MacPro and PC hardware???

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mr.Bullitt, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Mr.Bullitt macrumors regular

    May 15, 2009
    Hi guys!

    Will PC hardware such as an M-Audio or Soundblaster sound card work in a Mac Pro?

    How about a PCIe graphics card? On the Nvidia site, it says "mac edition" on some of the cards - why is that? Is the Mac PCIe somewhat different???

    Besides my MBP, I currently have an old dual-core opteron workstation in big box on the floor - I am looking to in 2010 to replace this with either a Mac Pro or new quad iMac.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I'm not sure about sound cards but I think they will work, at least in BootCamp.

    As for graphic cards, Mac editions have drivers in OS X so they work like plug&play. Some PC GPUs work as well but they need some driver modification etc
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    Problem is drivers.

    For sound cards, the manufacturers cant be arsed to make drivers for OSX cause we are a small user base (only macpro users). I don't think there is 1 PCIE sound card that works with Mac.
    Most USB sound cards works out of the box though.

    For graphic cards, there is same story, with a twist.
    Mac's uses EFI instead of BIOS. That means they can not read PC graphic cards during boot. You have to have an Mac Pro specific card that carries EFI on the ROM.

    But there are ways to fix this. You can use either an injector (software that emulates EFI, so you can boot with the card) or flash the card with a ROM that carries BIOS+EFI. (hence all the flash threads on this forum)

    But also same story here, small user base = small pool of available cards.
    So we only have OSX drivers for the cards Apple release to us.
    So even if we can manipulate roms, or inject efi during boot, we can't run the cards unless there are drivers for them inside OSX.
    We can save a ton of money by getting PC cards though, instead of paying insane amounts of money to Apple for same hardware.

    There. That's a good recap on the "upgradeability" of the Mac Pro.

    A new generation Mac Pro will arive during first half of 2010, and we are expecting to see ATI's new 5870 or/and a Nvidia Fermi card to be released together with it. Then, the big race for us will continue, to make PC 5870s work in our Macs ;)
  4. Mr.Bullitt thread starter macrumors regular

    May 15, 2009

    This is the kind of information I was looking for - before venturing into a MP.

    You make it sound worse of a problem than getting stuff to work with Linux :) - and I think we are a bigger user base than Linux......

    But the nVidia GTX 285 is out in a Mac edition - so I assume that it will come with both EFI and drivers.
  5. 10THzMac macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    The mac 285 is basically plug and play with a 2008 or 2009 Mac Pro, which use a compatible flavour of EFI, and the drivers are built in to in 10.5.8 and 10.6.1 OS X. There were two version of the 8800, one for 06,07 pros and another for 08/09.

    As Cindori said: The PC 285s either have to be flashed (usually requiring a new bigger ROM chip) or injected (see and there is a big thread here on injecting various 2xx cards, including 295s. On a Mac pro they seem to need an Nvidia Mac version to get it all to work. So I had a Mac 8800 to boot an 08 pro and then injected a PC 285 for a while.

    Cindori is expert on ati side! You should see her threads and also Rominator's comments on 58xx series.
  6. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    name is from my old wow char :rolleyes:
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    They wont' work in OS X, as they don't provide drivers. It's been promised from SoundBlaster for years, and is still vaporware.

    Most of the sound devices that work with Macs are either USB or FW based, though there is one I'm aware of that is a PCIe device (made by RME). But it's meant for recording, not game playback. WAY too expensive for that, and not really suited for it anyway (~$900USD for the card alone :eek:).
  8. 10THzMac macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2007
    OOPS! Sorry.

Share This Page