Best options for dual video cards in 2009 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by i-rui, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. i-rui macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
    I have a 2009 (4,1) mac pro and would like to hear thoughts on what my best options would be to run dual video cards.

    Main use is illustration & design with PS, painter illustrator...etc... but i also dabble in photography and video work. Right now i have 3 displays (30" NEC, Cintiq 24HD and a cheap display to watch my slingbox), but as i delve more into video i can see myself getting another screen (which definitely means a 2nd video card)

    Currently i have a 5870 running in there. I have purchased a splitter cable to run a 5770 off the motherboards power cable if need be. This would be my guess as to the most powerful solution i can use (without the need to use unofficial PC cards)

    I also have access to the original GT120 that came in the machine, as well as a 8800 i can pull from a 2008 mac pro (will it even work in a 2009 mac pro?) The advantage of both these cards is they only take up 1 PCI-e slot. It's not a huge issue if i lose it as i just have ONE other esata card in the top slot, but i wouldn't mind having the option of adding another PCI-e card in the future if need be.

    Is there any performance hit by mixing ATI & nVidia cards?

    Also, from what i've read the risk of splitting the power cable on a video card is low, but ive also read a few horror stories. Is the performance worth the minimal risk, or should i stick with the gt120 and avoid that all together?

    Any other thoughts?
  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    A single GTX680 can run 4 total ports.

    You can get the official Mac version from Newegg or OWC or some other retailers.

    If you need AMD for some reason, a new 7950 can also run 4 displays.

    Again, available as a real Mac card for Mac computers. (Has Picasso Apple Mac face on box)

    You will need to research if the displays you have mate well with the outputs on those cards.

    Some outputs adapt easily and cheaply to others, some do not.
  3. i-rui thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
    thanks for the info. i was aware of the 7950 mac edition, but not of the GTX680.

    are these "officially" supported by apple? or are they just considered a third party solution? would there be a chance an update or mavericks won't support them?

    also, a review on mentioned the gtx680 wasn't compatible with after effects. any truth to this? Any other instances of incompatibility that I should be aware of?

    If I decide to keep the 5870, what would be my best option to pair it with?
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    The GTX 680 is not offered as a built to order part for Mac Pros from Apple. However, the card works with built-in drivers found in OS X 10.8. Also, since some iMacs use a GTX 680MX, the mobile variant of the GTX 680, in my opinion, it is extremely unlikely that future versions will break GTX 680 compatibility. Also, Nvidia themselves releases "web drivers" on their website with new releases of OS X.

    The GTX 680 does works with Adobe After Effects. Look here for directions on how to get it working properly. As far as I know, there are no other instances that require any user intervention to get full acceleration working with the GTX 680 on other apps.

    Sorry, I can not comment on the 5870 as I've never owned one.
  5. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    No way. If they've made official "Mac Edition" cards, they must have kind of agreement with Apple regarding future OS/drivers support.

    Of "Mac Edition" cards 5770 would be the best bet, unless you want to use an additional PSU.
  6. i-rui thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Thanks for all the responses.

    In the interim i'll use the 5870 and 5770. If I ever need to add any more pci-e cards I'll replace the 5770 with the GT120, and perhaps down the road I'll pick up a GTX680 or 7950 so I can replace both video cards with one of those.


    out of curiosity, can the 7950 run 4 displays?
  7. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009

  8. i-rui thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2010
    thanks. not sure how i missed that tidbit the first time MacVidCards wrote it

  9. degl macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2010
    I own two 2009 mac pro, booth have dual cards, one with a GTX680 4G/GT120 and the other with GTX570 1.3GB/GT120 no problems at all.

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