Do all video cards work in macs?

Naldo

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Jul 7, 2001
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Im thinking about buying a Mac Pro, but I am wondering if I can put a newer video card in it, or if they have to be special mac cards or something. I would like to be able to game on it (via bootcamp or whatever), but the cards they offer on the apple site are pretty shitty.
 

MattyC

Gawd
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Mar 13, 2007
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Well I wouldn't pick one up right now as they are probably about to see a refresh, but no one has a solid date on that so if you need one now you need one now I guess :)

As for 'all' video cards no. What exactly are you planning on using it for? If you want in OS X and 'offical' then only a few will work, but for your gaming via bootcamp the options grow.

EDIT: Expect to pay way too much for one if the new Mac Pros are anything like my Power Mac in that department.
 

Arcygenical

Fully [H]
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Jun 10, 2005
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In OSX, you need a card with an EFI BIOS, which very few have... stick to mac certified cards.
 

Jozone

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jun 3, 2003
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I'm fairly sure back in the day there was a way to flash either a 9700pro or 9800pro to be Mac Compatible... however if you consider the recent offerings to be shitty, that probably won't interest you.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
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This is what I consider to be the Achilles heel of the Mac platform. Macs will never be great at gaming -- even if you're doing the gaming in Windows on a Mac -- unless Apple can somehow cut deals with the video card makers to make Mac-compatible EFI cards at the same time they make their PC versions. Probably will never happen, considering Mac's miniscule marketshare, at least relative to PCs.

Buying a Mac -- even a more openly expandable architecture like a Mac Pro -- is like buying a snapshot in time. Buying PC components is, too, to some extent -- but it's a lesser extent. You just can't readily pop in a new CPU or video card, or change out the motherboard, when new technology comes along. They make it tough to get at the CPU to replace it, the video card needs to be Apple-approved, and the motherboard is fixed forever until you buy a whole new Mac.

So, you end up anxiously waiting for the "refresh." Which always comes too late.

Not to mention the fact that Mac Pros were designed to be serious workstations, not gaming rigs, so Apple went with expensive FB-DIMMs that are comparitively slow for gaming purposes.

The Mac is such a great platform with a great OS (probably the best IMO; certainly better than Vista), it's a shame that these limitations exist. It's the only thing holding me back from buying a Mac. Not that I just want it as a gaming rig -- I just want it as an EVERYTHING rig. I want it to be expandable and able to keep up with the times, on par with PCs in that respect. I would really love to have one as an all-in-one box that can truly do it all -- OSX, Windows, Linux, office apps, video editing, music composition, digital photo, 3D modeling, gaming, you name it. But it's just not there yet -- and I wonder if it ever will be. These limitations just drag it down too much for me.
 

Absentee

[H]F Junkie
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Aug 27, 2004
Messages
9,412
Any PCI-E card will work under windows/bootcamp in a Mac pro, but you will need a second one (keep the stock one in is the easiest way) to use under OS X.

Of course, this means you will have to switch the monitor cable from one video card to another.

as soon as intel makes EFI mainstream though, any should work with proper OS X drivers.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Messages
964
Good point about using a card in Boot Camp only, although that's kind of a hassle and an extra expense. I also read in a few places (can't remember where now) that the PCI-E x16 slots in the Mac Pro don't provide enough voltage to support, say, an 8800GTX. Any truth to that?

Let's hope that the "proper OS X drivers" actually materialize for the cards once EFI goes mainstream, and that the drivers' release dates closely match the pace of the PC drivers for the same.
 

Naldo

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 7, 2001
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Hmm, seems like more hassle than Im interested in, thanks for all the insight though guys.
 

autumnmist

n00b
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
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Just to clarify, it's pretty certain that EFI is not going to remain Mac-only--Macs are just ahead of the curve right now... PCs have been slow to switch over, but the old bios is dying.
 
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