Graphics Card Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ghostchild, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2007
    Hey guys I currently have a Mac Pro with a ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB graphics and I want to upgrade it. Any idea what card I should go with? I am a photographer so graphics performance is very important to me. Also is upgrading a graphics card just plug and play? My current configs are:

    2010 build
    3.20GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    24gb Ram

  2. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    Why do you want to upgrade it? What more from a video card are you looking for? What is your budget
  3. macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Read the big sticky post at the top of the forum...
  4. Loa
    macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2003
    In what way?

  5. macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    The 5870 is a very capable card, more then enough to run photoshop tasks.

    If you do a lot of 3D work then a card with very good open GL support would be an improvement, or if you do motion/video work then a card with Cuda support would also be an improvement.

    You don't have many out of the box options but the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 could be an option but I don't think you will see that big of an improvement over the 5870, also you just missed a sale on that card.

    People have started to put off the self PC GPU's in their mac pros but there is always some tinkering that goes along with that.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2012
    There was no tinkering at all when I replaced the GTX285 in my Mac Pro with an MSI GTX570. It just works. I no longer have a grey spinning wheel boot screen but I have an SSD it boots very quickly anyway so you don't really notice. My new card was far cheaper than a Quadro 4000 & I believe more powerful for my uses (Premiere Pro). CUDA performance is 2X that of a GTX285 & OpenCL is 3X better.
  7. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    You mean tinkering such as putting it in and it works out of the box? Any Nvidia card from 9000 series to newer works out of the box with 10.8+. For 10.7 you have to go to the trouble of installing a drive (which is basically about 3 clicks of the mouse).

    Yeah I have two Nvidia PC cards in my Mac Pro with no issues. The only loss is the initial boot screen which I keep my old 7300GT just in case.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Drivers? OS X native for the 6XX series for instance needs the Nvidia ones for performance. HDMI sound modification on some cards.

    Anything over 2GB on the GPU side needs modification for OpenCL compatibility. 10.8.3 fixes this but it's still something to consider.

    I run a GTX 680 and love it but it's not always as simple as plugging it in and go.
  9. violst, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013

    macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2012
    Yes tinkering.

    Like flashing the cards rom to get the boot screen, all the ports to work properly and fix the problems with steam and DVD player.

    having a card with 2+ gigs of vram causes open CL problems. trying a kext work around to get open CL to work properly

    making sure you get the proper 2 - 6 pin cables needed for a mac pro to power most of the newer cards.

    making sure your apps can recognize your new nvidia card so that CUDA works correctly with it.

    making sure you have the most current nvidia drivers.

    Things may work out of the box but most have to be dialed in to get them working just right.

    I didn't say it was difficult, but for people who have never used a PC GPU its not always as straight forward as just plug and play.

    For many professionals who can not afford to run into GPU problems, I would suggest sticking with an apple approved GPU like the Quadro 4000, if you already have the 5870 as an option.

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