Mac Pro, New Graphics Card: What Are My Options?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by GHudston, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. GHudston macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2011
    I've been doing a lot of research over the last couple of weeks and I'm just about ready to make a purchase I think, but I thought that I would check here first.

    I am looking to upgrade my 4870 for improved performance in OS X and, most importantly, better gaming in bootcamp as my gaming performance is a bit sluggish on my 27" Cinema Display (I use my Mac Pro for design work, but I can't afford/don't have space for a separate, dedicated gaming machine so I use it for both!).

    I've looked at everything from flashed cards to jury rigged alternative PSU's for crossfire, but I think that I'm just going to end up with apples (extortionately priced) 5870 as I can't really afford to be fiddling with components that I could easily break but not easily afford to replace.

    The reason for the post is just as a final check with people who know better than me, to see if there are any idiot proof alternatives to the 5870 that are both idiot proof and either better/faster or cheaper? Also to check if there are any rumours of a new card from apple in the pipeline that might be worth waiting for instead? (Apple have a tendancy to wait until I make an expensive purchase before announcing their replacement for it...)

    If neither of these things are the case, I'll feel a bit better giving Mr. Jobs another £400 of my hard earned money!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    You could buy a much cheaper Radeon HD 6870 and get it working with a few simple things.
  3. mif macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    if you don't want another separate computer, virtualiazion is an option.
  4. gpzjock, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    I would wait till OS X Lion is released as a retail version before upgrading, there seem to be options in the developer version to use unflashed PC cards.
    Also better gfx drivers and OpenGL support which may boost your 4870's performance. A friend reports that WoW is giving 20 fps more under Lion dev build with his 4670 in a 27" iMac.
    Patience my padawan. :D
  5. fiatlux macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2007
    It would look like you can run a bunch of recent "PC" Radeons on 10.6.6 and 10.6.7 without flashing required:

    Generic Radeon 5870/6870 are around 180-200€ over here, I might try.
  6. Zeldain macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2011
    My understanding is that you can throw any old PC graphics card in another slot and it will be usable under Windows (but not the Mac OS.)

    So if you're just looking for gaming performance, there you go.
  7. GHudston thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2011
    My only issue with having a separate GPU for bootcamp is that I would need to disconnect and reconnect my monitor each time I reboot, power is also an issue with my 4870 taking up both of the mac pro's connectors. The good news is that any graphics card will give me the gaming performance that I need in windows, it's just getting it to play nice with OS X that's going to be the issue.

    However, I'm really liking the sound of being able to use an unflashed card. It would either save me a lot of money or allow me to get a faster gaphics card than even the 5870 (and it'd still be cheaper than the apple 5870!).

    I'm not exactly computer illiterate, but I'm no expert and this is the point where things start going over my head so forgive me if this is a stupid question: is the implication that some non flashed, "PC" graphics cards will (may?) just work out of the box in Lion or will I still have to do something to make it work?

    Thanks for the replies so far, you've all been really helpful!
  8. jb502 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011
    get a gtx 285

    I picked up a gtx 285 for about 300 bucks. I can play cod 4 modern warfare @ 2560x1600 with all settings maxed out. With AA at 4x fps stays around 30 which is a little to slow. But turn of AA and they jump up to 80 even with everything else still maxed out. I think even the 5870 on cod4 with aa at 4X is only at like 50 fps. As far as I know the best card for gaming that will work in osx is the 5870, followed by the gtx 285. I got the gtx 285 because I also wanted cuda support for adobe premeire.

    If I would have been able to see what cuda was all about before I bought the 285, I probably would have got the 5870.

    Cuda is cool and all, but only certain effects use it. Anyways I am still happy with the 285. Only second to the 5870, and way cheaper.

    Look on ebay. Applemecanix will work with you on price. He had them for no cheaper than 349, but i got mine for 330 with next day shipping. would have been 300 if I didnt want next day.

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