New Video Card for 2006 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rokusaburo, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Rokusaburo macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #1
    Hey gang,
    So here's the deal, I've currently got a 2006 Mac Pro with an ATI X1900XT video card and a 23" ACD.

    I'm looking to add two more displays to my setup (most likely 24" Dells) for a total of 3 monitors and would thus require 2 graphics cards.

    So here's my question, would I be able to keep my current X1900 card and add a second card? If so, what card would people recommend?

    Otherwise, I'm happy to buy 2 new (but not too expensive) cards. If this is by best option, what cards would be best?

    At the moment, I'm looking at the 3870's from OWC. Is it possible to either use this card with my X1900 or to buy and use 2 3870's?

    I've also read about people flashing PC 4870's and other newer ATI cards. Again, would I be able to use one of these with my X1900, or would I be able to use two of these?

    Any help here would be greatly appreciated :)

    I've also been reading about
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #2
    I'd look at flashing an 8800/9800GT to an EFI32 video BIOS.
     
  3. rikoshay macrumors member

    rikoshay

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    No. California (in the Redwoods)
    #3
    Get a flashed, or flash it yourself, ATI 4870 card, with 1 GB VRAM, & dual ports. That's what I did with my 2007 Mac Pro. Works just fantastically.
     
  4. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #4
    mp has 2 power connectors on motherboard

    1900xt reqs 1

    8800 reqs 1

    4870 reqs 2

    you can also draw power from superdrive. for an how-to on that, see my thread, "8800GTX in Mac Pro"
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #5
    The 8800/9800GT is only going to require one 6-pin connector for supplemental power. In addition there are low power variants of the 9800GT that don't need it at all.
     
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #6
    Which unfortunately nobody has flashed yet. Another good place to use a "stitched" Nvidia ROM.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #7
    I suspected as much.
     
  8. Rokusaburo thread starter macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

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    #8
    So, if I decided to keep my 1900XT, I could ideally add a second card that only requires 1 power connector without needing to draw power from elsewhere.
     
  9. Rokusaburo thread starter macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

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    #9
    I was thinking that, but as I said, I'm looking to run 3 monitors. So, were I to go with the 4870, what second card would you suggest for running the 3rd display?
     
  10. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #10
    Yes, such as the 2600HD, 3870, 8800gt etc.

    (hm not sure is the 2600hd 64bit efi?)
     
  11. Macintosh Sauce macrumors 6502

    Macintosh Sauce

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    Nov 25, 2006
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    USA
    #11
    I just popped an Apple ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Card Upgrade in my MacPro1,1 (the original Mac Pro). It is working perfectly and is much quieter than my old X1900 XT video card.

    Warning: Depending on your DVI cable though you may have a problem properly fitting Apple's miniDisplay to DVI adapter. I run two LCD monitors so I had to get the adapter for the miniDisplay port on the video card. The other connector is DVI.
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #12
    ATI's cards should be compatible regardless of the EFI version on your Mac Pro.

    I'd avoid the 3870 to be honest. It's a good card but not a lot of love for it to be honest. The HD 2600XT would be nice for a second display. I'd at least get a 8800GT or 4870 though and try to flash a PC one.
     
  13. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #13
    What makes you say that? Lack of Apple (and/or OpenCL) support? The only reason I'm asking is because I need a single-slot card for a new machine down the road (as compared to dual-slot card which has an additional slot for ventilation, such as the 4870), and it was coming down to this or an 8800GT.
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #14
    I'd pick the 8800GT in that situation for the performance. Unless you're looking for Core Image performance over other features.
     
  15. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    #15
    The stock cooler on the 3870 is very poor and undersized. The flow direction is against the Mac Pro fans. The cards works way better with a two slot cooler. If you don't need the performance and have a 2008 or 2009 model you can use a GT120 which takes no PCIe extra power and has some base performance. Not so bad for mundane tasks.
     
  16. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #16
    Ah. Well, I was looking at Core Image performance, but it sounds like OpenCL would be replacing Core Image in future for programs that would make use of the GPU.... would this be an accurate assumption?

    I'm trying to stay away from MDP cards as well, though, if at all possible... :eek: But you make an excellent point on the GT120 not requiring additional power as well as the 3870 having a poor on-card cooling solution.
     
  17. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #17
    That's a very gray area without benchmarks and software right now.
     
  18. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #18
    Good point. Thanks for the help on this one, Eidorian and Gugucom.
     
  19. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #19
    There's a lot of technology that Apple ships in OS X but in reality a lot of it is unrealized. It's nice to fawn over 300 features but where's the beef?
     
  20. Rokusaburo thread starter macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

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    #20
    OK, so I've done a bit more research and at the moment, I'm considering going with TWO flashed PC 4870's (1GB versions, XFX branded I think).

    2 questions though...

    First of all, I obviously would not have enough ports on my motherboard to power both cards, so I'm thinking about powering one of the cards from the second optical drive using a molex to pcie adapter (or whatever its called). Are there any step-by-step guides up anywhere about how to do this, including exactly what extra stuff (i.e. cables) I would need?

    And secondly, if I were to run these two cards, I read somewhere that I would have to configure the two PCIe slots used to be running at 8x. Would this reduce performance in any way?
     
  21. Rokusaburo thread starter macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

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    #21
    Sorry guys, just another thing. Would it be possible to combine ATI and nVidia cards in my setup? For example, would I be able to use say an ATi 4870 and an nVidia 8800?
     
  22. Rokusaburo thread starter macrumors member

    Rokusaburo

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  23. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #23
    People running two 4870s, AFAIK have been using a 5.25" form factor PSU in-case. However, I'm sure in the depths of the "Flashing the 4870" thread or whats-its-called the solution lies.

    Depends on who you ask. Look around for benchmarks. Barefeats.com? Personally, I would think not, unless you were using Color or a program that interfaces with the GPU heavily.

    In OSX, yes. Also works with XP and 7. Vista will crap out. Heck, any OS OTHER then Vista not do this? IDK, but probably not a modern one.
     
  24. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #24
    guide in my thread "8800GTX in Mac Pro"


    Yes, expect around 20% performance decrease.

    Don't see why you would run 2x 4870, they don't co-operate in any way under OSX to give you extra graphic performance.
     

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