Can I put a GTX 280 Into a Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by OneHump, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. OneHump macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Question: Can I put a GTX 280 into a Mac Pro for use in Vista?

    I know that OS X won't support it until Snow Leopard, but I'm curious to know if I can stick the card in for use only in Vista. It would sit along side the 8800 GT that will be used in OS X.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    Yes, you can put it in, but you will need additional power connectors.

    Tell us about it when you do put it in!
  3. OneHump thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    OK, I'm going to do it! :)

    ...running off to research what I need.

    Thanks for the info!
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Use this for the 6 pin PCIe power cable, and attach the 8 pin cable to the available 4 pin Molex connector in the open optical bay. Easy. ;)

    IIRC, it's been done already, and posted in the forum.

    Good luck. :)
  5. OneHump thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Hi nanofrog. I actually did look at some of the posts in the forum and noticed that you had contributed to many of them. Unfortunately, there still seems to be more questions than answers about whether or not will this will work.

    A couple of questions if you don't mind:

    1) Where would I plug the power end of that thing? I have read some posts that claim the need for that connector + something going to superdrive 2. This confuses me since I don't have a Mac Pro in front of me to look at.

    2) Does the ACD 30" have two inputs so I can push both cards through the one monitor then switch after boot? I'm not sure I want to try this if I need 2 monitors.

    I also understand that I might have better luck with Vista, so I'm inclined to try that (POS) over XP.

    Thanks for the info.
  6. sneezymarble macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2008
    It's my understanding you won't get any benefit in OSX by doing this. Am I right? I was under the impression this was because there are no official or unofficial drivers for the 200 series GPUs in OSX.

    Of course, under windows you'll get a HUGE improvement in CUDA applications, games, and video decoding (H.264 in particular). And, P.S., I've completely switched over to OSX with my two high performance machines (the one in my sig and another unlisted one) but saying Vista is a POS is, in my opinion, pretty ignorant and unnecessary. Even if Apples UI is significantly better, and I think it is, there are still some things that Vista does really well, and in some cases better. Vista is hardly as crappy as people make it out to be.
  7. OneHump thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    You're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I can assure you that my comment is not out of ignorance. It's based on significant experience while part of a team at a Fortune 5 company to deploy 100,000 Vista machines. After 3 years of JDP and production testing, the first machine will finally be rolled out early next month. I do not have a Mac, have never owned one, and am using XP on my home machine, as are the vast majority of PC users. If you still think I'm ignorant, maybe you should check out Microsoft's Mohave Project.

    Not interested in an OS war. Like I said, I'm a PC user. At about 3:00 PM Friday, when my Mac Pro arrives, I will only be a PC user when I have to bootcamp into POS Vista to play a game.

    Yes, Vista does some things well, but it's widely acknowledged as a failure of an OS. Denying that fact would, well... be ignorant.
  8. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Molex, the cable used to power the superdrive.

    Two Molex --> PCIe 6-Pin.
    Use that plus one PCIe 6-Pin from the motherboard --> 8-Pin.

    This is the safeway but if you feel like screwing round.
    Two Molex --> PCIe 8-Pin. (Just because the cable attaches to your PSU does not insure it will work if your Molex rails are not sufficient output to power the cards.)
    One Molex --> PCIe 8-Pin. (Note: This will only work on some PSU's that have a high enough 12V rail to support your video card.)

    Im too lazy to check ADC on the rating of the rail.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Maybe this can clear things up. ;)

    For the 6 pin connector, look at where the logic board meets the front fan shroud, toward the top. (You won't need to remove anything to see or get to them). You should see two 6 pin PCIe connectors there. :)

    (The two unused rectangular connectors. Labels run vertically on the left of it).


    Attach the 8 pin cable to the available 4 pin Molex connector (flat connector) located at the empty optical bay.
    It has 2 DVI connectors, but both are needed to run at full resolution. To switch between cards, you would need a dual DVI KVM switch (example).
    I made the assumption that you would use the GX280 under windows, since it currently isn't supported under OS X. ;)

    Hopefully this will change, but I haven't seen an article on this. :( Yet. ;)
  10. OneHump thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Wow, thanks VERY much. I guess I had gotten a bit confused about what I had been reading in other threads regarding different power issues and schemes. Based on what you're saying there, I can get the cable and DVI switch, stick it in and be good to go. I'll give it a whirl.

    I definitely only plan on running the 280 in Vista only as that's where I'll be gaming. I have read in at least two threads that SnowLeopard will support the 280 and other boards.

    Thanks again for the excellent advice. I really appreciate it.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No problem. :D

    It's not that hard for the physical installation. :) Depending on the card used in OS X, I'll assume ATI, windows would have a fit. It can only load one set of drivers, so you can't mix cards based on different GPU makers. Does this make sense to you?

    Initially, boot into windows via the ATI card, assuming windows is already installed, and you've loaded the new drivers. Then go into device manager and set the graphics card to the GX280. Now it should boot from the GX280. :D

    I'll do a search again, as I've been looking for links to sources. If you've seen a source, I'd truly appreciate a link. :)
  12. sneezymarble macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2008
    I've never had to use Vista as a "business" machine. I'm perfectly happy granting it's a POS as a business OS. I've used Vista since it's beta days and never had a single problem with it. Not one. I mostly use my computers for photo editing, video editing, 3D animation, and, to a lesser extent these days, gaming.

    Also, just because something is widely acknowledged as a failure doesn't entail it is a failure since whether or not it fails depends, to a large extent, on what you're trying to do with it. My mistake was assuming my OS uses were the only sorts of uses people had for PCs. In essence, your judgments make the same bad implicit assumption.

    /end thread derail... :eek:
  13. OneHump thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Thanks again nanofrog, you've been immensely helpful. I'm actually using an 8800GT for my OS X card. I don't suspect I'll have a tremendous amount of trouble after following your advice. The only thing that I'm on the fence about at the moment is the KVM switch requirement. I might either go with a different monitor or find somewhere good to hide that horrible ugly switch. :)

    I've seen a few threads regarding SnowLeopard's support for newer graphics cards, but can't seem to find them all. This one, however, probably holds the most credibility as it offers some degree of proof:

    Thanks again!
  14. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    good work folks *froggy* :)

    I am thinking of this (if my poor Mac Pro PSU can handle it (18GB, 4 SAS + 1 SATA and a AppleRaid and a 5port USB card in)

    I have a question - what about the bloomin fans? Under OSX isnt it gonna sit there at full pelt and thus drive the user insane?

    Thats pretty much the reason why I don't have a 280 in there for gaming under vista yet.....
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The PSU can take this. :) Including the GX280 as the proverbial cherry on top. ;) :p
    Not sure about the nVidia line, as I haven't seen a member mention this issue. Unlike the ATI 3870, which seems to be a crap shoot. :eek: ;)

    Worst case, you could attempt a passive cooler, but I don't know if you'd be able to fit it. Not sure of clearance, particularly with slot 3.

    BTW, do you have (or will) every slot filled?
  16. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    not all full (yet.....) but time will tell - she's 4 months old and almost full..... ;)
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    So...When is she due? :D :p

    The slots are a precious commodity. 4 just aren't enough, and fill too quickly. :eek:
    With a slot open, the passive cooler wouldn't be a problem I'd think, but it would be a sacrifice to loose that last available slot. It seems there's always something else...:D
  18. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
  19. StanD macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2008
    Raleigh, NC

    Could one of you link me a Molex to 8-pin PCIe connector? As it stands right now I need one with a bit of length as I will have the GTX280 in the bottom slot, the 8800GT in the next slot followed by the Caldigit Raid Card. So it has to be a bit long.

    I appreciate any help I can get :)

    - Stan

    [EDIT]: How about these?

    Molex to 8-pin:

    8-pin 12" extension:
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

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