Video card options for Mac Pro | Rickard Andersson

Video card options for Mac Pro

As I’ve blogged about earlier, I am the proud owner of a Mac Pro. I love it. One thing I don’t love about it though, is the video card. My box came with the default nVidia 7300 GT and it’s a dog. I can draw polygons by hand faster than this thing.

So I went to the Apple store and checked out what options I had for upgrading. Turns out there are three options, nVidia 7300 GT (the one I have), ATI X1900 XT and an nVidia Quadra FX 4500. This is a joke. The Quadra is of no use to me and costs a rediculous amount of money, so I’m left with the ATI X1900 XT. Thing is, this card is so old I wasn’t even able to find it in Swedens two largest online PC stores anymore. The closest thing is the successor, the X1950 XT. This card costs about $285 if you buy it for a PC. Guess what Apple charges for the X1900 XT here in Sweden? $550!

Dear Apple. Please get a grip and start to offer some modern video card options for the Mac Pro. How about an nVidia 8600 GTS? It’s dirt cheap and still packs a punch. Just slap on your custom BIOS or whatever and get it out there!

64 comments

  1. dave
    Posted August 6, 2007 at 04:20 | Permalink

    Mate I agree completely. I have a MBP right now, and will buy a 8 core Mac Pro as soon as they support the Nvidia 8000 (G80) series cards.

  2. Posted December 11, 2007 at 19:57 | Permalink

    I’ve owned a Mac Pro (2.66 GHz, Dual dual-core) since August 2006, and it’s been a great machine. Of course, I bought the stock configuration, because that was all you could get back then. Within two weeks, I purchased the ATI X1900 XT card (for $499 USD) from the Apple Retail Store, and initially things worked fine. Sure, the fan on the video card was 4x louder than the other six fans in the Mac Pro combined, but performance was excellent and I was happy with World of Warcraft and my other apps.

    Then, my X1900 XT started crapping out. After a few weeks, I started getting artifacts such as torn polygons and extending vertices when playing WoW. Reports surfaced on the Blizzard and Apple web sites of similar problems from other users, with the Apple site quickly squelching and deleting threads relating to the issues. The ‘fix’ was to run SMC Fan Control, jack up the PCIe and CPU/RAM fan speeds to the point the case sounded like a jet engine, and lo and behold – the artifacts went away. Clearly a cooling issue. Problem is, after a few more weeks, had to jack up the fan speeds even faster, and faster, and faster, until — it no longer helped at all. Artifacts no matter what, and getting worse!

    Yes, the X1900 XT got a regular blast of air to keep the heatsink and cooling fan clear of dust. Yes, I verified the fan was running and blowing air out of the back of the dual-slot cooler that felt like a hair dryer on high. Yes, getting worse.

    The card died 11 months after purchase. The Mac Pro was locking up after just a few minutes of use, artifacts so bad you couldn’t play WoW, and desktop image corruption just sitting at a blank desktop in OSX. The card had to come out.

    Warranty? Ha! 90-days on parts. The card wasn’t ordered as part of a Configure-to-Order package, so the card itself isn’t covered under my system’s Apple Care. Ignore the fact the card was bought two weeks after the system from a retail Apple Store. You’re in the cold.

    My eventual solution was to stick the broken Apple card back in the box, and return to my sloth-slow 7300 GT factory card. Performance is terrible in comparison, but the system works great.

    What are my options today? Same as they were 1.4 years ago — nothing. EFS may be the wave of the future, but I have seen no proof of that in the industry. There are no reasonable alternatives. Another X1900 XT for $299 from Apple (at least the price has come down) — but you can’t find one in stock because ATI hasn’t made a X1900 Radeon chip in over 1.5 years – they’re making 3800 series chips, TWO full generations newer now.

    Apple – Get on the ball, and produce some BIOS/driver packages for a modern card or two. A 8800 series nVidia, or 3800 series ATI/AMD card would be splendid.

    Greg

  3. Posted March 4, 2009 at 01:45 | Permalink

    I agree with you guys 100%! This is bull crap that Apple charges so much for their products and then you can’t even get a decent video card. I have the 1900 XT and I like X-Plane…. I have to keep turning the graphic options down in X-Plane. Hey, I bought a MAC PRO !!!! It should be professional product! The money they charged me for this system, I could have purchase an Alienware bad to the bone, smokin PC!!!!!!
    I do love the operating system as far as no spyware or virus problems etc, but that is about it…… Wake up APPLE!!!! Give us a decent video card selection!!!!! The Mac ads got people to start buying, but hey… If they keep this up…. well sales will plumit to the basement. GET US A VIDEO CARD !!!!!

  4. John Pugh
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 13:52 | Permalink

    I started to have problems with my 1900 XT (lines and hangs) and started to look around for another card. I have a 2006 Mac Pro with 667MHz memory (6GB). Nvidia make a GeForce 8800 GT 512MB that is designed for 2006 Macs (according to their web site) so I ordered one. It is on the MacPro compatibility list at their web site and of course I cnnot find the URL now.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Here’s the URL for the card on the nvidia site:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_8800gt_for_mac_us.html

  5. 1111
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 03:35 | Permalink
  6. Posted June 2, 2009 at 15:46 | Permalink

    It’s kind of amusing that we’re still discussing this, two years later :)

  7. macVato
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 02:15 | Permalink

    Hola

    I am a prepress tech and have set up numerous macpros around the San Diego area, the one i am on now has been getting vertical tears and white and black screens, which a (hard) reboot fixes. it has a 1900 XT, and obviously a video card issue. i am gong to replace it with this (not going to put a customer through the pain of waiting for a replacement, when its their only production machine.)

    ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB PCIe Video Card *Mac Pro*

    the Link:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ATI-Radeon-HD-4870-1GB-PCIe-PCI-e-Video-Card-Mac-Pro_W0QQitemZ310161429265QQcategoryZ25449QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m183QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DSICDD%26its%3DI%252BC%252BS%252BIA%26itu%3DSI%252BUS-BWR%252BUCI%252BIA%252BUCC%252BPSS%252BCRS%252BIT%252BUA%26otn%3D1%26ps%3D33#ht_4159wt_937

    i will post you guys a follow up once it has arrived and installed.

    pas
    macVato

  8. Nando
    Posted August 29, 2009 at 05:05 | Permalink

    WOW! TWO years later and this topic is still relevant today as it was years ago. I agree with all of you. The whole Apple situation in regards to video cards (don’t EVEN get me started with audio cards and memory) is downright pitiful. I switched to the Mac three years ago but still use a PC. I miss the convenience of being able to simply swap out my card when the latest and greatest cards come around.

    My 7300GT died three days ago and being on a budget, am only able to afford the ATI Radeon HD 3870 (Mac & PC edition). Why can’t more manufacturers create Mac/PC hybrid cards? This is ridiculous. Any way, this is the card I ordered on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/ATI-100-435928-Radeon-3870-512MB/dp/B001CN9EC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1251518399&sr=8-1

    Is there any hope that perhaps with Snow Leopard out now there might be some improvement with this situation?

    Nando

  9. Posted December 20, 2009 at 03:50 | Permalink

    I entirely concur with this thread. Struggling here myself seriously. I actually need a secondary card (I’ve had my ATI Radeon HD 2600 die once while still under warranty as it’s death caused my HFS+ header files to corrupt and Alsoft had to fix DiskWarrior to make it repair my array and thus I’m one of the reasons for the wonderful 4.2 release that still needs work to support > 4TB drives… sorry, this is a painful topic. ;) . . .

    So yeah, I need a secondary card and I am going nuts. I suppose I’m going to go ahead and buy a stock card and reflash it to work with Mac OS X firmware, but that is just a time intensive process. We should not have to go through that.

    Anyone want to help me make a site dedicated to using stock video cards on Mac Pros? Ping me on Twitter. @ylluminate (http://twitter.com/ylluminate) Let’s just pick up the gauntlet ourselves and make it clear what we want.

  10. Adam C
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 22:13 | Permalink

    This is what I just ordered, per recommendation from a friend.
    http://www.evga.com/articles/00479/

  11. Rich
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 18:23 | Permalink

    I have the same issue with my Mac Pro and the ATI X1900XT. I experience problems regarding screen artifacts (dots and sometimes they blink, odd horizontal lines, and locks up when any 3D occurs). The problem was not bad at first but has gotten much worse to the point that I have to use SMC Fan Control with all fans at full speed, and in addition i have the side of the case off. Gaming isnt even an option for me anymore (I know people say Mac’s are made for work and this video card issue really enforces that).

    What are my options for a replacement video card? I do not want another ATI Radeon x1900xt it is by far the worse video card I’ve ever owned. Does the nVidia 8800 GTS work in the Mac Pro (3.0 ghz dual core)? I just want my system to be stable since when these video issues occur the entire system locks up and I have to force power it off. You’d think a video card that originally retailed for $499 would perform well.

    Thanks for any tips on other video cards that have worked with your Mac Pro 3.0ghz (1333 FSB, 16 lane PCIx)

    -Rich

  12. Jason
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 19:26 | Permalink

    This is the one issue that keeps from buying Apple/Mac products. The fact that what your buying is an appliance not an upgradable computer. I can certainly understand why Apple wants to keep a tight leash on what hardware is allowed or not (i.e. profit and quality control issues) but I think its time they let their Mac Pro users have a choice in what they want to use. That is the reason they bought a mac in a case that opens and not as an all in one appliance (iMac, Mac Mini).

    Just my two cents :)

  13. Posted January 18, 2010 at 21:43 | Permalink

    Rich: Have a look at the card Adam C recommended.

  14. Posted January 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Permalink

    Rich

    I can’t believe how few options are available for video cards! I had a Apple Care 3 year Warranty when my ATI Radeon X1900 XT bust the first time and was replaced for free. Recently checkered horizontal lines appeared and now I can’t get past login screen. I went to Apple genius bar today and the employee told me to not waste money on the card and find a cheaper compatible one. I went to Fry’s thinking I could just replace it easily and I was told they don’t carry apple video cards?? I’ve been researching my options for hours now (also on budget) and not too happy with results.

    I found this link helpful from http://www.xlr8yourmac.com

    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/Graphics/ATI_3870_Mac_PC_review/radeonhd3870_review.html#storytop

    It looks like these are best options…

    ATI Radeon HD 3870 (requires Leopard) approx $219

    NVidia GeForce 8800 GT $279

    ATI Radeon 2600 XT $129 (from what I’ve read about it this card has a fan that’s as loud as the engine off the latest Airbus A380 aircraft).

    I haven’t found a local reseller in OC, wish there was a store I could purchase it from.

  15. Johan
    Posted February 15, 2010 at 18:25 | Permalink

    It’s a pity if we pay ATI twice because they make bad designed hardware which fail, probably after the guarantee too.

    So why not try a NVidia 8800 next time?

    I have the same problem. It helped a while to clean the fins. smcFanControl helped too. But now the crashes comes several times every day …

  16. davinder bedi
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 09:25 | Permalink

    system mac pro-2 x 2.8, 14 gig ram, ati 2600

    last night the flippin graphics card died on me. screen flickered off and came on. from the other side of the room i assumed it was some kind of power saving feature or the mac going to sleep. no apple care or warranty. ill double check. when i boot up the apple logo comes up fine then after that the screen goes black however the mac continues to boot as normal. gutted. time to get that extortionately priced ati 4870 or the better mac mechanix one. cant believe apple want £286 for the 4870 yet the xfx pc equivalent is £100 on overclockers.co.uk i really do hope apple make the ati 5000 series graphics cards (the ones hopefully in 2010 mac pro which should land soon) reverse compatible. god knows how much they will charge for it.i am not to impressed either with apples overpriced options.

    dav

  17. davinder bedi
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 01:35 | Permalink

    ignore my previous post except about apples graphics cards being extortionately priced. turned out that there must have been some sort of power fluctuation/surge which bungled up two of my monitors. everything connected via the power conditioner unit was fine. so lucky my mac pro was hooked up to it rather than directly to the wall outlet. you know when you have been stressed out, and still feel stressed out after the situation has been rectified/resolved because you haven’t accepted the fact that its sorted, awesome my mac pro is still alive.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted February 28, 2010 at 03:16 | Permalink

    anyone want 8800 GT @ $160 free shipping for mac pro? :)

  19. gunso
    Posted February 28, 2010 at 16:58 | Permalink

    Sad to see I’m not alone in this situation. I got my Mac Pro late 2006. In 2007, the ATI X1900 started getting the same lines and artifacts and eventually died, the machine wouldn’t even boot, the card was totally dead. It was still under warrantee for parts, so I just had to haul it myself to an apple store and they replaced the card for free. Now, it’s 2010 and it’s getting the same artifacts issue again. Worse, actually, since I think the first one died before it got this bad. It’s only a matter of time before it does die. I also blow the dust out of my system periodically, but still need to use SMC fan control (it’s uncanny how we are all doing the same exact things here) to keep it cool and not lock up while doing something SO graphics intensive, like open terminal. Problem with it being this late in the game is that now my only option, other than calling apple and ordering a third X1900 for full retail (which will die again with their disposable nature) or find a used Nvidia on ebay.

  20. Rich
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 20:26 | Permalink

    Due to ATI’s heat problems with the x1900XT, I am going to pick up the nVidia 8000 GT 512MB. I found the card on eBay (used and new). It is made for the Mac Pro 2006/2007 (1333FSB) seems it is the other upgrade option back when the Mac Pro was new in 2006. The nVidia has higher 3D ratings than the ATI plus hopefully it’ll rid me of these annoying dots/lines/artifacts (and powering off system every 2-3 days due to lockup). Over the past few weeks now I have “purple shaded boxes” appearing sometimes inside browser window…. very strange. I click to another window and it disappears.

    Worst part is I used to have alot of respect for ATI (due to the fact they are big OpenGL supporter) however the x1900XT is a horrible video card.

    -Rich

  21. Tara
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 12:17 | Permalink

    I have a 2006 Mac Pro and a few days ago the graphics card went on it. This post was the only one I could find that was of any help at all.

    However, thought you’d like to know that I ended up finding a completely different solution that was not only effective but cheap too.

    I live in China, and if there’s one great thing about this place, is that people know how to stretch a dollar. I lugged the computer in to a computer marketplace after it was clear the graphics card was shot. None of the people there had ever seen a mac before much less worked on one, but they knew computers, and knew the fundamentals.

    After I’d described the problem (screen turning blue, visual completely freezing up) in about 2 seconds flat the guy pointed to two capacitors on the card and said they needed replacing.

    A couple hours later I get a phone call – the computer was working perfectly and my bill came to 13 bucks.

    Something to consider in case you run into this kind of thing again – aim for repair instead of replacement.

    Tara

  22. Pawneepilot
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 20:53 | Permalink

    There is a solution available: http://tinyurl.com/gforce8800gt June 2010

  23. Richard
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 22:40 | Permalink

    I have a 2009 quad core 2.93 mac pro with 6GB of Ram and 4 x 1 TB hard drives plus an ATI 4870

    The card is good, easily plays top games in Windows and Mac through Steam at 1920 x 1200 res.

    But that said it was overpriced as a card and Apple should have at least 6 options on the go keeping up by at least 6 to 9 months behind with the latest ATI or Nvidia cards.

    If they did this sales would jump as Windows users and or Gamer’s would buy a Mac for the benefits of a Mac machine (style, build quality, OS , development options – thinking iPhone and iPad, additional professional usage and more…) as well as a fantastic windows machine for development purposes; and not least as an excellent gaming platform. Its a no brainer… but what do I know…

    If they want to sell some volume without becoming common (the price will stop that) then ship more upgrade options..

    .. but I suppose apple are transfixed by making iPhone and iPad the device arena battle ground.

  24. Mike
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 14:06 | Permalink

    I have an early ’08 Mac Pro.

    I’be run Final Cut Pro on it from day one and have upgraded OS to Snow Leopard.

    So now I have 8 processors, 8TB of HDD (upgraded those too, four 2TB drives) and 6GB RAM – and the stinky HD2600XT graphics card is the weak link. I always had to wait for renders when working HD video – very frustrating on such a high end machine.

    Part of the reason is software – Apple are VERY quiet about it but while Snow Leopard might be 64 bit but FCP is very much 32 bit.

    So I’m considering going back to PC. Adobe CS/5 Premier pro can work native AVCHD (FCP imports and transcodes this under ‘Log and Transfer’) and the graphics cards on windows machines are vastly better supported than those on macs due to higher volumes.

    For editing video….well you want the graphics card doing all the work and CS/5 offers that. So does Snow Leopard – but FCP doesn’t implment it.

    Bottom line – my HD2600 XT had failed was was replaced under warranty. Apparently the Mac version had a revision which makes it more resilient (great)

    Before I give up on my 3 year mac experiment – i would liek to try a ATI Radeon HD4870 – but even mac support cant tell me whether the 1 GB version will work – I know the 512k one does. And that’s what it boils down to really. With Windows, you know it;s going to work. IWth mac – you have to ask them – and the guy was Googling to advise me – - if I had posted that I knew it worked – he would have passed this on as firm knowledge….

    What makes this machine worth prevailing with (for video editing – it’s an great machine for everything else) is the low noise level. It would be hard to achieve this on a similar PC – I have tried (and suceeded to a good degree) and know.

    SO – does the 1GB ATI RADEON HD4870 – at £100 from Pixmania – work in the mac pro or not?

  25. Mike
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 14:08 | Permalink

    correction – for the picky – FCP Studio does implement the graphics card working the video (as opposed to the processors) but only in Motion and Livetype – not for the footage itself.

  26. Derick
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 23:07 | Permalink

    My Radeon 1900XT finally died me as well. I’m trying to find an ATI 3870 Mac/PC Edition. So far, I haven’t had any luck. Does anyone know where I can find one or can give me a good alternative? I have a Dual Core Mac Pro system 1,1. I don’t do a lot of gaming, but mainly video editing with Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and After Effects. Is a Geforce 8800GT a good alternative? I’m able to find refurbs of these on Ebay. Thanks for any help.

  27. Posted June 29, 2010 at 09:39 | Permalink

    i have a mac pro i bought three years ago mainly for video editing. my video card suddenly gave up on me, i was unable to boot past the apple logo. The tech people did something with it to have it up and running again but the problem still popped up a few days later. still no cheaper alternative to replace the video card?

  28. bvac
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 02:46 | Permalink

    Hi everyone. I have an original MacPro 1,1 with a recently deceased ATI X1900. I never knew it was so difficult to get a replacement video card.. they still charge over $200 for those pieces of crap? Anyway, I want to replace the card with something cheap (<$100) that doesn't require any hacking to get working. Does anyone know of any that are officially/unofficially compatible? In the meantime, I have a Geforce 8600GTS so I am going to see if I can get that working at all with an EFI injector.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted July 10, 2010 at 15:02 | Permalink

    Possible the best find all night. MAc Pro 1,1 and I will be buying the 880GT for my mac still trying to find out how to put them in to sli and is it worth it?

  30. Posted July 12, 2010 at 10:19 | Permalink

    OMG, so many people who are experiencing the same problems with their Mac Pro!

    I also have a Mac Pro 1.1 but with a Nvidia Geforce 7300GT and the situation is not better than with a ATI Radeon X1900 XT…
    I also have some video artefacts, system freezing, especially when the computer comes back from standby mode.

    So if I understand all of you, there is no problem with the RAM, or the hard drive, but it must be a video card issue? What a shame for such a professionnal computer…

  31. Matthew Ross
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 15:16 | Permalink

    I would like to think that Apple has a solution for this problem. I have an early 2006 Mac Pro with 12 gigs of ram and x1900 video card. I have been taking the card out monthly to clean, and even thought about taking the heatsink off completely and turning my fans way up with smc. Has anyone found a working card for this model yet. I see lots of posts about it, but nobody says what has actually worked for them.

  32. Posted July 23, 2010 at 16:29 | Permalink

    I wanted to let you know that I opened my computer and checked the video card. It has some swollen condensators.
    After checking many websites, I found that this problem was known by Apple.
    I have just called them and actually they agree to repare it for free in an Apple authorized service center, even if I had only 1 year of guarantee (my Mac Pro is 2 years old).

  33. pablo
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 02:54 | Permalink

    Same thing my x1900 is crap and i cant find a cheap replacment. just bought a Nvidia GT120 from apple store and got a black screen nothing.. Do you guys know about flashing and card would work best with my version MacPro.

    Amazing this seems to be the best compendium the subject. I would love to see Steve Jobs do a press conference about this.
    Hardware Overview:

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro2,1
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 3 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 8
    L2 Cache (per processor): 8 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz

  34. mandlebrot
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 17:40 | Permalink

    Having seen the shared grief above, I count myself amongst the lucky ones. I have a Mac Pro1.1 bought with the X1900 which still works. Currently with 6Gb Ram, running 2 monitors (although the secondary screen often takes ages to wake up). My current quest is to run 3 monitors (Dell U2711′s, which, I believe is the same panel as the new 27inch mac display). The question is what graphics card to run them all at native res (2560 x 1440). Having spent hours searching, advice is conflicting. You cannot have a second X1900 due to power connections required. I have seen reports of conflicts between the X1900 and the 7300GT, making this option unattractive. I am not aware of any single Mac compatible multi headed graphics card that can drive the 3 screens. I have failed to discover if I replace the X1900 with the geforce 8800 GT, and add a second card what that should be either. The quadro FX 4500 does not seem to offer any advantage in this situation.
    Main use is video intensive educational presentations, video and graphics editing, along with moderately large databases and spreadsheets. No gaming.
    Apologies for the long post.
    Any workable solutions welcome.

  35. defiantmacho
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 20:30 | Permalink

    Well guys, here’s yet another disappointed PC user-switched to Mac with (brace yourselves) a graphics issue. My 2007 Mac Pro has an NVidia 7300 GT that just went dead about two weeks ago. What I get when I turn it on is a distorted white and light blue that looks like Windows Millennium Edition on safe mode. The computer gives me the power on sound and the apple logo and scrolling circle appears on the color-distorted screen, but after a little while, a dark curtain comes down (also looking like Millennium’s safe mode) asking me to hold the power button to shut down and restart.
    So, I searched high and low on the net only to find there is nothing to replace the damn thing… except for an NVidia 8800 GT which cost me my precious gems AND my neighbor’s as well (lol), $180 USED!!! Can you guys believe it? But of course you can! We’re on the same boat… Only that when I installed it, nothing comes to the screen. I also tried the different resets (command+option+P+R, SMC) and nada.
    What Gives?

  36. Master Blade
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 20:26 | Permalink

    I have a mac pro 2006, and I have some issue with the Nvidia 8800GT, after upgrading to snow leopard 10.6.4. The screen now freeze and blinks and do all kind of wild lines. I have read that there are some driver issued with snow leopard latest release and the 8800GT card. I still have my original card just in case I have to use until APPLE find a solution with the driver. So be aware if you use Snow Leopard better keep with 10.6.3 and don’t upgraded to 10.6.4.

  37. TheDman
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 09:04 | Permalink

    I got the GTX-285 this year and it’s still working really well.I run a lot of 3d aps,FCP and other graphic design programs and not issues as of yet.The only issues I have with the GTX-285, is that it doesn’t have any mini-display ports and I had to third party it, to a company to run my LED monitors..Atlona..pretty good so far.I want to run 3 monitors and the GTX-285 takes up to slots and I don’t know if I’d be able to do that.I don’t think I’d be able to fit to GTX-285′s in there.I am also looking for another video card that will fit and be able to handle the load..

  38. Posted October 10, 2010 at 12:48 | Permalink

    Hi all,

    I have a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 with a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT hooked up to two Samsung SyncMaster 22 inch displays and a ATI Radeon HD 3870 hooked up to a 22 inch HP w2207 display. Ever since I moved up to 10.5.8 I’m having issues with the ATI Radeon HD 3870. When I run Audio CPU and RAM intensive programs (I do audio mastering work) I’m getting audio sync issues and the ATI Radeon HD 3870 will eventually hang leading to a eventual system crash. At first I thought it was a RAM issue (8GB onboard) but after removing the risers and running with a subset of RAM it does appear to be a graphics related issue. If I disable the ATI Radeon HD 3870 everything runs OK and remains stable. I was wondering if anybody else has a similar graphics card combination and finds they are experiencing similar issues. I’m getting to thinking Apple are very bad at determining the backward compatibility of their OS upgrades even with the limited hardware options available to users. Or Apple simply don’t care about ‘older hardware’ users and consider themselves a forward looking rather than backward supporting company. That is – Apple want me to replace my system with their latest and greatest model. Duh! PC’s are starting to look attractive again.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  39. Daniel
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 19:08 | Permalink

    Steve …

    Apple has sold their soul to the devil. Ever since they changed their name to ‘Apple, Inc’ … their focus has been their iPhone OS .. app store … and squeezing as much money out of people as they possibly can.

    There has not been a truly /new/ Mac design in nearly 5 years. They still don’t have a Blu-Ray offering. Their business line is being tolerated but not expanded (Their Server product doesn’t even work) .. their OS has so many security issues and feature issues its not even funny. Apple has narrowed its focus for its computers. Their computers exist only to further their iPod, iPad, Apple TV, and iPhone sales. Its sad .. but its true.

    I had a Mac Pro .. I recently replaced it with a Windows 7 box. I hate the errors and crashes I constantly get .. but at least its current and won’t cost me my first born every 3 years to upgrade. My wife had an iMac .. and now that we have PS3 and do streaming to our TV and whatnot .. she’s really starting to appreciate the proprietary nature of Apple ..

    Apple is not what they used to be.

  40. Posted February 2, 2011 at 12:07 | Permalink

    Hi all,

    my story starts much the same as many here but has a happy ending!

    The graphics card on my 2006 Mac Pro failed and Apple Australia quoted over $1100 to replace it (nVidia 7300 GT). To get a better card like the nVidia Quadra FX 4500 I was quoted over $3000.

    EBay, by contrast, listed those same cards for around $200 and $360 respectively (from the USA). Some more research found that there are other, more recent cards that will also work in the Mac Pro (as mentioned above). I’d like to add another to the list…

    I just installed a flashed ATI Radeon HD 5770 (purchased on eBay) and it works a treat. I don’t game, but do edit HD video for a living and it all seems great so far.

    Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. Reading it contributed to helping me find a solution to my problem.

  41. Steve
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 02:55 | Permalink

    macpro 3ghz quad 2006 – 4gigs

    Well my 4 year old x1900 is still running fine – and is quite quiet.

    It gets really dusty in there so I take it out dismantle it (real easy)and clean it good. Also recently added some cheapo maplins heat transfer compound greese (a29gf) to the cpu/heat sink – and wow what a difference – keeps it well cool and quiet :-)

    (Worth checking the state of the transfer compound)

    fingers crossed ;-)

  42. Shamroy
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:35 | Permalink

    I agree that the situation is ridiculous for a high-end machine, but Devil or not Devil, could someone please list the current (March 2011) options for a Mac Pro, preferably compatible with the 2009 model (4,1, quad 2.66, which is what I have)? I need something more powerful than the GT120 for X-Plane. Thanks a lot in advance.

  43. Steve
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 18:59 | Permalink

    aw well my XT1900 dies on me – I think the strain of overclocking did it in – replaced it with a flashed PC ATI5770

    For instructions see:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12389982

    This thread is worth a read too:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre…highlight=6870

    Looks like Cindori has made new drivers that allow a PC ATI 6870 to run without flashing – and I think (haven’t tried it) the 5770 works with them too.

  44. Posted April 23, 2011 at 16:14 | Permalink

    Hey Steve, can you describe in better detail the grease heat sink thing? I am willing to try anything to get a card to work.
    Thx

  45. Posted April 23, 2011 at 16:19 | Permalink

    Does any one know how to Flash a graphics card (in detail) it seems like that is one of the answers to get a card to work in the Mac Pro. And if anyone near central FL can do it I will gladly pay to have it done.
    I have installed 3 cards all with no luck.

  46. Paul Oakes
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 00:45 | Permalink

    Quad 3Ghz ~2007 Mac Pro, 12Gb 667Mhz memory, 4-500Gb HDD, 60GB SSD, Snow Leopard, ATI X1900

    Removed jet engine from video card and installed heatpipe heatsink. No fans, just the heatsink.
    Fans are now running around 1000 rpm.
    You can hear the disk drives when they seek but with the system on the SSD that’s not very often.
    Essentially the system is silent.

  47. Posted July 5, 2011 at 16:44 | Permalink

    HURRAH – HD5770

    since posting on here Jun 2010…… Final Cut Pro X (10) has been released and my 2008 Mac pro video card – the HD2600XT – will not support it due to a lack of OpenGL – so happily the app store would not deliver the software.

    Back on this thread, many graphics cards now work with Mac Pro and the best cost/performance balance for me seems to be the 1GB ATI HD5770 at £169.10 +VAT which I have just ordered from the mac store and apparently works for all mac pro’s back to 1,1

    I have to say that since Apple replaced my HD2600XT after the first one died (free of charge, with an enhanced version; bigger capacitors I should think) – it’s otherwise done well – though my irritation to be running 32bit FCP software on a 64 bit OS and machine – which thus uses just 2GB of my 6 GB of RAM and just 2 of the 8 cores of processor I purchased – “Grand Central Despatch” in SnowLeopard notwithstanding – this irritation has bugged me for the 3 years since I first bought the machine…

    Mighty fast it is at everything except HD video editing – but HD video editing was what I bought it to do, and waiting for renders you have time for resentment to take hold and fester and grow

    SO: A new video card, which I hope will run alongside the old one – then I buy Final Cut Pro X and the new version of Motion, and – finally – should get what I thought I was paying for 3 and a half years ago

    oh except for that “open timeline” thing…… my expectations have lowered a bit with experience …. it takes all formats of video you see, Final Cut, and Apple carry on about ithe open timeline quite a lot. ….. it’s great, except for the most common video format around which is .flv (flash) – which it will neither input (to incorporate into an edit) nor output (for posting on a site). You have to use converters. Not converters like “Compressor” though, the amazing converter that comes with FCP studio – because that doesn’t do it either. It’s not Adobe that Apple are bullying – it’s us consumers, and they do it because they are big and dominant enough that they can.

    This little sheep isn’t barking at any dogs anymore, my fledgling business failed totally due to my deciding to use flash on my site; 3 years on the site is down and so am I ….. ready to give up on making onlineTVad – totally exhausted by being caught int eh midst of this format war without the capital or technical backing to overcome it

    HTML5 anyone?

  48. Posted July 6, 2011 at 08:42 | Permalink

    Mike: Only Apple can charge £169.10 + VAT for a HD5770, a low to mid-range video card from the previous generation. The 5770 was actually released in oktober 2009.

  49. Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:22 | Permalink

    …oh you’re right, and that’s irritating, but Oct 2009 was only just over 18 months ago, and Apple dont charge £120 for a new OS update like microsoft do, and Mac graphics cards just don’t sell in the volumes that Windows ones do, after reading your comment I checked and saw the same 5770 card for PC at £70, not £170 – and for that sum you can get the 5870 for PC – but I dont know how to flash a ROM…… wish I did….and factoring in that the new Final Cut Pro 10 is only £170 and not £550 (as is Adobe Premiere Pro 5.5) ….. and after Apple replaced my iphone 3GS with a brand new one a year after I bought it (I bought an iphone 4 right there and then and still haven’t got ’round to selling the 3GS) ….. and as their after-sales on my Mac Pro was so very good (I took 3 years Apple Care and god I used it!) – I know this is a graphics card thread but it’s also a bit of an apple-bashing thread – I wish the HD5770 was £70+ VAT and delivery but it’s not, it’s an extra £100 – but it’s there and if it arrives and works today I’ll hope to get another 4 years at least from this Mac pro … Stockholm Syndrome?

  50. Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:54 | Permalink

    “Mac graphics cards just don’t sell in the volumes that Windows ones do”

    There is no such thing as a “Mac graphics card”. It’s exactly the same card, but with a BIOS that makes it work with OSX.

    “Final Cut Pro 10 is only £170 and not £550″

    And you’ve read the reviews, I imagine? So far I have yet to hear one positive thing about the new Final Cut apart from the price. Most reviewers seem to think it should’ve been called iMovie Pro instead of Final Cut Pro.

    PS. I absolutely love my Macs and my iPhone, but I hate Apple.

  51. mike
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 16:15 | Permalink

    On economics of sales volumes and video cards – well I’m no expert in much but Quantity Surveying, but the BIOS has to be put on by AMD – OSX isn’t Windoze after all… and this card (just arrived, literally just unwrapped it) has mini display ports – I thought these were proprietary apple tech but you’ve prompted me to check and I can see Apple now licenses that free to anyone and it’s been adopted as a standard (I hope Thunderbolt does too – in the interest of volumes)

    FCPX – yeah I have read the reviews. I’ll make up my own mind. To be honest it’s probably aimed squarely at me – I remember when I first fired up Final Cut Pro being totally flummoxed by all the slews of obsolete and out-of -date options for video formats etc etc. Out with the old and in with the new I say. A simple interface does not simpleton software make – as the iphone proves. How many buttons? 3? And one is the on/off switch? – I thought My Nokia communicator was the last work when I bought it….. full keyboard and wide screen. It’s a paradigm change, FCPX. Making things easier is bound to irritate those who had mastered them being difficult! I feel sorry for the old dinosaurs…

    PS sometimes hate Apple but I have been waiting for 64 bit FCP forever and am moderately excited.

  52. Posted July 6, 2011 at 17:58 | Permalink

    DisplayPort isn’t an Apple technology, neither is Thunderbolt. DisplayPort was developed by VESA and Thunderbolt was developed by Intel.

  53. mike
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 21:28 | Permalink

    yeah – re Display Port and Thunderbolt I read that and forgot it – because I had never heard of either before Apple did ‘em; same as the WIMP environment (now so commonplace people don’t even realise we are using it but “Zerox” technology before Apple, then Microsoft nicked it with original windows 3.11 that I remember installing)

    As for those FCP x reviews…..” The major problem is for those of us who have been using Final Cut Pro for years. …………. and the bazaar file structure for projects” – never mind bizzare spelling… I don’t know … yet to buy it, will do so in 30 mins….

    Just installed HD5770 in my mac. 3 pint of Guinness and a glass of red wine were not what made it physically tricky – a hard-to-reach power socket on the motherboard and VERY tight physical space for teh card (the install manual at Page 6 refers to a PCI slider and button – which my early 2008 doesn’t have – so you have to carefully work the card around a tight fit against the retaining lever and slightly force it in…) – it’s probably easier in the officially supported models – but fairly ok in oler ones – I am no mechanical genius.

    I still have both monitors hooked up to my old card- even though the new one is in…. we’ll see if i can d/l FCPX now….

  54. mike
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 21:59 | Permalink

    Ok – first impressions – FCPX offers to import from imovie, which I’ve never used, but doesn’t seem to see all my (other) video material BAD – -oh hang on.. import other files – and now it’s importing an MP4 of Resident Evil….

    oh and LOADS of stuff – really quickly after I tell it to

    and the scrubbing is really intuitive… oh god it’s good….

    OH! I just scrubbed out of one clip and into another and it just started to scrub through that one…. NICE

    AND I can type here while a clip plays without freezing (ou have to have used FCP previously to know it did that and how annoying it was)

    I’m gonna stop writing this – I am off topic ut LOVE fcpx so far – the video card I have yet to use – it’s just let me d/l the new software so is clearly working but not driving any monitors as such

  55. mike
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 08:57 | Permalink

    …the video card HD577- works fine in my old mac pro. FCP 10 stinks. Hangs, stalls, spinning ball of death, useless interface, initially imports metadata (dates) from DVC – which impressed me – then stopped – which didn’t – then a mate says his imovie has done it all along….hmmm)

    FCP 10 – if you’re upgrading from imovie it’s (probably) worth the expense; if your moving from FCP7, go AVID, go Adobe Premiere, don’t go FCP 10 for your 64 bit editing solution – especially if you are also shelling out to upgrade your mac video card – it’s definitely not worth the money. (Oh and remember – I started out very impartial and full of optimism)

  56. dcouzin
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 02:51 | Permalink

    I’ve a MacPro 1,1 with the nVidia 8800GT. The graphic card’s firmware is rev. 3233 for the early MacPro’s, and all was well until I jumped from OSX 10.5.8 to 10.6.8. Then the screen colors weren’t to my liking and attempts at color profiling went weird. Color profiles behaved as expected in the icons and text areas, but were useless in picture areas (such as the desktop background). A simple experiment shows this: System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate > Expert Mode > Continue > Continue > Continue > Continue > Continue > Continue > Continue > move gamma slider to 1.0 > Continue > Continue > Continue > Continue > Done. When the slider is moved to 1.0 the screen becomes very pale. Then four Continue’s later the screen reverts to “normal” gamma. But look at the icons. They’re still blanched. Even weirder things occur using Grab. The distinctions between differently generated screen regions implicates the graphics card. Color calbration is impossible both by the eyeball method and by instrumental methods.
    All’s well again when booting to OSX 10.5.8.
    Is there something screwy with my MacPro 1,1 or with my nVidia 8800GT or with my OSX 10.6.8 causing the color profile problems? Or is there an incompatibility in that trio (which should have been noticed by lots of users)?
    nVidia does provide a driver for the 8800GT for Snow Leopard, but it wouldn’t install on my MacPro 1,1. “Unsupported System / This computer will not support this NVIDIA graphics solution.” Again, if the trio {MacPro 1,1; nVidia 8800GT; OSX 10.6.8} is incompatible then lots of users must have encounterd this before.
    It will help in the full appraisal of this graphics card (and help in my trouble shooting) if other users share their experiences, perhaps after repeating the simple experiment.
    Thanks.
    dcouzin

  57. Robert Baker
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 00:35 | Permalink

    I have a 2008 Mac Pro running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. My Nvidia 8800 Gt has stopped working so I’ve started looking for a replacement and have been surprised to find out that this is not an easy task!! I figured I would just order a card I wanted and be done. I can’t believe that in 2011 Mac has to have a specialty card. I was looking at the GTX 560 Ti for my work in 3DS Max.

    Has anyone tried putting a standard video card in to see if it works? I need to find something soon!

  58. Nick
    Posted November 14, 2011 at 16:50 | Permalink

    Hey Robert, supposedly you can use a PC video card in your mac pro, you just have to keep the stock card in it. On the second video card (one you want to use), u won’t see the apple screen, but when it goes into osx, the screen will pop up. Done with an injector from the hackintosh world, go to http://www.kexts.com and look for graphics driver/injectors. Supposedly a friend is using a gt240 1gb in his mac pro, unaltered bios, with only an injector.

  59. chris murdock
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 19:25 | Permalink

    hey i’ve ben a fan of macs my whole life but im not a wis when it comes to upgrading i have 13-inch Late 2006 Processor 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Memory 2.5 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM Graphics Intel GMA 950 64 MB and im running it on lion 10.7 and i havent had problems before but i went to download a game that i got for christmas and it sais failed to detect supported video card but i have played WoW and mant other games is it because something went bad or is it because it is not a good enough card and if i need to buy a better one wat one do i get and do u know how much that would cost me

  60. Jay Roberts
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 17:07 | Permalink

    I have more of a question than a comment. I recently acquired a Mac Pro 1.1 tower. I attempted to connect a lcd projector to the auv dvi with an adaptor dvi -vga cord. The MAc is not recognizing the projector. Can anyone offer assistance?

  61. Flash
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 04:31 | Permalink

    Guys, Apple is no longer interested in the “professional” application of it’s products. Look at the whole FCP X debacle, the abandoning of Logic Pro in studios, and what Apple is focused on – iPhones and iPads. Yes, it’s sad but true, if you want a smoking hot computer, you have to build it yourself. Then you can install windows, linux, or hackintosh onto it and enjoy top of the line components.

  62. Posted February 5, 2012 at 13:59 | Permalink

    Flash: We’re quite aware of that. However, there are people that have put a lot of money into buying a Mac Pro and for them, being able to upgrade the video card is important.

  63. Dark0
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 18:17 | Permalink

    Jay Roberts: Only one DVI can recognize signal from VGA, try to switch them, and look in the manual of the projector, your projector also have to recognize the signal

  64. Richard
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 10:33 | Permalink

    I’ve a 2009 quad 2.93 mac pro. 4 x 1tb drives, and the hd 4870 card.

    I’m on this blog today because I want a new card. Its Feb 2012 and I’m not paying £377 pound for a 2 year old card from Apple – 5870!

    I’m hoping they up date the mac pro this year and issue new cards, but even then they will be 9 / 16 months behind.

    Someone could set up a nice business flashing cheaper (in terms of retail) cards with efi and bios firmware… Seen some guys selling on Ebay mainly the 68x series.

    I’m thinking of maybe running two cards, my original 4870 which is still pretty much sterling in its ability and a newer card for Windows that will only work in boot camp. I would need a switch box for my two monitors so both operating systems could connect to each of my two monitors and I’d need a power splitter.

    Pros: Latest cards for windows applications and games.
    Cons: Heat / power consumption of unused card whilst booted into “other” os, plus having to switch a button when switching between windows or lion. Further all those additional cables for the switch box.

    The problem is most people when buying a mac or going for the imac and not the mac pro. There is no market!

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