Ideas for adding PC Graphics Card in Mac Pro 2008

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blacklab53, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. blacklab53 macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2012

    I need some advice on purchasing a new graphics card for my Mac Pro 2008 (4 core) when I'm running Windows natively. I've stepped away from the gaming field for a while and now am starting to get back into it. A few years ago I had bought a nice ATI dual core card when I was justing using my Mac Pro for gaming. Eventually I went back to OS X, and needed to get a compatible card. I bought Apple's ATI 5770. So now that I'm playing games again, I'm finding how weak this card is to play games like Mass Effect 2 @ 1900x1200. Do to the age of my Mac, I assume that I'd be wasting money buying a top of the line card since my Mac Pro wouldn't be able to use all that power. What card would you guys recommend for me? I still have existing hardware to power a non native card in a Mac Pro so that won't be an issue. My goal is to be able to play Mass Effect 3 in all its glory and not have to resort to playing it on my PS 3...which doesn't know what Anti-Aliasing is!!! :) Thank you in advance!
  2. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    The 5870 is a better card and is Mac and PC friendly.
  3. blacklab53 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2012
    I know about 5870, but Apple branded cards are more expensive, out of date, AND are not factory overclocked. They are even locked down so you can't even overclock them with the common ATI utilities.
  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    You can certainly use a PC GPU in your MP under windows, no problem, although I don't know if you'd be limited to certain models or not.
  5. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    5870 if you can find one, 6870 if you can't.

    Sapphire HD5870 Vapor-X cards and similar can be flashed to run in both OS X and Windows and will offer the best performance available at the moment.
    Finding a decent 5870 is becoming problematic as they are no longer the latest offering.
    Look there's one quick grab it! :eek:
    If you can live with Lion OS certain 6870 PC cards can work straight out of the box and are much more available. They are about 10% less powerful, than the 5870 but a very large boost over your 5770.
    The choice is yours. :cool:

    Alternatively you can go down the Team Green route:
    Pre-flashed loveliness. :)
  6. talino macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Is it possible to just put any non-flashed, non-EFI PCIe card in a MacPro (2009 here) for game/3d in native BootCamp/Windows 7, while keeping the GT120 inside when starting with OSX? Will both OS just ignore the secondary card properly?
  7. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Ive been using a 8800GT (OSX) and 5870 Toxic (PC only) for the past 2 years without any problems*

    OSX ignores the 5870 completely. Its a 2GB card and overclocked so I did not attempt to flash it or anything.

    *until today
  8. talino macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
  9. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    ^See my post "not sure what is dead"

    Im not sure what has went wrong atm.
  10. AllanH macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    i have a MP 3.1 NOT running Lion.

    XFX Twin Fan 6870 1 gig (its a silent card) ... i installed it, fired-up, and voilá the desktop. You wont get a bootscreen until u flash it & steam doesnt work, but photoshop loves it out-of-the-box. Windows is fine ofc as always and loves the card. Now ive flashed it following guides on netkas and it works perfectly....really, might as well put an apple logo on it imo.

    I play mass2 and have mass3 pre-purchased. Im sure the card will have no issues with it & if so, hell ill buy another and crossfire in windows...theyre dirt cheap nowadays and the best bang for your buck imo.

    have fun ..its a good card
  11. deanjohnson7 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2005
    berkeley, ca
    I have a MP 4,1 running snow leopard.

    I'm trying to do something similar, but a bit different with my video card setup. Recently I have gotten into sim racing, which requires windows. In an effort to improve my graphics performance, I wanted to get a better video card than the standard MP card (GT 120). My intention was to setup my MP with two cards, the GT 120 for OS X and a better card for gaming under windows. After reading a ton on the macrumors forums and others like it, and waiting until the latest radeon cards were out, I pulled the trigger on a Sapphire hd 7950 oc edition.

    After spending several days, I am still at a loss for how to get this 7950 to work under windows. I got it working once, after much headache, but after rebooting, the 7950 did not work anymore. I was getting no video at all from the card, and this error from windows: "no amd graphics driver is installed...". So I rebooted again into safemode, and used driver sweeper to clear out the video card drivers to start over again, figuring something was wrong with the drivers.

    After reinstalling all the drivers (now multiple times) I've run into another error when trying to open catalyst: "Cannot load file or assembly 'CLI.implementation..."

    After a little googling, it looks like this is .NET related, so I downloaded and installed .NET 4.0 and 4.5 as suggested by some users on the harddocp forums. After installing .NET and rebooting, same "CLI.implementation" error.

    If I look at the card under device manager, the card claims that it is functioning normally. I should also note that this tower has two video cards in it currently, the radeon hd 7950 and an nvidia GT 120 (the standard card for a 4,1 mac pro), which is how I'm able to get video out despite the 7950 not working. The drivers for the nvidia card are all uninstalled and under device manager, the card shows up as a generic VGA card.

    Anyone have any idea what I'm doing wrong here?

    I have tried using the following drivers:

    1. the drivers that came on the CD with the card (v8.921)
    2. downloading latest drivers off amd's site: catalyst 12.2 suite with amd display driver 8.95 (in the release notes, they claim the 7900 series is supported by these drivers)
    3. downloading previous generation drivers off amd's site (v8.921.2 RC11)
    4. downloading drivers off Sapphire's site (catalyst 11.12)

    Between each driver install, I have gone through using driver sweeper and cleaned out the drivers for the 7950, rebooted, and started with the next driver set.

    The thing that is really bugging me is that I got the card to magically work once. After rebooting the card didn't work again. Does anyone see where I'm going wrong? This is driving me nuts!
  12. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    BS. I just over-clocked my Apple 5870 to 940MHz core and 1280MHz Memory. No problems. They are locked down zero percent. Who cares about "factory over-clock" you just do it yourself? If 850-900 is too little of a boost as the limit with catalyst. Grab ATT and really burn it up. I can't get beyond 965MHz core though at the moment. But really I have not needed it and stay at defaults most of the time.
  13. AllanH macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    not true.

    but in anycase, why pay the apple price for such an outdated card, when there are so many other options.
  14. deanjohnson7 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2005
    berkeley, ca
    Finally got the card working under windows! Turns out I needed to have the drivers for the GT 120 installed (which seems completely unintuitive to me).

    I removed the 7950 drivers, rebooted, reinstalled the GT 120 drivers, rebooted, installed the 7950 drivers, rebooted, then like magic the 7950 works! I have rebooted since then and it is still working normally. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it continues to work in windows.
  15. mattvs macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2010
    PC Graphics in Mac Pro 2008

    Thanks to 10.8.3, as I understand it, you can install just about any GPU card you want in the Mac Pro accept you can't boot normally into EFI mode. Personally I'm aiming for either the GTX 690 or the HD 7990. Both have dual GPUs and will smoke even the 7970 and 680 on most games. I had a 5870 that performed admirably when compared to the GTX 285 when I was playing Resident Evil 5. I'm currently playing Tomb Raider 2013 with my Radeon HD 2600 XT in my 2008 Mac Pro and the graphics are rather poor on this card. What do you expect though, it only has 256 MB of DDR memory! The real secret though accord to one sales person is not the GPU's speed, but the actual number of processors on the chip itself. So for example if I get a card that has 4000 processors on it, but it only runs at 925 MHz it will out perform another card that runs at 1 GHz with only 3500 processors. Bare in mind that is just an example.

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