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giantmech Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi folks - not to beat a dead horse, but before ordering a brand spanking new 4870 for the ridiculously high price of $350, I just wanted to make sure that it's going to work in my dual-core, first-gen Mac Pro 2.66? Also considering a 3870 for about $200 at OWC.

I'm going to primarily be using it for Motion, Photoshop, and FCP, and I'm currently working with a 7800GT.

Any help would be much appreciated!


mac pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    Rumor is it won't. If it does you would need to wait for the release of 10.5.7 in order to have the drivers.
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    According to Bare feats, they've have confirmed the 4870 already working on 1st gen mac pros. Read the ending of the articles.

    Aside from bare feats, people in an epic macrumors thread have had great success flashing pc version 4870s (1GB versions to boot ^^)Having 2006 mac pros is irrelevant. ATI includes EFI 32 and 64 on the rom, giving use on all mac pros. Also PCIe 2.0 is backward compatible.

    It would be best though to wait till 10.5.7 comes out, as its just easier because the drivers needed will already be included. I'm guessing it will be soon too as the apple store has changed the shipping date of the 4870 from 4-5 weeks, to 7-10 business days.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    Made that same assumption, but the card does not have a 32-bit boot ROM, apparently, making it unusable on the first generation MPs. I've been told by others here that it won't work. However, I cannot confirm that myself. The BF article does not say it works, but rather that the 3870 and 2600 do.
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    I really hope not... How is that possible though, if bare feats is clearly running them. And I know guys on macrumors are running the PC 4870s on 2006 mac pros, with great results.

    Only hitch has been the DVI ports running at 2.5 gt/s vs. 5 gt/s. Which doesn't really affect 1st gen mac pros as it's PCIe 1.0 anyway.

    For reference:

    1. The Radeon HD 4870 is a welcome CTO option for the 'early 2009' Nehalem Mac Pro. And we're glad to see that it is sold in kit form. You will need the February 2009 ATI drivers but those should be available to all users in the next Apple system update. *(Though Apple only officially supports it in the 2009 and 2008 Mac Pro, we have confirmed it runs in the 2007 and 2006 models.)*

    Apple is officially supporting only 2009 and 2008 Mac Pros with the Radeon HD 4870 kit. And it requires either the build of OS X 10.5.6 with the February 2009 ATI drivers -- or OS X 10.5.7 (not yet golden). As with the Radeon HD 3870 and HD 2600, ATI included both a 32-bit and 64-bit EFI driver in the ROM, so it should work in all models of Mac Pro with the latest drivers. We installed in the Clovertown first generation 8-core Mac Pro (as you can see from the graphs above) and a close colleague installed it in a 2.66GHz Woodcrest 4-core first generation Mac Pro. *As long as you have two power feeds for the card in your first generation Mac Pro and have the correct drivers properly installed, it should work fine.*

    The 3870 and 2600 don't use 2 pcie power cords, so I don't think he was taking about them. Just referencing them as they also incorporated 32 and 64 bit rom.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    Well, I thought that was the case but was informed by two others who frequent this forum that I was full of s**t when I informed someone that it would work on the first generation MPs. I pointed out the two separate articles on BF that seemed to me, anyway, to suggest that it would.

    Various reasons given were ROMs, lack of PCIe 2.0 slots, and no drivers. I think I would call AppleCare before committing to an order. I argued to the contrary and was trounced upon and insulted rudely.
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    Yeah...majority of the time, rude people have no idea what they are talking about. Anyway unless apple somehow changes the 4870 upgrade kit (like tweaking the rom to only support 64, not even sure if that's possible), it should work.

    In order to flash the PC 4870s, the rom had to be dumped first by someone owning an actual apple OEM 4870. And within that OEM rom were EFI 32 & 64 confirmed.

    Also the beta drivers, although important weren't essential in that it needed to be pre-installed on osx. The card booted up fine before the drivers were installed, then installed after straight from the desktop.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    Well, I'm glad you've been successful, but I think flashing ROMs is well beyond the abilities of most Mac users. Still begs the question of whether the Apple supplied 4870 will work in a 1G MP.

    As for drivers one may still have to wait for 10.5.7. The version of 10.5.6 provided with Nehalem models was a special build, and is not available to older MP owners.
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    True...we can never be 100%. I guess the only thing we can do is wait for 10.5.7
  • kromekat Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    The PC flashed 4870 does work fine - I have it in my first gen MP 8-core. I bought it from a seller on ebay who flashes lots of PC cards for Macs, and others here have also bought the same cards. Look up Bruinmacs.

  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    Quick question, are you getting full PCIe 2.0 bandwidth? 5 gt/s or 2.5 gt/s? Dual monitors working? Just wondering.
  • kromekat Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    how do I find that out?

    But yeah - 2 monitors running fine.

  • tyvol Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Kappy and kromecat have expressed this well.
    Let me confirm that I also have a flashed ATI 1 GB 4870 running just fine in my EFI 32 (2007) Mac Pro.
    Under OSX, VMware (XP) and Boot Camp (Vista 32), no problemo.
    I also bought mine from bruinmacs on ebay, but they sent me the 6/7 drivers too.
    Reflashed ATI 4870 doesn't crash but is crippled big time w/o the 6/7 drivers.
    No waiting for Apple or the next version of OSX, though.
    Don't know about full PCIE bandwidth, but I do know that my Open GL benchmarks are the highest ever (compared to 8800 GT, Reflashed 8800 GTS, Reflashed 3870 and Reflashed 9800 GT).
    Haven't had time to check out all reflashers. My boards came from bruinmacs.
    My 2007 Mac Pro only has PCIE 1.0, but the new ATI 4870 plugs in and manages everything I've been able to throw at it.
    Might be a worthy alternative to consider for some...

    Message was edited by: tyvol: typo

    Message was edited by: tyvol
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    You need to check it in windows, if you are running bootcamp.
    You can use either cpu-z or gpu-z. It will tell you if you are running dual link (PCIe 2.0) or single-link (PCIe 1.0).

    The lack of BOTH ports being dual link, is the only caveat so far in flashed 4870s. Example only being able to run one 23" ACD and one 30" ACD, not two 30".
  • noice_T Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    Update: it can also be found under OSX in the System Profiler/PCI.
    It should be the last entry.

    See link:

    I didn't know it was possible under OSX cause I'm running a 2006 mac pro, which doesn't offer the link speed, as it has no use. (PCIe 1.0)
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