8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 9, 2011 12:49 AM by Biltan-Wales
EmAliasX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello!

Please excuse my ignorance on this topic (guess that's why I'm here) but I am in the market for a new video card and am finding my options limited (not a surprise considering Mac but more so then expected).

I have the following Mac Pro running 10.6.6:

Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro3,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per processor): 12 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B05
SMC Version (system): 1.25f4
Hardware UUID: 76806C42-F824-5794-907A-F976638CB73E

I am running a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (512MB).
I am going to put another 4GB of memory in when I purchase a new card.


I've found the ATI HD 5770 offered by the Apple Store (the only one offered) and the Nvidia website is advertising the "new" GTX 285 for Mac.

I've noticed that Macintosh compatible video cards are coming out a couple years after the same model PC card is released (in the case of both cards above). So being that these cards are a couple years old, and seem to be the best (only?) upgrade options available, *my questions is*: Are these somehow tweeked to be faster than their original PC incarnation, or are they essentially the same 2-year old card in terms of performance? Can the benchmarks run on the PC cards give me an idea on how these cards will perform? Do I have other options available to me as far as getting an equivalent to the newer PC cards (such as the ATI HD 6950)?

Thank you for your time and patience!

Mac Pro 3,1 Quad-Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.6.6), purchased mid 2009
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (244,555 points)
    The Apple cards are the only ones with the boot ROMs that work with OS X. Non-Apple cards cannot boot OS X, only Windows. You should do some Google searching on the matter to find what cards can work that have or now come from Apple. You may even be able to use the 5870 as well as the 5770.
  • Biltan-Wales Level 2 Level 2 (340 points)
    Hi,

    EmAliasX,

    Your best option is the ATI Radeon HD 5870, which runs fine in 2008 Mac Pros.

    This out-performs the GTX 285 by some considerable margin:
    http://www.barefeats.com/wst10g6.html

    There was a recent thread about this topic:
    http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=12927145#12927145

    Regards,

    Bill
  • EmAliasX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for your responses! I was unaware the 5870 was available for Mac being that it did not appear in my Apple Store search. Gives me an additional option over the 285.

    To clarify: I have done the research and am aware that only those cards supported by Apple will work in OSX, such as the two cards I mentioned. My question is not will they work, but being that they are copies of older PC cards, *I am wondering if their performace is that of the PC cards or if they have somehow been 'revamped' upon release for Macintosh to compete with current PC cards? Identical? Am I buying a copy of an older PC card?*

    I am not suggesting that these cards will not perform or are bad..they are very nice cards and the 5870 is only about a year old (for PC's anyways); just trying to get an idea of how long these cards may last me being that the gaming industry bases their minimum requirements on the most current PC cards, not Mac, and what is released today is quickly eclipsed by another 6 monhts down the line. And..if the Mac cards are in fact copies of the PC cards I will essentially be a couple years behind the graphic requirements of the latest and greatest games. (That being said perhaps I am better off purchasing the newest PC card for the same price as the 5870 and running it with Windows 7/bootcamp, with the proper power cable?)

    Thank you, and hope that makes sense.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (244,555 points)
    They are just standard models with Apple boot ROMs. Nothings revamped, nothings beefed up, they are fine for gaming although are probably out of date already. But since you've done your research you already know that.

    If maximum gaming performance is your desire then you need the much more expensive Nvidia Quadro cards. These and the 5870 appear by simply selecting the Displays & Graphics link from the Apple Store main page - here.

    If you want to game in Windows you can always install a second card designed for Windows. It will only work when you run Windows.
  • EmAliasX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you very much! And thank you again for your patience with me!
  • Terminal Velocity Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    So keeping the current video card in my mac and installing a second card designed for windows, the computer will automatically recognized the corresponding card for the each OS? And there wont be issues when using bootcamp between the OS'?
  • Biltan-Wales Level 2 Level 2 (340 points)
    Hi Kappy,

    I am a great admirer of your posts on the Mac Pro pages, and much of the information you have provided in your replies has been invaluable to me in the past.

    However, I am somewhat confused by what seems to be conflicting advice between your reply here:
    ******************************************************************************** ************************
    If maximum gaming performance is your desire then you need the much more expensive Nvidia Quadro cards.
    ******************************************************************************** ************************

    And the Bare Feats website:
    ******************************************************************************** ************************
    You can still order the Quadro FX 4800 for $1800 from the Apple Store (or $1680 at OWC) but the Radeon HD 5870 looks like a much better buy for overall graphics intensive needs. That's not to say that certain applications benefit from its 1.5GB of GDDR3 video memory but you certainly don't want to pay that much for faster gaming -- which would be a double mistake since it was so slow running games, I didn't want to embarrass it by publishing the results in the game graphs.
    ******************************************************************************** ************************
    http://www.barefeats.com/wst10g4.html

    I do nut use my system for gaming, but I am just curious nevertheless.

    Regards,

    Bill
  • Biltan-Wales Level 2 Level 2 (340 points)
    Hi EmAliasX,

    ******************************************************************************** ************************
    I am not suggesting that these cards will not perform or are bad..they are very nice cards and the 5870 is only about a year old (for PC's anyways); just trying to get an idea of how long these cards may last me being that the gaming industry bases their minimum requirements on the most current PC cards, not Mac, and what is released today is quickly eclipsed by another 6 monhts down the line. And..if the Mac cards are in fact copies of the PC cards I will essentially be a couple years behind the graphic requirements of the latest and greatest games.
    ******************************************************************************** *************************

    It is a fact of life for us Mac enthusiasts/fanatics that Apple is always at least a generation behind with its releases of graphics cards, compared to those available for the PC market, particularly with regard to the ATI products.

    However, the graphics card is only one part of the equation, and, with gaming as the most notable exception, Macs, with earlier generation cards, often outperform their PC counterparts, with the latest graphics cards, for most applications.

    It is the sum of all parts which make Apple Macs so good, not just the graphics card. The combination of Apple hardware, software, and Mac OSX is, in my opinion, unequalled by their PC counterparts.

    OK! Mac users will always lag behind in some areas (blu-ray, eSATA ports, 6G, USB3.0 ports, the latest graphics cards for instance), but now and then Apple surprise us all by being the first to the market, with ThunderBolt being a prime example.

    There is nothing that would ever persuade me to abandon my beloved Mac Pro for anything the PC market has to offer. Only a future generation Mac Pro might tempt me in years to come, and the emphasis is on the word "might"!

    Regards,

    Bill