Mac Pro video card upgrade – How I flashed a R9 280X for a Mac Pro

This is basically what I went through to get the Gigabyte R9 280X working in my upgraded 2009 Mac Pro and enables me to get the boot screen. You can install this card with the correct power cables which it does not come with and it will work but to get the boot screen the card must be flashed. Here is a great guide about flashing pc cards to make them mac compatible. FYI the R9 280x is really just a re branded AMD 7970 with a few tweaks.
Also is great for info on flashing cards for mac, become a member and read in the forums a lot before posting questions, this site is where the video card gurus post info about flashing.

Check this out. The GTX 980 outperforms the R9 280X they have been playing around with R9 290X as well.
Took me a while to get this video up so as time passes the cards keep a comin.
Again I am not an expert on this and had a lot of help to get my card working so just putting this video out there for folks who may want to take the leap and upgrade their aging video cards, also check out macvidcards store on ebay, they sell flashed cards for older mac pros and will flash a card for you for a fee. I wished I had just ponied up the bucks initially because I kind of went through a lot and two different cards to get his baby working.


  1. Depressing to think that 3 years later (aug 17) this is still the best Mac Pro option. The Radeon RX cards work in 10.12.6 up but those cost loads due to etherium mining and the poor state of Nvidia cards pretty much rules those out for reliability sake. Plan on swapping my GTX980 for a 280X tomorrow. Im fully aware its a monumental downgrade in terms of performance but the GTX cards are just so damn unreliable in macOS

  2. hello all i have a mac pro 5.1 2009 with a gtx 680 classified in it . I am currently having an issue with it working at all on the windows side how ever it does work with the boot screen and mac os x just fine so i am confused the windows os is 10.1 anniversary update thanks again !!!

  3. Great Tutorial Lance! The HDMI port work with audio? So if flashed R9 280x, can i plug my mac pro 1.1 on my tv and watch movies or something like that, without a problems?

    Can you please upload your efi for R9 280X? Because i have the same GPU model.

    Thank You!

  4. Hi. Sorry to drag up an old thread Lance but I have a Gigabyte R9280x card here and an old MAC Pro 1.1 flashed to 2.1. In an effort not to distub you I spent hours on the website and kept going around and around re the EFI part. If you still have the Gigabyte R9280x files could you be kind enough to email them to please? Most kind of you.

  5. Hi Lance,

    I am wondering if it can be used to flash AMD HD 7950 PC edition (manufactured by AMD). I am using MSI R9 380 4G and it has been great, but no boot screen. I can get a second hand AMD 7950 for a cheap price but still wondering if it is worthy it and can be flashed for Mac Pro.


  6. Hello! These old Macs, I need a card that supports both boot screen and 4K. I was stupid enough to get a 4K-screen and now it just can run in 30 Hz and with problems with flickering when you move a window. I have an Mac Pro mid 2012, Quadcore. Old computers, old technique. But expensive was it in 2013 when I bought it, now it is almost ready for recycling.

  7. >nice video will this card run with 1.1 2.1 mac pro i currently have Gtx750 gainward golden sample working with el capitan 10.11.0 and i want better gpu then mine so R9280x seems to be a good choice if i am able to get the boot screen out also perfect

  8. Hi Lance, do you know how to troubleshoot or fix a video card that occasionally freezes, locks up the computer and even makes a high pitched sound when it freezes? My PC Asus Radeon 5770 does this every once in a while. I don't now why. Could it be a driver issue or is it likely a hardware issue? My other video card, the Apple NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT produces no such problem so I don't think it's a computer problem.

    The visual appearance of the card is normal. The fan appears to be working OK. No strange odors or discolorations of burnt parts. I don't know how good the compatibility is with Mac since it's a Windows card with their own drivers, but they mentioned "Exclusive Voltage Tweak Technology", so maybe it's a bit different than the regular 5770s?

  9. I obtained the Radeon 5770 .rom for the Mac was looking at Zeus for the Mac to flash upgrade my PC Radeon 5770 card. This app (Zeus) looks old – like 2011 and I don't see the my PC Radeon 5770 listed. How do I backup my existing firmware/bios file? Also I'm not a big DOS user but I've seen many people using a PC with the DOS screen to flash these cards on a PC and they always backup the BIOS. Would like to it solely thru the Mac OS if possible. I have a Mac Pro 1,1. Can this be done?

  10. Just bought a Powercolor R9 280x for my 2006 Mac pro. How did you get the power hooked up to the video card? is is there a coupler that needs to go from 6 pin to 8 pin mini?

  11. how on earth did you get the XFX one to even run in your mac pro? its 6+8 pin on the card. but the mac pro's board only has 2 6pin's, which is only 75 watts each. 150 watts is not enough power for an r9 280x?

  12. What would be the risk of using it in a 2008 3,1 without flashing the card? I run el capitan and windows 10 (boot camp) with no issues. Currently still have the 8800 GT installed. If I put a high end PC card like this in and don't flash it; will I run the risk of damaging anything? I'm curious if you hold the Option key for the boot screen, but it remains black, couldn't you still use the arrow keys and hit enter to load in the other OX? Has anyone tried that?

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