What video card should I buy to upgrade my 2012 (2009 flashed) Classic Mac Pro?
 
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What video card should I buy to upgrade my 2012 (2009 flashed) Classic Mac Pro?  

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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I am gaming on a Zotac 1080EN. It's one of those lunch box gaming rigs. It has done great for me for years, but I'm ready to get some more FPS. I also have a classic Mac Pro tower (2009 flashed to a 2012) that I only run Windows 10 on for my VR setup. It's still very fast and has all the components I need to have a very nice gaming rig. It's currently running a GTX 1070, but I'm thinking if I could upgrade the video card, I could save myself from buying a whole new gaming rig.

I'm using an Acer Predator X34 G-Sync monitor. What is the fastest NVIDIA card I can install in my classic Mac Pro that will run faster than my Zotac 1080EN (GTX1080)? Note, the classic Mac Pro only supports PCIe 2.0, so I won't have full bandwidth to any GPU I install. I'm wondering if I would even be able to beat the performance of the GTX 1080 in the Zotac 1080EN.

Thank you.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
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@swisher-sweet I'd strongly recommend the RTX 2070 Super. The nice thing about the RTX cards is that they somehow have Boot Screen support for the Mac Pro tower. It's irrelevant if you only use Windows, but in case you need to do diagnostics or there's issues it's good to see the boot screen.

 

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Swisher Sweet
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@itsage Thank you for the tip. A few follow-questions if you don't mind:

  1. With the PCIe 2.0 limitations in the classic Mac Pro, should I expect to see a performance improvement over my GTX 1080 using PCIe 3.0 if I go with the RTX 2070 Super?
  2. Are you recommending the RTX 2070 Super because of the price point or is this the fastest RTX card that work (due to power, size, or some other reason) in the classic Mac Pro?
  3. I love that the boot screen will work, but once it's in macOS, will it at least show the macOS UI even if not accelerated?

Thanks again!

 

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
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@swisher-sweet The RTX 2070 Super is the best performance value currently. You can check my build with the Mac Pro tower + RTX 2070 + GC-TITAN-RIDGE AIC [build link] for an idea of performance. I don't think direct x16 PCIe 2.0 connection has that big of an impact on dGPU performance. The RTX cards do provide monitor output but at low resolution and no acceleration in macOS.

 

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Swisher Sweet
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Thank you, @itsage. I went ahead and ordered this card:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1506708-REG/evga_08g_p4_3071_kr_geforce_rtx_2070_super.html

It appears to be the narrowest card (need room for my PCIe switch in the other x16 lane) they have and also has the USB Type-C with VirtualLink port, which might be useful if/when I upgrade my HTC Vive to the next generation headset. Strange thing is, it doesn't say it supports SLI, but it appears to have the connections for that. I don't think I could even do SLI in this Mac Pro, but might be something I do if I ever build a new another gaming rig.

Edit: Since posting this, I changed my mind and got the RTX 2080 Super instead.

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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joevt
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@swisher-sweet

NVLink:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/NVLink-on-NVIDIA-GeForce-RTX-2080-2080-Ti-in-Windows-10-1253/

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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joevt
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The Type-C port is also useful if you want to connect a USB-C display like the LG UltraFine 4K or the Apple Pro Display XDR 6K display (but not the LG UltraFine 5K which would be limited to 4K without a Thunderbolt connection).

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Swisher Sweet
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@itsage I cannot seem to locate a power connector for this GPU (8 + 6 connector). Do you know where I could get the connector(s)?

Edit: I found these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J4T413G

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071JJPJXW

Do you know if these will work?

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@swisher-sweet,  mini PCIe 6-pin to PCIe 6+2-pin adapter should work and gives you the flexibility between 8 and 6-pin plugs.

 

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Swisher Sweet
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@itsage,  thank you. I ordered two of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J4T413G

 

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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Swisher Sweet
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I ended up getting the RTX 2080 Super instead. It is showing the boot screen and Windows 10 loading screen, which is awesome.

Strange, though, when I run Modern Warfare, it shuts down the entire system (power outage) and I can't get it to come back on until I unplugged it and plugged it back in. I'm wondering if the card is pulling too much power? It has the 3 x 75W (one from PCIE, and two from aux power).

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@swisher-sweet, It's pulling too much power. Keep in mind the PSU for Mac Pro 5,1 is very old at this point.

 

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Swisher Sweet
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@itsage, bummer. I guess I should have stuck with the RTX 2070 after-all. Will I have any power issues with the RTX 2070 Super?

 

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

TDP for RTX2070 Super is 215W which is right below the max 225W of 3x75W in the Mac Pro.

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Swisher Sweet
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Quick update for anyone interested. I returned the EVGA RTX 2080 Super and purchased the RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition elsewhere. The Founders Edition of this card is beautiful and is working flawlessly in the Mac Pro

A few notes I made about performance between these two cards (2080 Super vs 2070 Super).

In Modern Warfare, at 3440x1440 I can get around 100 FPS with Ray Tracing on using the GeForce Experience optimal settings (and manually turning on Ray Tracing). The game is smooth and beautiful.

With the RTX 2070 Super, I can get around 100 FPS using the GeForce Experience optimal settings leaving Ray Tracing off. If I turn it on the game looks a bit better, but take a pretty heavy performance hit, getting around 75 FPS on average.

Since the Acer Predator X34 can only achieve 100 FPS, I don't know if either card would perform at higher FPS.

In both situations, the optimal settings lowered many of the textures and what not that make the game look better in order to achieve the high frame rate. However, a higher FPS is more important to me than a beautiful image. The RTX 2070 Super definitely achieves my goal of hitting that 100 FPS with optimal settings running at full 3440x1440 resolution, a feat the GTX 1070 could not achieve.

Maybe one day I'll build a new gaming rig with dual 2080 Supers or the 2080TI, but today I'm happy with the performance increase of the RTX 2070 Super.

Thanks again, @itsage. Appreciate your help.

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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Swisher Sweet
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Sad day! The RTX 2070 Super is also pulling too much power from the Mac Pro. Today whilst playing Modern Warfare, the Mac just shut off like it did when I was running the RTX 2080 Super. I've been using the RTX 2070 Super in this game every day for about 1 week and this is the first time it has happened. I'm afraid of frying either the Mac or the GPU if I continue to use it.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might prevent the excess power draw? I believe there might be some software that allows you to under-volt the card or something like that. I'm not very familiar with such things.

It does seem that maybe the RTX 2070 Super normally operates at 215W but might go above that if doing something very challenging. Perhaps there's a way to combine the power from the unused SATA drive bays to in addition to the AUX power from the main board to supply more power to the graphics card?

This post was modified 1 month ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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joevt
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Swisher Sweet
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@joevt, thanks for the tip. I found pixla's mod as well and am considering it if my current solution doesn't work. Right now I am testing out using the EGVA PowerLink. The theory is each of the GPUs power ports pull power unevenly from the main board and the PowerLink will even out the power draw and reduce or eliminate the overload on any one AUX power line. I've been using this for several days now and beating up the card pretty hard and so far, no more power losses.

 

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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joevt
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: @swisher-sweet

Right now I am testing out using the EGVA PowerLink.

Yes, definitely something like the EVGA PowerLink should be the first thing to try. I think it's equivalent to a dual 6-pin to 8-pin plus 8 pin to dual 6+2 pin combination of adapters.
https://www.amazon.ca/GutsParker-6-Pin-Female-8-Pin-Cable/dp/B01N3T6C2K
https://www.amazon.ca/COMeap-Express-Adapter-Braided-Y-splitter/dp/B072JR4H3N

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Swisher Sweet
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For those who are interested, I have been using the EVGA PowerLink to address the overload protection for several weeks now and the Mac Pro has not shut off once since. It seems the issue was due to excess power being drawn from one of the two AUX ports on the main board. The PowerLink appears to have even the power draw, solving my problem.

Thanks again all for the comments and suggestions.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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cnon297
(@cnon297)
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@swisher-sweet, does your Mac Pro have single or dual Xeon CPUs?  Also, would you mind posting a photo of your EVGA PowerLink + RTX2070 inside the Mac Pro?  Thx!

2019 13" CTO MBPro dual TB3 4-core 1.4GHz i5 + Akitio Node + Vega56
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 with 3.47 6-core Xeon + AMD Radeon HD 7970 (flashed)


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