Worth upgrading MP 1,1 to Radeon HD 5770 (PC)?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JedNZ, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. JedNZ macrumors 6502

    JedNZ

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    #1
    I got myself a Mac Pro 1,1 (2.66 Quad core) for $250 (prices in NZ$), upgraded to two X5365 3.0GHz Quad cores (so now has 8 cores) for $130, added a Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SSD for $300 using a NewTech Adaptadrive 2.5" to 3.5" bracket for $20 so it fits in one of my HD sleds (Read 275, Write 285 MB/s - wow!). The system is sooooo much faster than my iMac Early 2009, even though it's 3 years older - the MP is now approaching 10 years! Geek bench score (11K+) is incredibly faster than the iMac (score of ~4K). Boots in about 25 seconds.

    I also got an ATI Radeon HD 5770 (PC version) for $50 to replace the ATI Radeon HD 4870 that my MP came with. I've been patiently reading an awful lot about flashing my 5770 to a Mac EFI Rom thingy, but just don't have it right in my head how I should do this (a bit bamboozled after reading so much, and doing the other upgrades etc).

    The 5770 didn't come with power cables, so I've purchased 3 on eBay and waiting for these to arrive (I know I only need one, but it gives me a backup if my dual-cable in my 4870 craps out).

    I don't own a copy of Windows (any version) so not sure how I can install it on a partition so I can flash the 5770.

    Questions:
    How should I go about flashing my 5770 so it thinks it's a Mac version and so I get the boot screen? I'm just not sure which method, whose technique I should use, what else I need (hardware, software etc).
    And is it going to be worth it anyway (going from a 4870 to a 5770)?
    I do want to migrate away from the iMac, and so am thinking of going for a 4K display. So should I ditch the thought of upgrading the 5770 firmware in favour of getting a 7950/7970 instead (or other 4K capable graphics cards compatible wth my MP 1,1)?
     
  2. JedNZ thread starter macrumors 6502

    JedNZ

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    #3
    Hey thanks for that. Not much in it at all. Don't even think it's worth thinking about flashing the 5770 given the minuscule speed boost I'll get if I upgrade from the 4870.

    Think I'll be looking for a 7950/7970 so I can eventually get a 4K display, unless anyone can recommend another 4K-compatible GFX for my Mac Pro 1,1 (firmware updated to 2,1).
     
  3. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #4
    I bought a flashed ATI 5870 with 1Gb of RAM from this guy on eBay:

    http://www.ebay.com/usr/andrzejko?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

    He does a fantastic job with flashed PC cards. Lots of documentation, a separate adapter cable for the boot screen if you need it, etc. I have been very pleased with the card I bought from him over a year ago.

    MacDann
     
  4. JedNZ thread starter macrumors 6502

    JedNZ

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    #5
    Thanks McDann (sorry for the delay in replying). I've checked out his listings and nothing there cheap enough for me. Have had second thoughts about flashing my 5770 to Mac... will give it a go soon if I can figure out all the steps in my head first.
     
  5. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #6
    You're welcome.

    Sorry your budget won't allow you to go this route, as I found it to be a great option and removed all of the risks involved in flashing a PC Card for use on a Mac. Not to mention the boot screen dongle feature he includes, which is a really nice thing to have with a flashed card.

    Good luck in your search,

    MacDann
     
  6. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    You won't need any dongle/adapter with a card that is properly flashed. Just do it yourself with the tools freely available, no need to feed the ebayers.
     
  7. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #8
    And that may very well be, but with a branded 1GB Apple ATI 5870 going north of $250-$300 and a PC version not a lot less than that, getting it for $150 flashed with a warranty and all the related goodies and documentation it's hardly worth the hassle of doing it yourself.
     
  8. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Today a PC 5870 is around 50€-60€ and I don't expect it to be much more expensive in the US. If you're happy with no digital boot screen then you may easily plug in the unflashed PC card and use it that way, it won't perform any better or worse (unless one really needs a legacy VGA boot screen). Most people just don't know that.
     
  9. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #10
    True. However, lack of a boot screen can be an impediment in some cases, especially when troubleshooting.
     
  10. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #11
    Laziness of one makes the income for another.
     
  11. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

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    Jan 7, 2006
    #12
    I have a 1,1 that went through the process of upgrading the cpu and video cards and drives as fast and far as possible. That was in 2011/2012.

    It helped a lot! However, after all that outlay, I could have gotten a 2012 MacMini. And in 2013 I did just that and put away the MacPro.

    The MacPro wasn't and isn't useless, but it takes a lot of space and burns a lot of energy to do about the same thing as the top-line 2012 i7 MacMini (as far as I can tell). The Pro 1,1 isn't a useless computer these days, but it is becoming obsolete within the next 3+ years. By 2018 you can buy almost anything else in the Mac lineup that will trash the Pro in performance.

    My 2012 Mini is much more enjoyable to use. It is fast, compact, doesn't have crazy fan noise, doesn't generate heat like a furnace, and it isn;t a hassle to run newer OS X versions.

    I would recommend getting a new 4K/4K iMac, if you can afford it, due to everything being compact and very fast. If you already have the Pro and can wait, I would suggest sitting on the old tech until later 2016 when the NEXT iMacs and Minis come out with better processors that soundly lay down the Pro while being able to take you many years into the future.
     
  12. MacDann macrumors 6502a

    MacDann

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    #13
    Hardly. Recognizing your limitations and paying someone with the experience to do the job successfully and displacing the risks to them has value. One's time and efforts have value as well, and when they potentially exceed that of the desired product, it's far more intelligent to spend the money.

    MacDann
     
  13. hwojtek macrumors 65816

    hwojtek

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    Jan 26, 2008
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    Poznan, Poland
    #14
    I did two flashes - one of an 4870 four years ago, another if an R9 280x a month ago. The first one was dead easy. The second one took two nights of researching, reading up on EFI BIOS creation trials and errors, installing freedos on an old harddisk using a PC at work, around 4 or 5 tries until I was satisfied. If I wanted this R9 to come flashed instead of doing it myself, I'd pay 4 times more (US$600 instead of US$150 I have paid). So the Sheep is right, laziness of one makes the income for another.

    Keep in mind, I have learned something in the process and am capable of doing it for profit, if I ever wanted/needed to.
     
  14. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #15
    Believe me, 99,9% of people selling flashed cards on eBay aren't wiser/smarter/whatever than you. Most of them doesn't even entirely understand what they're doing.
     
  15. JedNZ thread starter macrumors 6502

    JedNZ

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    #16
    I appreciate the advice and opinion shared here. My iMac 9,1 Early 2009 has been a loyal beast (got the BTO ATI 4850 512MB, maxed out ram, added SSD in optical bay so can't take it any further), hence why I got the Mac Pro, even though it is 3 years older. The expandability options, processing speed and graphics are what made me go down this road. Buying a new Mac isn't fiscally viable for our family (have done that every 5 years or so, for over 25 years - already have a Mac Mini 2012 which is used for media/TV), so the MP was a cheaper option that got me half the way towards buying the latest iMac.
     

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