Cheapest Mac Pro Video Card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Legolover64, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Legolover64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #1
    Hey all,

    I want to drive several monitors from my Mac Pro, but I don't want to spend the money on an expensive video card. I have no desire to play computer games, and I don't do any rendering or graphically intensive applications, I just develop software and would like a bigger canvas. I have an ATI Radeon HD 2600 in the computer right now (which came with it) and I am looking to drive three more displays than that card supports. What are my most inexpensive options? Anything cheaper than flashing a 4870?
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    'Kay... You can just buy a PC 4870 and run it without flashing. You just need netkas' injector (he's posted it here somewhere).

    Cheapest card? You want one that runs two 30 inchers? Go ahead and get an 8800 GT. If you want a current card, you can get the GT 120, but that's just a rebranded 9500 GT, which, if I remember correctly, isn't as powerful as an 8800 GT.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #3
    I'm going to give another vote for a flashed SAPPHIRE 4870.
     
  4. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #4
    if you just need the cheapest card, get another 2600HD.

    that'll also work if you want to add more cards later as it consumes little power
     
  5. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #5
    An ATI 3870 Mac&PC would be another option. It runs two of every kind of displays in the inventory (which flashed 4870 don't). It also runs of only one PCIe power cable so you do not have to draw power from the optical bay as you have to in case of the 4870. It requires no software or firmware modification at all in 10.5.7. It gives full HDMI, VGA and digital Audio functions at relatively low power requirements.

    One disadvantage is a loud fan which can be easily fixed by fitting a 19$ Akasa Vortexx.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #6
    Arctic Cooling Accelero S1. Rev. 2.

    Why even use a fan. :p
     
  7. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #7
    That is supposed to be an excellent choice as well. I'm not sure though how the space requirements compare. Would the AC fitted 3870 go into the PCIe slot 1 and not take any space from the next socket slot?
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    It will turn a single slot card into a dual slot one. It doesn't occupy a third slot.
     
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #9
    And would it fit into slot 1? There is very little space there against the RAM case. Some non active coolers would not fit in there.
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #10
    I see your point about the length. Well I do know that there is a user here that's using said passive cooler on the 3870 in their 2006 Mac Pro.
     
  11. Animalk macrumors 6502

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    Montreal Canada
    #11
    What about a NVidia 7300 card that came with the earlier mac pros? Would that work in your newer machine?
     
  12. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #12
    A good option that may work is the TripleHead2Go. It can drive up to two 1900x1200 monitors or three 1680x1050 ones. Personally I wouldn't use it since the monitors are on one HUGE window... But it may work in your case as you need three more monitors and probably are only getting two DVI slots per card (unless there was a Mac card [even flashed] that had more then two DVI slots working).

    At anyrate, I remember reading one report on the two 1900x1200 displays that they had to support a 57 Hz refresh rate. You may want to check up one that one.
     
  13. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #13
    Hadn't thought about that...that's an excellent choice


    I'm slightly adverse to recommending a card that can't even support 2 30" ACD's...
     
  14. maldoblaz macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    Mexico City
    #14
    some things to consider...


    I understand that you just need more visual area. Mac Pros can get tricky in terms of driving more than 2 monitors. I've tried several options from Nvidia and ATI that fit but my experience doing intensive audio and video is to use the same brand and model of the original video card to avoid sync issues and audio glitchy noises. Take care in buying the card because ATI makes customized cards for mac that might not be the same if you buy the same model not customized. hope this helps.
     
  15. maldoblaz macrumors member

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    Mexico City
    #15
    I've tried the triplehead2Go, but it makes this strange soft audio noise when moving the mouse over the screen array. It might be a sync problem but as we're doing intensive audio work it's disturbing. This noise doesn't goes through the audio recording but it's really disturbing. Anyone noticed this?
     
  16. Legolover64 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2008
    #16
    I am bumping this thread to let everybody know my decision.

    I bought this card - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102850

    I decided to download and install the ATY_init kext, and tried that.

    No luck.

    Then, I downloaded the installer for the injector. (netkas)

    Still no luck.

    Unfortunately, the card isn't even detected by OS X. It's plugged in right now, running, but doesn't show up in System Profiler.

    I am scared of trying flashing, as it seems like a pretty complex process, and I'd like to avoid it as much as possible. Is there anything else I can do to try and get the Injector to work?
     
  17. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #17
    If I remember it right all the flashable 4870 cards have 1 GB of VRAM. Those cards typically also have the bigger EEPROMs of 128kB, which is the real issue for flashing. Cards with small 64kB EEPROMs will not take the flash due to insufficient memory. It will typically cost you another 30$ to replace the small EEPROM, at least over in Europe here. Befor you try flashing the beast make a status enquiry with the atiflash program. It will tell you the size of the EEPROM. 10000 is 64kB and 20000 is 128kB.
     
  18. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #18
    The 4870 is unique in that ALL of them come right from factory with a 128K chip.

    This is due to the GDDR5 memory and it's init table at the end of the ROM.

    The 4850 doesn't have GDDR5, and thus no table, and no need for 128K chips.

    So the 4870s AL

    L have 128K chip, unlike the 3870 which ALL have 64K chip and an additional means to stop flashing from working.
     
  19. Legolover64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #19
    Is the only way to get this card to work to flash it? Or is there something I could be doing wrong with the injector?

    Also, how do I make power cables for this card? Are their tutorials on making your own? $15 a cable from ATI sounds like a ripoff.
     
  20. JPamplin macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

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    Nashville, TN
    #20
    I have a 3870 with an Accelero S1 Rev. 2 cooler and it fits beautifully into Slot 1 - no issues. Perfectly compatible, and good performance for being silent.

    I would consider an nVidia 8800 GT with a silent cooler as well - it will definitely support OpenCL when 10.6 is released - the 3870, well, is an unknown at the moment.

    JP
     
  21. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    Jan 9, 2008
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    Japan
    #21
    7300GT should be about $20 ~ $30 these days. The 8800 is very suitable for games but I think it's $75 or so right now. The 7300GT is also extremely low power and will save you money over the course of time.

    I use a 7300GT in my system. I drive two 24" LCDs at 1920x1200 each and also game on it quite a bit. It works. :)
     
  22. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #22
    Thx for clearing that up Rominator. The ATI 3870 Mac&PC Edition also has a 128K EEPROM. I was wondering why I could not put that ROM on another Sappire 3870 which looked exactly the same and which I fitted with a 128k chip. Do you know how they stopped the flashing?
     
  23. Legolover64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    #23
    Thanks for the suggestion of the 7300GT. I will look into it.

    I already made a purchase for the 4870 I listed earlier.

    Do people think it would work if flashed? Also, are there tutorials for making power cables? This PSU dangling near the side of my Mac Pro scares me...

    Thanks again!
     
  24. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #24
    lol...you made a thread asking what card you should get, then ignored all of the information to buy a card that you'd hope would work, but actually doesn't.........
     
  25. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #25
    Wait, you have a HD 2600 XT. You're not using any of your power ports, so you don't need a second PSU. You also don't need to flash it. Download the injector that netkas has posted here to get a stock card to work.

    You can buy two of the necessary power cables from ATI's website. It says that they are for the X1900, but they've worked with every card since.
     

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