EFI Radeon RX 580 from MacVidCards in Mac Pro tower
August 1st, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
AMD GPUs are macOS Mojave 'preferred,' but without Apple's EFI*, the power up process lacks a Startup screen and support for a Boot screen. MacVidCards now offers an EFI* Radeon RX 580 and EFI* upgrade services.
non-EFI Radeon VII = AMD Radeon VII (16G HBM2) GPU
non-EFI Radeon RX 580 = AMD MSI Radeon RX 580 ARMOR MK (8G GDDR5) GPU
EFI Radeon RX 580 = AMD Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 580 (8G GDDR5) GPU with MacVidCards' EFI modification
EFI Radeon HD 7950 = Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 'Mac Edition' (3G GDDR5) GPU
TEST MULE: 2010 Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon X5680 with 96GB of 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM running macOS Mojave (10.14.6). GPUs were installed in x16 slot one. The Radeon VII required supplemental power from an external power supply.
(*EFI = Extensible Firmware Interface containing boot loader executables)
TW: WARHAMMER II
The built-in "Skaven" benchmark was used with the Metal based game. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
RISE OF TOMB RAIDER
The built-in three phase benchmark was used with this Metal based game. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
TW: THREE KINGDOMS
We used the BATTLE benchmark with this new Metal game. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
DAVINCI RESOLVE 16 (METAL)
A single Node of Noise Reduction was applied to the Candle Project "Parrot" clip. The effect is rendered on the fly during looping playback. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
Enhance details of 12 DNG images. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER.)
WHAT WE LEARNED
The MacVidCards EFI Radeon RX 580 worked as advertised. It produced the proper Startup screen complete with the Apple logo. It also invoked a Boot screen (Option key at power up) which is useful when you have multiple boot volumes. Without those 'executables,' you are flying blind. If the display fails to light up after a reasonable period of time, you are clueless as to what went wrong.
With the proper EFI, the RX 580 becomes an ideal replacement for the legacy Mac Editions of the Radeon HD 7950, HD 5870, HD 5770, Quadro K5000, etc. And as you can see from the graphs, there is no performance penalty to the EFI mod. With a typical board power requirement of 185W, the 580 can run reliably using the dual 6pin factory power feeds available with the 2009 - 2012 Mac Pro tower.
Always ready to push the envelope, we included the Radeon VII GPU, the current fastest AMD GPU that works with macOS Mojave. There is no Startup or Boot screen capability -- yet, but it is tempting if you are a speed freak. I expect MacVidCards is already working on an EFI upgrade for the Radeon Vega series of GPUs (RX 56, RX 64, and Frontier Edition). Just be aware that the Vegas and VII are power hungry requiring up to 300W. A secondary PSU is essential.
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WHERE TO BUY GPUs:
Order the EFI Radeon RX 580 from MacVidCards. Inquire about their EFI upgrade service on your existing AMD GPU.
Order the non-EFI Radeon RX 580 from B&H Photo Video.
Go to the AMD site to see a list of resellers for the non-EFI Radeon VII. There are also some new and used listings on eBay.