Mac Pro (Early 2008) video card upgrade options

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by radiohead1075, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. radiohead1075 macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Looking for a budget upgrade, ~$200, for a Mac Pro 3,1 (Early 2008).

    The machine currently has the stock 2600XT.

    Considering the 8800 GT, could pick this up for around $150.

    Are there better options?

    Main uses of computer are:
    - Adobe CS
    - Aperture
    - Some gaming (ie. COD 4)
  2. kendall69 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2011
    Here's what I did on my 2008

    ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB More than $150.00, BUT you get what you pay for and it works AMAZING, took my 3D cad work to a new dimension
  3. radiohead1075 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Looks like the 5770 can be had for $245, that seems reasonable.
  4. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    I concur, I wouldn't bother with an 8800GT, they have issues and have to be 'baked' when they start acting up. Go with a 5770 or even one of the new kepler PC cards, you don't get the apple boot screen with the PC cards but there can be some real value to be found. I just upgraded from an apple 5770 to a PC EVGA 670, but its way out of your budget, so far I love it.
  5. Einz macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    Get the GTX 660 for about $230 or less. It's much better than the 5770 I replaced in my 3.1.
  6. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    I'm selling my 570 Platinum Sonic on ebay. Just look for it there. There will be no boot screen and you'll need to find a way to power it unless you want to get a 6>8 pin adapter(personally not recommended.) I ran it in my 4,1 so I don't know how the 3,1 would handle it? Much faster than any of the Apple cards.
  7. gpzjock, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Mountain Lion will let you use many different PC cards instead thereby saving a fortune on an Apple branded card and giving much higher performance at the cost of the boot screen. Keep your original HD2600 in another slot to allow bootscreen use if you need it.

    GTX650 for less than $100:
    The GTX650 has slightly better performance than a 5770 for $150 less. It also beats the 8800GT with more than twice the performance for $50 less.
  8. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    My wife & I both use our 3,1 early 2008 Mac Pros for video editing with Premiere Pro so CUDA is important but OpenCL is also important for Photoshop. We previously had GTX285 cards but i just bought a couple of used PC GTX570s off eBay (an MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr III Power Edition & an MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr II) & the performance is vastly better than the GTX285 (CUDA 2X better OpenCL 3X better). The fans on the cards are quieter too. Thoroughly recommended as a upgrade. My wife's machine is set up for DaVinci Resolve so she has a GT120 as well so has a boot screen. My machine only has the GTX570 but as it has an SSD & boots within about 30 seconds the lack of boot screen isn't noticeable. I do have aGT120 that I could put in were it ever necessary to see the boot screen. The cards cost £150 & £120 each (about $225 & $180 respectively). Now if only I could upgrade the RAM at a reasonable cost:)
  9. gpzjock, Dec 28, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    I use MemoryAmerica for my RAM, 16 GB for under $300 (£182) but you will pay import taxes (20%) on top.

    Considering the tax this might be more cost effective:

    Not sure about their version of "Lifetime warranty" though.
  10. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Thanks for the links. Crucial price had frightened me off at £220.79 for just 2x4GB. The price of the memory on Amazon at £230 for 4x4GB is far less frightening. The price on MemoryAmerica appears to be $379.99 for 4x4GB i.e. about £230 even before tax.
  11. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    You're welcome.
    I was quoting 8x2GB from MemoryAmerica they are the modules I use in my 3,1, I filled the slots with them and never looked back. 16 GB of matched pairs is ample headroom for me.
  12. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Shop through the student store online, much cheaper :)
    Don't need to show id.

    (Yes, I know this is wrong. I am a student, however)
  13. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I already have 12GB (4x2GB + 4x1GB) whereas my wife has 16GB (8x2GB) but when I look with Activity Monitor even she could use more sometimes. Buying 4x4GB would enable me to upgrade both systems to 20GB & I might even be able to sell 4x1GB to defray the cost a bit.
  14. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    1 GB modules are very poor sellers practically anyone who has upgraded all their slots had at least 2 kicking about. :(
    Enjoy your boosted RAM 20 GB sounds great, I went from 10 to 16 GB and discovered the headroom and speed was plenty good enough. :)
  15. jpine macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2007
    If you are patient, you can find a 5770 on eBay for less than that which is what I did.

    BTW, I'm now on a quest to find a faster card but I need the boot screen for to run Bootcamp. Any suggestions anyone? I'm running Lion and have no problem updating to ML if I can get a boot screen.
  16. Baunkjaer macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Thanks a lot. It´s price I´ll consider fair...
  17. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I just tried to install the 4x4GB that I bought from this link. Two DIMMs were DOA & the other two are only recognised as 2GB 667MHz rather than the 4GB 800MHz that it says on the label. They will be on their way back for a refund & I will just have to bite the bullet & buy Crucial just like I knew I should have all along.

    Needless to say this supplier is definitely not recommended. The packaging looked crappy from the start as though the plastic trays weren't the right size for FB-DIMMs. The thermal paste under the heatsinks is a mess compared to the Crucial & Hynix RAM already in the Mac Pro.
  18. Phrygian macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2011
    6870 all the way (pc version works with osx mountain lion) You wont have a boot screen, but you don't need one frankly. works wonders when i am on win 7 through bootcamp playing planetside 2, given the price i paid.

    Yea nvidea is probably better for Adobe CS... but from what i understand the 6870 does alright with it, certainly an upgrade.

    Look though, the key here is to NOT purchase a mac EFI GPU. They will always cost more than they are worth. Purchase a PC GPU that is now compatible with newer versions of OSX, and then either don't have a boot screen, or flash it if you are confident in your abilities to do so.

    As for ram for the 3.1, its ridiculously overpriced now a days. I paid 100 dollars for 12gigs alittle over a year ago...
  19. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Komputerbay sound like they suck for build quality then, hope they refund you properly. What a shame they can't make a good product.
    I am still running Memory America RAM and very happy with their build quality and RMA policy. I have had 2 sticks fail in 5 years, both were replaced along with the rest of their batch for the price of the postage.
  20. Philscbx macrumors regular


    Jan 4, 2007
    Mpls Mn
    From notes saved -
    New MacPros have option for ATI Radeon HD 5870 vs the standard 5770.

    So what's the best card - for the 3.1?
    Regardless of cost.

    Mine came with the 8800.
    The issues just read here on it - I'm not sure I've seen them.
    Usually issues I post - no one has ever had them - or related to discus.
    Or maybe hardware tests don't tell the truth - saying all is Ok.
  21. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007

    Or a more recent nVidia GTX card. You will lose the Apple EFI boot logo, though. Also the most powerful cards won't work, you will need additional power supplies.
  22. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hey guys, can someone explain this post to me. Is it only certain PC cards that can work with Mountain Lion? Or all (most)?

    My 8800GT died, and I'm in need of a replacement
  23. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Only certain cards.

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