Okay, 2006/07 Mac Pro video card question...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by SQUALL8765, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. SQUALL8765 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    #1
    So, what exactly is stopping us from using the newer cards in our Mac Pros? From what I can tell from a general search on the subject, the problem stems from the power draw of the new cards versus the old ones, with exception to the Radeon 4870 which is universal.

    I've installed an FSP Booster X5 450w power supply in the empty CD/DVD bay in my Mac Pro in anticipation of a new videocard, whether for Mac or PC side. If I simply dedicate that power supply to a card like, say, the Quadro 4800 or the GTX 285, wouldn't there be no problem at all? Or is the problem not with the hardware aspects of the 2006 Mac Pros but with the software/drivers for the cards? I know we don't have PCI Express 2.0 but aren't the cards supposed to throttle down a bit and still work? Heck, I'd rather have that then stick with the Radeon 3870 I've got right now.

    I just don't get why I can put in a big card like a Geforce 295 in my Mac Pro but not have it work for both OSX and Windows. I'm a creative professional so I want something fast for Autodesk Maya and other 3D software like it and the Radeon 3870 just isn't cutting it even using Windows XP x64 with 16gb of RAM, so I'm looking for a new video card to support that and the best is either the nVidia 4800 or the new ATI FirePro V8750 and, since Snow Leopard is out, I'd like to take advantage of OpenCL on the Mac side, but the Mac Quadro 4800 apparently doesn't work for my 2007 Mac Pro. What's the real technical deal here guys?
     
  2. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #2
    the problem is that the mac pro 2006 runs a 32 bit EFI, while the newer machines run 64 bit EFI. the newer cards are 64 bit EFI and can't run on a machine with 32 bit EFI. ATI has done us a favor and snuck both the 64 bit and 32 bit code onto their 4870
     
  3. JPamplin macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #3
    Hey Bozz, has it been established that the 4870 is the fastest card we can stick in the Mac Pro Classics 2006-7? Is that the end of the 32 bit EFI road or is there a faster nVidia card that will work?

    JP
     
  4. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4
    it's pretty much the consensus that it is the fastest now. I doubt nvidia will offer anything faster, as their current offerings have no 32 bit support. so i would be surprised if nvidia offers anything new for the 2006 mac pro. But ATI snuck the 32 bit EFI onto the 64 bit card. it has both. I don't think anybody saw that one coming, so I don't know that we can say they won't do it in their future Apple cards. but for now, yeah, it's the fastest. people have been making much noise about the 4870's lackluster performance under these new synthetic OpenCL benchmarks, but that's nothing to worry about because,
    1) ATI actually issues driver updates for their cards!
    2) the benchmarks just don't work correctly, in that they say the 4870 is operating with 4 processing cores, when in actuality, it has around 140 or so.
     
  5. JPamplin macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #5
    Yeah, when I tap in to that infinite supply of money (haven't found it yet), I'll upgrade this 3870 to a 4870. Still want to hold out for a driver update which might support it. I don't like that 4-core limitation on the ATI cards, but it's just a driver issue and we all know it.

    You guys tried out netkas.org's Galaxies OpenCL demo yet? I'm getting 68 GFlops with CPU cores alone and the OpenGL renderer. Not too shabby.

    JP
     
  6. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Sweden
    #6
    At the moment the 4890 is the fastest card for 06 / 07. See my thread.
     
  7. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #7
    I have nothing to add to Bozz2006 on cards but would offer a comment on your power situation. You have two 6pin PCIe power supply cables from your logic board in the PCIe bay. The 3870 needs one of those. The 4870 needs two. You can still use both cards if that makes sense by routing a Molex cable from the ODD bay through the cable cut out under the first HDD drive connector. You may have to temporarily remove the connector bridge to thread the cable through there. Then you add an adaptor from Molex to PCIe and you have a third supply in the PCIe bay. Once you have exhausted three cables you may have to go to your dedicated power supply unit. I have only known people who use four cables like cross fired 2x 4870s to use so much power.
     
  8. Ferrari904 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #8
    I have a 2009 Mac Pro and purchased the same power supply to power my 4890 graphics card. It was a smooth installation putting it in one of the super drive bays, and plugged the power in. I have realized that it needed the 4 Pin molex to be plugged however I'm not sure what to do. The power supply on my Mac Pro doesn't have one, or at least one I'm not aware of. Can you please enlighten me as to how you installed yours. Thanks much appreciation.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    The power connectors are on the logic board, and you'd need 2x of these (assuming neither is currently used, which is the case with the GT120).
     

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