Another upgrade option for older MacPro computers
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Message boards : Macintosh : Another upgrade option for older MacPro computers

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Profile David Riese
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Joined: 23 Sep 12
Posts: 132
Credit: 3,996,373,607
RAC: 5,201,862
Message 21848 - Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 15:47:23 UTC

As close followers of this message board know, one of the ways that I control the cost of acquiring Macs for my research group here at Auburn University is by purchasing older MacPros on eBay (typically an early 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 with two quad-core 2.8 GHz Xeon E5462 processors). The original GPUs for these units (typically ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT) are not well suited for crunching Collatz tasks. So, I typically install ATI Radeon HD 5770 or 5870 GPUs to good effect. However, as close followers of this message board know, upgrading the OS beyond Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 creates an incompatibility with Collatz GPU tasks.

One solution to this problem is to upgrade to an NVIDIA GTX 680. This was an Apple-endorsed and supported option, and a "Mac edition" of this card was available through sanctioned retail channels. However, this card has been discontinued.

I had previously been reluctant to purchase any PC GPU whose ROM had been "flashed" to make it compatible with a Mac. However, with the discontinuation of the GTX 680, I felt that I no other reasonable option. So, I have installed a "flashed" NVIDIA GTX 960 in a Mac 3,1 (ID 153579). So far, so good - no installation problems, no compatibility problems with OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and rock solid crunching of Collatz GPU tasks. Will provide a RAC for this unit once it plateaus.

So, I am giving a cautious endorsement of a flashed NVIDIA GTX 960 in older Macs.
____________

Profile David Riese
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Joined: 23 Sep 12
Posts: 132
Credit: 3,996,373,607
RAC: 5,201,862
Message 22075 - Posted: 8 Mar 2016, 21:48:50 UTC
Last modified: 8 Mar 2016, 21:50:07 UTC

As many of you know, I have five early 2008 MacPro computers (MacPro 3,1; dual quad core Xeon CPUs) in my office and research laboratory that are also involved in BOINC distributive computing projects, including Collatz@Home. And, my failed attempts to get the ATI Radeon HD 5770 and 5870 GPUs to crunch C@H tasks under OS X 10.9, 10.10 or 10.11 have been documented in this forum. As an alternative, I have begun installing NVIDIA GPUs in these machines, including a MacEdition GeForce GTX 680 (computer 544749) and a "flashed" GeForce GTX 960 (computers 143026 and 153579). The 680 is yielding about 700,000 credits/day and the 960s are yielding about 1 million credits/day. That's fine, but now I have two ATI Radeon HD 5770 GPUs gathering dust on my workbench. Is there any way I can configure BOINC to simultaneously crunch Collatz@Home GPU tasks on the NVIDIA GPU and Einstein@Home GPU tasks on the ATI GPU in the same computer?


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Message boards : Macintosh : Another upgrade option for older MacPro computers


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