Which graphics card for 2008 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by BeechFlyer, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. BeechFlyer macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #1
    I have used Final Cut Studio for many years on my 2008 Mac Pro. Now that I have tasted FCPX on my new MacBook Pro, I want to use it on my Mac Pro, too, but that requires an upgrade of the graphics card.

    Apple says that the ATI Radeon HD 4870 is the only one supported both by my 2008 Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro X:
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201805
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202239

    Is this really the best (and only) card to consider for an upgrade?

    Thanks!
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Based on my reading of your post, I infer that you misunderstood the Apple webpages. The ATI Radeon HD 4870 is an Apple-provided graphics card. You are not limited to Apple-provided cards. Your second link lists several after market cards that can be expected to work fine on your Mac Pro running Final Cut Pro X with one caveat. Further down on the page is a list of cards that are incompatible with FCPX. Any card in the first list and not in the second list should work fine.

    Pick the highest performing card that you can afford.
     
  3. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    The Radeon 5770 will work for everything else in a 2008 Mac Pro. Not sure why it wouldn't work for Final Cut X.
     
  4. BeechFlyer thread starter macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #4
    Thanks, guys. I just ordered an ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB. Not the latest and greatest, but I just need something to run FCPX reasonably well, not a high-end gaming card.
     
  5. coldsweat macrumors 6502

    coldsweat

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location:
    Grimsby, UK
    #5
    Could you let us know how you get on with this combo - back when FCPX first came out I had this combo (actually still do under my desk gathering dust) & it was fine for HD editing however FCPX would repeatedly crash & cause panics forcing me to 'upgrade' to an iMac. If it's now stable after the many FCPX & OSX updates I may re-commission this system as a second edit station, please keep us posted.
     
  6. BeechFlyer thread starter macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

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    Nov 5, 2015
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    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #6
    Yes, I will report back here once I get the card.

    - Martin
     
  7. Escher2112 macrumors member

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    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
  8. BeechFlyer thread starter macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #8
    Well, the first impression is good. Installation of the 5870 was easy and went without any problems. It's a little strange to not see a boot screen when the Mac starts up, but that was a documented "feature", and everything seems to work fine when the login screen comes up. The fan was very loud (beyond tolerable) at first but calmed down significantly after a little while.

    I haven't done any significant work with it yet, so I'll report back once I have a little more experience with the new card. From what I've seen today, I am optimistic that my trusty old cMP can serve my needs for a little longer before I need to get a new computer.
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    One of the gray DVDs that shipped with your contains a utility that will calibrate your Mac's fan.
     
  10. BeechFlyer thread starter macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #10
    There was no DVD included with my card, nor did I expect one from the ad (http://www.ebay.com/itm/251472274684):

    > No retail box or driver CD included - no drivers are necessary

    But after the initial surge, the loud noise really went away, so I think all is good.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    I had a 5770, which is the same family as a 5870. The fan was always full blast for about 2-4 seconds on startup, then slowed down to the point where it was nearly silent during operation.

    If you have full speed fan issues even after bootup, then you can try the following utility. A few Mac Pro owners with full-speed fan issues after a GPU upgrade have successfully used it to fix the problem.

    http://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control
     
  12. BeechFlyer thread starter macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #12
    After a bit over a week with the 5870 card, I would describe the experiment as a big success. The fans have settled at a speed where the noise is better than before. FCP X and Compressor run great. I don't have a copy of Motion, so I couldn't test that.

    I can't really say anything about the performance before and after, because along with the new graphics card I switched from FCP to FCP X, something I had dreaded to to but looking back it was a huge improvement in performance and productivity. The user interface is so much more responsive. And H.264 encoding for my typical projects has gone from 8-12 hours to under an hour, probably mostly due to finally using all eight CPU cores.

    ActionableMango, thanks for the link to the Mac fan control software. It runs fine, but at first glance I don't see which of the controls is for the graphics card - is that not controllable through this software?

    MacFansScreenshot.jpg
     

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