Questions Regarding Specific Graph Card Compatibility

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fifthmanstandin, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. fifthmanstandin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #1
    Hi all,

    First let me say yes, I did read through the sticky up top and there's a lot of information that doesn't apply to my particular mac so in the interest of me not ruining a nice piece of equipment I wanted to start a thread:

    I'm running a Mac Pro 3.1 model on Snow Leopard currently with an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT graph card. Performance is starting to get bad given the current graph requirements for most games. I run a boot camp partitioned hard drive on Windows 7 and I use it 95% of the time. Everything works great except the graph card, which I intend to upgrade. I really don't want to pay a crazy amount for the mac enabled graph cards and I don't particularly want to risk bricking a new card by fixing the firmware to be EFI compatible, it seems like it's risky. I've spend several days dredging through Google looking for concise information about upgrading the graph card and everything is very very muddled for me given the circumstances.

    I am under the understanding that upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion will enable my comp to support some standard windows graph cards and that those cards to not have to be hacked to enable EFI firmware on the card (I'm not even sure I said that right). As I understand it I can buy one of these cards -> plug it in -> ??? -> graphical profit?

    So what I'm asking is, am I correct in saying that if I upgrade this 3.1 mac pro to OS X Mountain Lion I can buy one of these cards, plug it in and go?

    And if yes, is there a definitive list, as of recently, of graph cards that will work that someone could link me to?

    Thanks in advance for any help
     
  2. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #2
    I will have a MacVidCards flashed Gigabyte GTX570, 1.25 GB RAM Card available next week, will put in the for sale section. PM me if you're interested.

    Lou
     
  3. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #3
    Since you spend a fair amount of time over in Windows, you may want to have a look at the free app called BootChamp which you can pick up here... http://www.kainjow.com

    It is a great little tool which helps flip from OSX to Windows without having to use the grey boot screen.
     
  4. fifthmanstandin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #4
    I actually just have windows installed on a separate hard drive and have that set as the main boot so it does that already. Is there any other advantages to this program?
     
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #5
    Yes, with Mountain Lion, the built-in Apple drivers support up to the Nvidia GTX 600-series cards. Just plug it in and go.

    For support of GTX 700-series cards, Nvidia has web drivers. Since the newest iMacs have GTX 700-series cards, my guess is that those drivers will be packaged in an upcoming update.
     
  6. fifthmanstandin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #6
    when you say 'up to' where does the model line start? I'm trying to stay int he $250 range and all the 600 series cards seem to be about $350+
     
  7. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #7
    I am quoting UK GBP prices including 20% VAT but there are some cheaper cards in the 6xx series..

    640 2Gb around £75
    650 2Gb around £95
    650Ti from £125
    660 from £160
    660Ti from £200

    The 650 and 660 cards would be very nice mid-level gaming cards for 1080p use. The 640/650 cards would be a little underpowered. Try to get a 2Gb card if you can.
     
  8. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #8
    From the Nvidia FAQ thread:

    "5) What GPUs will work?

    As far as we can tell, basically any card will work, especially with Mountain Lion. The Lion driver appears to work well with the Fermi generation, but the Kepler generation cards only work with Mountain Lion and beyond.

    Note that while cards like the GTX 480 and GTX 580 technically work, they have a TDP of 245-250W which is above what the Mac Pro can officially support (225W). If you want to use these cards, you'll probably have to drive them with an external power supply. In general, a card like the GTX 570 would be a better choice, since it has a TDP of 219W.

    The rule of thumb is this: if the card has one or more 8-pin power connectors, it might draw too much power and you should check to see what its TDP is. It is generally safer to stick with cards that have one or two 6-pin power connectors. Note that many GTX 680 cards do have both a 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors, though their TDP is down in the 190W range and should work fine."

    With your budget of about $250, you have many very good options. I believe you can find GTX 670 at around that price range and it's a very good all round card.
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #9
    I forgot to add that you will need Mac Pro to video card power cables for cards that require auxiliary power.
     
  10. fifthmanstandin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #10
    so what about something like THIS which says HERE that it's a 110 watt card? Am I reading that right?


    But in terms of card comparison I'm looking at THIS and THIS in terms of comparison. Both 2gb of ram and one is 128 bit versus 192 bit and with a difference of $100, is there really that big of a difference? I mean I know one is considered mid range (according to wikipedia anyway) and one is higher end. But is it worth it?

    tldr; I want to play Arma 3 and actually be able to see things in the distance before they shoot me.

    ----------

    Can those be bought as simple adapter cables? or are we overhauling the power supply here?
     
  11. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #11
    The power leads are just a few bucks and plug into the logic board directly to the left and above the graphics card.
     
  12. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #12
    The Gigabyte card you linked to will require one of the Mac Pro to video card power cables and the Asus will require two. I have not really done any comparisons between the GTX 650 and GTX 660 cards, so I can't comment. It's best to look up some reviews online to see which will suit your needs best.

    As to the power cables, they can be found on Ebay and Amazon and usually go for a few bucks each.
     
  13. fifthmanstandin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #13
    Ok so mine is already running a four pin and as he said there's one spot open for the cable on the mobo, can I switch out the four pin cable that's already there for a six pin cable or is there a second place on the mobo to run another six pin?

    Sorry for all the tedious specific questions but I want to make sure I've got it all down before I start spending money.
     
  14. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #14
    Yes, since you currently have an 8800GT, you already have one cable. Therefore, if you go with the GTX 650, you won't need to purchase another cable. If you go with the GTX 660, you will just need one extra cable.

    BTW, they are 6-pin, not 4.
     
  15. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    #15
    And there should be a spot right next to the first one to plug in the second.

    Remember those cables are Mac Pro specific - they are not PC graphics card cables.
     
  16. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #16

Share This Page