But you may want to see if you can find some place to demo what 4K res looks like on different screen sizes before making your choice.

    That said, OS X does do the HiDPI scaling quite nicely so if you're willing to use a lower effective resolution then any size 4K screen can be great (but then you lose some of the screen real estate you're after).

    Edit: I have the Seiki Pro SM40UNP 40" monitor. While I am generally happy with it, the main reason is because I got it for a song--something like ~$450 when Newegg had some crazy deals on it at the end of last year. Prices I see for it now are more than twice that. Given that it doesn't have HDMI 2.0 (but it does have DP1.2, which is the other way of getting 60Hz refresh rate) I doubt I would pay $1000 at this point. For best future compatibility it'd probably be wise to look for one that has both DP1.2 and HDMI 2.0.

    Video card-wise my suggestion to you is to go with an Nvidia Maxwell card and have it flashed with an EFI by MacVidCards *if* you care about having a boot screen. If you don't care about the boot screen then you have a lot of other options. But 4K at 60Hz over DisplayPort 1.2 has lots of EFI issues with anything other than the Nvidia Maxwell cards. That was the determination I came to after much research and then buying a Radeon 7950 that wouldn't boot if my 4K DP1.2 monitor was plugged into it. The downside of the Maxwell cards is for each OS X release and updates you need to make sure you install the Nvidia web driver package (which Nvidia seems to be good about updating promptly, at least thus far). If you don't get the card flashed with an EFI then you must make sure you do this before updating OS X or you'll end up with a black screen on reboot and need to use screen sharing to get the new driver installed. If you have an EFI put on the card then it will automatically revert to a basic driver even if the web drivers aren't installed/updated--which is a nice bonus.

    If you decide to go that route you can either buy a pre-flashed card directly from MacVidCards or buy one yourself and ship it to them to be flashed. I went the latter route and turnaround time was less than a week. I have no affiliation with them (and still wish I could have found an option that worked 100% without having to resort to that) but they do provide a good service and my experience with the GTX 750 Ti they flashed for me has been perfect so far (which to be fair has only been a month or so).

    As you can see, 4K on a cMP isn't exactly a piece of cake. Whatever you decide I suggest you do a lot of research before purchasing. I could have saved myself $150 and a lot of time had I known that the Radeon 7950 EFI would keep the cMP from booting if connected to a DP1.2 4K monitor.
  5. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I also would recommend a 40" monitor. I have spent the last 7-8 years using a 30" 2560x1600 & the 40" Philips BDM4065UC 4K 3840x2160 that I just bought is a really nice upgrade as the pixel density isn't far off that of the 30" & I am not suffering from teeny unreadable fonts. The screen is an amazing bargain. It just cost me £506 including 20% VAT & is under $800 in the US. It does 4K@60Hz via DisplayPort or HDMI. I've not been doing anything very graphic intensive but the difference between 30Hz & 60Hz isn't night & day. Even 24Hz doesn't look bad to me. I'm not sure that I can really se a difference although I should enter the disclaimer that I just had an operation on my left eye for a detached retina so I am only seeing with one eye at the moment! So perhaps you should take with a pinch of salt my assessment of the screen as really nice quality & very very sharp:)

    There is no need to pay the MVC tax for a flashed graphics card. I am using a PC GTX680 that I flashed myself with the freely available Mac firmware. I don't need to worry about the Nvidia web drivers as the card is fully supported natively in OS X. I see a boot screen at 30Hz via HDMI or if I set the screen to DP 1.1. The screen does HDMI4K@60Hz but the GTX680 only does HDMI4K@30Hz
  6. bookemdano macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2011
    Are you not the same person who recently posted this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/gtx680-philips-bdm4065uc-4k-60hz-boot-problem.1972086/ about not being able to boot running 4K/60Hz @ DP1.2 unless you connect another monitor in addition to your 4K one? Hoop jumping workarounds like that matter to a lot of people. IMHO, for you to gloss right by that and act like there's no real benefit to the flashed Maxwell cards is doing a disservice to the OP and others trying to find accurate information about this before making a purchase.
  7. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    There are so many little gotchas that I read about in the 4K threads. If someone in the know could make a 4K FAQ, I imagine it would be immensely helpful to everyone in the future trying to move to 4K.
  9. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    If all you need is screen real estate we have a GT630 with 2 @ DP ports. Can run dual 4K or a single 5K.

    We also have a couple other GT640 models with single DP.

    None of these have any gaming performance or 4K bootscreens but can greatly expand desktop.

    750ti is entry level card with 4K bootscreen.
  10. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I don't think having a second monitor connected is much of a hoop jumping workaround. It's only slightly more complicated to boot with the 4K monitor alone set to DP 1.1 for a boot screen then switching to DP 1.2 after boot or alternatively having DP 1.2 but booting with HDMI connected then unplugging HDMI & connecting DP. As I wrote in that thread it's no big deal mostly because I rarely boot my Mac Pro as I rely on sleep & is in any case convenient to have a single card for a boot screen & not have to keep a GT120 for when I need a boot screen. Reading your posts you obviously got burned with this issue buying a 7950. Given all the above for me anyway it's not worth buying a GTX750 from MVC as I already have a more powerful graphics card in the GTX680 & boot screen support on DP at 60Hz simply isn't that important to me & certainly not worth a few hundred dollars.

    I suspect that the minor issues that I have are due to the particular model GTX 680 or possibly the EFI flash as others have stated that they had no problem booting with a GTX60 & 4K@60Hz there just is no boot screen.
  11. scotttnz macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I'm running a Philips BDM4065UC with a stock unflashed ASUS GTX760 over DP 1.2. I get 4K at 60Hz, with no problems, no work arounds, second screens or hoop jumping required.
    Obviously I don't get boot screens (I kept the original card in case I ever need it), but the 760 works with both the web driver and the standard OSX driver, so no hassles with OS upgrades.
    It doesn't have amazing gaming performance, but I play a bit of Diablo 3 and Elite: Dangerous at 1080p, which is fine. Cities: Skylines actually runs quite well at full 4K though. Normal desktop and productivity apps are very smooth.
    I will watch the 1070 and 1080 with interest though. I wouldn't mind a bit more gaming horsepower if the price is right and OSX support is good.
  12. ericthered macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2007
    no where
    I've got the GTX970 and same monitor but can't get 60 in OSX. There are zero options above 30Hz
    Runs great in Win10. Web drivers are current. Any advice is appreciated.
  13. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Just received an Asus PB279Q monitor (supports SST). Can confirm 4K 60p working with a GTX 770. No Boot screen in 4K as expected. Only flashed Maxwell cards have boot screen in 4K.

Share This Page