About to switch over...Need Help

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Ωeioo, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Ωeioo macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2004
    I'll be honest, I have been using windows based PC's for years and as of recently my brother is going for a audio engeneering degree and this requires him to get a mac, out with the PC and in with the mac. So, as you can imagine I have a few questions. Can macs use the same video cards a PC uses? I see that mac's have their own video cards so I was wondering if say a Ati X800 would work with a mac. When upgrading your ram does it have to be "mac ram" or can you use say pc3200 184-pin ddr? Any further information regarding mac compadibility with PC hardware will be most appreciated.
  2. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    They have to be special Mac editions AFAIK, mostly for Apple's proprietary ADC connector, but now that Apple has settled on DVI as their standard, hopefully stock PC GPUs will begin to work with Macs. People have come up with surgical ways to make PC versions work on Macs but it's pretty advanced. However, they do need special Mac drivers, which I believe you can download from ATI and NVidea. Also depends on which model Mac you have. iMac graphics are not upgradeable, if it's a PowerMac, you want 4x or 8x AGP cards. Macs do not currently support PCI Express, which is OK since I know of no native PCI Express graphics cards that are out yet...though they will be. ATI has shown off a Mac-edition x800 but I don't believe it's available yet.

    As for RAM, you can use regular PC3200 (for G5s) but the Macs are picky about it so it has to be the right type (CAS latency, number of banks, etc.), so ordering random RAM can be a gamble. People generally have great results ordering Mac RAM from Crucial, and Kingston RAM usually works well too. I think the slowest G5 models (1.6 GHz) use PC2700 RAM, but I also think PC3200 will clock down for it.
  3. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2004
    I Come From A Land Down Under
    I will break your question into two parts, and then answer the question.

    Unofficially, you can buy a peecee Video card, and flash the firmware, to allow it to work on Macs, and it will work, but I have had no experience doing this, as I have kept my computers as stock as possible. Ati cars seem to be the most talked about cards to flash on the net, especially on another forum, in Oz.

    Mac Ram? Please tell me you don't believe in this too? The amount of people I know that ask me if Macs actually use Ram or a HDD is amazing, and then when I tell them that they do, they ask me if i need to put special parts in the computer. There is no such thing as Mac ram. I have generic Ram in 3 of my 4 OsX compatible computers, with no trouble whatsoever.

    Just out of interest, what computer are you getting? A G5 would be best for what your brother is doing, and I wish you the best of luck with the switch.
  4. matthew24 macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2002

    Mac graphic-cards are based on OpenGL and PC's on DirectX, so they do have different firmware. If you go to the Apple-store, you can configure your own PowerMac, I don't think the x800 is already available, but most popalar Video cards do become available on a Mac.
  5. gost8go macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Is this true for powerbooks (g4) also? If so, what's with the big price break for "PC" PC2700 DDR $165 vs. "Powerbook" PC2700DDR $240?

    Also, what about the reverse case, taking memory from a powerMAC g4 and putting it in say, a dell dimension.
  6. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    i have to set the record straight with video cards.

    first off there will never be mac/pc hybrid cards, this is because pc's use a bios and macs use open firmware and different roms are needed to work with each basic system, you can get a pc card and flash the mac rom onto the card but it's card specific so you have to use the mac 9800 rom for 9800's ect, it only works with a few cards and you sometimes have to do some soldering (like with geforce3 ti's)

    i would not go there, i flash the odd card but for yoy you are better off just getting a 9600xt as you do not need much for audio (dont get a 5200 it will make the whole system feel lagy)
  7. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    This is completely right. You must buy the Mac version of graphics cards. ATI sells versions of their cards for Mac on their website. Nvidia cards are only available through the Apple Store online.
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    The graphics card info above is right.

    RAM is RAM is RAM is RAM.

    If you have a computer than needs PC2700 RAM, then it uses PC2700 RAM.

    Same goes for Hard Drives, but older Macs (old G3 based) have issues starting from partitions bigger than 7.4 GB (8GiB) and some old G4 based Macs cannot see more than 127 GB. But any current Mac system, as well as anything built within the last two years, will not have those problems. Just an FYI.

    Your Mac will last for about 6 years, then it will be old. But it will still be usable. There are some Macs that I think will live longer than me... that's a pretty bold statement, but it is true.
  9. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    I'm not sure what you mean by "PC" PC2700 DDR. If you are comparing the larger PC2700 DIMMs that go into a desktop with the smaller SODIMMs that go into a PowerBook, then of course the SODIMMs will cost more for the same megabytes. If you're comparing a cheap SODIMM for PC notebooks against a more expensive SODIMM for a PowerBook, then maybe the Mac type is just more expensive. That's not necessarily a disadvantage; over 15 years of PC buying, I've learned to spurn the super cheap DIMMs Frys is always blowing out in favor of more expensive but more reliable RAM from Crucial.com.

    My Linux box, an early Pentium 4 system from HP, is running the stock DIMMs I took out of my PowerMac G4 system when I maxed out the Mac with Crucial RAM. Both of those old systems use PC133; I can't speak for DDR-based systems.


  10. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    They are pickier. Make sure to go with a good vendor (Apple overcharges, but Crucial is good, OWC is good, and you can ask around here once you get your Mac) and you are fine. The G5s I hear need the right CAS, speed, and more else some won't even start. But with the right RAM they just fly!
  11. mim macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    flesh, melbourne.... heart, london
    Powerbook ram is 'low profile'. They're smaller sticks, but again they are exactly the same as comparable low-profile ram for PC notebooks. Being smaller, and having a lower demand is why they're more expensive. Search google for places to buy ram...many places will list which ram types are correct for which macs. As everyone else has mentioned, make sure you get your ram from a reliable place (take this advice when dealing with a PC too - speaking as someone who used to build cheap pc boxes).

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