Mac Pro Early 08 - Suggested Graphics card upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by OracleRedux, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. OracleRedux macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Guildford, UK
    I currently have an early 2008 Mac Pro with an nVidia 8800GT.
    I do some gaming under Mac OS X but the majority in Windows via Boot Camp.
    Running Medal of Honour over the weekend I have now found that I cannot get a decent framerate when running at my primary display's native resolution of 1920x1200. Lowering it makes things look worse than COD MW2 and its a little bit of a step backwards.
    It therefore seems a good time to upgrade the graphics card, something I have toyed with in the past but held off from doing. However, unlike with PCs, this seems to be a bit of a headache with the Mac Pro, not least because of the much higher costs of Mac ready cards.
    I have been searching and reading through the forums and was wondering whether anyone could shed some light on the following options and the likely performance increase:
    - Buying a Mac compatible 5770 and swapping out the 8800 GT.
    - Buying a 5870 and flashing it myself, or, for that matter, an nVidia GTX 285 (I believe they are impossible to buy these days).
    - Running a stock, retail, PC version of any of these cards or another, and running it alongside the 8800 GT.

    One final thing; I have never removed the 8800 GT and this seems fortunate in light of the issues it can cause - my Apple Care runs out in early Feb - am I likely to see a failure in the near future?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'd get the 5870 and flash it. I have the 8800 and don't intend to upgrade at this point, but then again I am not even using the 8800 to all it's ability now.
  3. OracleRedux thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Guildford, UK
    Thanks. That is the tempting option, but dropping nearly £300 on a card with a complicated process to follow in order to flash it concerns me a bit!
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Once the Apple 5870 get finally released, you might find a nice deal on some Apple 4870s on ebay.

    It's not as fast as the GTX285 in terms of gaming but still faster than the Apple 5770.

    Struggling with possible driver issues would be a deal breaker for me as well. I'd rather buy a slightly more expensive card that just works (which is one of the reasons I switched to Apple).
  5. OracleRedux thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Guildford, UK
    One can only hope that will be the case.

    Yeah, I am willing to pay a bit more for a card that just works - but it's double in the case of the 5770, which is quite a stretch - it would go a small way towards an entirely new PC for gaming (currently share the MP).
  6. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2009
    It's always going to be expensive or long-winded if you want to game seriously on a Mac Pro....As a gaming system the hardware is up to it but you're paying the Apple tax for OS X compatibility on relatively average GPU's, save for the 5870 which isn't available yet.

    If you want to seriously game on a PC, I'd suggest going with a custom build. It will cost you about twice the price of an OS X compatible 5870 but at least in the future you will be able to upgrade the GPU with less hassle.

    Another option is to by an Xbox / PS3 and avoid the GPU performance rat race altogether. In the main, this is what I do and much prefer it since it's a level playing field and everyone has the same system which the games are optimized for. IMHO the current generation of consoles are still pretty capable.
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I'd get the Apple 5770. It's half the price of the 5870. It's available now. It'll work in both operating systems. No flashing worries. Keep the 8800GT as a spare or sell it to offset the cost of the 5770.

    If you are wondering whether or not the performance increase is enough, here are some gaming tests that include the 5770 and 8800GT:

    If it's not enough of an increase for you, wait for the 5870 to be available.
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    if you're thinking about a 5770 (which is compatible with your current MP btw), then a 4870 would work since it's a little more powerful. otherwise, either wait for the Mac 5870 or buy a PC video card and use that when gaming.
  9. C. Alan macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2009
    You know, if you can wait awhile, I bet there will be some killer deals on 5770s when the 5780s finally come out. I know a lot of owners on this board have gotten tired of waiting, and have purchased the 5770.

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