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Author Topic: so what's the current best option that works 100%?  (Read 19247 times)
2007CBR600RR
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« on: September 12, 2011, 08:36:08 PM »

So, I have a 2009 quad core Mac Pro (4,1) with the Radeon 4870 card from Apple (plus an older 1900XT to drive 2 additional monitors.

I'm wanting to upgrade to something more powerful (and preferably use a single card to drive all 3 monitors rather than having to use 2 cards, although if I have to I'll keep the 1900XT for the 2 aux monitors.)

What's currently my best option using the tools you guys have developed, for a card that works 100% under both Lion and Windows 7 on my rig?

Looking for something around $150-200 max price range, doesn't need to be top of the line, just a lot better than what I have now.

What about the Radeon 6950's? (God I'm so out of the market, no idea what the diff is between all the different models anymore...) Or even the 6850/70's?

The biggest thing is that I want something that works 100%, not needing to install this hack and then find there's another problem and need another hack, etc. Reliability is more important to me than all out FPS given that I'm in grad school and work full time and don't have a lot of time to be troubleshooting these days...

Thoughts? Recommendations? Brands?

Thanks!
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andystubbs
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 08:50:08 PM »

You won't like my answer but if you want 100% guarantee you have to buy an apple branded card, other cards may currently work 99.9% but there is no guarantee that the next update won't break them.
I'd definitely steer clear of the 6950 and 6970 cards right now if I were in your position but you 'may' want to consider a 6870 - seems to work very well for a lot of people but check first regarding multi monitor support and be warned there is no 100% guarantee!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 08:51:48 PM by andystubbs » Logged
2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 10:15:10 PM »

So, wait a second...

You're saying that every time Apple puts out a new version of OSX (point release) you guys have to repatch your cards??? That's a MAJOR bummer if that's the case! I could understand that being the situation if running a Hackintosh, but I'm running a true Mac, just a 3rd party card. I can't believe they are THAT different that it would require a change to the EFI on the card every time there's a new version (but then, what do I know...)

Sigh, I don't get why the HECK apple doesn't just allow normal PC graphics cards, especially considering the market for their "apple" ones is very limited - they'd be WAY better off just supporting normal cards and not having to invest the dev costs to make the special ones for such a small market given that only the Mac Pro can use normal cards anyhow... I'm kinda sick of the Apple cards always being a year or more out of date, and usually crippled with 1/2 the RAM as their identical PC versions... FOR TWICE THE COST!
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Black107
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 10:39:39 PM »

It's not 100% guaranteed, but you may be interested to read about my experience on my Mac Pro 4,1.

http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,1100.msg6784.html#msg6784
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andystubbs
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 10:40:41 PM »

NO NO NO That's not what I'm saying. Most cards assuming they are a reference version of an equal apple branded card and have been bios modded will be fine (but again there is no guarantee).
Some cards such as the 6870 so far have been fine with very little work but again its not an offical apple card so you may have to get your hands dirty from time to time if or when things change.
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Cindori
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 09:42:33 AM »

So, wait a second...

You're saying that every time Apple puts out a new version of OSX (point release) you guys have to repatch your cards??? That's a MAJOR bummer if that's the case!


we are not patching anything with the 6000-series cards atm.
doesnt mean we won't have to tomorrow. or next year.
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raever
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 01:52:09 AM »

Sigh, I don't get why the HECK apple doesn't just allow normal PC graphics cards, especially considering the market for their "apple" ones is very limited - they'd be WAY better off just supporting normal cards and not having to invest the dev costs to make the special ones for such a small market given that only the Mac Pro can use normal cards anyhow... I'm kinda sick of the Apple cards always being a year or more out of date, and usually crippled with 1/2 the RAM as their identical PC versions... FOR TWICE THE COST!

Because if Apple did, OS X would end up like Windows - bloated, full of drivers to support every type of hardware under the sun.

OS X has a light footprint because Apple only needs to support a *very* small hardware base compared to Windows.

And remember, that's why a lot of us choose Macs in the first place - the vertical integration from hardware to OS and application layer provides a tight, stable and optimised environment. Veer outside of that, and we are on our own.

(And that's why we have this forum! Grin)

To be honest, I think driver development for video cards in an already very niche product (Mac Pro), when compared to iPad and iPhone, is very low on Apple's agenda.

I mean, there are few OS X apps that would fully tap the power of a Cayman card; those that do are most likely games, and then what proportion of the Mac Pro market are gamers? Probably very few.

This isn't a rant, I'm just trying to see things from Apple's business point of view.
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lowrider
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2011, 02:44:56 AM »

Hey Mr. CBR Motorcycle Guy

I did a lot of research before I decided on an MSI R6870 Hawk Video Card.  I don't run Windoz at all and I don't have use Boot Camp.  I haven't quite figured out how to get EFI on my card, but it's really not a big deal.  I'm currently running Lion, 10.7.1, and all seems to work well.  I'm hoping Apple wont mess with the drivers on their next OS iterations and I don't think they will.  In System Profiler The card is recognized as an ATI Radeon HD 6xxx 1024 MB.  I have a 3,1 2008 Mac Pro.  I'm running on a Mini Display Port to an HP 27" IPS display with Display Port.  I have a Mini Display Port to Display Port cable.   I am quite pleased with my card.

Lou
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2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 04:12:46 PM »

Ok, so I'm starting to get the itch to upgrade (BF3 does that to you Wink I'm only getting like 25 FPS on my Mac 4870 on my Mac Pro 4,1.... )

From what you guys have been saying the 6870 sounds like my best bet. Most compatible, easiest to upgrade/patch/whatever, least features lost.

One question though - Currently I have a 3 monitor setup, with the 4870 driving my dell 24" and an older 2600XT driving the 2 dell 20" monitors. Will these 6870's drive all 3 monitors (they're all DVI but I'm not opposed to using adaptors if needed), or should I plan to keep the 2600XT in to drive the 2 20" monitors?  I'd REALLY like to be able to drive all 3 off 1 card (so they can all be DX10+ for MS Flight Sim X.) Currently while running MS FSX if I drag a window between monitors it crashes Windows (due to the side monitors only being driven by a DX9 card.)
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2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 04:18:10 PM »

Oh, and any suggestions on exactly which model from Newegg to pick up for the best chance of this working???
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Rominator
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 09:06:21 PM »

You want one that has 2 @ Displayport or MDP.

I don't recall if 3 @ DVI has been tested. On a 5870, you would need at least 1 @ Displayport display or an active adapter to pull off 3 (back when they worked)

I don't recall ever trying the 6870 with 3 @ TMDS displays.
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2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 08:09:29 PM »

Ok, pulled the trigger on the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150521  XFX HD-687A-ZDFC from newegg. Hopefully it'll get here in time for some fragging this weekend in BF3!

Thanks guys... Hopefully I can follow the flashing instructions you all put up (I'm totally new to this stuff...)
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2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 02:56:02 AM »

Ok, got the card. Followed the directions... dumped the ROM using both CPU-Z and ATI Flash from windows.

Rebooted to OSX. Fetched Zeus 2.8. Went to Firmware tab, selected either of the saved rom files. Selected ATI 6870 1GB, hit add EFI.

Getting the following message:

AppleScript Error:
dd: bs must be between 1 and 9223372036854775807
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "fixrom.py", line 110, in <module>
    op_rom.fix()
  File "fixrom.py", line 90, in fix
    self.data[-1] = chr(0x100 - sum)
ValueError: chr() arg not in range(256) (1)

How do I get around this? I saw some postings talking about this, but nothing on how to get past it.

HELP! Thanks in advance...
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Rominator
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2011, 06:32:28 AM »

Why not use Netkas' app?

He wrote the EFI ROM and clearly has a better understanding of these things.'

His app can frequently take the PC BIOS in OSX and attach an EFI to it.
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2007CBR600RR
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2011, 07:19:47 AM »

Rom:

I'm open to using any tool I can find to do this. I only even bothered ordering this card because of Black107's link posted above in this thread that had pretty clear and step by step instructions on how to do this, so I figured it was going to be easy. Then I hit that error message and was stopped cold in my tracks.

I'd need good step by step instructions on how to do this with  Netkas' tool... I pulled it down on OSX but didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing, where to get the EFI file from, etc.

So, any help is appreciated.
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