Recommendations for graphics card for 2008 Pro to run 3 monitors

zineer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
13
0
BC, Canada
So I've decided to add a new graphics card to my Early 2008 (3,1) Mac Pro (2x2.8Ghz, 10GB ram, 8800GT) and am hoping for some recommendations on a graphics card.
I've been reading the forum for the last while and I thought I had my head around things, but once I actually started looking at the cards out there, the variety of cards from the different manufacturers and the 6 vs 8 pin connections and TDW got me confused again! :confused: So I thought I'd ask the experts for their thoughts :)

I am looking for a graphics card to run 2 - 27" 2560x1440 displays (using DVI or displayport) and a 23" 1920x1080 (preferably in portrait orientation, using either HDMI or Displayport).

I'm running 10.9.1, don't dual boot to Windows or do any gaming, just a bit of Lightroom. I'm not worried about having the boot screen as I'll hang on to the 8800GT in case I need to swap it in for debugging purposes (but if I can flash the new card easily from OSX, I might consider it.) Looking to spend around $300, but would be fine with less :eek:

Thanks for your time!
 
Last edited:

jakesaunders27

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2012
905
6
United Kingdom
So I've decided to add a new graphics card to my Early 2008 (3,1) Mac Pro (2x2.8Ghz, 10GB ram, 8800GT) and am hoping for some recommendations on a graphics card.
I've been reading the forum for the last while and I thought I had my head around things, but once I actually started looking at the cards out there, the variety of cards from the different manufacturers and the 6 vs 8 pin connections and TDW got me confused again! :confused: So I thought I'd ask the experts for their thoughts :)

I am looking for a graphics card to run 2 - 27" 2560x1440 displays (using DVI) and a 23" 1920x1080 (preferably in portrait orientation, using either HDMI or Displayport).

I'm running 10.9.1, don't dual boot to Windows or do any gaming, just a bit of Lightroom. I'm not worried about having the boot screen as I'll hang on to the 8800GT in case I need to swap it in for debugging purposes (but if I can flash the new card easily from OSX, I might consider it.) Looking to spend around $300, but would be fine with less :eek:

Thanks for your time!
I got a Apple 5770 of eBay the other day, arrived to day runs awesome! Just bear in my mind to run 3 monitors you need 2 apple dual link DVI to mini display port adaptors at 100 quid each is annoying I've ordered 2 of ebay for 50 quid, I suppose any 6/7 series Nvidia PC card would work nice. Good luck in your search.
 

jenzjen

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2010
1,734
6
So I've decided to add a new graphics card to my Early 2008 (3,1) Mac Pro (2x2.8Ghz, 10GB ram, 8800GT) and am hoping for some recommendations on a graphics card.
I've been reading the forum for the last while and I thought I had my head around things, but once I actually started looking at the cards out there, the variety of cards from the different manufacturers and the 6 vs 8 pin connections and TDW got me confused again! :confused: So I thought I'd ask the experts for their thoughts :)

I am looking for a graphics card to run 2 - 27" 2560x1440 displays (using DVI) and a 23" 1920x1080 (preferably in portrait orientation, using either HDMI or Displayport).

I'm running 10.9.1, don't dual boot to Windows or do any gaming, just a bit of Lightroom. I'm not worried about having the boot screen as I'll hang on to the 8800GT in case I need to swap it in for debugging purposes (but if I can flash the new card easily from OSX, I might consider it.) Looking to spend around $300, but would be fine with less :eek:

Thanks for your time!
I may pull out my 7870 eyefinity 6 card and sell it since the nMP is on its way. 2x6 power, 6 mDP ports so you don't have to spend an extra $100-200 on DVI adapters.
 

zineer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
13
0
BC, Canada
I run 3 monitors off my GTX 660 PC Edition no problem. Cost me ~$120.
A GTX660 sounds like a good solution. Since with a 5770 I'd need extra adaptors, the 660 may end up being cheaper as well.

I can't find a 660 for that price, but for $200 I found this one http://products.ncix.com/detail/asus-geforce-gtx-660-oc-df-76367-1253.htm . It requires a 6 pin power connector, but I assume I can just do a straight swap with my 8800 which looks like it already has a power cable coming into it (I assume 6 pin). I should then be able to run the 2 - 2560x1440 displays using DVI and the 23" using displayport if I understand the specs right..
 

jakesaunders27

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2012
905
6
United Kingdom
A GTX660 sounds like a good solution. Since with a 5770 I'd need extra adaptors, the 660 may end up being cheaper as well.

I can't find a 660 for that price, but for $200 I found this one http://products.ncix.com/detail/asus-geforce-gtx-660-oc-df-76367-1253.htm . It requires a 6 pin power connector, but I assume I can just do a straight swap with my 8800 which looks like it already has a power cable coming into it (I assume 6 pin). I should then be able to run the 2 - 2560x1440 displays using DVI and the 23" using displayport if I understand the specs right..
Yeah i think it requires 2 power connectors, can't remember exactly my mate has a 660 in his hackintosh il ask him, i think he's selling his 660 soon as well, so i might be able to get it to you? Just shipping we're in the UK
 

NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,067
404
Baltimore, MD
Yeah i think it requires 2 power connectors, can't remember exactly my mate has a 660 in his hackintosh il ask him, i think he's selling his 660 soon as well, so i might be able to get it to you? Just shipping we're in the UK
I got mine on clearance at a local Micro Center - it's the 2GB OC edition, and it only takes one 6 pin power connector.
 

zineer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
13
0
BC, Canada
Thanks for the advice everyone. Figured I'd post back current status for future reference for anyone who happens to run into this thread..
I purchased a Nvidia GTX660 (a ASUS GeForce GTX 660 OC DirectCU to be exact) and installed it with no issues. Just swapped the 6 pin power cable from the 8800 to the 660. I now have it powering a triple monitor setup as seen in the attached photo (dual Dell 2713HM monitors (2560x1440) through DVI connections and an older Dell U2311H in portrait (1080x1920) through the displayport connection). Everything looks great and I've run into no issues aside from the old 23" monitor not looking as good next to the new 27" screens ;)
I also upgraded from my SataII 120GB SSD to a SataIII Sandisk Extreme II 480GB SSD connected via an Apricorn Velocity Solo X2 and did a fresh install of 10.9.2 on it. All great upgrades and gives the 2008 Mac Pro a new life!
 

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NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,067
404
Baltimore, MD
Glad to hear all upgrades were successful! Love to see new life brought to the older machines, they're still more than capable.
Congrats!
-N
 

zineer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 7, 2010
13
0
BC, Canada
That's a fairly rare monitor layout. What do you usually do on the center screen?
I do web programming, so I have my IDE (Coda 2) in the middle and portrait so I can see a large number of lines of code at once.. I spend most of my day looking there, so having it in the middle is most ergonomic. On the right monitor I have my database GUI (Sequel Pro) and command line (iTerm 2) windows, then on the left I have my browser and everything else.
 

giviz

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2014
33
0
hi zineer, I'm looking for a similar configuration for my Mac Pro Early 2008 with 2 DELL 24" in portrait and 1 new DELL 30" in paysage.

I was close to buy a Radeon 5770 and two adaptors to plug the monitor and I just saw your thread.

I'd like to ask you some questions :

1 - Does the card make more noise than the 8800GT when you just do basic things like Coda stuff ?
2 - Do you need adaptors to get this setup running in addition of the card ? If not, it's wayyyyy less expensive than the Radeon setup.
3 - Do you have the apple boot logo like the 8800GT, and if you don't, do you use Filevault2 and everything is working well on the boot ?

I will be more than happy to read from you as soon as you can, my 8800GT is now dead and I need to replace it in the coming days.

Thanks a lot.
 

NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,067
404
Baltimore, MD
giviz,
You will need to get a GTX 680 in order to be able to flash a boot screen yourself. There is a thread lurking in this forum that has a list of flashable GTX 680 models as well as 4GB models. If you're looking for a less expensive Geforce card and you need a boot screen, check out MacVidCards on Ebay, he sells video cards he flashed himself with custom ROMs for boot screen and 5GT/s link speed, even under BootCamp.
 

giviz

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2014
33
0
giviz,
You will need to get a GTX 680 in order to be able to flash a boot screen yourself. There is a thread lurking in this forum that has a list of flashable GTX 680 models as well as 4GB models. If you're looking for a less expensive Geforce card and you need a boot screen, check out MacVidCards on Ebay, he sells video cards he flashed himself with custom ROMs for boot screen and 5GT/s link speed, even under BootCamp.
Flashing the card seems a bit tricky and require a windows setup I do not have.
I also do not have the time to experiment this, right now my working station is locked with my dead geforce 8800 and I need a quick replacement.

I've look at MacVidCards offers, but as I'm not in the US but Europe, I'ill have to pay huge taxes and send costs, plus delay, so it's also not an option.

Right now, the best solution I find is the GTX 680 Mac Edition, at 590 euros and I can get it in 24 hours.

My only concerns are to be perfectly sure I can run the DELL 30" in 2560x1600 from a DVI port, a DELL 24" from the other DVI port and the third DELL 24" from the mini Display port with a mini Display to DVI adaptor.

It seems to be what zineer is doing with the GTX 660, so I should be OK, but a confirmation will be more than welcome !

Thank for your advices :)
 

m4v3r1ck

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2011
2,341
355
The Netherlands
Flashing the card seems a bit tricky and require a windows setup I do not have.
I also do not have the time to experiment this, right now my working station is locked with my dead geforce 8800 and I need a quick replacement.

I've look at MacVidCards offers, but as I'm not in the US but Europe, I'ill have to pay huge taxes and send costs, plus delay, so it's also not an option.

Right now, the best solution I find is the GTX 680 Mac Edition, at 590 euros and I can get it in 24 hours.

My only concerns are to be perfectly sure I can run the DELL 30" in 2560x1600 from a DVI port, a DELL 24" from the other DVI port and the third DELL 24" from the mini Display port with a mini Display to DVI adaptor.

It seems to be what zineer is doing with the GTX 660, so I should be OK, but a confirmation will be more than welcome !

Thank for your advices :)
The price difference between PC/MAC version of this GPU, justifies for you to set up a Windows partition so you can flash a (in EU bought) GTX-680 2GB (mind the 2x 6 pin power). Perhaps MVC can fill in the blanks for your requested monitor setup before you take the plunge?

~ Cheers
 

austinpike

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2008
313
44
MN
I got a Apple 5770... Just bear in my mind to run 3 monitors you need 2 apple dual link DVI to mini display port adaptors
I was close to buy a Radeon 5770 and two adaptors to plug the monitor and I just saw your thread.
The Apple 5770 has two mini DisplayPort and one DVI output. The Dell 30" has DisplayPort, and the Dell 24"s might also (you didn't specify the model.) If so all you need are a couple DisplayPort - miniDP cables, use DVI for the second 24" and you can run three monitors just fine.
My only concerns are to be perfectly sure I can run the DELL 30" in 2560x1600 from a DVI port, a DELL 24" from the other DVI port and the third DELL 24" from the mini Display port with a mini Display to DVI adaptor.
With the GTX 680 Mac, you can run the Dell 30" with a standard DisplayPort cable (the monitor probably came with one,) use the DVI connections for the 24" displays, no goofy adapters needed.
 

m4v3r1ck

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2011
2,341
355
The Netherlands
The Apple 5770 has two mini DisplayPort and one DVI output. The Dell 30" has DisplayPort, and the Dell 24"s might also (you didn't specify the model.) If so all you need are a couple DisplayPort - miniDP cables, use DVI for the second 24" and you can run three monitors just fine.

With the GTX 680 Mac, you can run the Dell 30" with a standard DisplayPort cable (the monitor probably came with one,) use the DVI connections for the 24" displays, no goofy adapters needed.
What's the exact differents in outputs for both the PC and Mac Edition?

~ Cheers
 

austinpike

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2008
313
44
MN
What's the exact differents in outputs for both the PC and Mac Edition?
I assume giviz was referring to the EVGA GTX 680 for Mac which would have 1xDP, 1xHDMI, and 2xDual-link DVI. It looks like the PC version of that particular card has the same outputs, but different manufacturers can use different combinations of ports; I tend to look for cards with 2xMiniDP rather than 2xDVI.

Another mac-specific option would be the Sapphire Radeon 7950 which is a small step below the GTX 680 in performance but also a bit cheaper.
 

giviz

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2014
33
0
I assume giviz was referring to the EVGA GTX 680 for Mac which would have 1xDP, 1xHDMI, and 2xDual-link DVI. It looks like the PC version of that particular card has the same outputs, but different manufacturers can use different combinations of ports; I tend to look for cards with 2xMiniDP rather than 2xDVI.

Another mac-specific option would be the Sapphire Radeon 7950 which is a small step below the GTX 680 in performance but also a bit cheaper.
That's correct, I'm refering to that card :
http://www.materiel.net/carte-graphique/evga-geforce-gtx-680-2-go-mac-edition-95016.html

The Sapphire seems to be a good option too, but it also seems to be harder to find in Europe.

My 24" display are DELL 2408WFP, they seems to have display port so DVI is not an obligation here as the 3 displays are display port compatible.

So, with two choice of card, the GTX 680 Mac Edition and the Sapphire Radeon 7950 Mac Edition, I will probably go for the easyist to have and the more quiet of them.

Thanks all for you advices :)
 

omvs

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2011
481
11
Flashing the card seems a bit tricky and require a windows setup I do not have.

My only concerns are to be perfectly sure I can run the DELL 30" in 2560x1600 from a DVI port, a DELL 24" from the other DVI port and the third DELL 24" from the mini Display port with a mini Display to DVI adaptor.
I have a reference card flashed to the 680, and bottom port is definitely dual-link DVI. I tried swapping to the top port and got no monitor detection, so not sure about that, but you could drive one from display port, one from hdmi.

EVGA's spec page says both DVI ports are dual link. Also it shows the displayport is not a mini-displayport, but a full displayport. Though they show it as displayport 1.1, and I'm pretty sure its 1.2 since I'm driving 4k x 60Hz out of mine.

http://www.evga.com/articles/00730/#3682


You can actually flash the card on a mac assuming you have another card that doens't need power -- but it is a bit of a pain. Plus you have to make sure you get a reference card or you might run into issues - probably not worth the pain if you're in a hurry.
 

giviz

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2014
33
0
I have a reference card flashed to the 680, and bottom port is definitely dual-link DVI. I tried swapping to the top port and got no monitor detection, so not sure about that, but you could drive one from display port, one from hdmi.

EVGA's spec page says both DVI ports are dual link. Also it shows the displayport is not a mini-displayport, but a full displayport. Though they show it as displayport 1.1, and I'm pretty sure its 1.2 since I'm driving 4k x 60Hz out of mine.

http://www.evga.com/articles/00730/#3682


You can actually flash the card on a mac assuming you have another card that doens't need power -- but it is a bit of a pain. Plus you have to make sure you get a reference card or you might run into issues - probably not worth the pain if you're in a hurry.
Yeah, I will go to a Mac Edition, probably the GTX 680 as it's the easier to have in Europe.
I prefer pay the extra $ and avoid loosing extra days forced to work on my 11" MacBook Air !

Thanks !
 

giviz

macrumors member
Jun 28, 2014
33
0
I was ready to buy the card and the monitor and I just consider a new thing : Should I consider buying a 4K monitor and not the 30" 2K DELL ?

I mean, my 2x24 DELL and a ASUS PB287Q 28" 4K in the center.

That one seem to work well with Mac OS, and offer twice the resolution the DELL 30" offer.

As I read, the GTX 680 does not support the 4K at 60Hz, so if I go this way I'm back to point 0 searching for a new valid graphic card...

But, as I invest now to a new graphic card and a new monitor, maybe it's time to go 4K and not regret to stay 2K in a few months...

Maybe with a 4K monitor, I will only need one 24" DELL on a side if I cannot find a valid card for my Mac Pro Early 2008 that support both 4K at 60Hz and 2 others 24" 1080p.

I've never use a 4K monitor, the resolution look's very huge !

This display will be use 99% of the time to web development, actually I use the DELL 24" in portrait mode to get the most lines displayed, with a 4K monitor I should have way more lines displayed.

I kind of confuse here, with you experience, what do you guys think of this ?
Should I stay with the DELL 30" 2K and the GTX 680 Mac Edition as we conclude earlier, or should I investigate for the 4K monitor ?

If I go with the 4K monitor, is there a valid graphic card that match this setup ?

Thanks a lot !
 

omvs

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2011
481
11
As I read, the GTX 680 does not support the 4K at 60Hz, so if I go this way I'm back to point 0 searching for a new valid graphic card...
I'm currently driving a 2560x1440x60Hz off the DVI and a 3840x2160x60Hz off the display port of a GTX680 (inside mac osx). So it works just fine for 4k.

Actually better than the ATI7950 - you can do 4k off that too, but SST monitors like the Samsung get corruption above 50Hz due to a driver issue. Unfortunately affects all the nMP owners too. :(


EDIT: While the Samsung 28" is good for the price, I wouldn't recommend it in general. I actually prefer my Seiki 39" even though its 30Hz restricted - colors are viewing angle way better, and if you want to run at 1:1 the dots are actually acceptably large. The samsung gets you 60Hz, but other than that I'd consider it inferior.
 
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