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zalant 11-03-2010 04:26 PM

Graphics card replacement for Mac Pro
 
I just received a used Mac Pro.

(specs here: Mac Pro "Quad Core=" 2.66 (Original=) Specs (Mac Pro, MA356LL/A, MacPro1,1*, A1186, 2180) @ EveryMac.com)

The problem I'm facing is that it has no graphics card in it, due to the original 7300GT having burned up and been tossed long ago. From what I've read (plenty!) there appear to only be about four cards which will work with this computer, due to only that many having been produced with the necessary Apple EFI. I've looked around and I've seen the original 7300GT cards for around $150 (and up). I'm no gamer nor web designer, so for me, spending more than $100 on a graphics card is hard to fathom.

I've read in many places where it states that without a card having the Apple EFI on it, you won't get the Mac bootup screens, but that once the OS loads, you will see the screen once OS X applies the appropriate driver.
  • So, does that mean that just about any PCI Express card will actually work, so long as I don't care about seeing the Mac bootup screen?
  • Is there any way of taking your ordinary average PCI Express graphics card and flashing it with Apple EFI, or does there have to have been written an Apple EFI version for the particular card? (I've read about taking the "PC version" of cards and flashing it with the EFI from a PC/Mac version of that SAME card, for example.)

What I'm after is a way to get a graphics card in this beast for under $100. In all that I've read, it astounds me that there hasn't been more tinkering and experimentation where this is concerned. I've read plenty of posts with people lamenting that "well, we just have to deal with it".
  • Is it really that much of a brick wall?
  • Has there not been a configurable graphics card EFI image that can be manipulated (to reflect the actual card in question) flashed onto any compatible (i.e. has a big enough ROM chip on it) graphics card, or does Apple have to have written one for the card to work at all under Mac OS?

harryb2448 11-03-2010 05:04 PM

G'day and welcome to the forums.

Well if you do not spend the $100 or more you will not have a graphics card pure and simple and PC cards will not work in the Mac Pro. Flashing PC cards is very much a hit and miss affair, can kill the card and maybe do serious harm to the Mac Pro. Maybe this is what has happened and personally would avoid a machine where the card has been burnt out and dumped and comes without one, so I trust you got it very, very cheap.

Look for a nVidia GeForce 8800GT. They are the best value or your buck and about $180 brand new. Your Mac Pro is still worth more than $1,200.00 so why take the risk?

pigoo3 11-03-2010 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zalant (Post 1134788)
The problem I'm facing is that it has no graphics card in it, due to the original 7300GT having burned up and been tossed long ago. I've looked around and I've seen the original 7300GT cards for around $150 (and up). I'm no gamer nor web designer, so for me, spending more than $100 on a graphics card is hard to fathom.

The 7300GT is probably the lowest end graphics card for the Mac Pro...and getting them for under $100 is not too easy...it can be done...but not easy. So any better card beyond a 7300GT is just going to cost a bunch more!

You're just not familiar with the cost of graphics cards for Mac Pro's...start fathoming!;)

- Nick

zalant 11-03-2010 06:30 PM

Indeed, I did come by the machine very very cheaply. Basically, I'm a beggar trying to be a chooser, but I guess that's not always possible.

In the many discussion forum threads I've read on the subject, it appears that the original 7300GT cards used inferior capacitors and it was very very common for them to burn up, so I'm not at all concerned about the rest of the machine. I wish someone still had one, as I found another page where the project at hand was replacing said capacitors.

I thank you both for the replies and advice. It's almost as if the costs associated with Macs prohibits the kind of reckless abandon that I'm used to in the PC world. That's why I'm surprised to hear all of the closed-down comments on how things simply cannot be done.

On the PC side of things, it's more like 'where there's a will, there's a way'. I was under the impression that the Mac world was more open-minded, but it strikes me as perhaps a little more Stepford-like. I hope that does not offend anyone, and I don't mean for it to, but that's just my knee-jerk reaction to the majority of opinions which I have encountered, thus far.

In the end, I may just be too cheap to be a Mac guy.


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