Possible to run a pc vid card just for gaming?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by red9, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. red9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    #1
    First off I apologize if this has been discussed before, I tried browsing and searching, but wasn't sure exactly what to search for...

    I have an early 2008 mac pro. I've been tempted on and off to get the 8800GT for windows gaming in bootcamp, however the price really turns me off ($280 for essentially a $150 card on the windows side)...plus the ATI Radeon 4870 is $20 more and handily outperforms it.

    My question is, is it possible to buy a 4870 and use that along with the stock 2600 card, and use the 4870 just in windows for games and the 2600 for OS X?

    If it is possible, what exactly would I need to buy in terms of any sort of KVM/dvi stuff, because where I have my Mac Pro is somewhat annoying to get access to the back to switch dvi cables around (i.e. I'd like it so there was no physical switching of dvi cables/ports in the back every time I wanted to boot into windows or back again)?

    Finally, are there any downsides to doing such a thing?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help, and if this has been discussed before I apologize!
     
  2. JeffDM macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    #2
    I think it will work, I've heard of similar things successfully being done in the past.

    You can probably buy the cables & a 2 to 1 electronic DVI source switch from monoprice pretty cheaply.

    Down sides, another slot or two used, more complicated more power consumed with the second card, more PCIe lanes taken, more cables and another box to make the rat's nest behind the computer that much worse.

    Another option would be to get the 3870 Mac & PC Edition for $220. Not as fast as 4870, but the alternative is quite a contraption in my opinion.

    The Mac compatible versions are more expensive because the market for them is so much smaller, much fewer buyers to distribute the extra Mac-only development & testing costs. But you get to use them on both operating systems without all the cabling and an extra card.
     
  3. Siron macrumors 6502

    Siron

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #3
    Or get TWO 3870s and Crossfire them for really fast gaming. :eek:
     
  4. red9 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    #4
    Well that's one option, however it's $440, and from the benchmarks I've seen on Anandtech and Tom's Hardware, the $199 4850 outperforms the 3870x2 (which I assume is equivalent to 2 3870s w/ crossfire--if not, please let me know!) on several benchmarks, let alone the $299 4870 which absolutely destroys it in performance.

    And, that performance is unusable in OS X anyway since it doesn't support crossfire.

    However, I probably will go that way if the "ideal" way doesn't work out.

    Speaking of which, if I do get a 4850 or 4870 and plug it in, and get a DVI switcher from monoprice (they seem to be around $30), is there anything special I need to do in terms of bootup procedures? Will there be conflicts with having 2 video cards installed in the system? Or is it just plug and play, and the other videocard not even mattering unless I choose to boot into Windows?

    Thanks again for the help and suggestions.
     
  5. Siron macrumors 6502

    Siron

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    I believe that the 4870 requires two power connections and as there are only two on the motherboard, you would have to get a molex to PCIE power cable and use the extra molex for the second optical drive. This is something I think I might try as it's cheaper and faster than two 3870s (like you said). If I got two 3870s I would have to dump my 8800GT (perhaps I can get $150 for it on EBay).
     
  6. NovemberMike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #6
    3870x2 is two 3870 cores on a single PCB that plugs into a single slot, and I think it is slightly faster than two 3870's in crossfire.
     
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #7
    You can buy the 8800GT/3870 PC card, flash it with the Mac firmware, and voila. Then you can use the same card for both OS X and Windows.
     
  8. JeffDM macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    #8
    I think that sort of activity is part of the reason why Macs don't get many graphics cards, and why we don't get timely third party product updates. If Mac users are not going to support the development of Mac-compatible firmware and drivers, that takes away the incentive to develop them.
     
  9. red9 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    #9
    Any idea if this would cause any issues with general system stability?

    Also, would there be any conflicts caused when booting up by having 2 video cards in the system (one of which is not supported by os x)? Thanks.
     

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