G5 Quad: Video Card Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by braindog, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. braindog macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2005
    I'm about to pull the trigger on a G5 Quad. I'm new to Macs, so I'm a bit hazy about the compatibility of video card options. The card I'm interested in is the Nvidia 7800GT, but I don't want to wait 8 weeks for the system to ship.


    1) Is there a Mac-only version of the 7800GT, or is the PC version interchangeable?

    2) If they are not interchangeable, will I be able to buy any 7800GT in the future or will I have to buy it directly from Apple?

    3) What about the ATI X800XL? Will the PC-version work in a Mac, or is there a Mac only version?

    4) For a dual 30" cinema displays, would I need two 7800GTs? How would dual 7800GTs compare to the Quadro 4500? I'm guessing, no SLI support on Macs.
  2. Xephian macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2005
    United States
    1) It's not interchangeable and only the Mac version works on Macs.
    2) I think only Appple sells new Mac video cards.
    3) Same as answer #1. There's no X800 XL Mac version.
    4) You only need one dual link capable video card which the 7800 GT has to run the 30" ACD. And, there's no SLi for Macs.

    If I'm wrong, please correct me.
  3. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2005
    Hm, thanks for the info. That'll be one thing I'll miss about PCs: variety.

    For two 30" displays, will I need two cards? I know that the Quadro will drive two 30" displays, but what about the 7800GT?
  4. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005

    >>Spot on. though...one can get Mac video cards from say, smalldog.com, MacMall, etc.

    Re: the 7800gt. I know...it's painful to wait, BUT... the 7800gt *is* worth the wait. If you're coming from the world of x86, you must get use to Macs having far fewer choices in graphics cards, etc :(

  5. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The 7800GT only has one dual link interface, so you would need 2 of them to support 2 30" displays.

    Which would be better? 2 7800GTs or 1 FX 4500? By price, the 2 7800GTs would cost less. There's not much of a speed difference between the two cards. The question is, will core image make use of both cards?

    EDIT: Only one 7800GT per system, so it's either a 7800+6600 or a FX4500 to support 2 30" displays.
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Another problem, especially since Apple has yet to release their developer notes.

    You may not be able to run 2 7800GT cards, the other PCIe expansion slots may not support it.

    Apple did say that they added support for 150W video cards -- the 7800GT may actually need nearly that much.

    Without the developer notes, it's hard to tell how much the other 3 slots will allow.

    Might be something as low as 75W for all 3 slots, we will know when Apple releases the developer notes on the new machine.

    Edit: That was one of the problems when choosing the GeForce 6800 on the old PM G5s it used 105W and reduced the other PCI/PCI-X expansion slots to 30W drawing down on the other slots available 75W.

    Old PM G5 Power Allocation -- various cards through 6800

    The new machines can use higher power video cards, but what happens to those slots when you use those cards.
  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Found the answer here - only one 7800GT or FX4500, up to 4 of the GeForce 6600s.

    So either a 7800GT as the main card with a 6600 as a secondary card to support 2 of the 30" displays. Or pay for the FX4500.
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Still not the complete answer, but Apple sure is taking their sweet time with this set of developer notes with the new DDR2 G5s. :(

    They should list the power consumption of the cards, which will probably be as big a factor as the number of lanes the cards require.
  9. braindog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2005
    I just picked up a G5 Quad with the 6600 (didn't want to wait for the 7800). What are my options if I want drive two 30" displays? Can I use a 7800 + 6600 or will I need to run two 6600s? Or buy a 4500 separately?
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Keep an eye on ...

    Current Developer Notes

    Apple will release the new dual core docs eventually.

    You are looking for the PCI Express version of this...

    AGP Graphics Card Power Draw Table

    All depends on how the video card is allocated power, and how much power the 6600 cards require.

    Though Apple hints at being able to use 4 of the 6600 cards (most likely LE cards) -- when you use one of the big cards, you may be limited in what you can load in the other slots.

    Edit: and stop asking the same question, nobody can answer it without the developer notes being released -- because we do not know how much power is drawn by any of the cards.

    The only thing we know about is how many lanes are required, which you should be able to figure out. (ie, a 16-lane card will only work in the video card slot)

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