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Video Card upgrade for early 2008 MacPro

8815 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Dec 6, 2013 8:46 AM by Marbasse RSS
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gatoralum98 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Feb 17, 2013 10:51 AM

Looking for input to upgrade my video card.  Current card is GeForce 8800GT w/ 512MB RAM.  Can I upgrade the RAM on the card?

Mac Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 10:56 AM (in response to gatoralum98)

    Yes. Choose the ATI Radeon 5770. It is reasonably priced and suitable for your hardware: ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010).

     

    You may also find used ones on eBay or new ones at lower prices, but be sure you only buy one for the Mac. Non-Mac versions will work but there's no video at startup which means you cannot use any of the startup commands.

  • bubbamj Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:24 AM (in response to gatoralum98)

    You cannot upgrade the video RAM on the graphics card you already have, however if you are running OS X 10.8, you can buy a Geforce GTX 660 for the price of that Mac Radeon HD 5770, and it will blow it out of the water.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:33 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    Have you installed a GTX 660 in your Mac Pro? If so are you able to see the startup boot screen? I have a non-Apple 5770 in my Mac Pro and the only way to see the opening boot screen is in VGA mode. In Digital mode the screen is black until the startup is completed. The reason is the lack of an Apple boot ROM on the GPU (I'm not referring to re-programmed ROMS.)

  • bubbamj Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:40 AM (in response to Kappy)

    Kappy wrote:

     

    Have you installed a GTX 660 in your Mac Pro? If so are you able to see the startup boot screen? I have a non-Apple 5770 in my Mac Pro and the only way to see the opening boot screen is in VGA mode. In Digital mode the screen is black until the startup is completed. The reason is the lack of an Apple boot ROM on the GPU (I'm not referring to re-programmed ROMS.)

     

    The last AMD card to work at ALL is the 5870. Nvidia, however, has native support under 10.8, so GTX 500/600 cards DO have boot screens, even though they are normal PC graphics cards. Google it, and you will find many forum posts about it.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:51 AM (in response to bubbamj)

    I've never used any GTX card in my MP, so did not know because mine comes from 2006 and cannot run Mountain Lion. The GPU updates to support these Nvidia cards came in Mountain Lion. They were not available in Lion.

     

    Unless the OP has a 2008 or later MP he won't get much use from the newest cards because the slots are limited to PCIe 1.0. Even the 5770 is somewhat of overkill because the '06 and '07 models cannot take advantage of the cards full capabilities. But hardly anything else will work in them that is equal to or better than the 8800 the OP now has.

  • bubbamj Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 11:56 AM (in response to Kappy)

    Kappy wrote:

     

    I've never used any GTX card in my MP, so did not know because mine comes from 2006 and cannot run Mountain Lion. The GPU updates to support these Nvidia cards came in Mountain Lion. They were not available in Lion.

     

    Unless the OP has a 2008 or later MP he won't get much use from the newest cards because the slots are limited to PCIe 1.0. Even the 5770 is somewhat of overkill because the '06 and '07 models cannot take advantage of the cards full capabilities. But hardly anything else will work in them that is equal to or better than the 8800 the OP now has.

     

    The title of the thread does say he owns a 2008 Mac Pro He should be good for the GTX cards , as his signature says he also has Mountain Lion. He would just need to buy any GTX 500/600 card and pop it in the Mac. I still reccomend getting updated drivers from Nvidia.com though.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 1:43 PM (in response to gatoralum98)

    Even it it does work it would be a waste of money because your model has PCIe 1.1 slots. You couldn't begin to take advantage of all the abilities of that card. What would possibly make it worth while is if you buy a new Mac Pro with PCIe 2.x slots.

     

    You will have the same problems with X-Plane if you select options that your computer's slots cannot support even if the GPU does unless it's just a limitation of VRAM. But 512 MBs of VRAM should not be a limit unless the game developers stipulate the game requires a higher minimum. All that having 512 MBs instead of more should cause is slower game performance.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 1:51 PM (in response to gatoralum98)

    The drivers are in OS X. You will need Mountain Lion to use any of the latest GTX 6xx series of GPUs. You may also wish to install the Nvidia CUDA driver for support of OpenCL. It's only for Nvidia GPUs.

  • bubbamj Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 1:53 PM (in response to Kappy)

    His Mac Pro DOES have PCIe 2.0.

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2838

     

    "The Mac Pro (Early 2008) computers implement PCI Express revision 2.0..."

     

    He CAN use new gpus without bottleneck.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,960 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 2:01 PM (in response to bubbamj)

    I missed that about the 16x slot. Was looking at the 4x slot.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
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    Feb 17, 2013 2:08 PM (in response to gatoralum98)

    GTX 660s seem to be mixed bag maybe did you see the thread on MacRumors section?

     

    GTX 670 seem to do well

  • tomnorth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 21, 2013 1:44 PM (in response to Kappy)

    I agree with Kappy's advice. I upgraded the graphics card in my early 2008 Mac Pro to the Mac version listed below. It was a great decision. Aperture runs way faster. The upgrade was pretty easy. I ordered mine from B&H. It cost around $224. One thing that threw me at first is that the product description says (Mid 2010) in parenthesis. It still works on early 2008 Mac Pros, Apple just won't certify that it will work. I've pasted the B&H product description below for reference.

     

    Graphics  ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB

     

    Apple APA5770C

    ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010)

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