7 Replies Latest reply: Oct 10, 2010 11:53 PM by schulmaster
bravegag Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Can anyone enlighten me about which sound card is included with the Mac Pro 2010?

Would an upgrade to e.g. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Audio be possible?

Best regards,

MacBook Pro 17'' Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 June 2009 w/ Crucial M255 SSD 256GB, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • qd.smits Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)
    The 'card' is called 'Intel High Definition Audio', it is on board. Perfectly fine if you ask me, the only problem I have with it is that the headphone connector on the front of the case makes strange noises, but I don't use it... It's got S/PDIF Optical in and outputs, line in and out and a front headphone port.

    If you want to upgrade you'd need a card that would fit in the Mac Pro and then have drivers for the OS too. The card you specify is a PCI card, that physically won't fit in the Mac Pro. It also only comes with Windows drivers, so it won't work with OSX.
  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)

    This is a compatible upgrade (according to the maker):

    The optical out of the Mac Pro supports 5.1 surround sound.
  • Halfmoonh4 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Just what is "high definition sound", is there a spec for that? As far as I can tell, that just means stereo. This is my biggest beef about Apple and Macs, how can one claim to be king on AV stuff when you can't even offer a decent sound card. I want one like the Razer Barracuda on my PC that does all the codecs (Dolby, THX, etc) in hardware. Mobo sound stinks, a good sound card blows away an mobo sound. I can't figure out why the Mac community isn't in revolt and just accepts "stereo". Even 5.1 is pretty useless if you don't have all the codecs built in. The Pro is a really nice workstation. But, How can you spend $5k, have a killer graphics card and not have a sound card option?
  • bravegag Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Assuming I could find a premium sound card that would fit the connector possibilities of the Mac Pro e.g. PCI express etc ... and assuming there would not be any driver support in Mac OSX. Would I still be able to use the card via Parallels Desktop? I will for sure install Windows 7 on top of Parallels. I guess it would work only having a direct Windows 7 installation usin bootcamp but maybe not with Parallels?

    The main question is does Parallels Desktop works only for hardware devices that are supported by Mac OSX?

    Best regards,
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (48,005 points)
    Yes, Since Parallels uses OS X to reach the hardware, it can only access hardware recognizable by OS X.


  • Randy Decker Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    I'm sure you know that the Mac Pro has an optical digital audio output. One can connect that output to another device which can process the audio. If the signal is stereo then that's what it is. However audio Can be encoded with other information like AC or 5.1.

    Audio cards in the machine it self are subject to noise. It's best to get the signal out as digital and process in an outboard device.

    Read more at OSX Audio and http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/hdaudio.htm
  • schulmaster Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    @japamac "Hi- This is a compatible upgrade (according to the maker):

    I'm pretty sure the above hardware is out of budget for even the majority of Mac Pro users. If you're dishing out $1500+ for a sound card, a Mac Pro is probably not the machine you're looking for, nor are most traditional computing options.

    If sound is a priority however, you can always bootcamp, and just move your cable to the on-board jack when reverting to OSX. OSX will not object to the foreign hardware, but just ignore it.

    Creative offers a wide variety of cards in a more realistic price range.

    Message was edited by: schulmaster