What gfx card for an early 2008 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pullman, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. pullman, Sep 29, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014

    pullman macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #1
    Earlier today I posted this thread about my non-booting Mac Pro.

    Having now spent the day troubleshooting, it seems the reason is the nVidia GeForce 8800 GT. Without it, the computer boots fine.

    I am no gamer but mainly use the machine for Photoshop CS6 and Vuescan (scanning film).

    What are my gfx card options, and is it even possible today to get a new card for such an old machine or must I buy second-hand?

    EDIT: I should have added that I have searched the forum and found info on various cards, including this, but I am not sure what it means that the cards "won't have a boot screen" etc. I would like a card that is fully compatible with the computer, that is ideally new and a bit better than the 8800, if possible.

    Darn, another EDIT: Not sure if it is relevant, but in the second full-length slot I have a Sonnet Tempo Pro. I've seen some cards that are really quite high so too high a card won't fit, I guess.

    Many thanks for any and every insight
    Philip
     
  2. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #2
  3. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply Lou. For some reason I am unable to open that link. I am looking for a new card though because I'd like to have warranty.

    Thanks for any further suggestions.
     
  4. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I have the EVGA 680 Mac Edition in my 3,1 Mac Pro. But I really needed boot screen support as I have to reboot between OS X and Windows frequently and use this machine as a test bed for other machines. Works damn good though I'll give it that.
     
  5. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #5
    For warranty, your choices would either be the Nvidia 680gtx Mac Edition or the Radeon Sapphire 7950 I am not sure if you can still find Radeon 5770 or 5870 as brand new with warranty at this time.

    Used flashed PC cards work well too even though they don't have a warranty.
     
  6. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #6
    Give the 8800GT a baking treatment, nothing to lose.
     
  7. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #7
    Thanks a lot for the replies, much appreciated.

    I now understand what is meant by the boot screen comment I've seen in various threads. I would also need this as I have several boot volumes.

    The Radeon Sapphire 7950 is quite a lot less expensive than the other ones. Will it still be good enough for image editing of large TIFF and PSD files or will I need the other ones which seem to cost more than twice than the 7950?

    Btw how is AMD? I had bad experiences with an AMD card in a Dell laptop years ago whereas the nVidia card worked much better.

    And I'm a bit confused - on the Sapphire site the card looks quite different from what I've seen at various shops :confused:

    Sapphire's site
    [​IMG]

    Alternate.nl
    [​IMG]

    It is definitely tricky to find any of these cards for sale, it seems. Alternate.nl is one if the few places that has the 7950 but perhaps it's the wrong version for Mac?

    Many thanks for your help
    Philip
     
  8. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #8
    Update: I found one online shop, which specialises in Mac, that sells the Sapphire card on the picture above. For 519€....That has got to be an excessive price, no?

    Gosh, this is becoming tricky :(
     
  9. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #9
    Hi Pullman. Yep that is a Mac Edition 7950 card. It's white in color. Probably the price is a bit high in Euro. The price in U.S Dollar is around $450 for a brand new card, to convert to Euro, should be around 380€ Though maybe this store had to factor the shipping, import taxes so they had to price it at that level. Another option is getting a used card if budget maybe tight. The Ati Radeon 5870hd or 5770hd are good choices.
     
  10. JoSch macrumors regular

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    #10
    For two years now, I have used an HD5770 with Final Cut Pro X with good results (definition depends on your needs, mine are that of intermediate hobbyist).
    In the 2008 Macpro, you can also fully use a second GPU. The second card could be any supported PC card without an Apple firmware.
     
  11. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #11
    Thanks very much for the further help. I really appreciate it.

    I'm amazed that the price difference is so big between the PC and Mac versions. Must have something to do the smaller Mac market perhaps?

    I wasn't aware that I could use a second card. That's good to know, thank you. So I guess I could go for a cheap Mac compatible card and then supplement that with a PC card to get extra graphics strength if needed.

    I guess the 5770 and 5870 will, in any event, be better cards than my broken nVidia so I will also look for those.

    I am also beginning to wonder, should I be unable to find a Mac card for reasonable money, if I shouldn't just go for a PC card and accept the lack of boot screen and possibility to access the Startup Manager. Since I have the boot drive striped on two SSDs there's no recovery partition, meaning I will in any case need to boot off an external drive in case of trouble. Does this make sense? Or are there other situations I would need a boot screen?

    I have read a bit at xlr8yourmac.com about PC cards flashed with EFI and it seems that, though they likely work well, one runs the risk as Apple updates OS X that problems occur. That would annoy me so I guess a flashed card is out of the question.

    Any thoughts on these ramblings?
     
  12. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Sapphire and EVGA are milking us no question, there's very little actual work they had to do for the "Mac Versions". But if you want an officially supported card with boot screen support it is what it is. I got my card at Other World Computing, I believe they do have the 7950 and the 680 in stock.
     
  13. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #13
    Welcome. Glad to help out. A guy told me the Mac version cards are more expensive because of some Apple licensing requirement. I am getting this as second hand information so I am not sure too.

    It's okay to use flashed PC cards as long as they were modified well by an experienced guy. It would be prudent to have a Mac Edition version if you intend to get an unflashed GPU. Also best to buy your flashed PC cards from a seller who offers some kind of short term warranty or return option.

    ----------

    Yep. 5770hd are good cards. I still have my Radeon 5870hd and 5770hd even though I have another Nvidia card. The cards seem durable as mine still works great.
     
  14. JoSch macrumors regular

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    #14
    When using two cards there's a caveat, when it comes to Crossfire or SLI on Windows:
    You have to check which cards would work together. This is no problem on OSX, because that will just use whatever comes along (at least in theory) and never uses SLI or Crossfire.
    E.g. an HD5770 will only work with other HD5770 on Crossfire.

    I have a flashed HD5770. It gives you a boot screen, when you have a VGA monitor on it. On my Full HD LCD VGA looked terrible, so I acquired an old and small VGA LCD, just to get the boot screen. I configured Macos and Windows to have the big LCD to be the primary display.
     
  15. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #15
    Thanks this is all really good information, thank you.

    I don't use Windows so I guess I can just plug in a second card later if necessary. I mainly use Photoshop CS6 for image editing. Usually nothing extreme but the files do get rather large if I have scanned the film at the highest settings and use layers etc. Still, I am not sure this is a task that requires a top of the line card. I mean, it has worked well so far with the 8800. Future-proofing is the one aspect I can imagine would have an impact but I'm not sure it's so important given what I do.

    It seems impossible to find the 5770, 5870, 7950 or the GTX 285 or 680 in new condition so I guess I'll have to accept buying a used card. The point about finding a seller that accepts returns is important, I'll keep that in mind.

    Price-wise, it seems I have these options if I buy through the venerable Bay:

    At approx 150 Euro I can find a 5770 and a (new) 8800
    For just over 200 Euro there's a 5870,
    For 300 Euro there's a 7950, and
    For around 400 Euro there's a GTX 680 (I have not found a GTX 285 yet)

    Am I right in thinking that the 5870 and the two GTX cards would be a lot more competent than what I need? But what about future-proofing the system, for new Photoshop versions etc?

    cheers
    philip
     
  16. mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

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  17. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #17
    Hi Mike
    I'm based in the Netherlands so that's why I look for EU sellers. I have bought from OWC in the past a few times but it has been a hassle to return which I've had to do three times with faulty RAM and broken SSD.
    Cheers
    Philip
     
  18. mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

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    #18
    I assumed that you're from europe. unfortunately it doesn't make sense to ship from sitzerland (non-EU, you'd have to pay customs/taxes etc).

    grz!
    michael
     
  19. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

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    #19
    And you still buy from OWC????? IMHO, their stuff is really crappy.

    Lou
     
  20. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #20
    I wasn't kidding about baking the 8800GT.

    Have done 100 or more, better than 50/50 odds when done right.

    Nothing to lose and buys you some time if nothing else.

    You might have a look at Barefeats.com and check the cards against the apps you run.
     
  21. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #21
    I'll second the baking option. Baked my 7300 GT from my 1,1 when it died and was able to squeeze some more life out of it. Then you'll at least have a working machine while you wait for your new card. Good luck!
    -N
     
  22. JoSch macrumors regular

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    #22
    Do you have instructions for baking the card?
     
  23. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #23
    No, but google does.

    And I have posted here multiple times about it. I was not alone. Search and you shall find. For your purposes, the fact that it is a mac card is immaterial, it is for all intents and purposes, identical to a PC card. It is a 8800GT and it requires a good BAKE
     
  24. pullman, Oct 1, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014

    pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #24
    I concur. Well, this was when I was young and stupid. I don't buy from them any longer and wouldn't do it again.

    Thanks Michael. I looked into this and it seems there's a really low limit, like 20€, for products which are bought from outside the EU and shipped into NL (different if one travels oneself - then the limit is 430€ I believe - but I have no trips planned to Switzerland unfortunately).

    I think I've read some of your posts on this and find it very interesting and intriguing. For the moment, however, I am able to access the Mac Pro using screen sharing from my Macbook. Thanks also for the idea about checking Barefeats, good suggestion.

    Ok here's a follow-up question: Say I get the PC version of the 7950 in the photo above, which is the cheapest Mac-compatible card that I could put in a spare slot to use for boot screen? Barefeats has some interesting results regarding the 7950's CS6 performance which I like

    EDIT: I use a 23" ACD btw
     
  25. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #25
    If someone could give me insight on this, I'd really appreciate it. What if I get an old NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT (which I've been able to find new) to have boot screen when needed, and then add a PC version HD 7950 - is there anything speaking against this solution?

    I'm asking because of the comment above about ensuring two cards can work together. I only use OS X so perhaps that is a non-issue.

    Also, is the 7300 compatible with the Mac Pro 3,1 or only the older models?

    Many TIA
    Philip
     

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