Video cards in 3-5 years and current mac pros?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mazuma, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. mazuma macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2005
    How viable is it going to be to install graphics cards in current mac pros in say 3-5 years? Is it something to worry about? I have a 2012 Mac Pro that I just purchased and am hoping to see another 5 years of life out it. Is that even realistic, not sure. I went with the 2102 because frankly I don't have the coin right now to play in the nMP sandbox. Besides I'd like to wait and see versus being an early adopter.

    Right now it seems like the top end video cards are working through the dedicated work of a few individuals. What about video cards in 3 years, 5 years? Any chance they will work? Will power supply constraints become a greater issue? Software limitations? I don't see the PC market following Apple on their new Mac Pro design for a long while. And, the PC market has always determined the path that at least consumer video cards go in.

    I don't know a great deal on this stuff. Curious to know what others who do think.
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Truthfully? You never know curve ball the computer industry will through at us next, so it's difficult to predict what options you might have in 3 to 5 years.

    The current example is the new USB connector that they are talking about. That means new devices won't plug in to your current computer without an adapter. And that presumes that a simple cable adapter will work.
  3. branana macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I hope high end gaming and workstation cards will get efi across the board on pc. Since there won't be any Apple computers going forward able to be upgraded via pcie, I'm not sure if any manufacturer will be coming out with gtx 680 for Mac style of cards
  4. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    With the power constraints it's starting to look doubtful. Current Mac Pros don't have enough power for today's cards. much less cards in 3-5 years. EFI or no EFI.
  5. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    You can always modify the MP to take a secondary PSU and that solves the power issue. This is assuming you need to always have the top GPU too - the mid-range models are currently happy with 2x6-pin.
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I don't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to continue to drop PCIe cards into the MP. Regardless of their physical shape, Apple's GPUs are still AMD/Nvidia and so they still have to provide AMD/Nvidia drivers in OS X. And now that the drivers self-init, we can drop in just about anything. I don't see any of this changing.

    As for boot screens, I feel it's the same situation as now. Some cards will be more suitable than others, and it will continue to rely on the hard work of a few individuals who understand that stuff.

    If you mean official solutions, then I seriously doubt there will be any more.
  7. jimj740 macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    Pining for the company that once gave us Clarus
    Five years is a long time in PC electronics...

    Do you remember ISA, EISA, PCI, PCI-X???

    Are you sure new PCIe video cards will be made in 5 years?

  8. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    There's also the potential that Apple's moves may piss off the card developers again, and we may see a dearth of supported options, as we have in the past. So when 10.10 hits, whatever it is called, there might be serious issues getting drivers that work (yes, there will be hacks, but folks using these for production systems might not want to rely on hacks).

    Yet more reason that I'm thinking about getting the nMP with the D500 cards, assuming they test well, as those will have longer legs than the D300 cards.
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I don't even know what I'm having for dinner tonight.
  10. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    All the more reason to buy the best you can reasonably afford, and roll the dice... :D

    (Btw, good night for sushi).
  11. eladnova macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    I think in 3 to 5 years the market / technology for external graphics cards will exist. You may be able to hook up an external GPU via thunderbolt enclosure. Have a google. Plenty of proof of concepts that will be a reality in 3 - 5 years.

    Or who knows, in 3 - 5 years we could be looking at extremley powerful mobile graphics cards and someone might have an enclosure for those smaller form factors.
  12. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Perhaps, but drivers these days tend to be of the nearly-universal type. Also, I don't know about "pissing them off", Apple still uses both AMD and Nvidia GPUs in their Macs, and I assume Apple is one of the largest buyers out there.

    Beef. It's what's for dinner.

    ...according to a commercial I saw once.

    Actually, I would assume you were having pastry of some kind.
  13. riggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2013
    We're still good for a bit

    5 years? Hard to say. But I think things will be fine for the next 2-3 years. That's why I recently bought my oMP. Yes the top-end cards are using more power now than the oMP can deliver, but they have been for a while. The GTX 580 was released 3 years ago and drew too much then. In fact, the recent trend for microprocessing architecture development has been focused on making chips more power efficient. So, who knows, we may have some excellent options in 3 years time.

    As for drivers, as long as Apple keeps using AMD and NVIDIA graphics in Macs, there will be drivers built into OSX that we can take advantage of.
  14. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2010
    Brooklyn, New York.
    I think it is presumptuous to say the power constraints of the NMP power supply will be the limiting factor. A major trend in computing in general, but in GPU and CPUs specifically is maintaining the processing power at lower power and thermal demand. They often do this via process shrinks.
    I do not think it is too crazy to imagine updated cards being offered.Though of course they will have to count on a significant installed base of the NMP's before they can even think of that. Bu Apple lately has not been a company that wants to aid it's users in upgrading their current gear. The Apple model is to upgrade by buying a whole new computer every few years.
  15. mazuma thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2005
    True. Power efficiency does seem like a trend that will continue.

    This is another trend that is taking off.

    I realize this stuff is hard to predict. I just don't see PC manufactures changing the form factor on video cards for a great while. And, I'm hoping that in 3 years when todays cards at the bottom end of performance we will still have options available to us. The two mentioned above could be hope that we will.
  16. Tutor macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    Home of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
    Agree that my gtx 295s, 480s and 580s consume much more power than my 680s, 690s, 780s And Titans; so the power consumption trend is towards less power for the top of the Nvidia line. Also, there are Mac Pro 1,1s; 2,1s; 3,1s; 4,1s and 5,1s (all told 7 years of Mac Pros out here) that won't go puff or in the trash heap when or just because the nMPs hit the stores (nor will MVC, netkas or rominator). And some of the nMP owners will add to that market of MP owners who want non-Apple blessed GPUs, particularly with the passage of time. So if AMD and Nvidia use their noggins, they'll realize that the Mac GPU upgrade market is no more dead than it was during the time that Apple took a nMP hiatus for as older Mac Pros change hands, guess what will be tops on many new oMP owners' upgrade list - a current GPU.
  17. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    I think for 2D graphics work the current crop of videocards are still good for a few more years. Even old cards like Nvidia 8800GT, GT120, Radeon 5770 are still viable for 2D graphic designs.

    It's the 3D graphics, animation and video editing that's a little more critical though I am hoping the GPUs wlll still be viable in the next few years. And I think we will be leaning more on PC cards as they are always ahead of Mac cards and PC cards offer wider choices of models than Mac GPUs. The PC market is still bigger and third party manufacturers will always look to bigger market and release newer cards. And Adobe has a strong support to the PC market. Hoping video cards are still good for the next years.

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