Talking tech since 2003

One of the unfortunate things about technology is that it can become old, out-dated, or even obsolete relatively quickly.  Especially these days when new stuff is always coming out.  Even Apple’s top of the line computer – the Mac Pro will eventually succumb to this problem.  So how can you keep your Mac Pro (or any computer) from becoming an antique?  Well, you can upgrade it.

The problem with Mac computers is that Apple is very picky about the hardware it supports with its operating system (OS X).  So because of that, you need to be very careful with the parts you select when you plan on upgrading your Mac.  In the past, I’ve shown you how to install a hard drive on a Mac Pro.  I’ve also discussed how to pick the right RAM.  Now I’m going to tell you which video card upgrades will work in your Mac Pro.

The two latest video cards which most Mac Pro users will want to upgrade to are the ATI Radeon 5870 and the 5770.  So which of these video cards will work for you?  Thankfully, a lot of the hard work and testing has been done already, so you can simply buy the right one for you and pop it into your machine.  Here’s the breakdown (from OWC).

2006-2007 Mac Pro:

  • Unfortunately, the 5870 is NOT compatible with these Mac Pro models.
  • However, the 5770 is compatible, but only the DVI connection will function.  Unfortunately, this means you will not be able to take advantage of the Mini DisplayPort.

2008 Mac Pro:

  • Good news here: both the 5870 and 5770 cards work with both the DVI and Mini DisplayPort connections in any combination of two displays.  Which means, you can have two displays with Mini DisplayPort connections or one with a DVI connection and one with a Mini DisplayPort connection.
  • However, if you add a third display it will override the DVI connection, causing it to deactivate.

2009-2010 Mac Pro:

  • Again, good news here: both the 5870 and 5770 cards work and all three display connectors can be used at the same time, which of course means, you can have three displays.

I just ordered an ATI Radeon 5770, so I will keep everyone posted once I get that in and installed into my Mac Pro.  It will be replacing my current video card which is a Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT (512MB).  So definitely will be a nice upgrade.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or post it in the forums.


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