MacPro what video cards? NVIDIA or ATI

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Eatsnax, May 6, 2010.

  1. Eatsnax macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    I'm hoping that this question has yet to be asked. I just got a refurbed MacPro 8-Core 2.93 w 32GB Ram from RamJet!! WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO!:D

    I ordered the version that has the Nvidia GT120 video card. In the same order I ordered a extra card, the EVGA GeForce GTX 285, so I can SLI the two cards together.

    But when I received my MacPro Apple screwed up the order and sent me one with the ATI card instead. But they hooked me up, they are sending a GT120 free of charge! And I get to keep the ATI!! How nice is that?!!:D:D:D

    I'm reading everywhere that people prefer the ATI over the GT120...

    My question is this...

    1. Can the ATI be SLI'd with the EVGA GeForce GTX 285? :confused: [I think not, but thought I'd ask]

    2. What would give me better performance?
    a. One ATI HD4870?
    b. EVGA GeForce GTX 285 and GT120 SLI'd

    I know that this question may sound stupid, as a matter of fact I feel really stupid asking, I think I know the answer, but thought I'd ask the experts.

    Thanks in advance guys!

  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Quick tip:

    You can't SLI any nVidia cards, OS X does not support it. Also, You can't Crossfire any ATI cards, same deal, no support.

    Also, you can't SLI or Crossfire and ATI card with an Nvidia card...

    That said, I would recommend waiting. Apple is bound to release new Mac Pros with either 5850 or 5870 support on the ATI side and o the nVidia side the house fire causing and gigawatt PSU cards Fermi aka (GTX 470/480)
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    SLI = Connect two Nvidia cards

    Crossfire = Connect two ATI cards

    In Mac Pro:

    SLI does NOT WORK

    Crossfire works IN WINDOWS ONLY

    I hope I made that clear. The ONLY benefit of multiple GPU's in Mac Pro under OSX is to attatch more screens. NOTHING ELSE.

    The 285GTX has better performance then the 4870.
  4. Eatsnax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    Man that is pure Shizzzzzzzzzzz...

    Really?!? No SLI?! Why the hell not? Man, I have to admit, there are many times that apple makes me go WTF?!?!
  5. Eatsnax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    Okay then, another question.

    If I was to switch the ATI for the EVGA Nvidia, do I need to do any uninstalls of any software? Or can I just switch out the cards and call it a day?

  6. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    because SLI is meant for gaming and macpro is a workstation, I guess.

    no, just switch the cards.
  7. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    I've read that the 285 has overall better performance for gaming while the 4870 did better for 3D rendering.
  8. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    Just curious... does SLI works on Windows in a Mac Pro...?
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Unfortunately, No, as the current SLI capable cards need hardware support on the board, and Apple doesn't use those parts (either a chipset that supports SLI or a bridge chip, such as the nForce 200). :(

    However, Crossfire will work under Windows on an MP (assuming the bridge adapter is connected). :)
  10. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    Well, regardless, 2 nvidia cards should still work without SLI on windows I believe.

    I'm looking forward to a low-end Crossfire on Windows should Apple decides to pair future MPs with an ATI card (presumably the 5600-series)...
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    As separate cards, Yes. If they're both EFI64 based, it would be the same under OS X. But it's less expensive to use one EFI64 version and a PC version, assuming you only need the second card under Windows.

    I presumed from the previous post you were interested in it for gaming, but what are you doing if it's something else?

    Most of us are expecting the 5870 to be released with the 2010 MP's, and the base card to remain an nVidia product (i.e. GT220). As per the 5970, I wouldn't count on it running both processors if you manage to flash it (such as what happend on the 4870X2 for those who tried - only one worked).

    I've no idea if EVGA will release another nVidia based high performance card or not, but I won't rule it out of the realm of possibility (no idea if they've made money on the GTX285 venture or not).

    But unless you're interested in a single card only, it may not be of use to you if it does happen (if you're set on SLI in the case of nVidia products).
  12. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    I'm not into gaming, I'm into ATI CAL/Stream Apps

    I'd stay away from a 5870 if Apple decides to launch one, sooner or later the 6-series card will launch, and the 5870 will end up as a death trap. Currently I've already have a 5850 installed (sadly with 2 PCIe power cable taken up) running on Windows side. I can't stuff in another 5850 due to that power cable issue and space contraints. Another 5670 (or CF 5670) or some other cards within that range would be good, since its power consumption eliminates the need for additional power cables.

    And I'm sure I'll be asked why not just build a cheap PC so I can CF whatever I want. I would have gotten that route and at the same time got myself an MBP to tag along, but unfortunately the place I live in, even production houses couldn't afford a CTO octo-core MPs. :(
  13. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    As Nanofrog says the odds are the 5870 will be the high-end bto card for the 2010 Mac Pro.
    The HD 6XXX will not work with OS X. You'll have to use it on the Windows side of the Mac Pro.
  14. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    From what I understand, it's going to be a good long time before ATI launches a 6xxx series card, because the 5870 beats all Nvidia offerings except their most recent absurdly expensive one, and it still beats that in everything except raw power (yes, people care about space and power consumed as well as heat output).

    They also have the advantage of Eyefinity gaining traction as well, and 5800 series cards have maintained MSRP for an extraordinarily long time. I don't think ATI is going to rush to put such a well-reviewed card out to pasture....Should  manage to release a Mac Pro in 2010 with a 5870 CTO option, it will be a current card. Which, GPU-wise, is better than they've ever done.
  15. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    I'm not looking for the 6-series card to work on OS X. Like I said, I need it for ATI CAL/Stream on Windows, so if Apple decides to launch 5870 on OS X, and I proceed with that upgrade path, by the time ATI releases the 6-series, I would NOT be able to upgrade without removing the 5870, because it's a PITA to know that the latter is already occupying both the PCIe power cables.

    So the solution for me is a smaller card (ATI preferable if Apple grants it) for OS X and CUDA/ATI CAL on Windows, and a readily upgradeable powerful card on Windows side alone, be it 6- or 7- series future cards.

    And I prefer exotic cards rather Apple/ATI's reference cards... :p

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