View Full Version : Need someone who knows graphics cards

11-18-2012, 07:57 PM
I read an article that mentions it is possible to upgrade a Mac Pro with an Nvidia GeForce GTX570.

Now I see that on eBay, one person is selling the card for $520

But on TigerDirect.ca, it seems the same card is $300

The eBay listing suggests the card is built for Macs, while the one on TigerDirect seems like it's for Windows, but are they actually different?

I would love to be able to make this upgrade, and I'm sure a lot of other users out there will be looking to do the same. Please advise.

Tim Hole
11-18-2012, 10:14 PM
As far as I am aware there is no difference between the cards. The only difference is the drivers. There is a lot of conspiracy theories flying around at the moment with the 5xxx and 6xxx cards saying NVIDIA have crippled some of the CUDA cores but Apple wouldn't let them do it. This is apparently in order to keep the trench between GTX and Quadro, but its false. The new architecture (Keplar vs Fermi is completely different but thats another post). The card is not officially supported by Apple but is driver supported for Mountain Lion.

I am not a mac user though so am not speaking from personal experience with compatibility. The one pictured on the Tiger site has a displayport socket.

11-18-2012, 11:12 PM
So if the only difference is drivers, I can just buy the cheaper card and probably download additional drivers (if necessary), is that correct?

11-18-2012, 11:20 PM
There are other things to consider.. As far as i know if it's not flashed by someone like macvidcards you won't get EFI support (no boot screen etc). Also what's in your mac at the moment? Pretty sure the 570 is dual slot (like my 580) so you need 2 slots spare and to make sure your power supply will handle the card (should unless you already using some power hungry cards for other things). I think you'll want Mountain Lion for best support too. I have a Hackintosh so my situation is a bit different, but maybe do more research.. A quick search turned up this post for example:


11-18-2012, 11:32 PM
I have Mountain Lion already. I just have a GeForce 8800GT. I can chuck that out.

11-19-2012, 03:34 AM
I have this card in my Mac Pro. There are some things you should know.

Buying a PC card will mostly work, but not fully. Firstly without EFI firmware you will not get the grey Apple boot screen, your screen will just be black until you hit the desktop or login screen. You should keep a proper Apple card around for backup purposes. Secondly, the card will not run at full bus speed (5GT/s) unless it has been modified, it will run at half bus speed (2.5GT/s). The fully modified ones you can get (MacVidCards on eBay is the original provider of these, a few others now have done some) will overcome these limitations but have had some work done on them to achieve it, including removing the firmware chip and soldering on a larger capacity one two accept fully compatible EFI firmware.

Thirdly, OpenCL will not work on this card without you making some changes with a hex editor to certain files on your system. It's really quite simple but plenty of people still manage to screw it up. The reason for this being necessary is that Apple deliberately disable OpenCL on cards with >2GB since they don't sell one. OpenCL is the vendor agnostic version of things like CUDA which is NVidia proprietary, OpenCL is what FCPX uses for GPU acceleration, and now Premiere and Photoshop can use OpenCL as well. If you're using Adobe Premiere or After Effects and want to use CUDA you'll have to make some additions to a file as well (text file listing supported cards), but it's easy to do.

The 570 is a bit of a sweet spot, it doesn't require a separate power supply ( a 580 will ) and will be as quick or quicker than the newer Kepler based cards (6xx) as the architecture has changed so they are more differentiated from the Quadro line.

Also, you'll have to wait when upgrading dot releases (i.e. 10.8.x ) to make sure they don't break your card support, usually not long, a couple of weeks maybe. This is the pain of running an "unsupported" configuration.

Hope that helps.

Brad Ferrell
11-19-2012, 08:27 AM
EVGA makes a nice 2.5GB GTX570 which is two-slot. The Nvidia version takes up three. I got my GTX570s for $250 each refurbished. Try newegg.com.

11-19-2012, 08:35 AM
There is a lot of conspiracy theories flying around at the moment with the 5xxx and 6xxx cards saying NVIDIA have crippled some of the CUDA cores but Apple wouldn't let them do it. This is apparently in order to keep the trench between GTX and Quadro, but its false.

It's not false, nor really a conspiracy theory. The architecture is different between Fermi and Kepler and in Kepler the consumer dies were branched off from the professional as I understand it, after all, who would pay $2000 for a Quadro when they can pay $600 for a 6xx which does the same job? It's a marketing decision.

Apple have no say in it, it's an NVidia decision, it's their architecture, and if Apple had any influence they would more likely try to encourage this than prevent it.

11-19-2012, 05:57 PM
So, after all that tech speak, is it recommended that I buy from the eBay user? Again, I am not familiar with graphics card firmwares or modifying them or any of that. I just know how to shoot and edit. And how to install the card of course. So if he's done extra work to make it easier for me to use, I see value in that. I just want a good graphics card in my Mac Pro because I'll be working with 2.5K, I want better performance in FCPX (and Adobe CS5), and because I'm due for an upgrade (same 8800GT since purchase).

11-20-2012, 09:13 AM
I have a GTX570 in my Mac Pro. See post: http://bmcuser.com/showthread.php?1706-Other-options-besides-buying-from-Macvidcars-on-Ebay&p=35001#post35001

If you have >2GB of RAM you will need a hack to make OpenCL work. Less than 2GB requires no hack for OpenCL. If you use Adobe apps you'll need to add the name of the card to a couple of text files, but that's pretty trivial. No need to modify firmware or anything else, the 570 just works in 10.8.2. The 6xx series use different drivers that aren't quite as complete yet; apparently the 650ti has issues with FCP X in particular. Sticking with the 570 makes it simple.

Don't expect a huge boost in FCP X, though. It's pretty CPU-bound and it's only slightly faster (if anything) with the GTX570 compared to my old ATI4870. Games are better, Resolve far better, Adobe apps are now accelerated, but FCP X is as fast as it ever was. Fast, not much faster.

I paid AU$220 for an unused warranty replacement, but I think I did pretty well.

11-20-2012, 11:22 AM
The GTX and Quadro series have firmware optimized for different purposes. GTX for consumer apps and gaming, Quadro for professional Cad, High precision 3D cad/cam modeling, and professional media production apps.
If you want to edit and monitor in higher than 8 bit color spaces, you need the Quadro series. GTX to date only supports 8 bit video. Quadros are also optimized for video encoding/transcoding and can be more efficient at this than a GTX even if it does have more Cuda cores. They also support 3GSDI output with an add on card for the 4000 up models and support Tesla/Maximus GPU computing cards for high speed rendering with apps that support Cuda.

11-20-2012, 04:05 PM
I wouldn't call Resolve a "consumer app" (not yet anyway :P) but it's pretty well known that the quadro 4000/6000 doesn't perform as well as a gtx 570/580 in Resolve: http://www.barefeats.com/rogue04.html
I've seen 3D app tests that show the same.

With regard to 8bit, most people will just be using the card for processing power, and using a proper video i/o card to connect to a broadcast monitor. But worth mentioning, so thanks!

11-20-2012, 05:22 PM
did you check this? studio1productions (http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm)

its about cards and CUDA for premiere, after effects etc. hope it helps.
Resolve uses CUDA also...