Many presales questions regarding the Mac Pro: Hardware/Windows Vista/Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sdonegan, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. sdonegan macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008

    I recently posted a question on the Apple forums in regard to installing an Nvidia GTX280 graphics card in a Mac Pro and did not get a very clear answer. I noticed that your forum had several topics in regard to my question. I was told that it was possible to install a PC GPU such as the Nvidia GTX280 in a Mac Pro and use it on the Windows side while using BootCamp, although I would still have to use the pre-installed (Apple) card for OSX.

    After viewing these benchmarks:

    I have decided that I am going to install a Radeon HD 4870 X2 instead of a GTX280, because it vastly outperforms all of the other cards except in the game Crysis.

    I am also thinking of upgrading the included ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT to an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT for the Mac side based upon the benchmarks provided here by Apple:

    My understanding is that you can have two seperate GPU's installed in the Mac Pro at once, and the Mac will use the pre-installed card to boot into OSX. However which card will it use to boot into Windows? I am assuming I will need to have a video output from both of the cards to my LCD display and change input based upon which OS I am using, is this corret?

    I have read this topic:

    Does this fix work? Info please...

    Based on what I've read in the link posted above the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 requires two 6 pin PCIe cables? Is this correct? And what is the best way to adapt to these 6 pin cables?

    This is the card I am planning on buying:

    My next question involves sound cards. I currently have an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude PCI sound card, and I am wondering if this will work in the Mac under the Windows side? A friend of mine has a Mac Pro, but Windows is not loaded, so I am able to test the card in OSX, if this would help.

    Auzentech X-Fi Prelude:

    My next question involves Windows Vista (Retail not OEM), Microsoft Office 2007 (Single User) and Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 (Single User).
    All of these programs are currently loaded on my PC, can I install them on my Mac Pro?
    Once I get my Mac Pro I am going to disassemble my PC and sell all the parts, and format my current hard drive where these programs are loaded and use it as a backup drive.

    Thank you in advance for answering this extensive list of questions...
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You might want to take a look at the ATI Radeon HD3870 for the OS X side of things. Particularly for Core Image performance, which likely will be more important to you than gaming in OS X. Even then, the 3870 is a decent all-around graphics card for a Mac Pro.
    You can have more than one GPU in a Mac Pro. :)
    Initially, the computer will install windows under the existing graphics card. You will have to change this manually. (See the next part/quote you gave refereing to Pressure and macest).
    I assume you mean to use a single monitor for both graphics cards. If this is the case, yes. You will need a DVI KVM switch. (The least expensive 2 port I found quickly). :p
    It would be much easier to use a monitor with a multiple input switch built-in if you are after a new one.
    Sorry, "Quote" didn't bring in the quote you used. :eek: :D

    But here goes...
    Get the windows installation up and running using the stock card.
    Install the drivers for the new card.
    Shut down.
    Install new card.
    Go into device manager, and change to the new card.

    It can be done, though I would expect some aggravation to do so. :p
    Also, be mindful of the DVI cables, particularly if you do this without the switch. You might be pulling hair out over it. :eek:
    No. It uses an 8 pin PCIe cable and a 6 pin PCIe cable.
    The 8 pin cable should come with the card. The 6 pin included won't really work, as the Mac Pro doesn't have enough 4 pin Molex power (12V) cables.
    You should use a 6 pin to 6 pin PCIe power cable instead, as it uses the PCIe power connector on the logic board. Makes life easier.
    No, it won't work. :( The slots on a Mac Pro are PCIe.
    You can use the built-in sound first to see how it sounds to you.
    Otherwise, you can obtain a PCIe sound card, USB, or FW400/800 interface.
    A few options, and they can get expensive, as most are meant for audio recording/mixing/MIDI. Mac compatibility makes life a bit difficult here. USB or FW may be a better way to go, as there seems to be more options.
    Check in the "Digital Audio" forum.
    The MS stuff shouldn't be a problem. Vista for sure, Office is where I get a little uncertain. Check the EULA to be safe. Just make sure to erase it from the old system. Keeps you legal. ;)

    Kaspersky will definitely require a look at the EULA. I've not used their product before, though I have read decent reviews. :eek:

    You're welcome. :) About took forever to post it. :p

    BTW, do you have the Mac Pro, buying soon (as in the current model), or waiting for the Gainestown based Mac Pro?
  3. sdonegan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008
    Okay, so would the upcoming Auzentech Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater 7.1 HDMI 1.3-native PCI Express Audio Combo Card work? (3rd press release! ;))

    Well, after the RAM failed in my Gaming PC I decided to sell my components and switch to Mac, currently I'm using my MacBook which I love but won't play many after 3 months of the MacBook I'm ready for something with more power...I'm not sure when the Gainestown based Mac Pro will launch, but I heard it was rumored to be in January and I can't wait that long... :p
  4. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    For OEM copies of Windows, you are only allowed one install. The product key is tied to the first motherboard serial you install it on.

    Office one the other hand allows you three installs.
  5. sdonegan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008
    Thats what I thought, but I have the Retail version of Windows, not the OEM. Although I have the "Service Desk Edition" of Microsoft Office 2007, which is only one serial number so I didn't know if I could use that or not. I also didn't know about Kaspersky Internet Security...I'm not worried about violating EULA's, I just want to know if I have to buy new software or not.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, unfortunately. :(
    Unless you only want it to run under Vista/XP.
    According to the specification sheet, it doesn't support OS X.

    In my searching, as I'm interested as well, the main candidate I found was the RME HDSPe AIO. Not out yet, and will be expensive. For me, it's for test/measurement requirements, not games...

    Got it. :) Current model it is! :p
    Gainestown will be awhile yet. January, possibly February before it's shipped. :eek:
  7. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    Any hardware is supported if you run it under Windows.

    No sound card will work for OSX.

    From what I know you will have to turn off-take the pc card out-boot your mac if you wanna reboot from Windows to OSX, or vice verse.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    True, so long as it's physically capable. :)
    He wanted to use a PCI sound card, which has the wrong interface, and no driver support.
    The RME HDSPe AIO does.
    The only issue at the moment, is it hasn't shipped yet. Delays... :(
    Then of course, there is cost. I expect MSRP around $1000USD. It's not a gaming card. :eek:
    Not likely to be an option. ;)
    IIRC, not so.
    A few members have installed two graphics cards, one for OS X, and a second for windows. OS X ignores the windows card (say a HD4870X2). From the windows side, you can go into device manager, and delete anything you don't want, or no drivers are available.
  9. Aea macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Why would you want to use a Mac Pro as a gaming PC? You could build a windows gaming PC on the cheap and have the advantages of SLI, more choice, etc.

    Not that I'm saying it's a bad idea, I'm just wondering why you'd want to turn a Mac Pro into a gaming machine?
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The math may work out to be cheaper for a Mac Pro outfitted the way a person wants vs. say an iMac + gaming PC. Good chance it will be faster too, once the windows side uses its full potential. ;) :D

    Snow Leopard will take care of the OS X side of the equation. :p
  11. macest macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Unfortunately I did not manage to get the 8800 and the 4870x2 to work in harmony. The closest I got was completely disabling the 8800 in the device manager and removing the drivers for it (including the Apple Boot Camp ones). The 8800 would then use the standard VGA drivers, but the 4870x2 still refused to work alongside it.

    I have now purchased the 2600XT for the Mac side, which works just fine with the 4870x2 on the Windows side, being both ATI cards.

    As other people have stated the card requires a 6-pin connector and an 8-pin connector. Currently I have the 8-pin to 2 x 4-pin molex adaptor (included with the card) wired the to a splitter cable running off the spare molex connector in the optical bay (usually used for the 2nd optical drive).

    This seems to work, although I have had a few glitches. I'm putting these down to too much power being drawn from the molex connectors, although it could be the drivers.

    I have on order a 6-pin to 8-pin adaptor cable. This will connect to the special Apple cable that connects directly to the spare power connector on the motherboard. I'm hoping this will be a better solution and will allow me to put the side on. There's no easy way to get the molex wires down to the PCI-E slots, so they're dangling out the side at the moment. I will let you know how this works out when I receive it.
  12. bluefire75 macrumors member


    Jan 19, 2006
    Shinobi Training Center
    good info macest


    This is some good information. I currently have the 4870 (Windows) in the MP as well as the 8800GT (OSX). I ran into the same issues you described when trying to boot up with only the 4870. Same results, the 8800GT would use the VGA drivers instead.

    For now, if I want or need to do something on the Windows side, before booting up, i just unplug the 8800GT power source and then I'm golden. I assume that if I were to get the 3870 for Mac, I shouldn't have to worry about doing the boot up change over between cards anymore. Is this the case?

    I'm a little concerned about putting in an additional 4870 (for Mac when it comes out) then running them together via crossfire in Windows. The concern is mainly the power consumption. Thoughts on that?
  13. macest macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    What's the setup of your power connectors?

    Yes, I am now running the Mac version of the 2600XT alongside my 4870x2 and they work fine together.

    Unless you are going to source power from any spare SATA connectors or something, I don't believe you will be able to get enough power since the 4870's require 2 x 6-pin power connectors each. The molexs in the optical bay will only supply so much power, they're already used to power the optical drive(s) as well.
  14. j1nxy macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008
    When you guys have the 2600xt and 4870 installed what configuration do you use for the PCI-e slots?

    Do you do anything with the drivers are just use the basic ATI cats?


  15. j1nxy macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008
    Ok sorted it, helps if you have the 4870 connected to th monitor when it boots...
  16. smogsy macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    Why Copy Me? :eek: i just sold my £1200 Gaming PC For £600 so i can go Mac Pro in Jan :D
  17. macest macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    An update on my 4870x2 experiences…mostly fine, however the Crysis games have caused a couple of sudden shutdowns. I think this may be due to the heat the 4870x2 produces and it not be dispelled enough from the Mac Pro case. I may have to look into getting a cooler of some kind.
  18. rtrt, Sep 24, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  19. macest macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    smcfancontrol is an app for OS X for controlling the CPU fan(s) on MacBooks, not for controlling the GPU fans under Windows.

    However, I did a couple of ones for Windows and it seemed to fix the problem, but they were all fixed speeds controlled manually. I haven't managed to find one that will allow me to boost the default fan speeds at certain temperatures without having access to ATI Overdrive (which I can't use for some reason, might be due to the 6-pin to 8-pin adaptor).

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