Confused about 2nd video card on Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by AubreyL, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. AubreyL macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2007
    I purchased a Mac Pro and the one we ordered is with the NVidia G8800 GT option. We are going to be running 3 monitors with this but the 3rd monitor won't be as important. To save money we are considering getting the ATI 2600 XT as the 2nd video card. I read a lot on these boards and never really have found an answer as to whether these can be used together or not. I don't want to do it unless I know it works for sure since I don't want stability issues. I can imagine until the Nvidia is out likely there won't be an answer for sure.

    Here is the problem. Tonight I decided to call AppleCare figuring I could get a good answer. When the guy answered I told him I am getting a Mac Pro and asked my question. Before I knew it he was explaining how the "MacBook Pro has two video cards in it already, one for the internal LCD, one for an external" I explained I have a Mac Pro coming, not a MacBook Pro. I hope I'm not wrong but I almost explained to him that the MacBook Pro only has one video card.

    Then I explained it was the Mac Pro and how I want to know if I could use an NVidia G8800GT with an ATI 2600 XT and that I would be using it with 3 monitors. He said to hold on a minute and he would check into it. He came back in minutes and said he talked to several other csr's there that specialize in desktops and they told him that you can't use an ATI with a NVidia, you can only use one card type.

    The next part is what shocked me, he then said how before I buy another video card to check with the manufacturer to make sure it works with a Mac Pro. I explained I'm not buying a graphics card from another manufacturer, I'm buying Apple's graphics card. Well he tried to tell me Apple DOES NOT sell video cards. I realized at this point I was not going to get any help. I never have had problems with calling Apple in the past but am shocked he talked to others who gave him this information. I also realize now that I should not take his comment seriously about them not working together. What I'm wondering, does anyone know yet if these two will work well together?
  2. Norco macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    I don't believe yet that anybody knows for sure if they will. Only a handful of 8800GT's have been shipped by Apple (to reviewers to write about), and so nobody in the forums have been shipped one yet. The CSR's on have extremely limited knowledge of anything technical - if you ask them something beyond what one of their product pages explain, you'll burry them and you'll reach a dead end.
  3. choreo macrumors regular


    Jan 10, 2008
    Midland, TX
    I am waiting on the same answer, but the Apple Store rep said "No, you cannot mix the two cards" when I placed my Mac Pro order. I would not put much stock in that answer however as I have run 3 monitors for 15 years on Macs and never been able to get a real answer from Apple Tech Support on such issues. In fact, their response for everything if you are running into problems is to disconnect all peripherals and plug in only the keyboard and mouse into separate ports on the computer with one monitor attached.

    I think the "real" truth is that there are so many cans of worms that open up with various apps when you add a second video card into the equation, that nobody ever really knows how compatible they are - just too many variables to test. The best you can ever hope for is to get a response that "they SHOULD work together". Of course, if LOTS of issues pop up, then it is safe to say they are NOT working together - a serious incompatibility will usually present itself quickly and the word will get out. By the mere fact that Apple does not offer the mixed combination in their BTO machines, I think that says right there how they intend to avoid that issue as much as possible. If they offered machines built that way, they would HAVE to address that issue and come up with answers/solutions. The way it is, they can always pass off any incompatibility to the card manufacturers saying it is their drivers, etc.

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