2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tonosity, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. tonosity macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2010
    #1
    I have a 2008, 3.2Ghz Quad-Core Mac Pro, that's currently running two 30" Cinema displays off of a nVidia GeForce 8800 GT video card. I need to add a third 30" display. Would someone recommend the second video card I'd need to buy?

    (The bus on this vintage of Mac Pro is limited to 300w of output, and only the first two slots are PCI x16, 2.0) The 8800 GT is also uses one of the two power outputs on the "Logic Board" via a cable.

    In terms of Display Preferences, I need to run one as an extension--two side-by-side--and mirror the other one, which will sit across the studio, connected by a 15' Gefen Dual-Link DVI cable. Currently, I have everything set up and working beautifully, with the exception of the third display working as an extension to one of the mirrored displays.

    Is the safe bet to buy another 8800 GT? And has anyone successfully configured three displays in this way (two mirrored, one extended); even though, the info on the Apple help pages says it can be done...?

    Thanks very much for any help or info you may be able to provide!
     
  2. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

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    #2
    Get the new Mac Pro Graphics Card...

    Toss the 8800, (or keep it) and buy the card that comes in the 2010 Mac Pro's, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 or 5870. Both cards have three outputs. And yes, you can configure two screens for desktop and one to mirror whichever you choose.

    It's been said you shouldn't mix ATI and NVIDIA in the same computer, but I've seen people's specs on this and other sites, running two different manufacturers video cards.
     
  3. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #3
    how?
     
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #4
    If it's just a third display you need to drive, there's very little point buying a second 8800 GT. An inexpensive card like a GT 120 or Radeon HD 2600 XT would do the job just fine. Neither card requires auxiliary PCIe power and it would be cheaper than buying a new 5770 or 5870.

    But if you're itching for an upgrade in GPU power, by all means... The 5770/5870 cards will let you connect up to three displays, but keep in mind two of the video outputs are Mini DisplayPort and you would need $100 adapters to connect 30" ACDs to them, so it can get expensive.
     
  5. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

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    #5
    Preferences..

    In System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement there's a check box for Mirror Display. And you can choose which monitor to display. Once you have them all set-up the computer will sense what you have plugged in and allow you to set them all up. You should have the mirror display check box with just two hooked up.
     
  6. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks MrLatte23. A few of questions, however:

    1. To enable the third monitor, I would guess that I'd need to buy the following adapter: http://www.accellcables.com/products/DisplayPort/DP/dp_dvid.htm (If you know or a better, or more appropriate one, please let me know), to attach and run the third 30" Cinema display from one of these cards?

    2. I'm uncertain about the cumulative 300w output rating of the four slots on the 2008, 3,1 Mac Pro. The Diamond HD 5770 (the lower power consuming card of the two you suggested) specifies 450w power as a minimum; though, I think they describe it as "running with a minimum 450w power supply," so I don't know if that translates to enough power for this card. Can you clear this up for me?

    3. The "How" question above, would be helpful; though, I think they describe that one an Apple Support page (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8378.html)--if it's indeed correct. Is it?

    I bit more backstory: I'm trying to run all these monitors in the 2560 x 1600, 32-bit color mode. However, the principle application is Logic Pro 9, digital audio software, so no 3D graphics or games of any type are intended to be used. This setup is for a recording studio.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    If this is the case, then I'd go with CaptainChunk's advice: get a second inexpensive card... it'll save you money, adapters and power consumption. Logic is not demanding when it comes to GPU's: I also run it in 3x24" displays off two different cards - an ATI 4870 and a GT120 - and they run without a hitch, so mixing ATI and nVidia is not a problem. I'd guess in your case, the combination of two nVidia cards, whichever the models, wont be a problem either.

    cheers!
     
  8. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks to everyone for helping me with this! This info has been impossible to find by any other means. But if I may, I've two follow-up questions/concerns:

    1. The MP, which I bought in January of 2008, came with a ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT card. It worked fine for a while. Then, one day on boot-up, I'd get no display output (there was just one monitor at that time). I'd have to reset my PROM (Cmd/Opt + R + P held down on boot-up) every time. After surfing around for info on this problem, I found the suggestion of replacing that card with a nVidia GeForce 8800 GT, which I did. And the problem was solved.

    So, I still have that ATI 2600 card, and could use it for the third monitor. I just hope putting it back in the system doesn't recreate that problem. If it does, what would be the recommended replacement card for the third monitor?

    2. MrLatte23's recommendation of a ATI 5000 series card is interesting to me, in that, I'd like to allocate as much of the CPU to audio tasks as I can. I've got the MP populated with 14Gb/800MHz of RAM, if that's useful info, regarding this. So the question is, would upgrading the card to a high-power ATI 5000 series, with on-board processing, be beneficial in relieving the main CPU of the MP of display processing tasks, in a significant way?

    Thanks again!!!
     
  9. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #9
    It certainly will act like before. Throw it away. For third monitor buy GT120. It will be cheapest solution and GT120s are reliable cards.
     
  10. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Thanks, I thought as much...

    Is there any merit to going with the ATI 5000 Series card, for the reasons I stated?

    Thanks again!
     
  11. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #11
    IMO none.
    CaptainChunk explained this very well:

    No 3D graphics, no gaming, you want only more screen space, you got no MDP displays. ATI 5xxx would be waste of money and power IMO.
     
  12. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks 666Sheep. I just wanted to know if such a high-end card would off-load processing from the CPU, leaving it for audio processing.

    Also, in using both the 16x slots of the 3,1 2008 MP, with two display cards that require such rated slots, I need to be sure that the audio card that interfaces with my DA/AD converter of the attached audio system will work well in one of the remaining x4 slots.

    In the PCI Cards info of the System Profiler, under the display card entry for the "NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT," there are two entries:

    pci-bridge:

    Type: PCI-to-PCI Bridge
    Driver Installed: Yes
    Bus: PCI
    Slot: Slot 2
    Link Width: x1
    Link Speed: 2.5 GT/s

    and under that the entry:

    pci19c2,1000:

    Type: Audio
    Driver Installed: Yes
    Bus: PCI
    Slot: Slot-2@2,0,0

    Which, I assume, means that the PCIe audio card is only using only x1, and therefore, work in either slots 3 or 4. However, for whatever reason--the installation instructions of the audio card instructs that the installation of the card be in a slot with the lowest number possible. (I have gotten a response from the vendor, as of yet, to explain the reasoning behind these instructions.)

    Thanks again for your input and help!
     
  13. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #13
    1. Only in applications that make use of GPU will you see a noticeable improvement with a faster card. Most audio-oriented applications don't use the GPU at all.

    2. If it's only for driving a 3rd display, there wouldn't necessarily be an issue with installing a low-end graphics card (like a GT 120 or 2600) in Slot-3 or Slot-4. It would merely be driving the display while your current 8800 would still serve as the primary GPU, making x16 link bandwidth unnecessary. One of my colleagues runs a 2009 MP with 3 GT120s (Slots 1, 2 and 3 occupied) so he can feed 3 DVI displays. It works just fine.
     
  14. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks 666!

    Yeah, I was wondering if a display card with a more powerful GPU would free-up more processing power from the CPU for audio.

    Also, since the '08 MP only has two x16 slots, I was thinking that consolodating the video to one of those slots would give me more flexibility for future expansion for the audio--even if the current audio card runs as well as it can in one of the 4x slots (3 or 4).

    Lastly, the Apple Support descriptions and explanations are far from clear about the best way to configure your cards in the slots of the different vintage MPs. There are descriptions of card/slot configurations that will produce a lowest-common-denominator performance effect on '09 and '08 MPs. I read through them a number of times, but I still come away without a clear understanding of the best approach. But maybe that's just me.
     
  15. jedijoe macrumors 6502

    jedijoe

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    #15
    Do not do this. You would need 2x MBP to dual-link DVI adapters, and they are absolute crap. plus their $99 USD each.

    Go the 2x video card route, which is the exact best, I cannot answer that, but I will say it again, say away from those MDP to dual-link DVI adapters.
     
  16. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks! Will do...or is it won't do...

    In any case, thanks for your help!
     
  17. CockyMB macrumors newbie

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    London
    #17
    huh?

    Just a follow up question on the advice given
    wherever i read up i see that the GT120 needs a 2009 Mac Pro
    as the op has stated he has a 2008 Mac Pro
    or does it work even though it is for the '09 models
     
  18. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #18
    The setup linked to in my sig was achieved with an 8800GT and GT 120.

    It's fine for applications on the individual screens (and some light gaming), but graphics or effects that span across more than one slow the FPS down to a crawl. Expose is just barely tolerable.

    I'd go with the GTX 285/GT 120 combo, as it doesn't require you to buy the $100 miniDP-DLDVI adapter but gives you enough oomph to get the job done.
     
  19. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Thanks Techhie. And you're talking about three 30" Cinema displays at 2560 x 1600?
     
  20. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #20
    Yes. Although the ones in that link aren't Apple branded, they all run at 2560x1600.

    Note that the 8800GT can run two 30" panels, it just would prefer not to ;)
     
  21. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Got it. Though, with the 8800/120 combo no miniDP-DLDVI adapter would be involved for the three displays, right? It just wouldn't have as much graphic horsepower...
     
  22. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #22
    That's right. It would be one of the cheapest solutions (bottom-line being two 2006 2600XT's).

    If you can afford it (which I'm assuming you can :rolleyes:), getting extra horsepower will pay off.

    Also, if you haven't already bought them, I'd go with Dell monitors instead. I've had a few from each brand over the years, and the 3007WFP/3008WFP models offer the best color accuracy and clarity of any I've used. They are also much cheaper, and come with 3-yr warranty standard.
     
  23. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    Okay...

    Since the audio applications I run within the recording studio don't have fast moving graphics, etc., I decided on the nVidia GeForce 8800, and GT 120 cards to support the three 30" cinema displays. The hardware part of my system seems to be well-configured and working nicely. Thanks to everyone for guiding me through that decision-making process.

    Hopefully, you can see in the attached photo that two displays sit together, and one is on its own on another desk.

    Now, back to the question of arranging them so that two are extended (the two together), and one (as it sits by itself separate from them) as a mirror.

    The following is the statement taken from Mac OS X 10.6 Help, that says this arrangement can be configured. However, the details of how to set some as extended and then some as mirrors, is not stated (that I could find, anyway). And I'm not finding the means to do this in the arrange-display dialog box and interface within System Preferences --> Displays.

    "Setting up multiple displays as an extended desktop:
    If your computer is connected to more than two displays, you can specify that some are mirrored displays and others show the extended desktop. To do so, you must first set up all the displays to show an extended desktop, then choose some displays to be mirrored.
    "

    Can someone please help me find the method of arranging the displays in this way?

    Thanks again!
     

    Attached Files:

  24. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    2008 3,1 Mac Pro, & Three 30" Cinema Displays Setup?

    So, in digging in the documentation further, the trick is using Option drag, when arranging the windows (without first using the Mirror checkbox, which will be checked after the Option-drag operation is performed to mirror two of the displays).

    With multiple monitors, the arranging is less-than-intuitive, to say the most. I'm still playing with it to get the hang of determining which monitor is being dragged where, according the arrangement window diagram.

    I'm also finding it challenging to get Logic Pro to save its configuration, such that when a screen set is reopened, it opens starting on the same display. Right now, when reopening a screen set it opens starting on the extended display--when it wasn't saved that way.

    If anyone can point me towards good reference material in understanding the ins and outs of mastering the use of applications on multiple-screen systems, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  25. tonosity thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2010
    #25
    Multiple Display Performance Hit?

    In working on my Mac Pro system, with the multiple displays, I've noticed occasional pauses in the processing of software commands recently. These are commands in audio software that aren't particularly display intensive. But in tracking down the bottleneck (if there is one to be found), it occurred to me that the CPU may be bogged down with the weight of managing my three displays.

    I've upgraded the display cards, such that I now have two nVidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB cards, with the thought that the added display-processing horsepower would help. But I still have these occasional lags in the system's performance.

    Can anyone speak to the issue of multiple displays and any potential hit on system performance?

    Thanks very much!
     

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