Reports on using Retail Sapphire Radeon RX 580 8GB in Mac Pro (macOS 10.12.6 and High Sierra)
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Reports on Sapphire Radeon RX 580 8GB in Mac Pros (macOS 10.12.6 or later)
FYI: Apple's Get Ready for macOS Mojave page has this note on 2010-12 Mac Pro Compatibility:
"Mac Pro models introduced in late 2013, plus mid 2010 or mid 2012 models with recommended Metal-capable graphics processor, including MSI Gaming Radeon RX 560 and Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 580"
Unless there's been a change, those cards do not have a Mac ROM. (The Sapphire Mac/PC Radeon 7950 with ROM switch wasn't mentioned, but is Metal compatible with previous macOS versions and should with Mojave.) Previously installers like macOS High Sierra required a Mac ROM graphics card for the initial install/upgrade (often a firmware update).
Earlier notes and reports on the Sapphire Radeon Pulse (and Nitro+) RX 580 cards in Mac Pros follow.
(Some 2009 Mac Pro 4,1 owners had flashed their bootrom to 5,1 for support of later macOS versions.)

(Since these are retail cards (not flashed with mac rom), there's no boot screen until the OS loads. For instance if booting with Option key to select startup disc. (You could select a different Startup Disk in macOS, but IIRC only 10.12.6 and later have native driver support.) Handy to have a second card like an OEM Mac Nvidia GT120 that uses no Aux power. (Also some macOS upgrade/installers (like High Sierra) required an OEM Mac graphics card installed, so keep your original Mac card on hand.) The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 is also one of the recommended models for use as an eGPU with macOS 10.13.4 (or later). See Apple's article on Using an external graphics processor with your Mac that has a list of supported Thunderbolt 3 chassis and graphics cards.)

Report on problems with macOS Mojave Beta install (See Tips in reply/italics)

"Mojave Beta install problems on 2010-12 Mac Pros (wait for public (non-beta) release)
I have a 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 64GB Ram with an RX 580 (which I bought after reading the installation successes on your blog) but have not been able to install Mojave beta on my system. I have tried everything but a clean install and may eventually do so, but my prime request of you is if you are getting any feedback on people with the 2010 users either having success or failure.

(Reply: I've seen posts on problems with Mojave Beta installs like this (under 6th report below), but Apple's Get Ready for macOS Mojave page notes the Sapphire RX580 card will be supported, but I'm still curious about the Mojave upgrade since the High Sierra installer required a Graphics card with Mac ROM to be installed. If so, as I mentioned in the header above, have an OEM Mac ROM card that doesn't need Aux power cables (i.e. OEM Mac Nvidia GT120) installed that could be used with the RX 580 (or other metal supporting card) to satisfy both installer requirements. (Here's an alternative post from a 2010 Mac Pro owner with RX 580 card on swapping cards to get the Mojave Beta installed. Swapped in a Mac ROM video card for the firmware update phase, then replaced it with the RX 580 card to finish install.)

A post in Apple's forums from a Sapphire Mac/PC Radeon 7950 owner said he downloaded the Mojave beta on a supported MacBook Pro and then copied it over to one of his Mac Pro drives. Although the Mojave Beta installer could not be downloaded from his Mac Pro, he said it worked on the Mac Pro with Mac Radeon 7950 card installed. (The Sapphire Mac/PC Radeon 7950 has a Mac ROM switch and supports Metal, so it should satisfy both requirements.) As of Sept. 5th, there's been 10 Mojave Beta releases.-M)

I also have a glitch, probably with the card, which causes the screen to blink without any apparent reason. No help from the cardmaker - they tried to say the card would not work on a mac.

What port, resolution and display are you using? If HDMI, is the cable certified for use at that resolution? Screen blanking out can be a handshake or cable issue. Just guessing as I don't know the details on your display/mode used. HDMI 2.0 18Gbps premium certified cables can be had for under $10 for 6ft. I've used Blackweb premium certified cables (under $6 for 6ft on BF sale in walmart store) that tested OK with 4K UHD/60P (4:2:2) HDR playback, although I do see an initial display blink (handshake I assume) at startup (does not repeat). Remember 4K/60Hz (or 50Hz) 4:4:4 is only supported at 8-Bit in HDMI 2.0x. (There are cheaper cables than the Blackweb ones I bought, but they were on sale in a local store for easy return if need be. I've never used it myself, but there's also a free iOS HDMI Premium Cable app to verify the certified hologram on the package is legit.)

6th report, added June 29th. (Nitro+ card, running macOS 10.13.5.)
(Earlier reports below from April 30th, April 20th, March 2nd, Feb. 19th & Feb. 2nd.)

"Another Mac Pro upgrade Sapphire Radeon RX 580
After reading the upgrade reports on this site, I decided to go ahead with a similar upgrade, since the fan was failing on my original Radeon HD5870 graphics. The model graphics card that I installed is the Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ (8GB) so it's a model that is slightly different from the other upgrade reports. (Most are Sapphire Pulse, but there's a Nitro+ Special Edition card report below, with card pictures.) I'm running a Mac Pro 5.1 with dual six-core x5675 Xeons, and MacOS 10.13.5.

RX580 Nitro+ in Mac Pro

macOS 10.13.5 System Info (shows Apple Metal is supported)
Nitro+ Mac System Info - Metal 2 supported

Also, great hint from one of the previous reports for using just the 8-pin power connector on the RX580 (and a dual 6-Pin female to 8-Pin male cable). So far everything appears to be functioning very well, but to date, I've only tried two monitors.

The next challenge will be upgrading (if possible) to Mac OS 10.14 Mojave (with metal graphics). Apparently, not sure for Mac Pro 5.1, even with graphics supporting metal.

Apple's Get Ready for macOS Mojave lists the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX580, so the Mojave release will support it. They didn't mention that a Graphics with Mac ROM was required, although it was for initial installs (and firmware update) of macOS High Sierra. Time will tell if that's also required for Mojave, but see the reply to Mojave Beta install problems above for tips if it is.
(Older comments follow.)
I saw an early post in Apple's forums that the 10.14 beta wouldn't install on a Mac Pro 5,1 with Radeon 7950 (Metal compatible card) installed. (There's been 6 dev Betas as of early August.) IIRC the error message said all cards installed needed to be Metal compatible - but the card was per System Info in previous MacOS. Unless he also had another card installed. (Checked my bookmark for that thread and it now shows "access denied".) I suspect it's like High Sierra installs that required an OEM Mac EFI graphics card. (Hopefully there will be DIY installer script mods in the future to work around install problems.)
FYI: Just saw this post in Apple's forums - talking about the ROM Switch position on the 7950 cards. The video topics page has info from 2014 where there was some confusion (or mfg mistakes?) on the switch position. See Image/Notes at Radeon 7950 ROM Switch Tip - Setting for Mac EFI ROM.
This recent 7950 owner Apple forum post mentioned checking switch positions. (You'd think the correct switch position for mac ROM would work for all installs, but if you have a problem, try changing the switch position in case of a mfg/label mistake.)
".... What i was told and what worked for me was if you have a 7950 and it boots pre-high sierra with the switch in 1 position, move the switch to the other position before trying to install. High Sierra (yup it's got a switch on the side). (See link above.) Or it won't install.
Don't ask me why - as Grant bennett alder said it probably has to do with the firmware install and update, which is built into the installer and you can't get around. Alternatively, you could dust out your card, install High sierra, then after It has installed, try it with the new card...
- John B.

5th report, added April 30th.

"Another successful Radeon RX 580 upgrade report
Based on the reports on this site, I decided to pull the pin on a Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB card. I am running a Mac Pro 5,1, 12 core, with dual Intel x5675 Xeons. I had been running a Radeon 7950 which was flashed for Mac. While I had fine results with that card, I have been wanting a 3rd monitor, and my 7950 would only support two, as it was a PC version that had been flashed for the Mac. I have not yet connected the third monitor, but monitors 1 and 2 are working fine with the new card. I had to do absolutely no configuration to get it working in OS 10.12.6, but it does show incorrectly as an R9.

It did not show a Mac boot screen until partway through the boot-up process, but this was to be expected. I bought the card off eBay from a non-mining user for $310. He claimed he had under 30 hours on it.

Performance numbers are very good. I hit 53 and change fps in Cinebench. My Geekbench multi core score improved to over 20,000 for the first time. The compute benchmark OpenCL, with the card showing as an AMD Radeon HD Ellesmere Prototype hit 140000.

I suspect adding the 3rd monitor will present no issues. I am currently using 1 monitor in a display port and 1 in HDMI. I do not do anything requiring 4K work, so I only have have 1080p monitors. But the 3rd screen will greatly increase my workflow in music production, so I am quite pleased.

Thanks Phil. (There was an image but it didn't make it through.)

Fourth report, added April 20th. (Earlier reports below on March 2nd, Feb. 19th & Feb. 2nd.)

Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ Special Edition in a Mac Pro (5,1)
Last time I was playing with Radeon HD 7970 (R9 280X) on a Mac Pro (2,1) and later on I moved the card to my new Mac Pro (5,1) 12-core 3.46GHz where it served flawlessly and now it's retired as I bought a fancy looking Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ Special Edition (the blue one). That particular edition is the fastest version as it's factory overclocked (1430 MHz).

Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ Special Edition Card/Installed
RX580 Special Edition

Nitro+ RX580 installed in Mac Pro

I can confirm that there are no compatibility issues (apart from the missing boot screen) and the card is recognised as "Radeon RX 580 8129 MB". There are no sleep problems either, everything works fine on the latest High Sierra (10.13.4).

However, I have a very useful hint for anyone who considers this card. After the install everything seemed fine but after some heavy testing I had the safety shutdown situation when running the notorious FurMark benchmark. The card was connected with the same power cables as my HD 7970 (one 6-pin to 6-pin and the other 6-pin to 8-pin). That worked for years without any problem on the old card. So, I thought that there is not enough power for this card on AUX 6-pin connectors and I bought SATA to PCIe adapter to pull additional power from the optical bay.

However, that was not necessary! The problem was that for some reason this card is not using 6-pin and 8-pin power inputs in a balanced manner. So, two separate cables are not the solution. What you have to do is to completely ignore 6-pin input on the card and use only 8-pin with a splitter to 2 x 6-pin on the motherboard. And voila! Everything works smooth!

I measured the power consumption with Marcel Bresink's Hardware Monitor and the card is idling at only 7.4W on PCIe slot and around 10 - 15W per PCIe AUX lines A and B.
Then, I pushed the card very hard with the FurMark test and it passed the benchmark flawlessly. The consumption was 85-95W at AUX lines and 50-65W on PCIe slot. So, everything seems within specifications that we expect and I guess it's reasonably safe. The card is also very silent in normal use, almost mute if compared to GTX 980 (in my other Mac Pro).

In the end, I can only comment that those Mac Pro towers are the best Macs ever built. It's also silly that, when upgraded, this 9 years old machine is *faster* than the fastest and super expensive current Mac Pro Tube and even faster than entry models of iMac Pro. I hope Apple will come to senses with (7,1).
Best, Davor.

Thanks Davor. How's the performance vs your Radeon HD 7970? (Previous reports were on Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB ($360 or so). Your Nitro+ SE is a bit more expensive? I saw appx $410 street price?) BTW: From your comments, Hardware Monitor works in 10.13.4? (v5.55 released April 18th, but the Hardware Monitor page doesn't list High Sierra support. He posted a notice last April about Apple and software like HM.)

Third Report, from March 2nd (Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB)

"Another Successful Radeon RX 580 Report (Mac Pro 5,1)
(Native driver support in macOS 10.12.6 and later.)
Just letting you know I was enthused to read about the stock Sapphire Pulse 8GB Radeon 580s working natively on Mac Pro 5,1 machines so I decided to upgrade. I have a decked out mid-2012 Mac Pro 5,1 with 64GB of RAM and a 1GB 5870 that I've used for years. It was long in the tooth for doing any serious high-res production work, though most of my archive and personal stuff was on it along with a lifetime of drives connected which always kept me from moving to the newer hardware... 3 RAID arrays, all 4 HD slots with larger SSDs + a OWC SSD PCI card for the boot volume, a bunch of pro audio gear and a smattering of USB volumes for 3rd-tier backup and portability. SO much TLC went into this rig over the years... I was excited to breathe new life into it!

In addition to snagging the dual-6-pin -> 8pin power cable (thanks for that info), I went to the local Micro Center here in PA and picked up one of the Sapphire Pulse 8GB 580s right off the shelf for $360 bucks - took it home, plugged it in and it worked a treat! Along with the card, I snagged a Samsung 4K 28" display (UE510) on Amazon for ~200 bucks to compliment it and I'm running a Apple Cinema Display 27" + the 4K + my Commercial Panasonic Plasma (720p) as a reference monitor and it's absolutely smoking fast. I run the 4K display at 2560x1440 to match the Cinema Display but it will easily run at its 3840x2160 native resolution.

(Samsung display options)
display resolution options

Max Resolutions from the Sapphire PULSE Radeon™ RX 580 8GD5 page specs.
(Card has DVI-D, 2 HDMI 2.0b and 2 DisplayPort 1.4 Ports)

Card Ports and Resolutions

So, I'm using the DVI and 2 DisplayPort connectors for my 3 displays but I still have 2 open HDMI ports at my disposal. Awesome.

(But can you use all 5 of those ports simultaneously? Many cards have limits.)
The tech specs for this particular card ( says the HDMI ports are 2.0b and it supports 5 outputs max (so I'm supposing all ports can be used simultaneously). I'll root around for a spare couple of HDMI ports and connect the 2 outputs to the extra 2 HDMI inputs on the Samsung to confirm when I have some spare time this week :) I'll let you know how it goes.
(he later wrote)
Just confirming that I can use all five (5) ports on the RX580 simultaneously. Hooked up another display and a projector today alongside the 4K display, Cinema Display and my Panasonic plasma. No problems at all. :)
(Let me know if you continue to use all 5 ports. That likely increases power usage and wonder if it will be a problem long term in the Mac Pro.-M)

(Running 10.12.6 or High Sierra? The System Info on Metal makes me think 10.13.x?)
I am running macOS 10.13.3 High Sierra, fully up to date with the OS.

No issues at all, card was fully recognized plug-n-play (see pics below), and it's seriously quiet and cool most of the time - much quieter than the 5870 as far as I can tell. Metal acceleration in the various apps that support it, along with multicore support makes my old Pro feel like a brand new machine. The only issue I had during the install was cramming the relatively thick chassis of the 580 next to my OWC Mercury Accelsior S in slot 2, which I use for my SSD boot volume. The screws from the OWC card were rubbing up against the fan blades on the 580 fan assembly, so I stuck a small adhesive rubber 'foot' on the casing between the fans of the 580 to push the OWC card away from the blades. Problem solved.

(A retail card w/o Mac rom, so no boot screen. I.E. Booting with Option key to select startup disc.)
I just confirmed - you were right on, I get no video when Option-booting. :/ Glad I kept my 5870 around but I put it into an old 2009 Mac Pro for my son, so I'll need to rob it if it ever becomes an issue. LOL

System Info (shows Apple Metal is supported)
RX 580 MacOS System GPU Info

Anyhow - thanks again, and always, for the awesome resource you have at the site. I still reflexively check it most days. :)
Blessings and take care!

Thanks Matt.

Second report from Feb. 19th follows, including comparison to GTX 1050 ti 4GB.

" After reading the report from a previous reader (below) who had good results installing the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GD5 I took the plunge and got a similar deal at CDW for $365 (apparently there was a slight discount for shipping to a corporate address). This card replaced an un-flashed EVGA GTX1050ti using the nVidia Web driver. The Radeon is also un-flashed, just install and make sure to supply auxiliary power to the card using 8-pin to dual 6-pin adapters(*).

Mac Pro System Info
I've got a mid-2009 Mac Pro flashed to a 2010 (5,1) with an upgraded Xeon W3565 3.2GHz 4 core with 32GB ram, macOS 10.12.6 My display is a Dell U2518D running at 2560 x 1440 over HDMI (native).

Before disabling and uninstalling the nVidia driver, cuda support, and removing the GTX1050ti card I ran a few benchmarks. I then installed the Sapphire Radeon RX 580 and re-ran the same benchmarks.

GeekBench 4.2.2 Scores
Here are the results from GeekBench 4.2.2 for Mac OS X x86

GTX1050ti 4GB      OpenCL  71013
Radeon RX 580 8GB  OpenCL 134126

GTX1050ti 4GB      Metal  80267
Radeon RX 580 8GB  Metal 133196

Unigine Valley Benchmark
I don't use this machine for gaming but thought others might be interested in the results of the Unigine Valley Benchmarks.

Settings used for Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0 Basic (OpenGL)
- Resolution = 1280 x 720
- Anti-Aliasing = 4x
- Gamma = 1.0
- Full Screen
- Ambient Occlusion
- Volumetric Shadows
- Motion Blur
- Vsync
- FPS Counter

GTX 1050ti 4GB    FPS: 22.3 / 48.6 / 62.1 (min / avg / max), score = 2035
Radeon RX 580 8GB FPS: 23.6 / 54.6 / 61.9 (min / avg / max), score = 2284

I didn't notice any significant differences in image quality between these two video cards with the Unigine benchmark.

As one would expect, CPU benchmarks didn't change:
- Single-Core Score = 2792 / 2787 (GTX / Radeon)
- Multi-Core Score = 9370 / 9362 (GTX / Radeon)

BruceX FCP-X benchmark
One other benchmark I only ran on the Radeon is the BruceX FCP-X benchmark. (

Results averaged over 3 trials exporting as Pro Res 422 to an OWC 1TB SSD, 14.7 seconds. One trial writing to a WD 2TB HD wasn't much longer, about 17 seconds.

Other Notes
So far the card has been very quiet - my WD USB Time Machine external USB backup drive is much more audible than the Radeon. FCP-X, Aperture, Photoshop and After Effects CS5 all feel more responsive.

Let me know if you have any questions about my setup or tests. Thanks for maintaining a great Mac resource!
- Jim.

(*) Auxiliary power cables required.

  • Two of these - PCI-e Power Cable for Mac G5 nVidia ATI Video Card

  • One of these - GutsParker Dual 6-Pin Female to 8-Pin Male Cable Black "
  • Thanks Jim!

    The first report follows (Later reports above)

    Jman sent word he finally received his Radeon RX 580 8GB card for his Mac Pro 5,1. (Unlike the Radeon R9 280X he previously used, the RX 580 isn't a flashed card.)

    "I just got my brand new Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB video card from a company out of Chicago called CDW. (Computer Discount Warehouse?) The card cost me about $390 with the tax and shipping. I think I got lucky because many of these cards are selling for $500+. (Above retail, due to demand from crypto miners at the time.)
    (I assume it's the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GD5. As of August 14th, 2018, Amazon has the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB for $279.99, but prices can change over time.)

    The Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB works on the Mac Pro 2009-2012 OOTB. The drivers were built into Sierra & High Sierra. It is essential (IMHO) to use the SwitchResX app to set your Resolution to the desired 4k or 5k monitors, which (in my case) is scaled at 2560X1440@ 60hz. (He's using an LG 32UD59-B 4K 32in Display, scaled due to the menu text size at 3840x2160 native rez.)

    In the About this Mac in Sierra 10.12.6 it will show up as an AMD R9 xxx 8192 MB. In High Sierra you will see the full name correctly. There are no problems at start-up. You will see a brief start-up screen and then right to your log-in. It's great and fast.
    (Also shows as "Metal Supported")

    RX 580 MacOS System GPU Info

    I don't have a lot of ways to measure this cards performance, but Cinebench R15 is giving me almost 66fps, and Geek Bench 4 OpenCL Score is 134379. That is up from 107000 when using the Radeon R9 280X 3GB card. This card is in the ballpark of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. Just as fast as the GeForce Video Card on my Mac in many ways.
    (Having native driver support is a plus, where Nvidia's web drivers need updates for each macOS update, although Nvidia has been pretty quick to post web driver updates. Nvidia also has CUDA support, but personally I don't have experience with it.-M)

    Interesting upgrade and a very pleasant surprise.

    (I asked to confirm it wasn't flashed.)
    This card was right out of the box and not flashed.
    The Pulse Radeon RX 580 was a card that Apple approved for the developers for Beta testing Sierra and High Sierra. For one reason or the other this card just works. Obviously, the drivers are there. I cannot guarantee that any other Radeon 580 card (such as, Nitro) will work OOTB on a Mac. I did a lot of research to make sure I was buying a Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB video card that would work OOTB on a Mac.

    I can't say how much of the start up I am seeing, since I have an SSD Drive. My start up is really fast. Then, the log-in comes up.
    [macOS 10.12.6 and later has driver support for this card but since these are not flashed cards (no mac rom) - no boot screen if using the "Option" Key at startup correct? (To select a boot volume.)]
    To switch start up drives you have to use start up in preferences. I don't believe the option key works with these cards. But they sure are great video cards!

    This card has performed perfectly over the last 48 hours. I know there are quite a few Mac Pro owners using this card. It's a great gaming card.

    (he later wrote)
    In Cinebench there's only about 1 FPS difference between this card and the R9 280X. However, under certain circumstances the RX 580 will far exceed the R9 280X. This is a gaming card and a card for Digital Video Editing and Rendering.

    If you know anyone that wants a Radeon R9 280X 3GB card (flashed) and perfect for 4K monitors, let me know. It's $250 with cables included and (CONUS) shipping. I also have the (Mac) ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB for $150 (CONUS) shipping included (Sold).

    After a month of use, no problems and as your latest report confirms, these cards are VERY quiet, except at start up when the fans rev up. I'm truly happy with the purchase and I see others have benefited from my testing of the card.

    He also sent lots of screenshots of GeekBench, CineBench, System Info, etc. that I'll add later (or summarize scores from the larger images).

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