Multiple graphics cards in 2008 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by paintballmjm, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. paintballmjm, Mar 6, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014

    paintballmjm macrumors newbie

    paintballmjm

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I have a Mac Pro that I bought back in 2008. I haven't used it for a while so it's fairly outdated by now. It came with three ATI Radeon 2600XT (256MB each) graphics cards. Being not too familiar with graphics cards, I thought that this meant I had a combined 768MB available for rendering, etc. After Effects ran just fine back then, so I assumed that was the case.

    Then I learned about SLI/Crossfire. Since my Mac Pro doesn't support Crossfire under OS X, does this essentially mean that I'm still only using 256MB, with the only benefit being able to run several monitors?

    Please excuse me if I'm completely out in the left-field on this one. It's been a while since I've educated myself on computer hardware. :p

    Thank you!
     
  2. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #2
    I don't think you are getting any processing benefit to having the extra cards in there. The cards won't combine for OpenGL, and OpenCL doesn't support cards this old. The memory doesn't combine for rendering like you think.

    I suppose you might get some benefit from having separate framebuffers for separate monitors.

    It's a fair bet that even a modest upgrade to your GPU would result in a much higher speed for anything using GPU HW acceleration. IIRC, certain elements of CS6 can take advantage of OpenGL and CUDA.
     
  3. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #3
    Remove 2 ATI's, keep one installed in PCIe slot#2/3/4 for bootscreen/maintenance! Add a recent GPU (Nvidia) in PCIe slot#1 and you're set to go! That will be a great upgrade for the MP 3.1!!! But be aware of the power issues (TPD) with some newer GPU's.

    Adding a SSD and RAM will make your update complete and ready for a few more years of real Mac Pro fun!

    GL & Cheers
     
  4. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #4
    Would get rid of all the old 2600's. An 18 month old card when it was released.

    I only keep mine handy in case of a re-install from scratch. Replace it with a nVidia GT650 or GT660.

    Adding more RAM will help greatly although it still costs the earth to buy. As another poster mentioned an SSD will provide the biggest benefit overall.

    Although I have not done so yet on mine, that is the next upgrade I have planned. I am just waiting for the prices to fall a little more so I can get 750GB at a reasonable price.
     
  5. paintballmjm thread starter macrumors newbie

    paintballmjm

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    #5
    Thanks for your help, everyone! :) I have increased the RAM to 16GB recently and planning on an SSD so that'll be great, just wasn't sure about the graphics cards. Now I am though!

    BDM STUDIOS NL: When you suggested keeping one of the old ATI's in a second slot, was that so it would be a failsafe in case the newer graphics card had problems later down the line? Also not sure how it could be used for booting specifically. Can you elaborate a little on that?
     
  6. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Location:
    DMV Area
    #6
    Fully agree with this recommendation. I upgraded to a GTX 660, and kept my Radeon 2600 XT in Slot 2 to use with my VGA monitor and for a boot screen. Any newer NVIDIA card will blow away any number of the 2600 XTs. If you need OpenCL over CUDA, there are also several modern Radeon cards, though I've seen prices driven up recently because of their use in bitcoin mining, and they tend to run hot. Again, keep in mind with the power consumption. Your board has 2 PCIe 6-pin connectors, and if needed, power can be routed from the optical drives, but this isn't recommended. Even a mid range card like the GTX 660 only uses one 6-pin power connector.
     
  7. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #7
    I can HIGHLY recommend the SSD upgrade to you! I have the Samsung 840 EVO series. Very happy with them.

    Sorry for not being 100% clear! :rolleyes:
    If you purchase an non-efi GPU like a GTX-6xx for PC (cheaper then Mac Editions) you would not have the Apple bootscreen, for selecting bootdrive and/or other maintenance. So keep the ATI for MAC for that. When you purchase an GTX-6xx for MAC your have the Apple bootscreen so no need for an additional GPU.

    Hope I cleared that for you.

    GL & Cheers

    ----------

    +1 :cool:
     
  8. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #8
    So the user would have the faster / newer card connected to a monitor and only when needing maintenance (select boot order, etc) would connect to the old school card?
     
  9. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Location:
    DMV Area
    #9
    In most circumstances, this works for majority of users. I run three monitors, not just one, and have my EFI card driving one of my side displays. That way, I always have a boot screen (though I find myself not needing it.) I could easily do as you suggest, and as most people do. I find myself using Startup Disk or NTFS For Mac to boot into my Boot Camp partition, and using Boot Camp Assistant in Windows to switch back to OS X, even though I have the boot screen.
     
  10. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #10
    Perhaps the user has one monitor with multiple inputs! Handy Candy ;)
     
  11. Robert Davies macrumors 6502

    Robert Davies

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    People's Republic of Wrexham
    #11
    If you don't need the output of the 2600xt, and your installs are pretty standard (OS X or BootCamp), there's no need to have an efi card in place to choose your boot disk. Just use Startup Disk in System Preferences to choose your next boot disk before you reboot.

    You can then use the card slot for something more useful.
     
  12. m4v3r1ck macrumors 68020

    m4v3r1ck

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #12
    But if you don't have something useful to put in the slots#2/3/4, it's your best shot! :rolleyes:

    GL & Cheers
     
  13. digipro00 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    #13
    I had no idea this was possible! My trusty Mac Pro 3,1 is my go to Mac for almost everything, but at the moment I am in serious need of an hdmi port on there. I thought I would either have to fork over 400+ for a "Mac" card, or go cheaper and give up my boot screen. Youre telling me I can have it all and just pop in a new card and leave the original in tact! Thats amazing!

    Is there any special setup or settings I would need to make this happen? Or any specific kind of second card I would need? You are a genius...why have I not seen this solution more places?!?!?
     
  14. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #14
    Look in the stickies at the top of this page.

    Or, drop $6 and get one of these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...1060&cm_re=hdmi_to_dvi-_-82-021-060-_-Product
     
  15. digipro00 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    #15
    I really wish those adapters worked for me! My issue is that I am trying to create a remote monitor/keyboard setup using an HDMI cable I already wired through my walls. I have a 75ft HDMI cable with a built in amp/repeater running now. It works great going HDMI to HDMI, but whenever I add on one of those HDMI to DVI adapters, the signal completely gets cut off. Thats why I was curious if I could "cheaply" add in a second card with an HDMI out, and not even have to worry about the losing the stock card. I dont need any extra power, I really just need an HDMI port. So I could leave the main monitor in the same room as the Mac hooked to the stock card, still get my boot screen, and then have the remote monitor hooked to the hdmi port in the second card.

    Does that make sense? Is there such thing as a very "basic" cheap hdmi card, that since it would be the "second" card I dont need to worry about it being flashed?

    Thank link looks awesome though for a full upgrade! Thank you for it!
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #16
    WWe have a GT120 with HDMI that we stock sometimes.

    Also a GT640.

    If you already have an EFI card you don't necessarily need us to provide them.
     
  17. digipro00 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    #17
    640 is in stock! 2GB looks good.

    What do you mean by the above? What wont I necessarily need you to provide? Do you mean if I already have an EFI and leave it in there with the upgrade, I wont need to get a flashed card?
     

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