Options for running a third monitor

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bob5820, May 15, 2010.

  1. bob5820 macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #1
    I just ordered two U2311's from Dell to add to my 30"ACD for a three display set up. I placed the order without putting much thought into how I'm going to drive the 3rd monitor. I have a 2006 MP 1,1 with an ATI 3870 installed. I still have the X1900 that came with the MP but its not presently in the MP. I think that it still works but as I remember its kind of loud. So what are my options for running 3 monitors. I'm just looking for increased desk space not any kind of gaming set up like is possible with the newer ATI cards. From what I've read so far my options are
    1. 3870 / X1900 - cheapest solution but probably not the best solution
    2. 3870 / Apple 4870 - not going to happen
    3. 3870 / flashed ATI 4870
    4. 3870 / flashed ATI 4890
    Are there any options that I didn't consider? Of the two flashing options which one is the better option in terms of successful flashes and reliability. The added performance of the 4890 would be nice but not a necessity. I'd rather go which whichever card has a better chance of working with the least amount of headaches. I'll start working my way through the 4870/4890 threads tomorrow but a lot of the revs talked about in the threads are no longer available. Is there any current 'card to get'?
     
  2. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #2
    I'd go with the 4870 if you don't want to have to keep installing QE/CI patches every time there's a point update.

    I don't know if there are any revisions that are currently available, but almost all of the cards we've all tried have eventually worked. All you need to do is save your original ROM with GPU-Z under Windows, upload it, and then hope someone nice will write you a new one.
     
  3. benborman macrumors member

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    May 28, 2008
    #3
    You may also see if you can find a cheap used Apple nVidia GT7300. That was the stock card in my MP 1,1, and I have it powering my third monitor along with my Apple 4870. No fans, so it's quiet. Good solution for adding more screen real estate to this type of system, but no real performance boost.

    No headaches, though!
     
  4. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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  5. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #5
    Does that work in the 2006 Mac Pro? I thought it didn't.
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #6
    The GT120 will NOT work, as it's firmware is EFI64, unlike EBC used in the ATI cards. :(
     
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #7
    There is a constraint I think you missed. There is a cap on PCI-e bus power. I think it is 300W for all slots. Not sure all those card combos are underneath that watermark. There is reason why Apple's BTO configurator only does high multiple graphics card packing with the lowest end cards.


    The 3870 is about 106W TDP all by itself which is suggestive not a low sipper of power.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...rocessing_units#PCIe_.28HD_2xxx.2C_HD_3xxx.29

    Bigger power hogs are the other two. The 4870 is 150W TDP and 4890 is 190W . You need to find out what the rated power draw is for each card for any multiple card set up. There is plenty headroom in most cases for a single high end card not to run into the cap. However, when go multiple, you will increasingly run into issues.


    A combo of 190W + 106W is awfully close to 300W, even if it looks like it physically fits inside the machine. That's just the GPUs there is other stuff on the cards.


    For secondary monitors would be better off trying to find some low end card and just park email, pdf viewers , IM , etc. (i.e., mundane 2D stuff) on that monitor.
     
  8. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #8
    You can easily do a dual 4870s together – I've seen one of the other members on here with that configuration. I'm certain I've also seen a 4890 and 4870 together.
     
  9. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    Hollywood, CA
    #9
    How about a used Radeon 2600XT?

    Used ones on Ebay are around $100.

    Better card than 7300 and more compatible if you want to ever run Windows.

    And no extra power cable needed.

    Just make sure you get a "Mac" one.
     
  10. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #10
    If your x1900xt is working, only loud, get yourself Accelero S1/S2 (passive) or Accelero X2 - active and very quiet. It should be cheapest way to do what you want to.
     
  11. bob5820 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #11
    That's actually a pretty sweet idea. I'm fairly certian the card still works and a new cooler will certainly be cheaper then a card. Can you believe the online dealers want $200 or more for an Apple 7300GT. I'm sitting outside of the Fedex facility waiting to pick up the U2311H's. Missed the delivery this afternoon. I'll look into the cooler thanks for the tip.
     
  12. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #12
    Just because can plug them in and don't crash on start up doesn't mean they are supported.

    Did some more digging and found this on web. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-power,2122-6.html
    So 'easily' is a bit of an overstatement. At 150W a piece, two is 300W. That is the rated cap for the Mac Pro. 'Easily' implies have power to spare; you don't (at least with the implementations they measured). Apple is probably a bit conservative with power rating so probably can tease slightly over without a catastrophic failure, but you would be at the cap.

    There are some data points later in that article that put a 4870 at 68W when constrained to 2D desktop duties. If running a 4890 at full 3D power and then using 4870 for palettes , email, and other 2D desktop workload it can fall in the "happens to work" category. However, if ever go max power on both cards concurrently will have a problem.

    The practical approach is to use the full 3D power draw as the unit to subtract form Apple's "max power" number to see if it goes negative or not. Can add whatever safety factor buffer above zero you want if want to run machine over an extended lifetime.
     
  13. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    Jun 29, 2006
    #13
    Just because you can google web links doesn't mean that they're 100 percent accurate.

    Talk to the people who are doing it. Start a thread. I'm only relating what others on this board have done. Feel free to tell them they should take out one 4870 when both work fine. ;)
     
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #14
    There is nothing in that articles that say dual 4870 would not work. The issue is that it is not "easily" work category. Aping what other folks did without understanding the tradeoffs they made in getting to that configuration is misguided. They have maxed out their Mac Pros according to Apple's specs. Anyone running a 4890 and 4870 is tiptoeing through a minefield. The fact remains that you shouldn't just plop multiple cards into a MacPro without taking into account the power constraint operating under.

    For individual cards, folks can ask the vendor or look through the docs for max W numbers. I'm picking out examples on web because they are concrete and sharable datapoints.
     
  15. drewsof07 macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

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    Ohio
    #15
    I have one here, if the OP is interested. I see they are eligible for the marketplace.
     
  16. bob5820 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #16
    I PM'ed you about the card
     

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