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What is the best Video Card I can get for an Early 2009 Mac Pro?

18954 Views 74 Replies Latest reply: Apr 4, 2014 9:10 AM by ~jj RSS
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Kevin808 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 3, 2012 10:49 AM

Hi everyone,


I'm looking to upgrade my video card in my early 2009 Mac Pro.  I currently have two cards in there and I want to update one of them. - An ATI Radeon HD 4870 with 512mb VRam, and an NVidia GeForce GT 120 with 512mb VRam, neither of which produce very impressive numbers in Cinebench.


I do a little video edititng (FCP, AE, Premiere, Motion, etc) , dabble in 3d (Blender), and game a little.  I would like to know what is the best video card I can currently get that can handle these three things and give me a decent boost in performance.  I'm looking to spend between $300 and $1000, but cheaper is better.


I researched it a little and looked at what Mac Pro's currently come with (The ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB, available seperately here: s)


and was wondering if...
     1. This is the BEST card I can get? And...
     2. Will it work in my machine?


I see ATI has some nice cars out now like the Fire Pro Series: 8800.aspx

Do these work with our Mac Pro's?  I can't find platform compatibility specs.  (I know these are crazy expensive, but I would like to know if they work)


Thanks for any and all feedback



Mac Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.66 Quad Core
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,580 points)

    Frequently Asked Questions About NVIDIA PC (non-EFI) Graphics Cards


    10.8.2 - Nvidia posted new CUDA drivers and Apple's are better. You realize that Lion 10.7.4 began GTX 5xx support and Apple takes time with graphic drivers.


    Add to that, the GTX 6xx were so new and even PC drivers for Windows 7 took months and ongoing.


    Fastest GPU Mac Pro with EFI Support (the GTX 570 discussion)

    - jump to the end of the thread


    Mac Pro, Windows 8 Preview x64 3.2GHz
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,580 points)

    That is a better write-up summary than I could ever do!


    And puts all of it or 95% out front to see.


    A bit expensive seeing how EVGA GTX 570 2.5 $319.


  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,580 points)

    That is a GT 120, there is no GTX, those were OEM cards, and yes you do want to sometimes use boot manager to say do Safe Boots and Recovery Mode.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,580 points)

    hard to find but yes, which is why sometimes a flashed GTX - and leave your precious PCIe slots open

  • DPArt Level 2 Level 2 (495 points)



    Good job putting this together.


    I would like to suggest that you include this simple instruction.


    Before people replace the OpenCl file, they should drag the existing one onto the desktop.


    The OS will NOT remove it as it is a working system file, it will simply make a copy on the desktop.


    Then, if something gets messed up they can just do a safe boot, drag the unaltered copy on the dektop back into the folder and do a "repair permaissions" and be right back at square one in under 5 minutes.


    Gets rid of complaints of "bricked systems" and having to target disk in to repair.

  • nextech Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)



    Another option is the Radeon 7970 GHz Edition.  It's a great graphics card, and I have 27 of them running in various Apple Mac Pro machines (2008, 2010 and 2012 Apple Mac Pro computers).


    The cards are incredible, and work fantastic under Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 (if you boot directly into Windows) but I am still waiting on Diamond/AMD/Radeon graphics driver support in Apple OS X 10.8.x Mountain Lion.


    See here:


    See here:


    It would be nice to see AMD/Radeon/Diamond develop some great OS X 10.8.x graphics drivers that will utilize GPU acceleration, MPEG H.264/H.265 video encoding acceleration, support cross-fire (for using dual Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards in the 2008-2012 Apple Mac Pro) and support AMD App Acceleration (for Apple OS X applications like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premier, Adobe Master Collection in OS X 10.8.x, etc.)   Support 3D gaming, Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray movie playback, editing, and hardware encoding (H.264/H.265 encoding) in OS X 10.8.x.

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