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Mac Graphics Card Options that Dont Break the bank

May 22, 2012 12:06 PM

Hi, I am upgrading my mapro1,1 to a 4,1 so I can use Premiere frendly graphics cards that suport GPU acceleration.  I am a student and have already spent too mutch so was wondering what a good cheaper graphics card might be.  I have my ete on the Nvida GTX 550 Ti but there does not seem to be a Mac Version.  Maybe I could put it a PC one in as a second card. 

 

Any advice greatly apreciated.

 

Ben

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 12:22 PM   in reply to funkytwig

    There's only three nVidia cards supported on the Mac.  GTX 285, Quadro FX 4800 and Quadro 4000.  But there's also AMD.

     

    Supported AMD graphics cards for GPU acceleration:

    • AMD Radeon HD 6750M (only on certain MacBook Pro computers running OS X Lion (10.7.x) with a minimum of 1GB VRAM)

    • AMD Radeon HD 6770M (only on certain MacBook Pro computers running OS X Lion (10.7.x) with a minimum of 1GB VRAM)

     
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    May 22, 2012 12:24 PM   in reply to funkytwig

    I have a MacPro 4,1 with the GTX 285.  They stopped making it a while back, but you can find them on eBay for only a couple hundred dollars.  This card works great!  (There are some benchmarks that show this card beating out the newer, more expensive cards.)

     
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    May 22, 2012 2:09 PM   in reply to funkytwig

    ftwig wrote:

     

    I am a student and have already spent too mutch so was wondering what a good cheaper graphics card might be.  I have my ete on the Nvida GTX 550 Ti but there does not seem to be a Mac Version.  Maybe I could put it a PC one in as a second card. 

    There are some interesting options available, but it depends on how much work you want to do and/or how much risk you're interested in taking on.  The assumptions that I'll make is that:

    1. you're planning on running the latest Lion (10.7.4) version of OS X, and you don't mind keeping your nVidia drivers up to date
    2. you don't mind editing the Premiere Pro CUDA card text file

     

    With that, you can do 1 of the following:

    1. Buy a PC-based nVidia card and deal with the fact that you won't have your grey Apply boot screen.  PC-based cards aren't compatible with the Mac's EFI, so when the Mac first boots, it won't be able to display anything.  However, as soon as Lion boots, the nVidia drivers on the disk will take over and you'll start seeing things on the screen.
    2. Buy a PC-based nVidia card and have the EFI chips added to it.  This option requires you to send your card to an aftermarket modification guy in LA who can do the dirty work of popping the chips off and adding the right ones on.  Once he's done this, the card will show the EFI boot screen as well as work with Mac OS.

     

    I chose option 2; I have a 2.5GB nVidia GTX570 in my Mac, and it properly displays the grey Apple boot screen.  With the up-to-date nVidia drivers on Lion, it works flawlessly.  And all I had to do was add it into the right text file: voila!  I have MPE running in hardware acceleration mode, and at a substantially faster speed than was available with my previous Quadro 4000.

     

    Hunt around on the MacRumors forums for a guy named "MacVidCards".  He's the one that can hook you up with an EFI-enabled GTX570, if you want one.

     

    jas

     
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    May 22, 2012 5:19 PM   in reply to funkytwig

    Unfortunately, you might have to break the bank because the GTX 550 Ti is in the "penny-wise, pound-foolish" category of bang for the buck. It is significantly slower than cards that cost just $50 more.

     

    And the Mac Pro 4.1 is now several years old - nearly three years old at this point. As such, they do not officially support the newer hexa-core CPUs. However, the most recent Mac Pro, 5.1, is already nearly two years old but offers dual hexa-core CPUs.

     
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    May 23, 2012 5:42 AM   in reply to funkytwig

    ftwig wrote:

     

    How about option 3, keep the original card to see boot screen and put PC card in another slot.  OS 10.7.4 is not an offer as you kind of need it for PP.  I may have to move the cards around to put the new card in a fat slot (or does the 4,1 have 2).

    The problem with dual cards is: power.  The power supply in your Mac is 1000W, but the power leads from it don't exist.  The power leads for the video card(s) are connected directly to the motherboard, and there are only 2 of them available.  There's no real way to power two cards that need external PCI-E power connectors, if one of the cards needs 2.  And the recent GTX5XX series cards need two.

     

    I don't know what card comes with a 4,1.  If it's powered by the bus and doesn't need any external power leads, then yes: you can leave both cards in the Mac.  Otherwise you're going to have to pull it.

     

    jas

     
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