Yet another Video card question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by PianoPete, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. PianoPete macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #1
    I'm going to buy a 2.66 macpro to play games in both OSX and eventually boot camp. I have read some disturbing things about the X1900 XT. Overheating, fan noise, video 'disturbances/artifacts' and the card eventually burning out...pretty scary. Think I should I just get the stock 7300 GT and wait for a better card to come out or is there a better card already available?

    P.S- No cards that will break the bank. $400-$500 is the most I will spend.
     
  2. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #2
    Get the X1900. Yes, in PC-land it was surpassed by the much more attractive X1950 with an improved fan design, but it's still a great card, top of the line even for early 2006.

    I bought my Mac Pro with the stock Nvidia 7300 GT card, and later upgraded to the X1900XT to take advantage of the fact that the OS X Core Image framework (used, e.g., by Aperture) uses GPGPU (general purpose computing on graphics processing units) to accelerate certain parallelisable computations by offloading them from the CPU's and onto the graphics processor. The more horsepower you have for this task, the better.

    Anyway...

    The only time I've heard my X1900 fan rev up is during boot, and then only for two seconds, after which it quiets down. During normal operation, the machine is practically as silent as with the fanless nvidia. Even during gameplay at hi-resolution the card is virtually silent. I suppose if you plan on playing for hours at a time in a hot room, then you may hear the fans kick on, but I never have. Neither have I experienced any video artifacts with the X1900. I did, however with the nvidia card where scattershot green pixels would appear across the screen, particulary when waking up from sleep, but also sometimes during DVD playback which would subsequently freeze.

    If the rumors are true and the Apple later picks up the ATI X2900 (we should know this by the time of the Apple Developer Conference this summer), you may be able to upgrade to that card when it becomes available (perhaps trading in the X1900 for a rebate).
     
  3. PianoPete thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #3
    I'm afraid to get the X1900. Eight of the last ten customer reviews at the Apple Store are negative with complaints about poor stability, crashing, overheating and the card frying itself. Also there is no warranty on the card from either Mac or Ati so if it fries your outta luck. I don't need that.
     
  4. bld44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    #4
    If you're so worried about it, don't get it.

    I have one and haven't had any problems. The card is great- video is excellent (compared to my old Nvidia Geforce 3.. haha), there is hardly any noise, no video problems, no crashing, etc. You can't really trust the apple store reviews, you gotta remember most of them are people with nothing else to do but complain.

    I believe I read somewhere that the 7300 GT, X1900XT, and the Quaddro FX 4500 are the only cards that will work in the mac pro, so your options may be limited. Its only a $250 upgrade- if you're buying a $3,000 computer, I'd say you can afford to chip in a little extra for the card, or you can always buy it later if you are unhappy with the performance of the 7300, which I have heard much worse things about.
     
  5. akadmon macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    Get the 7300GT. People are playing games on iMacs and MacBooks with lesser cards than this, for Pete's sake!
     
  6. akadmon macrumors 68020

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    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    #6
    Care to elaborate, point to actual testimonials online?
     
  7. PianoPete thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #7
    bld44 I think people complain because they have problems with a product, not because 'they have nothing else to do'.

    What 'bad things' have you heard about the 7300 and where did you hear them?
     
  8. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    #8
    But not generally playing them well, with the latest games on the highest settings (especially with the MacBook; most of the iMacs are pretty OK but not great). And if you're getting a Mac Pro, the only type of Mac with the option to get a high-end card, it would be silly not to take advantage of that if you're interested in gaming.

    --Eric
     
  9. akadmon macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    I don't game, so it would be stupid for me to fork over more money for a less reliable, louder card (with its passive cooling, the 7300 is the quietest card you can get). But if I did dabble in gaming, then I'd put up with the 7300's inadequacies until a better card than the X1900 became available for Mac Pro under OS X, or just buy a decent PC card and play my games in Boot Camp.
     
  10. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #10
    R600 is supposed to get released next month. I would wait. That should drive the prices of everything down. And who knows AMD may suprise and have EFI compatible cards to boot.
     
  11. Kosh66 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    #11
    Strange. There are alot of people buying the ATI X1900XT with their system and I would have thought I would have heard about problems on the forums. I hadn't heard this and I watch the forums alot.

    But the other question is how many buyers have we not heard from. Those 10 could account for 10 out 1000 users or 10 out of 100 users. There is no way to tell. Some of those reviews are also a bit untrustworthy. One guy doesn't know that the ATI retail card is only for G5's because, G5 owners were screaming for it, and there is no sense making an Intel version yet. Another guy doesn't know that the ATI Display panel has been updated for the Radeon X1900XT and is a Universal Binary, it's just hard to get ahold of.
     
  12. studiox macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Stockholm / Sweden
    #12
    I've been having my XT1900 now since i got my MPro last year. When using 2D apps in OsX or Windows XP the card is almost as quiet as a sleeping baby. But when i load 3d in Windows or use Windows Vista it SCREANS like a Boeing 747.. It get's overheated kind'a easy also - A pain in the ass if you'r playing BF2 and suddenly the ATI monitor pop's up after a 10sec freeze complaining about GPU not responding.

    I don't think apple developers did test the card the way is's supposed to be used (Ie. FAT windows AAA game titles). It works but my quitet nice MacPro becames as loud as my previouslly used noname-pc that i did build myself (Athlon 64XP with ATI 850XT,512M)
     
  13. PianoPete thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #13
    I looked into it and quite a few people are having problems with the XT1900. Aside from the noise it overheats and likes to burn out after 6 months or so. People are putting 3rd party coolers on them or opening their cases and running a house fan on them with limited success. Lots of complaints from people running WoW. It may be that there was a bad batch of cards because others have had no problems with it, but they may be people who either aren't pushing the card or haven't had it long enough to burn it out. So who knows what the real deal is? I'm not taking that chance considering how much money the card costs, plus I don't need the headaches. I ordered a Mac Pro with the stock 7300 on Tuesday. I'll just wait for a better card to come out.
     
  14. Fortis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego and Lafayette, CA
    #14
    That would probably be the smartest route. Considering that none of the cards currently offered in the Mac Pro are DirectX 10 compliant is another reason to hold back on the X1900 XT. Aside from the potential headaches that might come with that card, if you plan to do any gaming in Windows via boot camp, you will most likely upgrade your video card when new DirectX 10 cards are available for the mac, so you would upgrade either way.

    The best thing to do now in your case would be to get the stock card, and upgrade to a DirectX 10 compliant card (that works in both OS X and Windows) when it becomes available for the Mac Pro (saving you $250), which you have done :)
     
  15. PianoPete thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #15

    Awesome Fortis! Your post both enlightened me and made me smile. Thanks a bunch. I now feel very comfortable with my decision :D
     
  16. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #16
    Honestly I think you did a lot of worrying about nothing. No technology is perfect and every product has SOME people with problems. Those people are the vocal majority.

    I've personally not heard about any of the mentioned issues with the X1900 XT. I've had mine since they first started shipping in the Mac Pro 8-9 months ago, pushed it for hours at a time with the latest 3d games (though of course, I only game a small amount of the time). I've NEVER heard the fan come on in OS X, and in Windows only during the most intense gaming use. It's not loud, not compared to laptop fans or even the PMG5s.

    However, if they come out with a new card for the Mac Pro anytime soonish then it could be a good decision.
     
  17. PianoPete thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #17
    Maybe you don't push it often enough to have a problem (yet) or maybe there was just a bad batch sent out and you got a good one. In some of the posts I've read they say it was OK at first and got progressively worse. I've found numerous people with the aforementioned problems on different sites. Enough to make me balk at the card. Better safe than sorry. Another card will come out eventually.


    When you say 'latest games' are you referring to WoW? That game seems to be taxing the card.
     
  18. ^squirrel^ macrumors 6502a

    ^squirrel^

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #18
    For the record.....

    I've taken my machine to LAN parties and been gaming solid from 7pm to 5am in the morning. The card was being hammered and it's not missed a beat for me. I've had the machine since Oct'06 and probably been to 7 gaming nights.

    I'm very happy with my card, it does get loud sometimes but i like that roar when the machine is being pushed! :D As soon as i stop gaming within a a minute it's back to normal revs.

    I'm sure there is a warranty if you buy a macpro with the fitted X1900 card, also i would advise to get apple care. It might be different if you buy the card seperate from the apple store.

    Hope i've restored faith!

    Darren
     
  19. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #19
    Lol @ the comments about hammering the card and the fan still not spinning up - this seems to be one of the reasons that it is frying itself ;)

    As for the issues with the card - yes, it isn't properly cooled. You can ramp up your fans with smcFanControl if needs be.

    However, the card isn't just going to overheat itself without a real pushing. Playing WoW at full resolution with high settings on a 30" screen would appear to be 'real pushing'.

    Still, if you don't need a good GPU *right now* then I'd recommend holding off for something better to come along :)
     
  20. Fortis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego and Lafayette, CA
    #20
    Exactly, spending anything extra on a GPU for the Mac Pro at this point would seem silly. Although all the cards are outdated now, they will likely be refreshed soon. If this thread was started back in the first few months of the Mac Pro's release, then the X1900 XT would be a good choice, but it's just too late at this point to spend any extra money on the video card.
     

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