Are all ATI 4870's created equal?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wcjmproducer, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    #1
    Hello all. I'm getting a bit frustrated with the performance of my 8800GT video card in my Mac Pro and want to get an ATI 4870 card to replace it. I think it'll help me out a lot with Photoshop and the Pro applications like Final Cut.

    Now, if that's not true, then let me know, but if there are no arguments there, then I'll move on to my question.

    Now, of course, Apple has their "upgrade" package for $350.

    But, I went searching online and I found a bunch of cards that say they're ATI 4870's, but I can't tell if they're the right ones or not. Is there a way to tell, or could I just get a model cheaper from a different website and have it work okay?

    For instance, here's a link for it at TigerDirect for $269: http://www.tigerdirect.com

    They're even less money elsewhere, like eBay, etc. But, before I went searching, I wanted to know if I'm looking at the same product every time, or if there's a specific Mac version.

    Thanks for any help and advice,

    ~Jim
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #2
    That card you linked is for a PC not a Mac. you need a 4870 that has the Mac ROM on it.
     
  3. macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #3
    Yes, there is a specific Mac version.

    While it is based on a PC card, the Apple's EFI version of the card is slightly "different" in ROM.

    If you look for the Mac versions elsewhere, they will probably be flashed PC cards -- but of course that'll be buyer beware.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    justflie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Red Sox Nation
    #4
    You might also want to consider the Nvidia GTX 285 Mac Edition which is being released this month. I have a preorder in at Provantage.com. It is a tad bit more expensive than the 4870. However, it is also the most powerful single-GPU card you can currently find, on a Mac or a PC. This is a rare occurrence to have a proper high-end video card for us Mac users who have been bitten by the (Windows) gaming bug. :p
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Wild-Bill

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    ?
    #5
    Apple price raping

    Apple and other companies capitalize on the fact that there are very few Mac-specific video cards out there (i.e. the SAME video card with EFI implemented to work on a Mac). Apple and some companies seem to think it's alright to implement a 50% or greater markup on these video cards. It's disgusting.

    There is no physical difference in these cards. Someone writes EFI code and puts it in the video card and boom: instant price hike.

    It makes more fiscal sense to follow those folks on here who have taken the initiative to hack the PC video cards into working on the Mac.

    I'm waiting for someone to do it with the nVidia 285, at which point I'll purchase a PC version and flash it to work on my Mac Pro.

    As an aside, Apple still charges $400.00 for a Radeon 1900XT. How messed up is that?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    justflie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Red Sox Nation
    #6
    Very.
     
  7. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #7
    Exactly. Oh, and not just video cards. "Mac" hard drives, "Mac" RAM, and other "Mac" hardware is... fake. It's exactly the same as PC hardware.
     
  8. macrumors demi-god

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    You can flash 4870 PC cards so that they work in Macs. Have a look in the 4870 flashing thread to see how its done.

    And to answer your thread title, no all ATI 4870s are not created equal. Apple's 4870s are overpriced, underclocked and have had crossfire disabled in Windows.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    justflie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Red Sox Nation
    #9
    Yeah, totally got that shaft with that one. :mad:
     
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    #10
    Thanks everyone- I'm starting to get the picture now. I may give the ROM flashing a shot, if nothing more than to give it a try.

    Now, I've seen the new nVidia 325, but again, I need to ask:

    Will these card upgrades make Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, etc. run better and/or faster?

    I mean, the 8800gt just does not like CS4. It doesn't refresh an image after a crop or resize sometimes- I need to deselect, then move the image just to see my changes.

    And, if I may, one more question- I've read a couple different answers:

    Will either of these video card upgrades decrease FCP video rendering time? Does FCP render using the CPUs or the GPU? I think, with the processing power, memory, etc. of my machine (early 2008 8-core), standard definition videos should render faster and I can only think to blame it on the video card.

    Thanks again- can't wait to hear responses!

    -Jim
     
  11. macrumors demi-god

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    I can't answer in regards to FCP renders since I don't use it but the Photoshop problems you have could very well be related to nVidia's drivers. If CS3 uses Core Image then it could explain things. The 8800 was worse than the Radeon 2600 cheapo card back when it was released due to terrible drivers on nVidia's part. See here. It does look like nVidia's improving its drivers though so it remains to be seen how well the
    GTX 285 will perform.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #12
    Well, some of it is more hardware specific to a model - one did have to get FB-DIMMS with proper heatsinks, once upon a time. Of course, this is no longer true.
     
  13. macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #13
    Was there even any RAM that was properly speced to the Mac Pro that wasn't sold with heatsinks, though?
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #14
    Well, the RAM specification is PC2-6400, and stuff like this on Newegg:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148207

    Doesn't seem to have such thorough heatsinking. But it is a minor example. I'm just pointing out that there are some hardware requirements, though they are few and far between.
     

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