PC graphics cards in Mac Pros - no go!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by doritochugger, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. doritochugger macrumors newbie

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    Aug 15, 2006
    #1
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Washington, DC
  3. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #3
    I'm disappointed but not really surprised, too bad really.......
     
  4. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #4

    ### yep...same old S@*t. For me, it's the one area where PC's are w-a-y ahead of Apple. As a 3d guy..."this hurts". Priorities, priorities....
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #5
    Most of the cards you would expect not to work, since Apple has Intel 5000x drivers for 4 cards (3 Mac Pro (7300GT & FX4500, X1900 XT), 1 XServe (ATI Radeon X1300)), but the PC cards people will be real sad about were the PC cards Apple had drivers for...

    Quadro FX4500 (Nvidia-based)
    X1900 (ATI-based)

    Which didn't work right out of the box.
     
  6. kbonnel macrumors 6502

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    In a nice place..
    #6
    It is a bummer, but I am hoping one of these things will happen.

    1. I think I read that the problem has to do with the firmware size on the PC cards (64K), and only holding the BIOS version of the firmware and not the EFI version. Eventually (when more mac pro's actually get shipped :) ), there will be an upgrade for the PC cards to install a 128K firmware chip, and thus the Apple version of the firmware (with both the BIOS and EFI). This would be cool as you can then use one great in both OSX and XP. (goal, one machine for everything)

    or

    2. Just live with 2 video cards in the box. One card, such as the 7300, for OSX, and one, such as the X1900 for XP. This way you can do all your normal OSX stuff (that doesn't need the x1900, like photoshop, and FCE, and web surfing, etc), and then be able to play games on the XP side. (This would work for me too).

    Whatever the solution, I just want to get rid of my game machine and just have 1 quiet box.

    Kimo
     
  7. Videographer macrumors member

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    Grand Rapids, MI
    #7
    So does this mean that to run Windows XP one needs a SEPARATE video card?? If this is true, you've just ended a beautiful dream of mine... -To have a sweet editing/graphics and gaming machine in one box. Noooooo!! Take it back.

    Seriously, what's the deal with these video cards? How much does Windows take advantage of the MacPro hardware (including the video card)? It seems that such a small detail could be easily fixed by the manufacturers by offering two of the every card -one PC one IntelMac. This is just frustrating.
     
  8. kbonnel macrumors 6502

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    #8
    No, you can use the Mac Pro's video card in both OSX and Windows. BUT, if you got the standard 7300 card, like I did, it isn't that great for games. It does everything I need it todo in OSX, but for games you need something bigger. Thus, one could have the 7300 card and a standard PC x1900XT (or something else). In OSX, only the 7300 would be usable, and in Windows bot the 7300 and the x1900XT would be usable.

    (or, be smart, and get the x1900XT from apple, though I just couldn't wait 5 weeks for my macpro).

    Kimo
     
  9. Videographer macrumors member

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    #9
    Ok I think I'm getting the picture now. It's just strange that Windows would be able to fully use the Mac GPU, but not the other way around. But I guess if it's a matter of firmware size like you said (Mac having 128K and Windows BIOS only 64K), then I suppose it makes sense. But here's a great idea:

    If it really comes down to a matter of 64K whatever-you-call-its, then why don't the manufacturers just start making their cards all with 128K whatever-you-call-its (or WYCI for short). Clearly I'm showing my non-understanding of the inner-workings of graphics cards, but with RAM at the 256MB level, what's a few extra K of WYCI going to matter? Then they could market to both platforms with one product. Genius.

    Now I'm torn between getting the base card (7300) and waiting (hoping) for the alleged "flashed" PC cards to start working, and getting the x1900 right off the bat. The difference in price is going to be about $100, but it might be better than rolling the dice. After all to buy the OEM solution separate is like $500 or so. Bah. How could this have gotten overlooked again?
     
  10. XyliX macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2006
    #10
    Personally I belive that this isn't an issue of the larger BIOS ROM (which I think has to do with EFI compatibility). I belive that Apple is performing some kind of vendor/ID check before initializing the drivers to make sure that it's a supported "Apple card". My guess is that it's possible to circumvent this either by changing the check in the Apple software or by changing the vendor/ID information in the "regular" PC card BIOS.
     
  11. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #11
    I highly doubt that, there's no need for them to.
     
  12. XyliX macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2006
    #12
    It's important for Apple that the graphic cards works flawlessly on their systems, and by not allowing other graphics card than they support is a way of assuring that.
     
  13. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #13
    Very well said. This is the one thing we constantly forget!
     
  14. Videographer macrumors member

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    Aug 15, 2006
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    Grand Rapids, MI
    #14
    Not sure how many of you have seen this, but I found it to be very helpful in understanding the limitations of graphics cards in Macs:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=2708000&postcount=37

    Basically as I understand it (and what you guys are now getting at) is that these cards do need to work flawlessly for Macs in order for Apple to release them for their systems. And sadly the architecture is slightly different so the drivers need to be altered and firmware changed. Thus countless hours are needed for testing and bug-fixing. I mean I’m sure you could hack a PC card to work in a Mac Pro, but who will support it if it doesn’t work right or freezes your system every 10 minutes?

    I think this is one of the pains of buying a computer that isn't "mainstream" like a PC. As a GPU manufacturer I would care most about where the most people are and that is in the PC market (for now). This latest step for Apple going with Intel chips is a huge leap forward and might open the door for card makers to start designing their cards for both systems simultaneously. But it’s still a numbers game and if it’s the slightest bit cheaper (or will turn the slightest bit more profit) to focus on PC and work on the Mac version later, they will still do that.

    Moral of the story: buy the Apple-approved cards as they come out and hope that more will be developed due to the Mac Pro chipset.
     

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