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Old April 26th, 2011, 01:15 PM   #1
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Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

Hello -

I'm thinking about upgrading the video card for my Mac Pro (Xeon 2.66 Quad, version 1,1). It currently has the original NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT card. The card that I'm thinking about purchasing is the ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro. I am attracted to its 1 GB of RAM verses the 250 MGs of RAM with my current video card. Although it is not officially reported by Apple to be working with my aging Mac Pro computer, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 video card is claimed by others with similar versions of the Mac Pro (version 1,1) to be working without significant issues. Hopefully this is true.

I work with the current version of Final Cut Studio, mainly with standard definition video. I edit a modest multi-camera set up in addition to graphics generated by Motion. In addition to my current set up noted below (the MOTU 2408 MK3 has one card taking up one PCI slot), I have the MXO2 Mini video device which takes up another PCI slot, and an eSATA controller card for external hard disk drives taking up the third PCI slot. Currently, all works relatively well.

Here are my questions:

1) Would the ATI Radeon HD 5770 video card present any issues with the other cards noted above??
2) Is there any significant performance enhancement with the Final Cut Studio with this card over my current video card?
3) Are there any known issues with this card which should prevent me from purchasing it (regardless of version of Mac Pro)?

Thank you, in advance, for your time and thoughtful input.

Sincerely,

Ted

Computer set-up: Mac Pro 2.66 (Xeon Quad, version 1,1); 8 GB RAM; 4 internal HDDs; 3 external HDDs (eSATA and Firewire 800); MOTU 2408 MK3 audio device; Matrox MXO2 Mini video device; Mac OS X 10.6.7; Final Cut Studio (current version and updates for all software); Logic Pro Studio (current version and updates for all software).
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Old April 26th, 2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

Couple of things.

First, you're Mac won't take full advantage of the newest graphics cards because it's PCIe slots are 1.0, and can't push the data through at the speeds a 5770 can support. Maybe consider a 4870 card if there's a good $$ savings. You may see little or no difference in performance.

Second, it's kind of an old Mac, how much are you willing to spend and how long do you want to keep it running? Just something to keep in mind.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

ATI 5770 has been tested on MacPro 2006
Radeon 5870 and 5770 on 2006 Mac Pro

Significant improvement

and the conclusion
At $249, the 5770 just seems to me the sensible choice if you wish to extend the life of your "First Generation" Mac Pro.

As I said before, adding the Radeon HD 5870 or 5770 to your 2006 Mac Pro won't cause it to "leap tall buildings in a single bound." But these new cards will help you "clear low buildings with a running start."
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Old April 26th, 2011, 04:19 PM   #4
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

See this as well
Radeon 5870 in 2006 Mac Pro
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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:57 AM   #5
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

First, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful comments. They are most certainly appreciated.

I am attempting to extend the life of my happy and aging Mac Pro computer. I see that the Radeon HD 5770 (the "lessor" of the two video cards) is about $250 and is probably the most compatible of the version 1,1 Mac Pro computer. Basically, my wallet says that it's cheaper to purchase this video card than to buy a whole new computer.

I ain't gonna buy it yet. But it is high on my list of things to purchase (next) for my computer within the next several months.

Sadly, I haven't been able to find a more compatible video card for the version 1,1 Mac Pro computer. It is as if they stopped making video cards for this specific computer altogether. If there are any other suggestions in "beefing up" this computer and extending its life, please share!!

Again, thank you for your comments.

Ted
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Old April 28th, 2011, 03:47 AM   #6
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

NVidia Quadro 4000?
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Old May 1st, 2011, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

Don't be surprised if you see absolutely no difference at all in performance if you replace that 7300GT card. My wife & I both have 2008 Mac Pros that originally had 7300GT cards. Motion & FCP are the most graphics intensive applications that we use. Her machine was upgraded to an ATI Radeon HD 3870 without any obvious improvement in graphics performance but a great deal of increase in fan noise. It got upgraded again to an ATI Radeon HD 4870 again with no noticeable increase in performance but thankfully a great reduction in fan noise. I still have the 7300GT in my machine & when opening the same FCP project I see no difference in rendering times or speed of using FCP. I have to conclude that the 7300GT is plenty quick enough for FCP 7. Hopefully FCP X will take better advantage of higher performing graphics cards.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 01:44 PM   #8
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Re: Upgrading video card for aging Mac Pro (version 1,1)

Nigel, you're not likely to spot the difference in FCP. It actually doesn't call the GPU to any great extent. You'll see the difference in Motion (and Color I believe as well) if you push things with lots of layers. GPU can have impact on frame rate in Motion for example.

My hunch is that FCPX will call the GPU more than FCP7 does as you hope.

See 2008 MacPro Color test with various GPUs
Radeon 5870 and 5770 on 2008 Mac Pro
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