Prowling various forums (and Ebay) I notice that many 2009-2011 iMacs suffer from frying GPU cards. The problem frequently is that the price of replacements is near (or more) the value of the iMac being repaired. This is probably sending many iMacs to the landfill prematurely. Several people have reported that some PC MXM 3.0 cards work in these iMacs, but due to the lack of EFI, they have MANY issues. In addition to losing boot screen, they also lose brightness control as well as external displays, and the ability to use bootcamp. I fell quite confident that we could write working EFIs for many cards, most likely the Nvidia ones would be easier, but it is also possible that some AMD cards could be made functional.
In any case, we could allow people to replace dead GT120s with 256 Megs of RAM with GT630s or 650s with more modern support, and no more power draw or heat given off. I can tell you a little known secret, there are already flashed iMac cards being sold, but the sellers are clever enough to not mention it, they are thus able to collect the "Apple Tax" without anyone noticing.
What MacVidCards needs is a local Los Angeles partner to work on these with. I do not have the space or time to work on iMacs. But I will soon have the means to test OSX functionality with any and all MXM 3.0 cards. This will lead to the ability to write and test iMac roms to greatly expand the options for iMac repair. The ideal candidate to work with us would be a facility that already does iMac repairs. Replacement cards are hard to come by, we could greatly expand the options, lower prices, and allow a repairer/reseller the chance to market the cards. To really and truly test the cards would mean eventually trying them in each and every Mac that offered MXM 3.0 cards.
The good news is that once they are tested and finished, it will be much easier to crank them out. Currently used iMac GT120s fetch a minimum of $200, while new ones get $600-700. We could make it possible to offer MUCH better cards, for less money. And that would also allow the "real" Apple cards to drop in price. Win/Win.
So, who has some space and time? I'm confident that there is serious money to be made, while simultaneously doing some serious good for the Mac/iMac community.
I recently got a box of 7970s that were supposed to be in perfect shape. Out of 5 cards, only 2 were able to complete the Uningine Valley test twice in a row. And I'm afraid that was the last straw. The AMD Tahiti cards are the last ones with full driver and EFI support. Lots of people want them, and when they work, they work pretty well.
However, some time back I noticed that although they represented 20-25% of our sales, they were easily 50-60% of our returns. I have far more dead 7970s than I do dead Nvidia Kepler cards. Getting stuck with dead cards is a bad deal for us. As it was, we had to double the stress tests for the cards to catch more bad ones before they shipped to our customers. But having 60% failures in one box was too much.
We may occasionally offer some R9 280X cards when we find them in reasonable shape, but I can't justify the time and expense of testing cards that fail so often. The older 7950 and 7970 cards will no longer be stocked by us unless I stumble upon some really choice ones.
We will be happy to flash them for our customers, but suggest that when you buy them used (no new ones made in years, so no choice really) that you test them thoroughly before sending them for flashing. The standard failure mode for these cards is either screen going black while machine keeps running, or entire Mac Pro shutting off due to excessive power draw. Run that Uningine Valley test on "Extreme HD" at least twice in a row to weed out the bad ones.
Many of these cards spent their early lives in Bitcoin setups, running at 100% 24/7 for months on end. And, as we all know, AMD cards are not the best in the performance/watt area, this means more electricity gets used heating up the card versus getting work done. (Like comparing an old incandescent bulb to a new LED one.)
We have a few "oddball" ones that we will be listing soon, a couple single DP ones, and a couple where the HDMI port only works in certain circumstances, etc. These will be pretty inexpensive, but they will be the last.
If someone knows of a source for some good, non-thrashed 7970s I'd like to know.
Fired up a Hybrid Titan-X on nMP 6,1 12 Core and threw it at "The DIvision". The game has approximately 1,000,000 settings so I just left them where they were at default to start.
It managed a reasonable 28.3 FPS. Considering that Guru3D got 35 FPS on their system, I'm pretty pleased. TB2 only cost a little bit of juice. I'll try it with a few other eGPUs in next few days but unlikely that anything will be faster.FWIW, it also says that CPU Avg was 17 while GPU was 94, not sure what those mean, but we will find out. Though I may play with the Shadow settings next, apparently Nvidia cards can do some pretty intense shadows effects now.
Updates to come.
So, they have started shipping. We unfortunately got an email saying that ours has been delayed but that we should get an update on April 12th. Really excited to see how it does on the 12 Core cMP with a Titian-X and then also curious how it will run on the 12 Core nMP with an eGPU Titan-X.
Has anyone gotten theirs and run it on Mac hardware? The Oculus folks had some rather disparging comments about there being no decent Apple machines to run it on, let's prove them wrong, even if Apple won't.
Here is what they sent me:
We know you're anxious to receive your Oculus Rift and apologize for not updating your order status sooner. We've been working through an unexpected component shortage, and unfortunately, that issue has impacted the original shipping estimates for some early customers.
We're working hard to get up-to-date ship windows, and you should expect to see your order status updated on oculus.com by Tuesday, April 12. Although many Rifts will be arriving on schedule and in line with original estimates, we'll be covering shipping and handling costs for all orders placed through today.
We're shipping rifts everyday. Don't hesitate to reach out to the Oculus support team if you have additional questions.
The Oculus Team