Mac Pro Video Cards

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sveetly, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. Sveetly macrumors member

    Sveetly

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #1
    With the new mac pro out, I've become confused about which cards are compatible, or can be made compatible, with the older Mac Pro.

    I was wondering if there is a better card (other than the Quattro FX) for the older Mac Pro model (which I hear can't run the PCI Express 2.0 cards.)

    Thanks!

    P.S. - Is it possible to plug in, say 2 GeForce 8800 Ultras in SLI, as an extreme example, an run them in the Windows XP partition? Then you could switch it back to something like the original 7300 GT (assuming there isn't room for another large graphics card) to run Mac. I don't need much graphics power in Mac, and I am willing to switch the plug to change systems (I used to switch CPUs entirely without a KVM switch), and I was wondering how much power I could get.
     
  2. thagomizer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Unless you're going for a professional modeling card (Quadro), the best card you can get for the 2006/2007 Mac pro under OS X is the ATI X1900XT.

    Apple/Nvidia have announced plans to retrofit the 8800GT to the older Mac Pro, but right now it's only able to work on the 2008 model due to firmware issues.

    However, if you're only concerned about running games in Windows, you can get just about any PCI express card and use it in boot camp. It won't show up in OS X.

    The Mac Pro can supposedly do SLI only with some 7xxx series NVidia cards and hacked drivers. It will not do SLI with any 8xxx series card. You're better off trying Crossfire.

    There aren't enough power connectors in a Mac Pro to run dual 8800 GTX or Ultra. Mac Pro has two (nonstandard) PCIe power connectors on the motherboard, and you could borrow a regular molex power connector from the empty optical drive bay. But the cards you mentioned require two connectors each. And you'd be left without any other card to boot OS X, since the Mac gives at most 300W to PCIe.

    There are many forum threads dealing with Mac Pro video cards, both NVidia and ATI... probably most of your questions will be answered by skimming through those threads for a few minutes.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=410804
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=445488
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=434092
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=445094
     
  3. Sveetly thread starter macrumors member

    Sveetly

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
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    PA
    #3
    Wait . . .

    So I could have one high-end Windows only card and a mid-range Mac OS X compatible card hooked up so I'd just have to change the monitor plug?
     
  4. Sveetly thread starter macrumors member

    Sveetly

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
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    #4
    . . .

    I seem to like the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 (1GB). Can you have it and the 7300 GT plugged in at the same time so I won't have to open the computer up all of the time?

    Thanks!

    P.S. - Is there any additional power you'll need to plug into for it to work?
    P.S.S. - It will work with the 2007 Mac Pro, right?
     
  5. thagomizer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Theoretically, yes... but I haven't heard of anyone trying these two particular cards together in a 2007 Mac Pro. I do remember that early Mac Pro models had some issue with running the Apple-branded 7300GT and Apple-branded x1900XT together, but I don't know if that extends to Windows.

    Someone reported in another thread that keeping the 3870x2 in the Mac while booted into OS X, the fans run full blast.

    The 3870x2 card will require extra power. Depending on whether it has 1 or 2 connectors, you'll need 1 or two of these cables.

    http://shop.ati.com/product.asp?sku=3280778

    I wish I could tell you for sure if it would work. If you already have the 7300, I'd suggest ordering the 3870x2 from someplace that will take returns, just in case.
     
  6. Sveetly thread starter macrumors member

    Sveetly

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #6
    Thanks!

    Okay, I already have the 7300 GT, as I upgraded after buying my Mac Pro.

    I guess I'll have to switch out the cards every time . . . I'll just have to go on Mac streaks and Windows streaks to switch it less.

    I still think it's worth it :)
     

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