Upgrading my Mac Pro Graphics Card

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
Hello all, I am a video editor / motion graphics designer, and my main programs are C4D and After Effects. I run a 2008 3,1 Mac Pro, and am looking to upgrade my graphics card so I can edit , encode, and model faster. In the latter case I just need more umph in my card so I can from around more polygons and such. I shall try to provide as much detail as I can to make my query as clear as possible :)

I currently have a Geforce 8800 GT, and am literally clueless as to what to get next, it seems every card I look at is not compatible with the Mac Pro, or would involve extra wires, plugs ( see the GTX 285 Mac Edition my best find so far - http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3603 )

GTX Specs

My budget is around £300, but I am flexible, and I would like some advice on what I should be looking at as even a simple search for this card brings up seemingly about 5 or 6 versions ( See http://www.google.co.uk/products?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=EVGA+GeForce+GTX+285&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=Ie-CS-evBZSSjAfDoJHBBA&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQrQQwAA )

Superclocked? Graphics Adapter? FTW Edition? SSC Edition?

Could any of you good souls help me find one that I can order, take down to my local store so they can install it for me? If there is a better alternative to the GTX 285 Mac Edition?

To Recap:

* Want a good upgrade to the 8800 GT - It has to be a lot more powerful, so that I can handle complex 3d Scenes, and help me encode faster and so forth.

* Would like a hand in picking out a product I can buy, then take down to my local PC store when it comes and they can install it without me having to go back because I'm missing wires or something else.

* I have a flexible £300+ budget to spend

I appreciate your time, and would greatly appreciate some insight, ideally from someone who can tell me why one is worth however much and put my mind at ease about ordering the right version (Superclocked or not? Etc)

Thanks again! :)
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
I would get GTX 285 as it's the fastest "Mac version" and the easiest too. Some PC GPUs can be flashed so they'll work under OS X but that's another hassle

EDIT: As Mac Pro update is just around corner, you may want to wait till then to see new GPUs such as ATI Radeon 5000 series and possibly nVidia's still unreleased "Fermi" series, also known as GTX 470 and 480 which will be released on 26th of March.
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
I would get GTX 285 as it's the fastest "Mac version" and the easiest too. Some PC GPUs can be flashed so they'll work under OS X but that's another hassle

EDIT: As Mac Pro update is just around corner, you may want to wait till then to see new GPUs such as ATI Radeon 5000 series and possibly nVidia's still unreleased "Fermi" series, also known as GTX 470 and 480 which will be released on 26th of March.
Very Interesting thanks, I was wondering with the Card being the best part of 7/8 months old whether a new one was around the corner, will those be around my price range though I wonder..
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Very Interesting thanks, I was wondering with the Card being the best part of 7/8 months old whether a new one was around the corner, will those be around my price range though I wonder..
We'll see... I think there will be cheaper options as well because not everyone has 500$ to spend on a GPU. Probably ATI 5770 (which costs 150e) or something so you could get two of them
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,559
32
First interesting thread in ages. I would definitely recommend the GTX 285. Sure, its expensive now, but it will last you and long time and help you in the long run. I use a GTX 260 for my work and games (Yes, PC) and it's a very powerful card. Without a doubt the GTX 285 will be excellent. Just to recap the main differences in these cards:

8800GT: 57.6GB bandwidth
GTX 285: 159GB bandwidth

Another option you have got is to buy a PC graphics card, and flash it yourself.
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
First interesting thread in ages. I would definitely recommend the GTX 285. Sure, its expensive now, but it will last you and long time and help you in the long run. I use a GTX 260 for my work and games (Yes, PC) and it's a very powerful card. Without a doubt the GTX 285 will be excellent. Just to recap the main differences in these cards:

8800GT: 57.6GB bandwidth
GTX 285: 159GB bandwidth

Another option you have got is to buy a PC graphics card, and flash it yourself.
Thanks for that, I definitely want to steer clear of anything that involves anything even remotely complex, I am not hands on person and don't have a Mac Centre anywhere close (I'd be dropping it off at PC World a chain of stores here in the UK in case you are not from the UK =) )

I definitely want to steer clear of anything like Bootcamp or anything that will make this more complicated than it needs to be, I use my Mac Pro purely for work, don't have games (Which is why I initially had an interest in a Workstation graphics card - that was until I found out you can pretty much pay £1500 or forget about it as the workstation cards are according to what I found few and far between)

I like it the way it is now, my setup is uncomplicated, and I would like to keep it that way as much I can :D

As for opening it and installing or cross-running (Not sure what the technical term is) more than one card, I am scared to even open the motherboard, I know it isn't rational but after spending several thousand pound to get myself a machine that I work from I am obviously very particular about it as it is my livelihood pretty much.

Can anyone shed light on the apparently endless version of the card available on the link in the OP?

Superclocked, FTW, SCC etc etc. - These terms make it even more confusing for someone like me who knows little to nothing about how these cards work.
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
Get the ATI 4870. The GTX285 is only faster for games!
For your kind of work, the 4870 is definitely the best choice (at the moment).

Some people claim that they didn't notice any difference between the stock GT120 of the current Mac Pro and the GTX285 in OpenGL apps like yours.
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
Really?

And does the ATI perform well as opposed to the GTX?

I definitely won't be playing games.

I use Adobe CS3 Suite, Cinema 4 D R11, so these are the programs I would be looking to see increased performance in.

Thanks
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,559
32
Thanks for that, I definitely want to steer clear of anything that involves anything even remotely complex, I am not hands on person and don't have a Mac Centre anywhere close (I'd be dropping it off at PC World a chain of stores here in the UK in case you are not from the UK =) )

I definitely want to steer clear of anything like Bootcamp or anything that will make this more complicated than it needs to be, I use my Mac Pro purely for work, don't have games (Which is why I initially had an interest in a Workstation graphics card - that was until I found out you can pretty much pay 1500 or forget about it as the workstation cards are according to what I found few and far between)

I like it the way it is now, my setup is uncomplicated, and I would like to keep it that way as much I can :D

As for opening it and installing or cross-running (Not sure what the technical term is) more than one card, I am scared to even open the motherboard, I know it isn't rational but after spending several thousand pound to get myself a machine that I work from I am obviously very particular about it as it is my livelihood pretty much.

Can anyone shed light on the apparently endless version of the card available on the link in the OP?

Superclocked, FTW, SCC etc etc. - These terms make it even more confusing for someone like me who knows little to nothing about how these cards work.
Your welcome :)



I'm going to try to answer all your questions and concerns right now.

The superclocked, FTW, SCC, etc editions of the GTX 285 are PC versions. The one and only version that will work for the Mac Pro is the GTX 285 Mac Edition.

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/TW387ZM/A?fnode=MTY1NDA5OQ&mco=MTA4MzU2MDA

Installing the card is not hard at all, but if you feel more comfortable taking it to your local computer centres, then you should do that. In fact the Apple store might do it for you, I'm not entirely sure.

To install it, you just need to open the case, slide out the current graphics card, and slide in the new one.

Crossrunning has two names depending what graphics card vendor you have.

for
ATi Cards, its called Crossfire configurations
Nvidia Cards, its called SLI configurations.
I'm not sure if the Mac Pro supports SLI configurations (cross-running) but on the PC side, I know you need two of the same type graphics cards to SLI.

Remember, EVGA is the only company that makes the GTX 285 for Mac, and that's the only GTX 285 that will work.

Just incase you haven't popped the covers of your case, this is what it looks inside. The graphics card is toward the top right. Again, slide that one out, and the new one in.
http://www.synapps.de/files/images/MacPro Inside.jpg

Regarding the GTX 285 and the ATi 4870, the GTX 285 is faster.

ATi makes great cards for the price (best bang for the buck) but not many cards are supported for the Mac Pro, so it's important you get the best you can afford. On the other hand, the PC has got some cards that compare to the GTX 285 making ATi superior for the price.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Apple offers 4 x GT 120 so I think it supports both, CrossFireX and SLI.

Upgrading GPU is VERY easy task to do. You just take the old one away and then push the new one back in and tzadam, it works.

GTX 285 is definitely the fastest one for Mac Pro but as I said, Mac Pro update is around the corner and we'll very likely see new GPU so I would wait till then as you have fully working one now and then choose what to buy
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
Yeah I think that might be the smart choice, I'll try and soldier through my current projects slowly then upgrade once I know whats out there..

I'll probably revive this thread when it's all announced to see what everyone thinks

Thanks WOL for all that info, makes a lot more sense now =)
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
Any evidence of that? I just don't get it how it could be faster
Simply ask people who used both cards.
There are several threads about this in this forum.

And a (not very good I have to admit) comparison between the three available graphics card for the '09 Mac Pro shows the same results.
OpenGL -> 4870
Games -> GTX285

See this page, and this one.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Simply ask people who used both cards.
There are several threads about this in this forum.

And a (not very good I have to admit) comparison between the three available graphics card for the '09 Mac Pro shows the same results.
OpenGL -> 4870
Games -> GTX285

See this page, and this one.
Okay I believe you now :eek: Just couldn't find anything with Google so... It's still weird as GTX 285 should be the Ferrari of GPUs available for Mac but it obviously isn't. This again proofs ATI's domination in GPUs, they just rock.

I wonder how much faster 5870 would be...
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,076
580
Finland
Significantly faster, no doubt, and definitely worth waiting if you ask me.
It's a matter of a few weeks till we see an update.
Mm. The dark side of it is the price though, as it will likely be priced near 500$ with "Apple tax". I'd like to see 5770 as it would be less than 200$ but still provides great performance
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
I shall definitely be waiting to see the new ATI results, is this out in March like the Nvidia?
 

milk242

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2007
690
9
The nvidia drivers are terrible and outdated in osx while the ati card has better drivers. This causes the ati 4870 to be actually faster than the 285gtx under osx.
 

Zola85

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 22, 2010
9
0
Thought I'd give this a bump now March has gone - have these ranges been announced yet? And if so how do they compare - performance vs price? :D
 

Ironlungz

macrumors newbie
Aug 3, 2010
1
0
So whats the best card now

Get the ATI 4870. The GTX285 is only faster for games!
For your kind of work, the 4870 is definitely the best choice (at the moment).

Some people claim that they didn't notice any difference between the stock GT120 of the current Mac Pro and the GTX285 in OpenGL apps like yours.
Hi there I'm in a pretty similar situation to Zola and have just read this great thread. I use the Adobe cs4 suite currently for my work and just wondered what the best card out now for the mac pro would be (I have the first model A1186). I have scoured the net and it seems the ATI Radeon 5870 would be the best current option but I am clueless.

Thanks in advance
Unhappy owner of a very poorly Nvdia 8800 gt :(