Mac Pro 3,1 Video Card Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mryingster, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. mryingster macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2013
    I'm looking to upgrade the video card on my MacPro 3,1 (2008), but I am not sure exactly sure what my options are.

    From what I have found online so far, it looks like the safest bet is the ATI Radion HD 4870, which is quite old and expensive.

    Has anyone successfully used a non-mac-specific video card? Apple makes it sound like only the special video cards with Mac Firmware will work in the MacPros, but I can't believe that is necessarily true since everything is x86 these days. Are there any places I should visit that might have reviews or compatibility lists? For instance, work a hackintosh site perhaps show cards that do indeed work with Mac OS X?

    For context, I am currently using a single 30" monitor (dual link DVI) and running Mavericks. Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. AlexxRyzhkov macrumors regular

    May 17, 2014
    You can most most new Nvidia and Amd cards without any issues, but you won't get the boot screen
  3. MacVidCards, Jan 15, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2015

    MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    You've come to the right forum. Make yourself a cup of coffee and start digging.

    The beautiful thing about forum posts is that typically people won't claim something works when it doesn't. So if Phil Johnson (made up name) says a GTX XYZ works for him in OS X.xx he is likely telling the truth and if you use same card and same OS in same machine, you will get similar results.

    Exalt in the fact that you can choose to update your machine at will, Apple no longer permits such things.

    A good place to start is the dticky at top about un-flashed Nvidia cards.

    You need to decide if you want/need boot screens then you will find the options spelled out here.

    Another good read is He tests official Mac cards as well as flashed and unflashed. 3,1 has some limitations, for OpenGL especially.

    So make your coffe, put up your feet, and take advantage of years of other people's efforts.
  4. mryingster thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2013
    Thanks for the info and the welcome! I've got a friend who has an extra Nvidia card laying around that I'll try just for fun. Not having a boot screen generally shouldn't be a problem, although it will make booting off other partitions and CDs kind of tricky...

    I was taking a look at the video cards that Tonyx86 recommends, and I saw this one: GeForce GT 740 ( Should this provide a much better gaming experience than the 8800 GT?

    Thanks for all the insight!
  5. mryingster thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2013
    How did I not notice the sticky post there? Thanks!

    Yes, I am glad I got a Mac Pro before Apple neutered all their machines. I have already done a processor upgrade, RAM upgrade, SSD upgrade, and added BluRay... It's been well worth the initial cost!
  6. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
  7. lwwz macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2015
    I'm running a Radeon HD5770 1GB and it works fine. I searched for a few weeks and found one for $89.
  8. yaboo007 macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2014
    Used a standard pc gtx-680, no boot screen but once booted is just fine.
  9. jHz Lab macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2016
    I am using MacPro3,1 (early 2008) with Processor "Intel® Xeon(R) CPU X5482 @ 3.20GHz × 8 " and Graphics "GeForce 8800 GT/PCIe/SSE2". I just want to upgrade my graphics card to any CUDA-capable NVIDIA GeForce like one GeForce GTX 970. Will it works on my machine? I am using ubunto OSX. Please let me know if it works.

    Attached Files:

  10. Macpro3comma1 macrumors newbie


    Apr 25, 2016
    San Antonio, Texas
    Hello All...I am new to the site and very excited to start learning about upgrading my new Mac Pro 3,1. Currently it is just with original configuration, 1 Xeon CPU 2.8, 6 GB RAM, 320 HDD with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 which I am planning to replace soon. Currently running El Capitan and running pretty smooth, but will like to increase memory to 32GB and try to find a solution to add 802.11AC wireless card. I see a wealth of information here, so it is time to get the coffee going and start reading!!!!
    Will probably have some questions once I cant figured it out, but for now.....its time to play!!!!

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