Are my Mac Pro GPU upgrade options really this slim?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JohnnyBates, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. JohnnyBates macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    I've got a Mac Pro from November 2006. It's been working fine all these years, until the video card died a few weeks ago. It was a GeForce 7300 GT which I run with dual 23" cinima displays.

    Been researching what I should buy to replace the card and I'm getting frustrated by what seems to be a supreme lack of options. Is it really this difficult?

    An Apple customer service rep told me that I could just buy any PCI graphics card, but a few minutes of research told me that was wrong and only specific video cards made for Macs will work in my computer.

    So I'm checking out the Video Card Upgrades page and it seems my only options are:

    • ATI Radeon 2600: I'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to get this to work
    • GeForce 8800 GT: Can only seem to find it used.
    • Quadro FX 5600: Incredibly expensive
    • ATI Radeon HD3870: Not as much as the 5600, but still pretty expensive

    What gives? I just want to find an affordable card with 2 dvi outputs (I consider the 3870 to be expensive). Is that going to happen?

    I'm starting to think I might as well sell one of my displays, toss the Mac Pro's hard drives into a Drobo, buy a stand and use my MacBook Pro in clamshell mode. At least on that deal I'd make some money.
  2. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Add X1900XT, Quadro FX 4500 and 7800GTX (flashing required) to your list.
  3. JohnnyBates thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. The replacement options are still looking a little expensive in the ~ $300 range.
  4. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Look into the 4870 flashing route. Get a PC 4870 1GB for $150 - flash the card yourself and save $200
  5. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Or the 4890 flashing route... just read up on that a bit.
    I'm gonna do that, too, as soon as I have some €150 left. ;)
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    What do you mean by jump through hoops?

    Install & boot is all that is required.

    ATI cards are unique in that so far all of them have worked in all of the Mac Pros.

    FInd a used Mac 2600 on Ebay for like $80 and be done. (Gotta be a Mac Pro one...PC ones won't work unless flashed)

    If you aren't doing any serious gaming, the 2600 is sufficient for everything else. Can even run 2 @ 30" displays if needed.
  7. JohnnyBates thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    I was referring to this note on the card from the MacRumors Video Card Upgrades page:

  8. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    I believe that only applies if you are running Tiger. Drivers should be in Leopard and up already.
  9. rickvanr macrumors 68040


    Apr 10, 2002
    Would the GT120 from the 2009 MP work in your machine?

    I'm selling a couple in the marketplace if you're interested
  10. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    OP, look into the PC card flashing route. For the cost of Apple's 512MB 4870 you could basically buy two 1GB 4870s. I ran two XFX 1GB 4870s flashed in my 2006 Mac Pro for about nine months without issue. Worked great with crossfire in Windows. :D
  11. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Unless you get yourself a PC card an flash it there isn't going to be anything really cheap as an option.

    The 2600 will work, leopard and snow leopard already have the drivers.

    Flashed 4870 cards are available to buy if you don't want to pay apples full price, plus as you've got two 23" cinema displays you'll want two dvi ports anyway.
  12. dbculp macrumors member


    Dec 29, 2009
    Mac Pro Video Card

    I paid $160 for a used 4890. If you're worried about the flashing you can use the Injector option on ATI Flashing Tool to use the card with the stock ROM. Use the 4890 thread to select a card that is most likely to work with your Mac.

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