Video Card Problems X1900 and HD3870 in Dual Quad Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by snark1280, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. snark1280 macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    SETUP: I have an late 2007 Mac Pro dual quad core 3Ghx originally with the noisy ATI X1900 running two monitors (a 20" and a 30").
    Current setup: Bays 1 & 2
    RAID 0 Main boot partition ~1.4 TB
    RAID 0 Scratch Partition 32 GB
    Bay 3 BKUP Disk 1 (1.5 TB)
    Bay 4 BKUP Disk 2 alternate (1.5 TB) SuperDuper used for disk imaging on Disk 3 and 4 alternating.

    Objective: Maximize perfomance on Aperture and CS3
    -added 8 GB RAM to 16GB
    -added ATI3870 (PC and MAC edition)
    -added NEC2690WUXi monitor.
    -note: had to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard (ATI3870 not compatible with Tiger).
    - When running Aperture editing software the apps crash (not system)
    -can't get three monitors to work together.
    The displays on one or two out of the three monitors show either blacked out quadrants, or unreadable scrambled images.
    -System Preferences dialogs that run on all three monitors such as Monitors, will show scrambled pixelated unreadable garbage in the box on one or two of the monitors

    -firmware BOOTROM and EFI are both up to date
    -X1900 Firmware updated to latest
    -All apple updates applied to latest (leopard, all security updates etc)
    -All software updates applied (Adobe CS3, Aperture etc to latest versions)
    - Disk Utility and Disk Genius checked the disks,
    -reinstalled everything (twice)
    - reinstallied Leopard first with archive-install, then clean install
    -tried every conceivable combination of monitor to video card

    I have NOT had any success.

    I spoke with ATI a couple of times, the last time today I got an escalation to a senior tech who told me that the power supply is probably the problem??

    NOTE: run TWO monitors out of ONE card, it works OK.

    1. Should I try to find a better power supply? Is it possible that the MAC PRO standard power supply is not sufficient to power up both video cards at the same time?
    2. Should I just trade out the power hungry X1900 for a less power hungry 2600?
    3. There must be hundreds of people who use 3 monitors and ATI video cards without all these headaches? What setup did you use?

      Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some advice on how to fix this. Not sure what to try next!
  2. POLOgt macrumors member


    Jan 27, 2009
    Why do you have an X1900 in an Early 2008 Mac Pro,

    I would put the 2600 back in it, also why are you running Tiger? It came with Leopard.

    Yes the X1900 is a faster card: ... at least for gaming.
  3. tobyg macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    If it came with the x1900, it might not be the early 2008. Or maybe, I don't remember if you could order the Early 2008 with the X1900 XT back then or not.

    Anyway, what version of Aperture are you on? I remember early releases at least had issues with more than 2 monitors, and I believe Lightroom had the same issue. But I suspect the most recent updates should have fixed that.

    But worst case, I would try one video card at a time. You've changed quite a lot of things. Ram, OS, Video cards. I'd go back to your stock 8GB of RAM and a single video card and see how things run. Make sure you're fully updated on your OS and Application patches.
  4. snark1280 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009

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