Hot: New graphics card for MP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by maxmaut, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. maxmaut macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Hello everyone!

    I neeed help choosing a new graphics card for my '09 mac pro.

    I am a graphic designer. I work in game industry, so I occasionaly play different games.

    Several days ago I had an issue with my monitor, and users of this forum helped me to pick a new one. I got dell U2413M, and now, using my old graphics card I cannot play games on decent settings.

    I borrowed Nvidia Quadro FX 1800, and experienced next thing:
    when using brushes in Photoshop in a big document I have much, much better results with Nvidia (my stock '09 graphics card has huge delay< and brushes are not smooth working, etc.) So I desided to buy a new card.

    My budget: $300.

    My aims: graphics design, PS, AI, gaming (not on the highest setting, but desent), and a very little maya and vray rendering.

    My options: used Nvidia quadro FX 1800 with 768mb, for $150. Or a new card for under $300.

    I ended up with two monitors, so I can either use my stock card for the old one, and new card for a new dell monitor, OR to use a new card for both monitors.

    I did some research, and looked at some benchmarks, and I thought that GT660 is a good card for it's money. Am I correct?

    What card should I go with? To perform good for work and decent for games.

    Also - I've seen cards from different manufacturers, Zotac, Gigabyte, etc.
    What manufacturer should I choose?

    Also - boot screen is not vital, but highly preferable.

    I know almost nothing about graphic cards, so any suggestions would be good.

    Thank you in advance,

  2. Asgorath macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2012
    I'm assuming you've read the FAQ thread about NVIDIA PC cards, if you haven't you should do that now.

    The fact that the Quadro FX 1800 works well is good, but that card is fairly old now. The GeForce GTX 660 is a good choice, but that's only $220. You might be better off getting the 660 Ti, which goes for $299 from what I can see. No matter what, you can just drive both monitors from the one card, in my experience things tend to work better when you do this.

    Brand of card really comes down to personal preference, they should all work the same. I usually stick with EVGA since they have great customer support if anything goes wrong, but it really doesn't matter at the end of the day (it's not like one brand will work while another one will not).

    Standard PC cards won't have a boot screen, as per the FAQ thread, but this really isn't a big deal. Just keep your old EFI card as a backup in case you ever need the boot screen.
  3. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    The question is- would GTX660 perform better for my tasks then Quadro Fx 1800?

    Is there anything better then GTX660Ti for this money?
  4. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Any of the standard options are fine for this. Maya is the only thing in that list that benefits from a quadro card, and the one you mentioned isn't officially supported. It seems like a pointless choice. It's also unlikely to support vray RT in OpenCL mode. PS and AI are fine with basically any desktop graphics card. Just ensure that it runs properly under OSX and supports the latest versions of OpenGL/OpenCL.

    The GTX660 should be significantly faster. If you're really going for a Quadro card, why bother with an older unsupported one? Also that Quadro card would be horrible for gaming.
  5. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2012
    This video card benchmarks may give you some general idea where each card stands relative to others. I wouldn't pay too much attention to each individual score since they tend to fluctuate over time, but the relative standing seems to hold steady.
  6. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Thanks everyone.

    I chose this one:

    would this work OK in my MP?

    I know there would be openCL difficulties because it has 3GB ram, but it looks like those can be solved. Also I would need 2 cables for power, is that correct?

    Are there any difficulties that might occur with this card, that I cannot foresee myself? Something like maybe size, or something else?

    Thank everyone again.
  7. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    As stated by several people in this thread already and the sticky FAQ, yes it should work in your Mac Pro.

    The 2x6-pin power leads may already be in your current Mac Pro depending on what your old graphics card was.
  8. maxmaut, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    No, no cables in my MP.
    I just plug graphics cards in and they work, and use no cables.
    Any chance there might be power cables in the box with the card?
    I ordered it, and it would ship in 2 days.

    Also, In the sticky thread I've found some links to the cables that I might use, but those are cables from different manufacturers, and have different names.

    So I would go search the stores for those, and I would really appreciate if anyone told me how those connectors are called. The one that is plugged into a card is ordinary 6-pin that is used in PCs, but how is the one that goes into the motherboard called?

    Thank you for your help.
  9. Librarian580 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    You're going to need two of these;
    Or the equivalent from a seller where you are located. Try searching "Mac PCIE Cable" on Ebay or Amazon.

    There's probably a 99% chance you will not find those in any local stores, or even in an Apple store. They are different from the ones that PC's use in that one of the connectors is smaller, and are unique to Mac Pros. A pc graphics card won't include any of those, so you'll need to order them separately.
  10. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Thanks, I just googled in parallel, when you posted this.

    Turns out, that I will not be able to buy those cables anywhere.

    Thing is - I'm from Ukraine, and there is no place where I can buy a cable like this. Not even a chance to buy a connector to solder a cable myself.

    This sucks. Turns out I ordered a card that I won't be able to use. Ordering cables from ebay is probably not an option for me. That would either cost me a lot, or take a lot of time (more then 1 month).

    So right now it looks like my only option is to cancel my order and go with some other card that does not require external power.

    I am very, very disappointed right now. There is really no option that I could go with to use this card. Living in third world isn't fun, huh?)

    So, what are my best options for cards that do not require external power? Anything close to the one I chose before?

    Also, I've read that I can use second optical bay for powering a card, with adapters that are easier to buy. But I know I need 2 additional power sources, is that right? What are my options in this field?

    Thank you guys for your help, this forum proved itself to be an awesome place too look for help with problems like this again.

    I really appreciate your help.

    So I have several hours to cancel my order and to make a new one from same store. Suggestions?
  11. gpzjock, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    I had a local electronics repair shop make me a PCI-E cable when I flashed a HD 4870 and couldn't find one online. It cost about £10. You can find a wiring diagram online if you make the effort. A link to it is in the Golden Guide to Flashing Graphics Cards on this forum. I find it hard to believe Maplin or a German equivalent won't post electrical components from say Poland to the Ukraine.
    At least one UK ebayer offers to send those cables worldwide and only excludes Italy as a destination.

    The Ukraine isn't 3rd world, 2nd world at worst.....:D
  12. Librarian580 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    As a matter of fact, the seller I linked to there appears to ship those cables to Ukraine, for pretty cheap based on the rate calculation.

    Alternatively, you can go for an external power supply, but that's a bit more trouble.

    The only great cards that I know of (on the Nvidia side) that don't require any external power at all are the GTS 450 Eco edition from Zotac, and the Quadro 2000. Those two are probably about equivalent in power, but of course the Quadro is going to be 1.5x-2x the price of the Geforce. Regardless, either one will be a pretty massive improvement over the Quadro FX 1800 that you currently have. Both have Displayport as well, with the exception of the Quadro 2000D model.
  13. maxmaut, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

    maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Guys - another question.

    My pal has a G3 mac tower. By any chance, can I find the cables I need in that tower? Maybe? Suggestions?)

    Also update - I did not manage to cancel my order, so I definitely need some solutions with cables.
  14. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't think the Power Mac G3 supports cards that need external power at all.

    I'm certainly not aware of any that work in the Power Mac G3. The Power Mac G3 only shipped with PCI (not PCI-E), so none of those cards would work anyway.
  15. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Yes, G3 tower has nothing close to what I need. I think they started using this connector type since G5. Well, I took a shot.

    So I found this guys, that could ship from Chinese website taobao, those cables are worth like nothing there, but the delivery would be near a month.
    Also - found a guy who could ship from US to Ukraine. The delivery would take 3-4 weeks (not including delivery from ebay to him). So also a month.

    But, I found a guy from Russia, that is much closer. He is willing to sell me two cables for around 75 bucks. The delivery would take around one week. I think I would go with this option.

    So I will let you guys know how things go with this. Thanks again for help, everyone.
  16. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    The universe made another prank today. This is ridiculous.

    I came to the store to pick up the card that I ordered, and it turns out it has one 6-pin connector (where 5 of the cells of the connector actually have metal insides, and as I assume power the card) and one 8-pin, that has only 6 of the connectors have metal inside them.

    This is fun, I start wondering what would happen next.

    So the cables that I got would not work. One of them would not. I figured out that I can take that 8-pin connector and solder it to one of the cables that I ordered, but I really don't want to mess up with this stuff.

    So I am back to basics. I need a good video card, but I don't even know how to choose now.

  17. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
  18. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Upd: The card arrived today. It has two 6-pin connectors as expected. Finally!
    I am waiting for delivery of the cables from Moscow now. Very excited.
  19. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Hi guys. A little update here. The cables finally arrived today, the card is hooked up and working.

    THANK YOU everyone on this thread, for your suggestions and advice.

    This forum is an awesome place to look for advice.
  20. Jake0604 macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2011
  21. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    Nice to hear. Just put a 670 in my mac pro and absolutely love it!!!!
  22. tjlazer macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Tacoma, WA USA
    Do all ports work on this card? Can it be flashed for boot screen?
  23. maxmaut thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    Jake0604 thanks!
    BigJohno i wish you a long run with that.
    tjlazer I am currently using just two DVI ports, they are different, but I was not getting into that really, just plugged two cables from my monitors in, and they are both running perfectly. Can't test DP and HDMI as I have no such cables.
    About flashing - I really don't know. I do not need bootscreens as I am using parallells desktop for my Win needs.

    I tested a card in PS, created 10kx10k px 300dpi document, and tested brushes with tablet, and it is amazing. Even complex brushes (with additional shapes, and all the dynamics settings, and blending options) of huge size have ZERO delay. I was so used to brush delay, that this feels weird now =). Almost looks like brush is moving faster then my hand =).

    Also tested in Diablo 3, all the video settings are max, and game runs perfectly on my 24'' Dell on 1920 resolution. No delays even in big battles with lots of action and effects and animation going on.

    So the card hits my needs perfectly - both working and a little gaming are perfectly smooth and comfortable. So I am happy.

    I only have 1 question left - somewhere on this forum I read, that there is some trouble with OSX and cards that have more then 2GB of RAM, and that there is something that needs to be done, to use the RAM over 2 GB. Is that still true?

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