Which Graphics Card fits my needs the best?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MentalVizion, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. MentalVizion, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015

    MentalVizion macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2013

    I am at a point now, where I just have to upgrade from my Apple Radeon 5770.
    I read myself into various cards, but still am quite clueless on which would be the optimal decision for my needs.

    I would like to use the card with the Unreal Engine 4 and Maya (+ some other game dev stuff) primarily. I am also producing music, though the GPU does not matter at this point. No problems with my 5770 at all.

    Bootcamp will be used as I will run all the game development stuff on there. As much as I'd like to run it on OS X, windows is just superior in these regards.

    Also, I would like to keep a GT120 in there just for the bootscreen. Are the 50W it eats up also part of the 225W limit? I am not sure since it's PCI powered. Would be very thankful if some one can enlighten me on that part once and for all.

    I am on a Mac Pro 4,1 (2,26 Octa Core) using Mountain Lion 10.8.5.

    Cards that I looked into:

    GTX 570 - I often read that this is the best card for computing tasks. Not sure if UE4 and Maya fall under that though. It has quite high TDP aswell.

    GTX 660 Ti - It just seems to be more on the weaker side nowadays already. Then again, I have no clue.

    GTX 670 - One of my closer choices. But again, is it powerful enough to handle UE4 properly?

    GTX 680 - My current top choice. Though I am not sure how things would work out with it + the GT120, as it would exceed the 225W limit.

    GTX 960/970/980 - These would be like the perfect solution. However, I am on Mountain Lion and cannot switch. (Music Production related). And even if I could, I wouldn't want to. It already was hard for me to switch from 10.6.8 to ML. And as far as I understand, these only work in Yosemite, right?

    So yea, these were the cards that made sense to me. I guess in the end it comes down to either the GTX 670 or the GTX 680 anyways. But I would love to hear your guys' opinions first.

    Thanks! :)

    PS: I forgot to mention: I do use some After Effects and Photoshop aswell from time to time, but I had no problems using these with my 5770 so far. So I guess this shouldn't really matter. I am going to keep the 5770 anyways, just in case!.
  2. Synchro3, Mar 7, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2015

    Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    I've sent you a private message. I guess to have answered your questions.
  3. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2012
    Given that your main focus is on the OpenGL performance, you've pretty much answered your own question and Kepler beats Fermi in OpenGL. I'm not sure what else could be added.

    To your other concerns: the GT120 would not be included in the 225W since it won't draw power from the two six-pin connectors. So if you run two video cards, the limit is 300W instead. Another thing you need to know is that these unflashed PC cards would only run PCIe 1.1 speed instead of PCIe 2.0 under Boot Camp. If this doesn't bother you, that's fine. Otherwise get a GTX 680 card which can be easily flashed and run PCIe 2.0 speed in Boot Camp, in addition to getting the boot screen.
  4. Surrat macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2014
    United States
    Dont worry about no replies with a lot of views, just means people are not sure what the best advice is. Be patient and wait for somebody to chime in that has experience with the software you use.

    If you get a MVC or self flashed card, you wont need the 120 in there anymore. Since a flashed or real mac edition card will give you boot screen.
  5. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    I'd say either a mac edition 680 if you want new, or a used reference-style gtx 680 for later flashing. Then you don't need the GT120 and have an extra slot.

    If you're not using filevault, you might not even put in the GT120 -- bootchamp is handy for switching into windows for the next boot (but the setting only lasts once, so another reboot takes you right back into OSX without fiddling with the startup disk)

    Also you might have trouble with the GT120 and a newer nvidia card in bootcamp/windows - my machine will bluescreen if I do a GT120 & a GTX970 into windows. My guess is the GT120 isn't supported by the latest nvidia drivers anymore, but just guessing.
  6. smallpotato macrumors newbie


    Mar 5, 2015
    All of these cards are nice, but there are cheaper options for what you are looking to do. I run an ATI 5870 that I got flashed from ebay for $130. It runs UR4 perfectly, keeping a steady 30-40 framerate. The 5870 outperforms the 5770 by more than 70%, and has double the processing power. I haven't yet found anything that can bring it below 30 fps, even in my vintage 2006 MP with 667mhz ram.
  7. MentalVizion thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2013

    Thanks for your answers guys, really appreciate it! ;)

    Now that I know of all the benefits a flashed card has to offer, I probably will go with a flashed regular GTX 680.

    One last question though:

    Is flashing a "regular windows" card a DIY proccess, or do I pretty much have to order one from MacVidCards?

    Since I am located in Austria, there would be quite a high amount of custom-fees etc. when ordering in the US. And the GPU is already quite expensive itself...

    So I'd rather try to do this myself if it isn't to risky. (which I guess it's not in all honesty :) )

  8. xcodeSyn macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2012
    That's why I mentioned the GTX680 which is the only one you can just download the correct rom file and flash on your own as long as you choose a video card on the list. There is plenty info scattered around this forum but most is summarized and linked in this thread. There are two different rom files for the 2GB and 4GB models, and make sure you download the correct one for your video card.
  9. MentalVizion thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2013

    Thanks for all the answers guys.
    I am definitely going for a GTX 680, thats for sure.

    However, I am still unsure which exact model to choose. I would like to get either EVGA or Asus.

    EVGA has tons of models. Some of them require 6+8 pin power (SC & FTW models for example) while the regular one is ok with just two 6 pin connectors.

    Since I don't want to damage my Mac Pro's logic board, I'm not too sure about using 6+8 pin, as it draws more power. However, I would really love to use a 4GB card - which as far as I've noticed, all need the 6+8 pin power.


    Here are all models listed. I really like the black-silver SC and FTW models, and I saw alot of people using them. Are they really save to use?

    On the Asus side, the only one I really like is the regular plain 2GB model.

    Pretty much I'm just unsure wheather to choose a 2GB or a 4GB model because of the 8pin. Flash-wise there seem to be no problems with any of them (EVGA) models.

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8 March 6, 2015