Difficulty finding reliable info on graphics cards

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Perceptes, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Perceptes macrumors member

    Perceptes

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Hi all,

    A few days ago my Early 2008 Mac Pro's ATI 2600 bit the dust, so I need to get something to replace it. I spent several hours last night reading info on various sites about what my available options are. I'm finding that most pages either 1) have conflicting information with other sites 2) seem incredibly outdated or 3) seem sketchy in general. I don't want to drop a few hundred dollars on a card that won't end up working.

    From what I gathered, the NVIDIA 8800 is the "safest" upgrade for my model of Mac Pro, in terms of how likely it is to work without problems. However, it seems that this product is no longer sold by anyone except NVIDIA on their own site, and they charge almost $300 for what is now like a 2 year old card.

    I'm reading that some PC cards can be flashed to work with OS X, and while I'm wary about having to do anything that's likely to give me problems down the road, it seems like it would open me up to better options on a card, as the ones that are specifically made for Macs are few and dismal.

    Does anyone have a web resource with easy to understand, reliable, current information on what graphics card upgrade options are for an Early 2008 Mac Pro? What I'm really looking for is something with a list of all cards, both PC and Mac, which are known to work with this model and what is required to get them working, if they don't right out of the box. I don't have the money to spend on the ATI Radeon HD 4870 or EVGA GeForce GTX 285 that Apple currently sells themselves as the only upgrade options. It seems like I could get something with perfectly fine performance for a fraction of those costs.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. As far as how much power I need, I will be doing some 3D gaming, but nothing too crazy.
     
  2. treo360 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #2
    sell you mine (8800 gt) I don't use it since getting a 4870, then again I'm asking for $140 + shipping and for that price (and I'm being honest) or close to that, you can flash your own 4870
     
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #3
    buy an mac 8800 on ebay
    buy a pc 8800 and flash
    buy a mac 4870
    buy a pc 4870 and flash
    buy a pc 4890 and flash
    buy a mac 285


    yes. on this forum, we call it the search button

    the info is sometimes as far away as the first page.

    threads like this I really consider to not answer at all
     
  4. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #4
    I don't know where you were looking, but the MacRumors forums are the place to look for things like this. We've got a bunch of threads covering everything you could conceivably want to know about these cards.
     
  5. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #5
    I think I want an 8800 myself. For the games and apps Mac has available it's basically the same speed as the 4870/4890 will be and the shops have them where I live for $15 ~ $25 right now. :)
     
  6. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    Where do you live? :p


    Don't forget the 3870 ;)


    same...


    To the O.P.
    You were looking for a site? You found it. Just search the forums ;)
     
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #7
    To the OP's credit....it is very difficult to know what "the truth" is. Especially when right from the horse's mouth (Apple) you can read that 4870 is a No-Go in a whole bunch of machines it actually works in.

    I have actually been thinking about putting a site together with pix, specs, etc to make these easier. Regulars here just get tired of stuff we have all hashed through 20 times. WHen they come and post "Please Spoon Feed me stuff you all know" it tends to make us irritable when we feel a few minutes poking through posts could answer most questions.

    Anyone know of a relatively cheap website builder in LA area? Actually have a couple things I need sites for. Ideally would be someone I could trade some of these excess video cards for services.

    Apple's own employees frequently give wrong and outdated info.

    If you believe the Apple Store, the only 1st Gen option is a X1900XT for $400. Hardly good advice.
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #8
    Japan.
     
  9. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #9
    For what it's worth, I found the 4870 to be noticeably faster than my 8800 GT in a number of things. But they are both good cards.

    Rominator, you really are looking to be the Mac video card prophet, eh? People will love you for collecting all the information in an easy to read/use form. The 4870 thread alone is a library of information.
     
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #10
    Did it floor you? Did it make you stand up, move away from the screen and say "OMG that's frigging fast!!!"? No right? So you could tell the difference between 100 FPS and 120 FPS in a few apps? That's kewl but that's what I mean... Meh! They're roughly about the same. Nothing wonderful in display cards has happened for the mac in about two years. And really, almost the same thing is true on other OS's. There's always all this hype about how the next card is gonna knock your socks off and the real truth of the matter is you have to go 4 or 5 years back before the comparisons actually match the hype.

    I dunno, you're right. It's faster. And if you look real carefully and pay close attention you can notice a few differences but... Anyway, with the 8800 being $25 and the 285 being $500 I just don't think the 285 is twenty times better nor really worth it - especially on Apple's OS X. It's a shame to have to say but I think it's true. Even at $300 if you can get them for that. I'm just kinda going, Hmm, three more fast HDDs? eight more gigs or memory? Or a card I can barely tell I have installed?


    .
     
  11. remmy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #11

    Saw a second hand 8800 on the UK ebay for £100 :eek:

    That would be a great idea setting up a website. Shifting through the threads if difficult if you dont have the experience, it is possible to miss something, you do want a do this then this step by step guide for those who are not so clued-up.
     
  12. Perceptes thread starter macrumors member

    Perceptes

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #12
    I figured I would get the standard "just search" flames if I posted this. I did do that first, but as I mention in my original post I was finding it difficult to consolidate all the information spread across various threads. Thank you to everyone who gave helpful responses - much appreciated!
     
  13. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #13
    Well, if you're going by cost, I'd compare the cost of 's 8800 GT to 's 4870. Unless, of course, you're actually getting the mac 8800 GT for $25. That said, if you can get it that cheaply, it's obviously more bang to the buck. The 4870 didn't floor me, but everything was smoother and snappier for me. It was also much quieter, next to the 8800's whine. Of course, flashing a PC card made it a much cheaper, more powerful option (I went with a Sapphire 1 GB card).

    I don't think the 285 is worth it, but I haven't tried one. It's clear that assuming you already have 4-8 GB of RAM, the best upgrade you can do is to your boot drive. But after you spend $100 on that, you need to spend a lot more to increase the speed. It's a good $300-600 to eliminate the boot disk bottleneck, which requires two SSDs striped, I should think.
     
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #14
    Yeah, good points. I just wanted to counter the "OMG" false hype mostly - seeing as the OP is looking for "honest" information. The cards I saw were not from Apple. They were in zip lock baggies with a DVD, some cables, and a brief spec-sheet. For sure they were used and there were piles of them! I guess there were over 100 on one rack. There were also racks of 9800's, etc. and a few racks of ATI cards but I didn't look at the model numbers. Probably 1900"s, 2600's and etc.
     

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