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Order a GeForce 8800 GT kit for your "old" Mac Pro


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#161 mattw

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:29 PM

View Postbobbob, on April 21st 2008, 06:56 PM, said:

Who cares? Really? It's a tiny bit of code that has little effect on anything else.

Edit: you do realise we're talking about the graphics card firmware, not the motherboard's, right? The Mac's EFI has a BIOS emulation layer for bootcamp already, so there goes your clean break.
You're kidding, right? It's some X86 code that runs at startup, and you think it's somehow limited? Some motherboards ship with a web browser in the BIOS, ffs.

I realize there is a BIOS emulation in current Intel Mac EFI Firmware. Apple added this to the first Intel Macs via an EFI update as it was required for Boot Camp. This is because at the time there was little support for EFI in Windows. I believe Microsoft wanted to move to add more EFI support but hardware manufacturers are reluctant. Sure BIOS works but it wasn't designed with todays hardware in mind. Apple didn't have to worry about legacy support for OS X as there was a better solution available that would give the features required so they used that.
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#162 Dark_Archon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 04:14 PM

I agree with mattw. If Apple went with the BIOS, they'd be stuck using legacy software for a while. Better to adopt new technology slightly ahead of the curve than to stick with outdated, less flexible standards for the foreseeable future. Microsoft is doing work to support EFI stuff, and it is only a matter of time before a transition occurs.
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#163 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:22 PM

View PostDark_Archon, on April 24th 2008, 06:14 PM, said:

it is only a matter of time before a transition occurs.

So when the transition does occur could we use any card in the Mac Pros, and there will be no more special mac cards, eveybody just uses the same graphics cards?



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#164 teflon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:34 PM

they did it with the more obvious USB and helped to popularise that across the globe. whilst with EFI, theyre helping to preach it to the manufacturers.

as for when the transition occurs and macs using any old card, I kind of doubt it. Youd want a card which already has drivers, so in the Mac Pro, you wouldnt be able to use a 9600GT, but yes to a 8800. Basically, dont be the pioneer who tries it before knowing. theres plenty people wholl happily do that already, so let them do the leg work.

also, there may be issues with the drivers being locked down to manufacturer codes, but a fairly simple flash of the card should be possible to allow you to change that...

on the whole yes, but also no...
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#165 Dark_Archon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:40 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on April 24th 2008, 07:22 PM, said:

So when the transition does occur could we use any card in the Mac Pros, and there will be no more special mac cards, eveybody just uses the same graphics cards?
-Snake
Ideally... It has already been shown that Apple's drivers do sometimes work with unexpected cards. People discovered pretty early on that if you left the 7300 GT in the top slot and installed a regular 7800 GT, the EFI drivers could get pulled off the 7300 GT, and the NVidia Quadro 4500 drivers worked fine for the 7800 GT after the bootup process.
Source

If a PC 8800GT had EFI firmware that worked with a Mac Pro, I'd assume it wouldn't be a problem to use Apple's drivers. Even if Apple didn't have drivers for the card, but it passed the booting stage, I'm sure people would be able to hack something together.

If I recall correctly, Teflon is probably much more knowledgeable about this kind of thing.
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#166 rob_ART

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:19 PM

I posted some 3D Game benchmarks for the legacy 8800 GT this afternoon.

It is an improvement over the Radeon X1900 XT when it comes to gaming. It blows away the GeForce 7300 GT which comes standard on the 2006/2007 Mac Pro.
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#167 teflon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:01 PM

why thank you DA!

ive done a tiny bit of searching and its possible to flash an 8800GT with Apple's ROMs and then use it natively without having to resort to using a kind of surrogate card (having another card to boot off and then plugging the display into the card you want to use) to get things running (not the most practical of solutions). So its quite clear that Apple is using just a standard reference board 8800GT.

as I already said, youre relying on what Apple/NV/ATI have already done drivers for. Sometimes theres more leniency than others, but often you can use the drivers from one card to enable the use of other cards in the same family. Thats how people got the 7800 to work (via surrogate), and how people can get the 8600GT to work, running off the 8600M GT drivers. This is mainly cos ATI and NV will come up with the more powerful card and then strip it down while maintaining the same feature set. Basically just meaning lesser performance and cooler running, but otherwise the same. The driver will then cater to all of these cards, but will only be optimised (ha!) for the ones that Apple uses.

this can also be true across different product lines. So the 9800GX is two 8800GT (in actual fact its the 8800GT which is mislabelled here as you would normally expect a fairly major overhaul of a chip to get a new series, which all the other G9x cards did, except this one) chips on one card, and the 9600 is a slightly poorer cousin to the 8800. In the instance of using the ATI 3870/3850 on the 2600 drivers, this appears to be a slight freak case. I was under the impression that ATI had gone back to the drawing board with the cards, so they must have done the ground work for the 3870/3850 in OSX (perhaps just tying it into the drivers they already had, so no real optimisations or anything) to get their foot in the door should they want to release the cards. This probably got shelved when the 8800GT made it into the MP instead.

going back a little bit to the individual cards and ROMs, its important to get the same card design/chip as the original so that the ROM actually works. Case in point, the 8800GTS was released on the old G80 chip, but has recently been re-released on the 8800GT's G92 chip. But the ROMs used on both of these will be very different. Its a different card in all but name. This is why if you are to flash a 8800GT, it cant be anything but a 8800GT or a card derived there-of (so the newer 8800GTS can work in some cases). All the previous cards were using a different chip which wouldnt work with that ROM.

is that enough info mixed with my hypotheses  and complete rubbish for you all?
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#168 rob_ART

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:48 PM

When the first GeForce 8800 GT came out for the "early 2008" Mac Pro, AppleMacanix sent me a GeForce 8800 GTS that had been flashed with a that ROM. It booted Mac OS X fine but choked when I tried to boot Vista 64.

Of course what I really want is a GeForce 9800 GX2 (or Radeon HD 3870 X2) that will boot both Mac OS X and Vista 64. My needs are simple.
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#169 teflon

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:06 AM

with the 8800GTS, its possible that the problem either lay with Vista 64 specifically and not 32 or XP, or that the problem lay, again, with the ROM. The ROM from the 8800GT should have worked, as I believe that they come with both EFI and BIOS on them, which shouldnt throw up any problems (in reality, Apple would be having to fit 3 ROMs onto the chip to support both MPs and windows), but if the size of the ROM chip is too small, then they may have simply cut the BIOS part of the ROM out so that itd work in OSX (which is, after all, what you want in the main)...
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#170 mattw

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:19 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on April 25th 2008, 12:22 AM, said:

So when the transition does occur could we use any card in the Mac Pros, and there will be no more special mac cards, eveybody just uses the same graphics cards?
-Snake

When PCs move on mass to EFI we probably won't be able to use every single card as some models won't have suitable OS X drivers (as folks have stated above) but we should hopefully have enough choice to cover the main segments of the market and regular upgrade options. This is all I would need and I image it would be fine for many others as well.
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#171 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 04:41 PM

Interesting posts. Teflon's was a real dooser  :mellow:



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#172 tyvol

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 08:47 PM

FYI,

Not happy with the heat and noise of the 8800 GT so I found that bruinmacs (see link below) offered a quiet 3870 GPU built originally for the PC but "reflashed" to work with the earlier Mac Pros (bus speed 1.33 GHz versions).

I installed the "reflashed" Radeon 3870 (the one offered by bruinmacs has a bigger quieter fan than the standard Mac version) and it performed flawlessly, with less heat and noise than the 8800 GT. For my needs under Mac OSX and Boot Camp Vista Ultra, while the benchmarks on Bare Feats shows that the 8800 GT is faster than the 3870 in some areas, I sure couldn't tell the difference. Matter of fact, in some games I could push to 3870 to slightly higher settings and it worked fine.

Sold the 8800 GT on eBay, no problem, but in my quest for an ever faster GPU (the Quadro FX variety is just not in my budget) for the demands of the future versions of Mac OSX and Boot Camp Vista, I found that bruinmacs offers a "reflashed" 8800 GTS with significantly higher numbers than both the 8800 GT or 3870 (Core Clock 650, Shader Clock 1750, Stream Processors 128, Processor Cores 112, etc.).

Bought one.

After I receive and install it, I'll provide details.

Here's bruinmacs eBay store, FYI:

[post="bruinmacs"]http://shop.ebay.com...QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ[/post]

If bruinmacs ever get a 280 GTX "reflashed" for my humble Mac Pro, I'll be the first in line...

Regards,

tyvol