What's the easiest GPU upgrade for a 5.1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by js2704, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. js2704 macrumors member

    May 20, 2015
    Given the recent price hike on the pro in the UK, I've finally decided just to upgrade my 5.1 instead (currently 2x2.4, 48GB RAM, PCIE SSD, stock 5770, running sierra).

    I've done all sorts of playing around in the past when I've had more time (built a hackintosh etc) but now I'd like to upgrade the graphics card with as little effort as possible - so no flashing!

    What's the path of least effort here? I don't need a boot screen as the machine is never off (it's my sonos server as well as my main desktop) but other than that I'd like to open it up, stick a card in and close it.

    I'm thinking a 460 but interested in views on alternatives. Secondhand is fine if there's a good reason for it.

    Many thanks in advance...
  2. Pending macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2014
    What do you want to be able to do with the mac pro?
  3. js2704 thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2015
    Good question. Nothing terribly complicated; mostly just use it as a server, photos, iTunes, omnifocus and VDI connection to work but I do play occasional games (diablo iii more often than the rest) and the 5770 doesn't do a great job with them on my 2560x1440 monitor. So on reflection that's the problem I'm trying to fix.
  4. Pending, Nov 12, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016

    Pending macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2014
    OK so it comes down to how much you wanna spend? I take it you hop in and out of windows for gaming?
    A GTX680 mac version (impossible to find) or pre-flashed (available) if you want a boot screen and no worries about waiting for Nvidia web driver updates to be released. Or you could buy a pre-flashed GTX 970 or 980 that would need web drivers.
    If you don't need boot screens an un-flashed GTX 980 would be a good choice, best to get a reference card with 2 x 6 pins to keep power within spec for peace of mind but some use 6 - 8 pin cables but thats your call.
    Plenty of mac pro owners running the GTX980 so info here is abundant and YouTube has videos galore.

    Oh and go here for non flashed card use info http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...ia-pc-non-efi-graphics-cards.1440150/page-141 so you know what you should expect.
    You also need to understand about not rushing into OS updates without a working web driver being available for any card you might get that needs a web driver, to avoid a blank monitor!
  5. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    RX460 sounds reasonable to me. It's hard to find another card which is "easier" than the 460 in Sierra.

    Almost all the traditional good cards 7950 / 680 / 280x are running outside the Mac Pro's official power limit (the 75W 6pin limit). The Mac Edition cards are good, but expensive. If you don't need those power. There is no reason to go for them.

    Maxwell card is far from "easy" in OSX. And someone reported even the flashed Maxwell card cannot access the recovery partition now. So, I won't go for that.

    So, the new, cheap, highly efficient, OOTB supported… easiest card may be the RX460 indeed. And it's easy to buy, it's avail everywhere now.
  6. Pending macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2014
    Just to be accurate, the Mac Pro 5,1 has 2 x 6pin power sockets available so a card with that config is suitable, such as reference GTX680, 970 and 980, as stated.
    If however the 460 floats your boat then go for it. Are you hoping to game at 1440?
  7. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Yes, the standard card with the 6pin input only should with within limit. However, again 970 and 980 is no where near "easy" on the Mac. And most 680 avail out there now have 8pin input, it may be not that easy to get a 6pin only GTX680, especially compare to the RX460 which is avail everywhere now.

    And OP clearly stated that he want the easiest card with least effort for upgrade. So I think RX460 make more sense than all the 680, 970, 980....
  8. wickerstick macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2016
    If your going to run 1 card only then I would suggest a Mac efi flashed Radeon 7950/7970/280x. Or gtx680 They are available on eBay. I picked up a xfx 7970 and flashed it following the script on netkas. For 90 dollars. If you don't mind a few minutes of work and are running 10.12.1 then get a rx 470, 480. My 480 under windows in my 5.1 plays doom on medium settings at 4K fine with 2 6pin pcie and a Y splitter to 8 pin Also plays several other games very well. But if your scared to mod the Kext. A efi flashed 7970/280x or gtx680 will be a drop in no hassle upgrade. I don't recommend gtx 9 series because the ordeal with web drivers and os updates.
  9. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    OP didn't specify use of boot camp or not, but if it were my media server, constant rebooting wouldn't be an option.
  10. namethisfile, Nov 12, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016

    namethisfile macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2008
    A Gigabyte RX460 is the one to get that works OOB. No hassle. This is the one I have running in my Mac Pro 5,1. I don't know why other manufacturers of RX460 doesn't work. And, the Gigabyte does. But, until, further reports, the Gigabyte one, either 4GB or 2GB VRAM versions, seems to be safest route since I and others can confirm it works OOB.

    As for gaming performance, I have OSX COD4: MW as my only benchmark. Before the .1 update of Sierra, the game would pause for like a half second every now and again. Since the update, the pause has disappeared. So, the game runs fairly well for OSX, which is poorer than Windows. But, playable.

    Compared to my HD5770, the RX460 in COD4 did seem better.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 12, 2016 ---
    Or, the newly released AMD FirePro WX4100... no one has yet confirmed about this card working in OS X. But, it's a Firepro card with the same specs as the Radeon Pro card in the new MBP as far as compute units are concerned. I also would assume that since it is a desktop card that the clock frequency would be higher. So, full 16 CU's. Instead of just 14 CU's that is in the RX460....

    Not sure if $399 is in your budget. But, this card should certainly be mentioned. Although, I haven't seen it on sale on line yet. And, no one has confirmed that the card even works like the RX460... So... it's a big risk...
    --- Post Merged, Nov 12, 2016 ---
    Well, AMD WX4100 can be preordered... release date says 11/14/16


    The thing is colored blue and looks cute.

    But, it's a $370 experiment.

    This card seems to be the one most similar to the Radeon Pro because of similar CU units and supports 10-bit color.

    Not sure if RX460 supports 10-bit color. But, yeah.

    I want this card, now, too.

    Also only 50-watts? What?

    It's half-height, though. Not sure if it comes with a full height bracket to fit in a Mac Pro....
  11. js2704 thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2015
    Interesting, thanks.

    I used to have Boot Camp but couldn't be bothered with the hassle for the little I needed it so switched to parallels. All my gaming is native Mac so it's what works most easily there.

    I'd rather not have to bother playing around with kexts and explaining to other people using the machine not to allow it to do os updates unless I've checked for web drivers so on balance I'm still thinking 460, but the wx4100 point is one that hadn't occurred to me - I might give it a few weeks to see if it does have native support.
  12. CapnDavey macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2015
    What wrong with flashing a card the GTX680 is a piece of cake to flash
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    The 460 is a value card, which isn't great for your stated purpose of gaming.

    The R9 280x and GTX680 are both much faster than the RX460 and they use native drivers too. And you can buy them preflashed if you want.
  14. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
  15. joebclash macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2016
    Does RX460 work on older version of mac os?
  16. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    rx 460 only works in osx10.12 (same with rx 470/480)

    GTX660/670/680/760/770 are options that will work in older versions of osx, 660/670/760 are cheep now.

    the RX 460 has some nice points it's small low power so wont make much heat or sound
  17. 7Seas macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2015
    Has anyone tried the WX4100 yet? Will it work on Mountain Lion as well as Sierra OOTB?
  18. orph, Nov 19, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016

    orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    that is off topic, start your own topic if you want to ask a question that off topic

    edit sorry my bad, missed it being mentioned.
  19. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    1440p is rough, I'm with some of the others here: GTX980 seems like a good idea. If you're only playing diablo that'll probably be fine. For many first person shooters, even the 980 might not be enough! I had to throw it in SLI to run at full settings.

    The 1080 runs 1440p fine, by the way.
  20. 7Seas macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2015
    Do you mean my message?
    If so, I was just replying to the following message that mentions the WX4100.
    I need a GPU upgrade to my 5.1, but need to run both Mountain Lion and Sierra, preferably natively (without VMs).
    I am new to posting here, but I don't see how I am off topic?

  21. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    680 don't work with Mac OS?
  22. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    sorry 7Seas maybe i was a bit fast to call it off topic, i did not notice the WX4100 had been mentioned. I have seen no reports of it working.

    pat500000, yes the GTX680 dose work in osx (is it 10.8+ i think) you can even flash some of them if you want
  23. 7Seas macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2015
    :) cool...
    The GTX680 would be a good option for me, but I can't seem to get one (Ebay 2nd hand is problematic for me...).
    Guess I will have to go with the RX 460.
    From what I have read, the Gigabyte (Gigabyte RX 460 WINDFORCE OC 2GB/4GB) seems to work OOTB (without flashing), while others don't?
  24. Synchro3, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

    Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    If you want to game at 2560x1440 get a GTX 680 or GTX 770. I doubt the RX 460 would run games adequate at this resolution: http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-680-vs-AMD-RX-460/3148vs3641

    The GTX 770 has native OS X support like the GTX 680, same chip. Much cheaper on eBay than the GTX 680.

    You can send in the GTX 770 for flashing: http://www.macvidcards.com/store/p81/Nvidia_Flashing_Services.html

    Once flashed it supports 2 x 6 pin cables, even if the card has 6 + 8 pin connector.

    Quote: When there is a 6 pin and an 8 pin, things get more complicated. On many GTX680 cards the 8 pin is "optional". This means you can plug in a 6 pin and the card works fine. For many GTX770 and GTX780 cards we do a mod to the card that creates this same functionality. So you can just plug in the 2 @ 6 pin cables and it should boot right up.

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