Mac Pro video cards and upgrading

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AndrewClarke, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. AndrewClarke macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Hi. I'm about to buy my first Mac Pro. I'll be using it as a workstation and server, probably with two monitors attached. I rarely play games and the most taxing work I do to the video card is doing something like iMovie on one screen and Photoshop on the other or something like that.

    I don't have any problem upgrading things on my own and this will the first pre-configured desktop I've ever bought. OTOH I know that I can't just go buy any old video card and toss it in like I could with Windows.

    So, I THINK the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB will be sufficient for my needs. I THINK in 1-3 years when I get really sick of it, I'll be able to go out and buy some sweet new card and just pop it in. Am I wrong about this? Should I just suck it up and buy the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB now?

    It's not about the extra $150, although I like saving money. I'm concerned about two things:

    1. I've already made the decision to buy a Mac Pro and I'd rather have instant gratification and go pick one up today rather than waiting for it to arrive in the mail :)

    2. I wonder if the GeForce 8800 GT is not sufficiently better than the ATI to be worth buying.

    However, if the ATI sucks, or I'm wrong and can't easily or economically (say $300 or less) buy a better video card in a year or two than the GeForce 8800, maybe I should buy the GeForce now.

    I know this is a popular topic and I've done the reading but haven't really found much to help me make the decision from this angle.

    Thanks a lot,
    - Andrew.
  2. kenned macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    Rumors are saying that the 48xx series from ATI are coming for the mac pro. But since the mac drivers for the ATI cards are much better than the Nvidia drivers, the 2600 XT card will perform better in more regular tasks, even though the 8800 GT leaves the 2600 XT in the dirt when it comes to games.
  3. AndrewClarke thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Thanks a lot for your response. I've heard the same about the drivers, but then I've also heard they're better than they used to be.

    So will the new ATI card be available from other companies, or just through Apple and it's resellers? Sounds like I'll be OK going with the ATI though.

    - Andrew.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The rumours suggested it would be similar to the Radeon 3870HD which is available through 3rd parties and not through Apple.
  5. AndrewClarke thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Thanks again. I bought a stock Mac Pro this evening. I must say I'm pretty stoked!

    I bought an extra 8GB of RAM at another store but when I went to install it I found out I'd bought the wrong memory :( so I hope the store is nice and lets me return/exchange it. Other than that, I'm good to go.

    Thanks again for helping,
    - Andrew.
  6. digitalfrog macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    Congrats on your new purchase.
    I'm on the fence myself, they are great machines !

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