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View Full Version : Anyone here familiar with using non-EFI gfx cards in a Mac Pro?



sami
01-23-2013, 07:10 PM
Not really interested in having a debate here, I just have an old 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 I want to breathe some 3D & video editing life in as an extra workstation in my studio before I send it off to pasture as it's still quite speedy. So if you are gonna dissuade me or berate me then this ain't the threadroids you are looking for, move along ;) Seriously, just ppl who've done it.

But I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully and stably put in a hi-performance NVidia Geforce card in a Mac Pro.

What I'm interested in is:

Fast 3D with CUDA support (use 3DCoat alot)
Mercury Engine Playback support for CS6
Works with Mac OSX and bootcamped win 7 x64 (boot screens and option bootcamp switching a big plus)


What I'm concerned about is:

power issues? Can the 3,1 Mac Pro handle the card? I've heard about expansion chasiss needed etc. I want the simplest solution outside of buy another PC.
stability, crashes - this is a production machine but the current NVidia 8800 GT ain't cutting it on that mac
need bootcamp support for Windows 7 x64 existing partition - is all the hoopla just getting it to work with Mac or is bootcamp windows an issue too? No one mentions that.



Especially lemme know if anyone has bought a pre-modded card and where you got it from please. The Quadro K5000 for mac that was supposed to come out seems like vaporware, so it would be cool to slap a Geforce 660 ti or something in this extra machine and get another person more productive on it.

thanks :)

DrStrik9
01-24-2013, 01:02 PM
I'd like to know this also. You might also place this thread in the Support:Mac area ...

TheDynamo
01-24-2013, 04:33 PM
This thread you might find interesting. (http://forums.adobe.com/message/4754901)

On one of my AE mail lists there have been several people using hacked Nvidia cards to good effect. Of course YMMV, if you feel icky about the idea of hacking something up to make it work as I know several people do. You can get the Quadro 4000 for the Mac at the usual bend-over and take it price: Newegg link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133367). From what I have been able to gather is that it's one or the other, no boot camping on the hacked cards although I've only lightly touched the subject.

-Rob

stargatesg1
01-24-2013, 08:32 PM
I currently am using an Nvidia GTX 580 as my only card in this mac pro 2010 model. If you look on ebay for macvidcards he modifies them to be mac efi compatable.
NOTE with some cards you will need an external power supply. http://myworld.ebay.com/macvidcards?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 and the power supply i'm using is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104054 I put my Power supply outside and threaded the wiring around back into one of the open slots and to the extra power connector off the carom drive to trigger the power supply startup with the machine. you can barely fit it inside the 2nd cdrom bay. "Mine was full so i had to put it external" I had my main system hard drive in the 2ndary cdrom bay so i could raid 4 drives in the main drive caddies.
My understanding is that non efi boards won't boot into the option boot screen and won't start till the login screen. Its not supported is my understanding. Though Nothing stopping you from keeping the old ati board in as well and using cuda for what you need. NOTE in my case Davinci wanted the opposite of what cs6 wanted as far as which card was connected to the display. Luckily davinci now lets you use it with almost no slowdown as the main gui card now so both lightwave cs6 and davinci seem to like having one 580 in my machine now and its much cooler without 2 gpu cards. Also means no swapping monitor cables all the time to bless the relevant card.

TheDynamo
01-25-2013, 09:39 AM
I have also heard that you don't necessarily have to have the video card hooked up to a monitor to get the benefit of CUDA in Adobe applications. As I have a PC at home I can't test this but I can say that running Premiere Pro with a 580 is wicked fast :)

sami
01-25-2013, 09:54 AM
I currently am using an Nvidia GTX 580 as my only card in this mac pro 2010 model. If you look on ebay for macvidcards he modifies them to be mac efi compatable. ... I put my Power supply outside and threaded the wiring around back into one of the open slots and to the extra power connector off the carom drive to trigger the power supply startup with the machine. you can barely fit it inside the 2nd cdrom bay. "Mine was full so i had to put it external" I had my main system hard drive in the 2ndary cdrom bay so i could raid 4 drives in the main drive caddies.

I found the macvidcards guy and emailed him. But verbose, he is not. Like 2 words reply and hasn't returned my other email about how to buy it from him because there are no 570's in his listings. Your power setup sounds tricky and possibly fragile? It also sounds like the macvidcards guy is soldering an eprom onto the non-efi cards and they do boot into the option screen - but he only does this for a few right now.

I also found this guys blog (http://nrsotw.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/gtx-660ti-in-mac-pro-and-davinci.html?showComment=1359042150375#c2119239448 665691272) who says he has a Geforce 660ti in his (but since his in pure non-efi he says it doesn't have a boot screens and you have to wait to login screen to see anything.

sami
01-25-2013, 10:02 AM
I currently am using an Nvidia GTX 580 as my only card in this mac pro 2010 model. If you look on ebay for macvidcards he modifies them to be mac efi compatable.
NOTE with some cards you will need an external power supply. http://myworld.ebay.com/macvidcards?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 and the power supply i'm using is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104054 I put my Power supply outside and threaded the wiring around back into one of the open slots and to the extra power connector off the carom drive to trigger the power supply startup with the machine. you can barely fit it inside the 2nd cdrom bay. "Mine was full so i had to put it external" I had my main system hard drive in the 2ndary cdrom bay so i could raid 4 drives in the main drive caddies.
My understanding is that non efi boards won't boot into the option boot screen and won't start till the login screen. Its not supported is my understanding. Though Nothing stopping you from keeping the old ati board in as well and using cuda for what you need. NOTE in my case Davinci wanted the opposite of what cs6 wanted as far as which card was connected to the display. Luckily davinci now lets you use it with almost no slowdown as the main gui card now so both lightwave cs6 and davinci seem to like having one 580 in my machine now and its much cooler without 2 gpu cards. Also means no swapping monitor cables all the time to bless the relevant card.


Thanks for the link to th epower supply. My initial searches found people suggesting expansion chassis which were like $2K! This $89 external power supply makes me think I could handle a cable going from the external PSU to inside the mac pro and maybe I shouldn't limit myself to the 570. Though, that guys blog in my other post here says that he has a 660ti in his 2008 Mac Pro which is powered by the machine by itself just fine. I thought the 660 was more power hungry than the 580 you mention??

sami
01-25-2013, 10:07 AM
Good link thanks. I don't want to go to the old Quadros (4800 or 4000) - they are way too underpowered for their price. If I'm going to revamp this better than the existing 8800 GT that's currently in it, I think I should go for a minimum of a Geforce 570... still not sure if I can live without boot screens and if it will be a pain in the neck or if I have to get a modded one from the macvidcards guy.

- - - Updated - - -


I'd like to know this also. You might also place this thread in the Support:Mac area ...

thx - I thought about that, and sorry if this isn't the best place for this post, but pretty sure like only 12 people are in there ;) - and Gen Disc and LW Comm sections seem like they have the most visitors...

Darth Mole
01-25-2013, 11:11 AM
I opted for the GTX570 2.5GB which fits with no need for a PSU. All my apps bar one (SpeedTree) work fine. I get a decent speed up with Turbulence 4D and the raytraced 3D in After Effects is lightning quick. I have Octane Render but am waiting for the LW plug-in which I hope to make use of. So, so far, no problems. It's easy to fit, easy to make the OpenCL work too. It'll do until the new Mac Pros appear. Only problem is that card is now hard to get hold of but it's good power for the price

sami
01-27-2013, 02:38 PM
I opted for the GTX570 2.5GB which fits with no need for a PSU. All my apps bar one (SpeedTree) work fine. I get a decent speed up with Turbulence 4D and the raytraced 3D in After Effects is lightning quick. I have Octane Render but am waiting for the LW plug-in which I hope to make use of. So, so far, no problems. It's easy to fit, easy to make the OpenCL work too. It'll do until the new Mac Pros appear. Only problem is that card is now hard to get hold of but it's good power for the price

Does it drive 2 (DVI or HDMI) monitors ok, have fullspeed CUDA & Mercury Playback support? The macvidcards guy doesn't seem to respond anymore..

Darth Mole
01-28-2013, 08:05 AM
Does it drive 2 (DVI or HDMI) monitors ok, have fullspeed CUDA & Mercury Playback support? The macvidcards guy doesn't seem to respond anymore..

I can't comment on the monitor support, as I'm only driving one 27-inch Apple display. You should check out the forum here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1440150

I did a load of research and the GTX 5xx series are absolutely the best for Macs and CUDA - the makers of Turbulence 4D and Octane Render say the same. The newer cards have more RAM but are actually slower. Anyway, unless you want to go fiddling with additional power and maybe additional cooling, these are the way to go for the time being. I simply plugged mine in and made the OpenCL work.

NOTE: the Macvidcards are bloody expense - you don't need a flashed card; mine is an EVGA card made fir PC straight out of the box. UNless you definitely need the boot screen (to switch OS etc), then save yourself some money. (Also, it means you can probably sell it on more easily later.)

stargatesg1
01-28-2013, 06:36 PM
I found that he got back to me just fine. YMMV i guess. I am happily using the modified 580 with no issues as my primary card for both cuda and for LW stuff. Seems fine.
The file replace for OpenCL while easy make sure you follow the online instructions or your system will crash and you will need to replace the file before it will boot again.
The external power supply is holding up fine and the machine stays pretty cool. "one less GPU in it now"
Good luck.

CJ



I can't comment on the monitor support, as I'm only driving one 27-inch Apple display. You should check out the forum here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1440150

I did a load of research and the GTX 5xx series are absolutely the best for Macs and CUDA - the makers of Turbulence 4D and Octane Render say the same. The newer cards have more RAM but are actually slower. Anyway, unless you want to go fiddling with additional power and maybe additional cooling, these are the way to go for the time being. I simply plugged mine in and made the OpenCL work.

NOTE: the Macvidcards are bloody expense - you don't need a flashed card; mine is an EVGA card made fir PC straight out of the box. UNless you definitely need the boot screen (to switch OS etc), then save yourself some money. (Also, it means you can probably sell it on more easily later.)