new Mac Pro graphics card options

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by anthonys, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. anthonys macrumors member

    anthonys

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    I want to ask about spec-ing a Pro with a decent graphics card for games. While it's not the only thing I will use the computer for, it will be one of it's main uses. Is it better to get one with the default 2600 and then buy a more recent Windows graphics card like an ATI 4870 and use boot camp? If I do this can I buy any PC/Windows card and keep both in so that Vista will use the PC one and OSX will use the 2600? I don't want to have to switch things around internally every time I boot to a different OS. Or should I just BTO the Nvidia 8800GT and keep things simple? As far as I can tell the 8800GT should give decent performance, at least for another few months..

    Need to decide on CPU too, mainly single 2.8 vs dual, but I'm guessing I can dig that up in the archives as I'm sure that's been asked before!

    Also, has the price of the Mac Pro come down at all this year? I was planning to hold out to early next year and see if the Mac Pro got an update as it feels a bit silly buying now at the same price they were almost a year ago - for the same technology?
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    The specific description you describe will work. :)

    If you use two graphics cards, one for each OS, and don't want to remove them, the easiest way is to use cards from the same manufacturer.

    Two different card makers can be used, but you have to get into windows device manager and disable the OS X card. Windows will only accept drivers from one maker at a time. SLI or Crossfire, though in this case, only one card is used. Obviously much more difficult, and too much aggravation, particularly if you run into a problem, IMO. Besides, ATI cards are doing better at Core Image than nVidia ATM. (Drivers just don't work as well). :(

    If you are willing to wait, the 4870 is supposed to release a Mac version, though the time frame is currently unknown.

    Another solution would be to use the 3870 Mac & PC ed. One card, and works reasonably well for both OS's. Just keep the 2600 in case you ever need to reinstall OS X, as it wouldn't recognize the 3870. Snow Leopard may solve this issue.

    You will have to determine if the 3870 would work well enough for you in Windows gaming. ;)
    It's best to get both processors at the same time, as Apple only charges ~$500 for it. To upgrade later, you will spend much more. Currently the CPU (E5462) can be found for $823.00 (street) + $102.00 (or so) for the CPU Cooler. Obvious once you see the actual numbers. :eek: ;)
    Apple doesn't drop the price as the year drags on. At best, they may upgrade some of the base equipment, ie. use a larger HDD.

    The best thing price wise, is the refurb section. You can also find New at other sites, at a slight discount. Check out Amazon.com, macsales.com, and smalldog.com. They, or even eBay are a good place to purchase Apple Care if you're interested. ;)

    If you can wait until Jan - Mar '09, the next Mac Pro should become available. They would likely announce it in Jan, approx. Macworld. Shipping will likely be a bit later, as Intel hasn't begun shipping the new CPU's yet, and aren't scheduled to do so until next year (Q1), so Mar is realistic. I hope. :p
     
  3. anthonys thread starter macrumors member

    anthonys

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    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Thanks for your very helpful reply! You've answered all my questions. :cool: I need a computer this month so unfortunately I can't really wait until next March, as much as I'd like to. If I go with a dual 2.8 now I can't really seeing it being too slow for me for another few years anyway. That seems like the best CPU configuration to go for after looking at CPU prices. I guess I've just got to decide on a graphics card, I suspect the 3870 will suit my needs, as would the 8800GT really. Maybe just go for which ever I can get cheapest :) Guess I've just got to pick a display now. I've got a 37" 1080p TV which I'm assuming could serve as a temporary display until I find one.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

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  5. anthonys thread starter macrumors member

    anthonys

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    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
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    #5
    I live in London and have seen one for £160, but that one seems cheaper. The 8800GT is a £90 upgrade so maybe that's a better option. I'll be in the States next week so maybe I can try pick one up and carry it back as hand luggage tho :)
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    Send an e-mail to find out if ship internationally.
    I can't remember. :eek:
     
  7. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #7
    Interesting read

    I'm in a slightly different position, I've an April 2007 Mac Pro 2.66 dual dual with the stock 7300 card and am thinking of upgrading as I'm enjoying playing games from time to time but the 7300 just isn't up to it.

    I don't care to boot into Windows, I want to run in OSX as much as possible.

    So what are my options other than the 8800 card?
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    Easy. :)
    Get the card you want, even an ATI, as long as it can boot OS X. It would work since you're using a single card solution, even in windows if you wish.
    Just follow the installation instructions. Nice and basic, incredibly easy. ;) :D

    Hang on to the old one until Snow Leopard, as it should include the 3870 drivers on the disk. Of course keeping it as a backup isn't a bad idea either. ;)
     
  9. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

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    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #9
    Ah, but there's the key "as long as it can boot into OSX"...

    a) how do I know which cards will
    b) what's the best card to get?

    I was always under the impression that if Apple didn't sell it on their store then it wasn't compatable with OSX?
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    Currently, the 3870 and the 8800 would be the most likely, as they will perform well, and aren't going to cause you a massive coronary over the cost. ;) Unlike the nVidia Quadro 5600 ($2800USD). :eek: :p

    Between the two, I'd go for the 3870, as it has better performance under OS X (better written drivers), and last I looked, a little cheaper if you don't try to find the right 8800 and flash the firmware.

    You can find the 3870 for $217.99USD at macsales.com, and they do ship internationally. :)
     
  11. anthonys thread starter macrumors member

    anthonys

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    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Yup, seems if you want a gaming card for use in OSX the 8800 and 3750 and the best/only choices. ATI have stated they are releasing the 4850 and 4870 in a Mac version but I can't find any set date. If you are prepared to install Windows then it seems you've got a much wider choice (and better) of graphics cards, not to mention actual games!
     
  12. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a

    Lycanthrope

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    Nov 1, 2005
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    #12
    Thanks for the info guys, I'll look around here to see how much the ATI costs - the 8800 is 230EUR from Apple store, don't think I can be bothered to mess about trying to flash a Windows version...
     
  13. johnniewalker macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    Blackpool, England
    #13
    I've just added a second graphics card to my Mac Pro to use in bootcamp to play Far Cry 2.

    I put in a 9800gt which is great when using it in windows, but when I boot into Leopard the fan spins really fast all the time which is quite annoying, I still use the standard 7300gt in Leopard which even have a fan on-board.

    Is there any way to disable the 9800 when using Leopard? or some other way of controlling the fan speed? I would have thought that the 9800 would control it's fan speed automatically as it does when booted into windows, it's not even doing any work when I'm using Leopard!
     
  14. ceres macrumors regular

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    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    Dark Forests of Germania
    #14
    No, there is no way to control the fan speed in os x, or at least any I am aware of. You should look into buying an aftermarket cooling solution for your 9800. I did the same thing with my 4850. I went the Zalman route but there are viable alternatives from Thermalright, Aerocool and Scythe to name the most common.
     
  15. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #15
    I recently bought a new Mac Pro and was wondering what is a full list of available cards that will work with the Mac right now. I'm not interested in running dual cards but I do like to play games in Boot Camp. I'm a life-long pc user who recently switched to Mac (loving it so far) but it's been hard getting used to the limited numbers of parts available and finding where to get them. There are LOTS of video card options for a pc but when I look around for my Mac, it seems like there are only about 7 or so options, total.

    I've also read threads on this board about people using 3870x2 and other cards that I didn't think were yet compatible with the Mac. Can anyone please write a list of the current available cards for the new Mac Pros? That would be extremely helpful, thank you.
     
  16. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    Philly
    #16
    AdiosVista, have you read the thread at all? All the information you need is in it.
     
  17. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

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    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #17
    cooling is an issue, so I am going the aftermarket cooler with a speed controlled fan route. This way I can shut the damn fan up in OSX (if its noisy that is and I intend to use one that isnt)
     
  18. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #18
    I have read the thread. Did you read my question? :confused:

    I would like to see a list of ALL available cards for the new Macs. As far as I can tell, only a small handful of cards have been mentioned in this thread but there are more available for the MP.
     
  19. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    Philly
    #19
    7300GT, X1900XT, 8800GT, 3870, 2600XT, and some extremely expensive quattro cards that have no benefit in OSX.
     
  20. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #20
    Thanks! Unfortunately, that's less than I thought was available for these machines :( I still don't understand why Apple is so behind the ball on graphics cards. Is it because the card manufacturers could care less about Mac or does Apple just not see a need to have the latest in graphics performance?
     
  21. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #21
    A few further questions:

    - I see the 8800GT on the Apple store but not the 3870, not to mention, you can configure a new MP from the store with the 8800 but not the 3870. Why is that? Does apple have better support (driver wise) for one or the other?

    - Would the 8800GT also have the same problem as the 3870 where you can't re-install Leopard?

    - I really dislike how the 3870 vents the card's heat right back into the case. Is it possible to use aftermarket coolers that are available for the PC version of this card or are they too different?
     
  22. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    Jan 10, 2007
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    bleep
    #22
    I'd like to see the 4870 come out so I can upgrade from my 8800GT. Sure its fine, but I'd like to upgrade in the future and maybe try out some gaming.

    It think it' pretty pathetic that Apple got ATI to release a Mac version of the 3870 when the 4870 was already out. :rolleyes:
     
  23. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #23
    They require a different firmware package that supports OSX and Windows. Steve Jobs is not interested in games so he does not go out of his way to keep perfectly up to date. The latest in graphics performance hardly matters when you use OpenGL as your API. OpenGL 3 is closer to OpenGL 2 than the 9800GT is close to the 8800GT if you get my meaning.

    Edit your post instead of double posting. ;)

    The 3870 is not sold through Apple. All of the usual third party suspects carry them.

    The 8800GT does not have that problem.

    I don't know of any third party coolers off the top of my head for it, but of course they exist. There is nothing physically different on the 3870 (It shows up as a Sapphire in GPU-Z), so any cooler should work.

    Next time you have a question, I'd recommend using mroogle instead so you don't have to wait for an answer to a question many people have already asked. :)
     
  24. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #24
    Sorry, your highness. It shall never happen again...

    Once again, please my questions before replying. I know apple doesn't sell the 3870, I already pointed that out. My question was why not? Is that Apple's way of openly saying they prefer you to use the 8800 instead of the 3870?

    Cool, looks like a great resource. Again, your highness, forgive me for taking part in your discussion.
     
  25. grue macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Apple had nothing to do with it, at least on any official level. ATI chose to make a Mac version.
     

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