Will stock x1900 run in Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by weldon, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #1
    I'm wondering if I can buy a stock x1900XT to replace the 7300GT in a mac pro. In the past we've had different firmware versions on discrete video cards to deal with PPC / Intel differences but does anyone know what the situation is today?

    The 512MB x1900XT is $350 at newegg.com. If I could sell the 7300GT for $60 bucks on eBay, I'd be coming out ahead compared to ordering the BTO option from Apple. BTW, here is the 7300GT at newegg.com.
     
  2. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    #2
    We'll find out in time. The Mac Pro hasn't even been released yet and i'm pretty sure when it's released then someone who has a PCI-E graphics card will try it in it.

    No point worrying or even thinking about it until then :)
     
  3. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #3
    intel macs use EFI, not bios, however bios graphics cards work fine when run on intel boards which have been flashed with EFI, so who knows, though you'll more than likely need to change the device ID on the x900XT drive.
     
  4. weldon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #4
    Lame answer. People are going to have them Tuesday or Wednesday this week. I'm ready to order one and I just want to know what my options are on the video card. If I can upgrade later with a stock card purchased from newegg.com (or any other PC parts supplier) I am going to do that. If I have to buy a special Mac-version of the card (say with different firmware) I would have to think twice.

    Even before people get them, someone might be able to find out by asking an engineer at WWDC.
     
  5. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #5
    You may think it's a lame answer, but it's just the honest truth. To come here and ask such a question when obviously no one knows the answer is a bit naive. Then, to call someone lame for not knowing specifications on a machine announced less than a day ago is ridiculous.

    If it's so important to you, wait till people receive theirs, then see if you can find someone who is willing to try it. Barring that, try giving Apple a call or asking a mystery 'engineer at WWDC'.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #6
    I don't see how running EFI is an issue. With Boot Camp you just tell the EFI to emulate BIOS. The video hardware doesn't change otherwise. It runs on OS X and Windows. You didn't have to flash your video BIOS did you?

    This isn't Open Firmware anymore.
     
  7. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    #7
    Well the only problem i see is that the apple drivers won't recognise the device ID's of standard off the shelf cards but i'm sure that will be hacked. After all an X1900 is an X1900 is an X1900. They will definately run in boot camp in windows as they are just standard hardware.

    Oh and thanks to gauchogolfer for backing up my previous reply and seeing it for what it was.
     
  8. Lollypop macrumors 6502a

    Lollypop

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    #8
    I know EFI comes with a BIOS emulator, but with bootcamp windows uses the BIOS, and Mac os and its drivers use EFI, can you use drivers writen for EFI graphics cards on the BIOS emulator? Im no expert but I would think that the drivers are writen for a specific boot mechanism, and in the case of the mac os, EFI, and that it wont wokr on another like BIOS.
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    I'll agree with the software drivers. You're not going to have to flash the video BIOS though. I wouldn't be surprised to see ATI/NVidia to release better OS X drivers. That or Apple including some more driver support.
     
  10. weldon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #10
    I think that BIOS or EFI *only* matters during the boot process before video drivers are loaded. I'm pretty sure that once the boot process is finished, the drivers load and talk to the video card hardware directly. The drivers don't talk through BIOS or EFI to get to the card.

    I'm not a hardware engineer, but I'm basing this on other people's accounts of the experiments with running Mac OS X for intel on non-Apple hardware.

    P.S. and I call lame on heckling me for asking and falsely stating that the machines aren't released yet, not because someone doesn't know yet. *I* don't know yet - THAT'S WHY I'M ASKING THE QUESTION! I expect we'll know within two days, maybe even today. I asked the question so that someone who is in a position to know will see my question and perhaps take the time to answer it by checking with an engineer or by doing it in their own machine.
     
  11. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    #11
    That's basically what i said :)

    Although since you are being pedantic replace "released" with "widely available" and modify the grammar accordingly.

    You're not the only one interested in this and i'm pretty sure there is someone out there trying hard to get this info to have a the bragging rights on being the first person to reveal it.

    Although my guess would be that it will work :)
     
  12. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

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    Jul 20, 2006
    #12
    Hmmm. Someone bothers to read your post and take time to answer your question and this is what you respond with? Ungrateful bastid! :p

    Meh, save yourself the grief and just order the Apple upgrade. At least you'll know it's under warranty should the unthinkable happen. I just wouldn't take the chance with buying a stock x1900 to save a bit of money.
     
  13. Lollypop macrumors 6502a

    Lollypop

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    #13
    I agree that the boot process, ie kernel support is going to be important, I think especially the ability to boot without a supported card in it but still load the graphics subsystem later on. Im not system engineer either, but if EFI or BIOS is only used for boot and the driver talks directly to the card then I think it should be ike someone mentioned, simply theaking the driver to recoknise the card.


    I think we might know this very soon, ive been dying to know how expansion hardware will work on the new intel macs, but I think apple will still try to keep the market a bit closed, they dont want people trying to put just any pci express card in and then ask apple why it doesnt work, be it graphics, network.. whatever.
     
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #14
    Well, on the positive side, if you look down at the bottom of the Mac Pro tech spec page:

    http://www.apple.com/macpro/specs.html

    ...you'll see that they already have upgrade kits for sale seperate from the BTO box for several components, including the X1900. The Apple store is currently charging $500 for it, while ATI's retail price for the equivalent PC card is $550 with real-world prices around $400.

    This doesn't tell us anything about whether Apple's drivers will run a card with stock firmware, but it's good to see the upgrade listed seperately already, and it gives hope that even if you can't just grab and off-the-shelf X1900 you'll be able to get the same from other retailers at a reduced price eventually.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #15
    Yeah, I hope we see more third party support. It shouldn't be that hard now to make a Mac compatible card since we're on EFI.
     
  16. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #16
    Two points,

    1) PCI Express is a standard bus interface, any and every PCI Express card has the potential to work on any machine with a PCI Express slot. The real question is are their drivers that support it on this OS?

    2) The reason a different firmware was used on PPC vs Intel is most likely due to the Big-endian/Little-endian memory difference. There is no reason that any card with Little-endian firmware won't work on a Mac if the driver is written to take the byte reversal in memory into account when dealing with the data. This would probably result in much poorer performance though since the byte swapping is expensive to do in software and trivial to do in hardware.

    Given this I would expect the stock card to work unless ATI goes out of their way to make sure that Mac drivers require made for Mac hardware, in which case I would still expect it to work just not optimally (some features disabled, or running a generic video driver). I wouldn't put it past them but it makes more sense to me to release one version of the hardware (one set of tests, one set of parts, one firmware to debug) and write drivers for the separate OSes they wish to support. That being said if they can make more charging a premium for "Mac" hardware and it is enough to cover the additional costs and make more money then they will do that.

    Bottom line is, no one knows for sure yet, other than ATI, and possibly Apple. Currently nothing is noted on ATI's website about any x1900s with Mac support, but you may want to contact ATI and ask.
     
  17. damado macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #17
    I'm wondering...with bootcamp you can boot into windows natively and don't have to switch to a pc compatible vid card right..so shouldn't that indicate that it's all cross compatible?

    When running in windows through bootcamp, do you install the windows XP drivers or does apple provide you with some? I assume you'd use apple chipset drivers, but dunno how the vid card works.
     
  18. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #18
    Apple provides drivers for their hardware in Boot Camp.
     
  19. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #19
    But as far as I can tell they're just the stock Intel or ATI drivers. Somebody, as an experiment, should try not installing the bootcamp drivers and instead installing straight ATI drivers off their website on a MBP or iMac and see if it recognizes the X1600. If so, that would be telling.
     
  20. timb macrumors regular

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    Jun 6, 2003
    #20
    I've run both ATI's base drivers and custom Omega drivers under windows with my MacBook Pro, and it works fine. So at least I'd say the MacBook Pro's have standard chips.

    -Tim
     
  21. vv-tim macrumors 6502

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    May 24, 2006
    #21
    Hey... I'm Timb :(

    And that doesn't really mean that they have standard chips, it means that the BIOS/EFI layer does its job very well.

    The issue I believe is that Mac OS X may just access EFI and bypass the BIOS layer, thus it could cause problems loading different cards if Apple is indeed not running stock.
     
  22. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

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  23. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

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    #23
    Not confirmed yet but...

     
  24. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

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    #24
    Looks promising!
     
  25. CyberPrey macrumors regular

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    IGH, MN
    #25
    So that means I can rip out my 2nd nVidia 7800GTX256mb card and stick that into my Mac Pro when it arrives? Yeah, its not nearly the card the top end ATI is, but it has got to be better than the 7300gt from apple though...
     

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