3 Replies Latest reply: Nov 24, 2012 2:56 PM by Camelot
Mua25 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a Macbookpro and a mac mini but since I started using blender realized the need for a legit graphics card.


I had the idea of buying an Xserve to use the GTX 580 graphics card with blender 3d (It's poven to be the most efficient gpu for blender cycles rendering) in either ubuntu or the standard version of Lion OSX. (not a server OSX)

If the Xserve doesn't suport the card then I was thinking I could buy a used Mac Pro, but Im not sure what model would be the best choice.


Do you know if the Xserve will support the GTX 580 card?


If it doesn't...


What model of Mac Pro would be both compatible with the GTX 580 and a money smart choice?



MainStage, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • Camelot Level 8 (46,655 points)

    The first answer to your question is easy - the card won't physically fit in an XServe, so that's not an option.

    Like many recent high-end cards, the GTX-580 is a dual-wide card. These cards won't fit in an XServe due to the server's form factor.


    As for whether it'll work in a Mac Pro, I can't answer that since I've never tried. Typically high-end cards will work as generic cards, but require drivers to elicit the optimum performance on any platform. As far as I'm aware, no Mac drivers have been released for the GTX-580s, which means if it works under Mac OS X, it'll just work as a generic card. Whether Ubuntu working in a VM sees the card or not is an interesting question.

  • Mua25 Level 1 (0 points)

    Actually, I know for sure that gtx 580 cards work with ubuntu, because I've seen many reports of people finding this the smoothest way to use blender.

    However, the card will need an additional power supply, because it needs 600w and the pcie ports on the mac pro just provide 300w. not problem though.

    What Im wondering is whether the gtx580 will work at it's full potential in a 2008 or 2006 mac pro, in terms of hardware. (given the enough 600w of power needed)


    The 2006 mac pro says:

    PCI Express expansion6

    • Three open full-length PCI Express expansion slots
    • Configurable bandwidth and mechanical support for 16-lane cards
    • 300W combined maximum for all PCI Express slots


    And the 2008 mac pro says:

    PCI Express expansion7

    • Three open full-length PCI Express expansion slots
      • One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot
      • Two PCI Express x4 slots
    • All slots provide mechanical support for 16-lane cards
    • 300W combined maximum for all PCI Express slots


    What do you think "configurable bandwidth" means? (in the 2006)

  • Camelot Level 8 (46,655 points)

    The GXT-580 requires a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot.


    Only the 2008 MacPro has this slot. The 2006 model only implements PCIe 1.0.

    Therefore putting this card in a 2006 model is going to constrain its bandwidth.


    As for the 'configuration bandwldth' question, the MacPro has a fixed number of PCIe lanes (26), divisible across the 4 PCIe slots. So if you have a 16-lane PCIe graphcs card, the other slots can be configured as two 4-lane slots and a 2 lane slot, or you could have two 1-lane slots and one 8-lane slot, etc.


    Either way, from a performance standpoint, the 2008 is the way to go (at least over the 2006 model).