Mac Pro Running *Only* XP: GPU Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ravegreen, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. ravegreen macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    Firstly, I am of die-hard Mac user myself, but my office is looking into buying a new CAD system, and I'm suggesting they get a nicely configured Mac Pro which would run XP *exclusively*

    My question is, with this configuration can you use basically any compatible PC graphics card? We may just go with the nVidia Quadro FX 5600, but would prefer to go with something a little cheaper like a 4600.

    I'm trying to verify the conclusion I've reached from my recent research, which is that an equivalent card should work, it simply won't support anything on the OS X side, which won't be a problem in our configuration.

    Any input is appreciated!
  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Any PCI-Express GFX Card should work in Mac Pro, that is on the Windows side of course.
  3. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Don't buy a Mac Pro if it's never going to run OS X. That is a complete waste of money.
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Well, perhaps not, actually. Example:

    Dell Precision T7400

    Dual Quad-core 2.8GHz Xeons
    2GB RAM
    Nvidia Quadro FX4600 768MB
    320GB 7,200-rpm hard disk
    16x DVD-RW drive
    19" Ultrasharp 1908FP LCD monitor (included in base base)
    Windows Vista Business + Windows XP Professional


    Mac Pro

    Dual Quad-core 2.8GHz Xeons
    2GB RAM
    Nvidia Quadro FX4600 768MB (purchased at Newegg for $1,459.99)
    320GB 7,200-rpm hard disk
    16x SuperDrive
    20" Apple Cinema Display (added on)
    Windows XP Professional (purchased at Newegg for $269.99)


    In this scenario, about the only advantage the Dell has is the longer basic warranty of 3 years, which costs an additional $249.00 to do with Apple, bringing the total to $5,376.98 and still a tad bit cheaper than Dell.

    So is the Mac Pro really a waste of money in this case? Not really.
  5. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    2GB of RAM wouldn't be enough for a machine like this. FB-DIMM is expensive
  6. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Depends on what size modules you're buying - if you're buying, say, 2x2 GB (4 GB total) it can be had for less than $200 (considerably). If you're doing the larger 4 GB modules, then yes, FB-DIMMs are expensive.
  7. MacFanatic08 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2008
    Or maybe the reason they want a Mac Pro running XP only, is because they like the look of the MP... :)
  8. Erwin-Br macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2008
    The Netherlands
    Is it even possibe to run Windows standalone, without Bootcamp? What about the bios emu?

  9. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    You can just set the default OS to be Windows and you don't have to hold down the option key on every boot.

    Just for the workstation being noise free I would go with Mac Pro. The Xeon Dell's are very loud.
  10. FMprodGUY macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Mac Pro... running XP Pro only

    I have somewhat the same question so I'll post here.

    Looking at the Mac Pro for Pro Audio. There are several programs that either are PC only that I must use, or that I own the PC version of... I need to know that the Mac Pro running bootcamp'd XP is bulletproof before I could even think of getting on.

    At the apple store I just get a fanboy worker, saying how purty the Macs are.

    I would like the best of both worlds!!!!! Want both OSes, but I gotta make sure it's rock solid with XP (and sure Vista).

    Any ideas... can I have the best of both?
  11. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    for me this system (a macpro 2.8 octocore) is one hell of a machine and is rock solid stable with xp.
    i came form years of building my own computers and fixing other windows based boxes.
    the most common issue with getting computers to run solid is software/drivers.

    apple has some pretty good hardware inside this machine, so really its just a mtter of getting hte software properly installed.

    id get the bootcamp drivers in there first as a starting point and if you have extra peripherals such as graphics cards, id unistall the bootcamp graphic card drivers and get them from the manufacture's website from that point. otherwise its really alot easier now. just get a good firewall and you should be set.

    you can get 4gb (2x2gb) for relatively cheap about 55$-65$ per 2gb stick at

    ive used xp on previous gen macpro pretty much exclusively for the port options and buolt in functionality and used osx to do other tasks that worked better or more mac specific.

    to me it was pretty cost effective, that way i dont need to have to two different computers running two separate os'...i can consolidate and use which ever os i want when i want, ill always be able to run OSX on this machine so i dont see why or how its a waste of money (considered the os and hardware came with it together).

    but in the end usually it all evens out, i never owned a mac previously until my first gen macpro...and i figured so far theyve had the best OEM systems around and i cant run osx ona dell...or a custom hey get it all in one shot.
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You need OSX to install firmware updates, perhaps a 30gb partition.

  13. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    One thing to keep in mind is that 32 bit versions of Windows appear to be limited to 2GB of RAM. Or at least XP Home is on my Mac Pro with 6GB of RAM.

    I'm assuming it is the memory mapped reported by the firmware when booting, since otherwise I would have expected closer to 3GB of RAM being usable by Windows.
  14. Earl Urly macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2004
    Only 64-bit Vista is supported under BootCamp, no drivers exist for Windows XP 64. Don't bother bitching or crying about it because Apple doesn't consider it a priority.

    If the machine ever needs to be taken to an Apple Store for service and the Apple guys don't see OS X on your machine they'll refuse to do anything with it, unless you can convince them you have OS X on another drive or something. Just so you know.
  15. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    As if.
  16. droon macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2007
    i'm running xp64 on a mac pro with 16 gb ram and I haven't booted OsX up in months.

    kinda stupid coz the XP partition was limited to 32 gb (FAT), so now I have most of my HD I never use.
  17. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    *Wonders why anyone would shoot themselves in the foot like this*
  18. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Could not be less true.

    Mac Pro is cheaper than any other comparable workstation from any other OEM.
  19. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    cost versus issue versus effectiveness; i think the MP is fairly low-cost regardless of what OS you run exclusively on it.

    Really great hardware specs. Retains decent sale value over time; not sure about Dells.
    Good warranty...again not 100% positive on Dells.

    Expandability may be limited in certain hardware aspects (but generally by OS limitations and the hardware on the market itself; if videocards were universal for all OS; itd make alot more sense and obsolete any of the issues)

    I mean spending Over $1500 on a Dell desktop itself is a bit outrageous, considering you can install just ONE OS, maybe minus Linux.
    Its hard to beat the options and abilities the Pro has.

    But if you're exclusively using windows on it, id initialize the windows drive with the Bootcamp Assistant in Leopard first.
    I did an install of windows without it and had some sort of boot conflict and OS issues.
    Once i reinitialized it via BCA, worked fantastic as a Windows Only set up. quite fast and powerful.
    And ive used Dell Xeon based CPUs at a recording school, they were OKAY, but even the Quad G5s we used were a step ahead of them.
  20. Too1s macrumors newbie


    Feb 5, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Hello Cpt. Chunk, i see you have a similar setup as i do;

    Mac Pro
    8-core 2.8ghz
    1 TB hd
    2 x 16 superdrive
    >> Nvidia Quadro FX4600 768MB

    Now i've got a problem getting the FX4600 actually running.
    I've got this type of power supply
    [​IMG], but no slots on the motherboard to connect it to, since there's no 3-pin, but just two 6-pin PCI-E sockets.

    Can you advise me what to do, cos i've been running into questionmarks when i phone down to apple stores, Mac support and the supplier of the card (which is a different one than the company who sold me the actual Mac itself). I was having a doomed-case scenario as i was at one point under the impression that the €1400 spent on this card would be suitable for PC-only, thus down the drain.

    Perhaps you could show me what type of connecting cable i should get to get this baby up and spinning.
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
  22. ravegreen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
  23. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
    You should build your AMD system if your not going run OS X.

    Pick out all the parts yourself and it's cheap.
  24. Too1s macrumors newbie


    Feb 5, 2009
    The Netherlands
    thanx for the help guys. much appreciated. sorry for the intervening of the thread :eek:
  25. grue macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2003
    First off… AMD is still around, and considered relevant?

    Second… it's already been well-shown that the Mac Pro is cheaper than PC counterparts if you need that class of machine.

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