PC graphics card in the Mac Pro
October 24, 2007
I was unlucky enough to buy an ATI X1900XT graphics card as a BTO option for my Mac Pro. I've been burned by ATI many times before but there was no alternative this time as the FX4500 cost $2000.
And again it turned out as a bad decision.
The card works ok under OS X, but under Linux it's a pain. The drivers are much better than they were a year ago but Nuke for example is constantly crashing whenever I go into the 3d view. And than there's the noise. Under OS X it's nice and quiet, on Linux it's loud and annoying. Couldn't figure out a way to silence it. I was ready to throw the card away and order a FX4500 when I had a idea: why not try a regular PC graphics card in the Mac Pro? All the forums were stating that this is not going to work, the screen is going to stay black because the cards don't have the EFI ROM. I didn't care and took a XFX 8800GTS 320MB from my PC and put it into the Mac Pro...
The display stayed black for the first 30 seconds. I had the machine set up to automatically boot the Ubuntu Gutsy partition I set up earlier, so as soon as Grub took over, I was able to read it on my Apple Cinema Display! Now you have to make sure, that you remove the "splash" keyword from the end of the boot parameters and boot. Everything was working just fine, X started up in the native 1920x1200 resolution and I could enable the restricted Nvidia drivers.
And what a difference this Nvidia card is! It's quiet and the drivers are amazingly quick and stable.
If you are willing to dump OS X and run Linux only on your Mac Pro, than just get a cheap consumer Nvidia and you have the best possible bang for buck. Just make sure you set up refit to boot automatically from your Linux partition.
Let me know how it worked out for you!
Posted byvfxdude at 1:59 PM