Video card for Leopard (not Snow) and Lion

Duarte Costa

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 4, 2014
2
0
Portugal
Hello there,

I have a early 2008 MAC PRO, running LEOPARD (10.5.8) and Lion (that I will update to Mavericks very soon), on a dual boot system.
I really have to keep Leopard, because it is the last OSX system that works with my film scanners drivers and software. There are no updates for the newer OSX systems.

I plan to keep my Mac PRO for a couple of years more. It still is very competent with the tasks I throw at him. Photography Retouching and Video (with not so much of motion graphics and FX) are my main occupations.
So I decided to give it a new life by removing the HDD's and replacing them with SSD's, upgrading the RAM and was planning to buy a new video card, since mine is the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT.

Although I don't know much about drivers and compatibility issues, I figured it will not be possible to buy a recent video card and expect it to work with a operating system that is 4 years old, at least, without some tweaking. And I imagine there are also hardware limitations, regarding the MAC PRO itself.

So, looking at the options I know that will work for sure, I came up with two possibilitys:

NVIDIA Quadro 5400FX 1.5 Gb

or

NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 1.5 Gb

These are very good cards, but I really wanted to know if there are any other options for using a newer card, with this two OSX sytems. I guess that faster DDR5 memory, new drivers, new architecture design will make quite a difference.

I really appreciate any help you can give me!

Duarte
 

Draeconis

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2008
969
264
10.5.8 is your limiting factor, you won't be able to upgrade your graphics card much beyond anything released around 2008 when Leopard was current, and this card needs to be a specifically made Mac edition model.
 

m4v3r1ck

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2011
2,341
355
The Netherlands
Upgrade your system to (at least 10.8.5) 10.9.1 and use a Virtual Machine to operate your needed scan drivers within 10.5.8! This way you can use a video card compatible with 10.9.1 on your mac pro 3.1 2008 for maximum performance.

GL & Cheers
 

NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,065
387
Baltimore, MD
Upgrade your system to (at least 10.8.5) 10.9.1 and use a Virtual Machine to operate your needed scan drivers within 10.5.8! This way you can use a video card compatible with 10.9.1 on your mac pro 3.1 2008 for maximum performance.

GL & Cheers
I agree with this for sure. If your film scanning software isn't super intensive, I would run it in VMWare Fusion. It supports OS X VMs, though no Graphics Acceleration. And yes, it's for sure the system that's throttling you. The Quadros that you mentioned might have a lot more VRAM, but they're also 2008 era GPUs, which means that the power coming out of them isn't going to be anything close to what you're paying for. I would do as BDM Studios recommended and upgrade your software, then upgrade your video card, and run Leopard in a VM. I have a GTX 660 that I am very happy with. Check out the pinned thread on NVIDIA PC cards, it's got a lot of great information in it. I got mine clearance at my local Micro Center for around $100 after a rebate, and threw it in my 3,1. Crazy deal, and I couldn't be happier.
Good luck with your upgrade!
-N
 

Duarte Costa

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 4, 2014
2
0
Portugal
Thank you so much for your replies!

Yes, the benchmark charts of the FX 5600 comparing to the newest average cards (not to mention the GTX 660), are mind-blowing.

I will try the virtual machine solution, and see how things go. The scanners are not very demanding (at least I don't think so). I was not planing to do any editing in the Leopard. I just need to scan as raw as possible, then send it to a newer system to retouch!
Actually I read something about the same suggestion you guys are making, but I thought that the video card would have to be compatible with both systems anyway. But maybe I should read more about how a virtual machine works ;)

Thank you so much!!
 

m4v3r1ck

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2011
2,341
355
The Netherlands
Thank you so much for your replies!

Yes, the benchmark charts of the FX 5600 comparing to the newest average cards (not to mention the GTX 660), are mind-blowing.

I will try the virtual machine solution, and see how things go. The scanners are not very demanding (at least I don't think so). I was not planing to do any editing in the Leopard. I just need to scan as raw as possible, then send it to a newer system to retouch!
Actually I read something about the same suggestion you guys are making, but I thought that the video card would have to be compatible with both systems anyway. But maybe I should read more about how a virtual machine works ;)

Thank you so much!!
PLEASE BARE IN MIND! Don't forget to make a (bootable) clone copy of your existing OS X system with i.e. Carbon Clone Copy before updating to 10.8.5 or 10.9.1. In case things GO wrong you can easily revert to your old system.

A clean install of OS X 10.8 / 10.9 and migrating users/apps/setting has always been my way to go!

Good idea to read more about the use of the VM Fusion, for in many cases it is a great way to test new OS or software.

CL & Cheers
 
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