Finding new high spec video card for early 2008 MacPro ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by David Macdonald, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. David Macdonald macrumors newbie

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    Apr 23, 2013
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    Belgium
    #1
    I have a MacPro early 2008. 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad Core 16 GB RAM running up to date OS X Mountain Lion.

    I use a number of graphics, photo and movie apps which draw heavily on GPU power. Particularly PhotoShop CS 6 Extended and Da Vinci Resolve. I am currently testing a couple of new apps that make similar demands of the GPU.

    My machine is currently fitted with two paired NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB video cards - each running one monitor - an Apple Cinema HD 2560 x 1600 primary graphics monitor and a secondary 3rd party 1920 x 1080 monitor which does not need to handle graphics (simply file handling etc.). At the time I acquired the machine these cards were the best available option. Now of course they are no longer adequate as demands increase for GPU power. In addition one of these two cards has just died and I am left with only one which is woefully inadequate.

    The MacPro itself is still a high enough specification to have plenty of life left if I can suitably update my graphics card.

    So my question is whether a high performance modern card is going to be compatible with an older early 2008 MacPro? Does anyone know of a good card with a reasonably powerful GPU that would be compatible? (preferably without totally breaking the bank).

    My next problem is that monitor 1 has a DVI connector and monitor 2 has a VGA connecter (that I use via a DVI adaptor). A modern card will probably have one DVI socket and one thunderbolt for the new generation of Apple displays. This is not necessarily a bad thing (indeed it may be preferable) as it is to some degree future proofed - but it does leave me with a problem as to how to connect my second monitor.

    Can I mix and match video cards in the same machine? In other words can move my NVIDIA GeForce to slot 2 to drive just the VGA monitor and install the new high spec card in slot 1 just to drive the primary graphics monitor? Is OS X clever enough to assign different drivers to different cards in different slots? Would this be more likely to work if the new high end card is also NVIDIA - would the new driver maybe be backwardly compatible with the old card?

    As you can see I am splashing around rather out of my depth here. Any advice, suggestions and clarification would be very welcome indeed …… preferably in simple English - I am not a techie. I am a creative.

    I do hope someone can help penetrate the mists for me ……….. :eek:
     
  2. Barthak macrumors newbie

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #2
    I'd personally just go for the ATI Radeon HD 5870 from Apple, it comes with 2 mini-displayports and a dual-link DVI port. If you get a mini-displayport to VGA adapter you are set to go with your current monitors.

    Even tho Apple notes that the card is only for 2010 and 2009 Mac Pro's it runs without issue on an Early 2008 Mac Pro (own experience). However, the card requires two power cables iirc. So I don't think you can run it next to your still working 8800 card, but correct me if I am wrong.
     
  3. Tesselator, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #3
    If you want performance and acceleration in a large number of applications avoid all ATI cards - they're missing quite a few important bits.

    Had I the MacPro3,1 or above my pick would be either the Palit GTX 670 (2GB, OC, between $350 and $400) or the Palit 680 (4GB, between $500 and $550), both under 200W.

    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/palit_geforce_gtx_670_jetstream_review,1.html
    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/palit_geforce_gtx_680_4gb_jetstream_review,1.html

    Palit doesn't use the reference board designs but customizes to achieve over clocking OC, (or over clockable as in the 680) in low power - which I think is unique to Palit alone. They each have 2 large fans which means silent running too.

    I recently spent a lot of time reading GFX card reviews and those two seemed to stand out from the crowd.

    Either card will drive both your monitors without the need for your old card or so on.
     
  4. David Macdonald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thank you Barthak & Tesselator I shall go and research these cards.
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    I like everything about that, but the picture looks like it might be a three slot card.
     
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #6
    It's two. I've held a display model in my hand recently. I believe it says so in that long ~20 page, review I linked to too.
     
  7. tamvly macrumors 6502a

    tamvly

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    Nov 11, 2007
    #7
    I have the same MP 3,1 as the OP. If there is no new MP forthcoming I'll probably want to upgrade the graphics card on my current machine as it still has plenty of life in it. If there is a new MP then none of this matters.

    I am wondering where the power cables are attached for the new cards that require it. I have the original Radeon 2600 in my MP and, from the looks of it, the power is obtained only though the bus. Do I assume correctly that there are power outlets on the motherboard?
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #8
    680:
    "it's also three slots wide"

    670:
    "this one is 2-fan 3-slot based"
     
  9. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    Apr 14, 2013
    #9
    You assume correctly
     
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #10
    Ah, that could be. I held the 670 with the 680 still in the case right next to it. Cosmetically they looked identical so I assumed they were both double-wide.

    Thanks for the correction.
     
  11. tamvly macrumors 6502a

    tamvly

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    #11
    Thank you, MyMac.

    The waiting continues ...
     
  12. David Macdonald thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    Well, all "Mac Compatible" means is that you can see the Boot Selection and Apple Logo start-up screens. If you can live without that (and there are utilities specifically designed to work around this problem) then pretty much any <250W card will just work. If >250W it'll also work but you'll need a secondary PSU for about $75 to make it happen.
     
  14. David Macdonald thread starter macrumors newbie

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  15. rdsii64 macrumors regular

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    May 14, 2008
    #15
    what utilities would these be, I am card shopping as well.
     
  16. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    #16
    Thanks Tesselator

    The Palit 670 interests me. I will keep it in mind for my future Hack. ;)
     
  17. yaboo007 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 22, 2014
    #17
    Bought the Nvidia GTX 680 going by the recommendations of the list.
     

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