Which graphics cards can I put in my Mac Pro

Apple has been putting the Mac Pro aside for years, but now that domestic PC sales are down, they may be focusing again on professionals, who are still the only ones willing to pay significant amounts for a computer. But thanks to its expandability, today we’re bringing you a comparison of the best graphics cards to install in the Mac Pro, if the one you have is outdated.

The Mac Pro is a rather outdated computer, and the fault for that is none other than Apple. After keeping the same design unchanged for over ten years, the computer is the worst treated of the entire Mac range, as it still uses previous generation processors and does not yet have the new Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces.

Which graphics cards can I put in my Mac Pro
Which graphics cards can I put in my Mac Pro

However, the massive amounts of money that have to be paid to get one of them, are paid by many professionals who still need a high power workstation , expandable to tens of GB of RAM, with several hard drive bays and a multi-processor system.

With these premises, the iMac is a very powerful device, but since the last update it has 0 expansion possibilities . So with WWDC just around the corner, Apple may well turn around its abandoned computer and become the king it once was again. And with domestic Mac sales down, Apple may once again worry about professionals who will never stop buying expensive computers no matter how many iPads there are.

For this reason, while Apple does not remember you, in Applesupportphonenumber we take into account the Mac Pro users , which are many throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and we show you some of the graphics cards -ordered by their power from highest to lowest – available to expand it in case you are short for tasks of video editing or data processing.

EVGA GeForce GTX 680

This is a model released less than a month ago by the EVGA brand as a Mac edition, and which has the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 chip inside. Although this chip was released a year ago for PCs, the new GTX 680 for Mac comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and is specially designed to be mounted on a Mac Pro.

This is the most powerful model of those analyzed in this comparison, a little more than the AMD Radeon HD 7970 -which we analyze next -, and maintains a very balanced price range, about 460 euros .

On the technology side, it features the latest from NVIDIA, including Boost Technology GPU, SMX Engine, CUDA, OpenGL 3.2, OpenCL support, and even runs on Windows under Boot Camp. It supports up to four monitors with HDMI, DisplayPort, and dual DVI outputs. It is compatible with Mac Pro 2008 onwards and requires OS X 10.8.3 to run .

AMD Radeon HD 7970

A model that has been on the market for a little over a year, but that works natively with OS X, without the need to install any additional drivers. It uses 28-nanometer technology, and Apple was about to include it as a purchase option on its Mac Pro. However, if we want to we can install it ourselves by buying it separately .

This is a top-of-the-range model of its time, so it’s still a good option to buy today, at a lower price – approximately 400 euros – and which will give us plenty of power when it comes to working in depth with our Mac Pro .

It uses PCI Express 3.0 and supports AMD CrossFire technology, which allows multiple graphics cards to be connected in parallel to multiply processing power.

AMD Radeon HD 5870

This is the high-end option offered by Apple itself. If we custom-configure the Mac Pro, this is the option Apple gives us. However, it’s also sold separately at the Apple Store.

This model has 1 GB GDDR5 memory and includes three video connections: two Mini DisplayPorts and a dual-link DVI for high-resolution monitors . This way Apple ensures that we can connect the Thunderbolt Display and other DisplayPort based monitors, or dual-link DVI monitors like the old 30 inch Cinema Display.

It is shown as a lower model than the previous view, and according to benchmarks it yields up to half. According to the price we can find in the Apple Store, of 460 euros, it is not worth buying it. Although one guarantee is that it is sold by Apple itself, and under the brand name AMD , not like the rest of the cards that always go under third party brands, such as ASUS, XFX or EVGA.

NVIDIA Quadro K5000

A much newer model, from the autumn of 2012, and also at a rather exorbitant price. This time we will have to pay 2259 euros for it in the Apple Store.

In terms of performance, it’s a little worse than the AMD Radeon HD 7970 we told you about above, which is a real data processing monster. However, the AMD is worth four times less than the NVIDIA, but Apple does not offer it, so we will have to look for it ourselves , and depending on the brand we buy it from there will even be flashing it to make it compatible.

NVIDIA Quadro 4000

This is a top-of-the-line graphics card of the time, but one that is not worth buying today. Even so, Apple still sells it to us at the exorbitant price of 919 euros. This is a 2010 model , which is at the height of NVIDIA’s Quadro technology, which allowed multiple cards to be linked together to multiply processing power.

According to PassMark’s benchmarks , they are well below the models analyzed above in terms of performance, and are priced exorbitantly. It’s a pity that Apple still offers products like this at such prices , and it could be considered a scam for the customer. That’s why in this article, we also tell you which graphics cards you should not buy.

Actually, we will be able to install many more graphics cards than we have shown in this article. The problem is that it will not be as easy as clicking and go, but in many cases we will have to install the drivers from NVIDIA or ATI and in other more extreme cases it will even be necessary to flash the card to make it work on our Mac.

Fortunately, NVIDIA and ATI have OS X drivers for many of their PC cards, and it won’t be an impossible task to enjoy them. The only problem is that because they are not integrated into the system, you may not see anything on the screen until the system is fully loaded, which is not a good thing.

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