NVIDIA readying GeForce 8800 GT upgrade for earlier Mac Pros

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
After owners of the first-generation Mac Pro desktop voiced frustration that they couldn't upgrade to the GeForce 8800 GT video card, its creator NVIDIA is pledging an updated version that will work with both new and old Apple towers.



The graphics card maker's PR director has contacted Engadget with word that an updated version of the $349 add-on kit will contain firmware that supports all models of the Xeon-based workstation.



Currently, the card on sale through Apple's online store will only function with new-generation Mac Pro systems due to firmware that requires the new, faster PCI Express 2.0 interconnect standard, which was introduced for the first time to the Mac with the new towers. This has caused an uproar among owners of the initial computer, which has been limited to the now two-year-old ATI Radeon X1900 XT as their fastest mainstream graphics choice.



"I am afraid they don't care and prefer forcing people to buy a new high-end machine just to have a graphics card update," says one user from Apple's discussion forums.



The restriction has also been unusual in the graphics upgrade market, as many video cards for Windows PCs that support the version 2.0 standard also include backwards compatibility for the outgoing format.



The new Mac Pro's default video card, the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, is not available as an upgrade kit but has been successfully tested with older Mac Pro units, according to multiple reports.



NVIDIA's press director has not said precisely when the company's replacement video card will be available, only noting that the new GeForce 8800 GT for Macs will be available "in a few weeks" from Apple's website.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 123
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Only a $200 upgrade on Apple's site. Thats a pretty good deal.

    I wonder if the retail price will be twice as expensive as its PC counterpart? ...which has usually been the case in the past, with ATI anyways.
  • Reply 2 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    What a crazy story? It stinks from line one on through on many points.



    #1 PCI-E 2.0 cards have 8 pin power connector. PCI-E has 6. The cards are never going to work in both systems regardless of the firmware.



    #2 Nvidia doesn't make graphics cards. The make GPU's, and they design the specs for those GPU's to be applied to 3rd parties to manufacture their cards, and they design motherboards, and other crap, but they don't make anything physical other than GPU's.



    #3 AFAIK Apple contracts their 3rd party hardware manufacturer to build their (Apple's) Nvidia based cards for them.



    #4 Apple writes their own Nvidia drivers from the same source code provided them from Nvidia that everyone else has.



    WTF is this all about? It's like fairy tale BS story coming from either some Nvidia rep to smooth over the backlash, or it's just a complete lie because Nvidia wouldn't be readying anything.



    Your never going to get an 8 pin PCI-E 2.0 power connector into a 6 pin PCI-E Mac Pro. It's just not going to happen.





    Quote:

    When it was designed, PCIe was supposed to be a real futureproofing - 75W of power and 2.5Gbps of bandwidth (a 16x card could pull nearly 8Gbps) right through the slot. This eliminated the need for external power and greatly exceeding AGP's not even half-used bandwidth constraint. Of course, the latest cards (such as the NVIDIA 8800 GTX) are already on their second independent power connector, drawing a whopping 185W of power.



    In order to compensate, PCIe 2.0 has modified the power standard. The previous 6-pin 75W connector has now been retired, moved instead to an 8-pin 150W connector. Bus speeds have also increased to 5Gbps, meaning that a 16x card can now potentially pull up to 16Gbps. Of course, current cards are a long way from even maxing out the PCIe 1.1 interface, so this is much more of a theoretical improvement.



    Intel will be expected to release the first compatible chipsets in the start of 2Q 2007 with the Bearlake codename. Along with the new PCIe 2.0, these boards will feature the ICH9 southbridge, DDR3 support, and a 1333MHz FSB. The PCIe 2.0 interface will be backward compatible with current-generation cards, so you don't need to worry about buying new graphics cards if you buy one of these boards.



    Whether the move is necessary for anything but the convenience of the new power connector is not something we can easily determine. However, it does provide that much more theoretical headroom to play with - hopefully, we'll start seeing cards make use of it.



    As it says you can use an old card with a new board, but how are you supposed to use a new card with an old board? I don't think it's possible.
  • Reply 3 of 123
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The new Mac Pro's default video card, the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, is not available as an upgrade kit but has been successfully tested with older Mac Pro units, according to multiple reports.



    Both the Radeon HD 2600 XT and Geforce 8800GT are available from the Apple online store. They can be found by using the Search box at the top left corner.
  • Reply 4 of 123
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    Only a $200 upgrade on Apple's site. Thats a pretty good deal.

    I wonder if the retail price will be twice as expensive as its PC counterpart? ...which has usually been the case in the past, with ATI anyways.



    I recall one of the two companies in the past preferring to keep the same pricepoint between PC and Mac so they would make the Mac card slower to reduce the cost of materials or whatnot.
  • Reply 5 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    Only a $200 upgrade on Apple's site. Thats a pretty good deal.

    I wonder if the retail price will be twice as expensive as its PC counterpart? ...which has usually been the case in the past, with ATI anyways.



    The upgrade kit is $349.00. I'm not sure where your getting $200.00 from.
  • Reply 6 of 123
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    The upgrade kit is $349.00. I'm not sure where your getting $200.00 from.



    That's the number In the built-to-order section - it's upgrading a machine that hasn't shipped yet.
  • Reply 7 of 123
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    What a crazy story? It stinks from line one on through on many points.



    #1 PCI-E 2.0 cards have 8 pin power connector. PCI-E has 6. The cards are never going to work in both systems regardless of the firmware.



    Are they just power? The Mac Pro has two six pin power connectors, if the rails are the same voltage but more of them, then I don't see a problem with a Y connector to feed in power from the second connector.
  • Reply 8 of 123
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Another example of Apple being over-zealous in its quest for dollars.
  • Reply 9 of 123
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    What baffles me is why the current one takes 5-7 weeks to ship. I can walk in to any computer store on the high street and buy an Nvidia 8800GT today, and my understanding is that the only thing different about Apple's one is the firmware. Does it take 5-7 weeks to reflash a firmware?



    There must be something funny going on somewhere in Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 123
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    What baffles me is why the current one takes 5-7 weeks to ship. I can walk in to any computer store on the high street and buy an Nvidia 8800GT today, and my understanding is that the only thing different about Apple's one is the firmware. Does it take 5-7 weeks to reflash a firmware?



    There must be something funny going on somewhere in Apple.



    Doesn't Apple do a dual firmware deal, requiring a bigger or second flash chip?
  • Reply 11 of 123
    buddhabuddha Posts: 386member
    If anyone can get some sort of confirmation on this that would be great - onlooker's points trouble me. I really hope this is true.
  • Reply 12 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    What baffles me is why the current one takes 5-7 weeks to ship. I can walk in to any computer store on the high street and buy an Nvidia 8800GT today, and my understanding is that the only thing different about Apple's one is the firmware. Does it take 5-7 weeks to reflash a firmware?



    There must be something funny going on somewhere in Apple.



    Is EFI just a simple firmware? I don't know enough about it.
  • Reply 13 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by buddha View Post


    If anyone can get some sort of confirmation on this that would be great - onlooker's points trouble me. I really hope this is true.



    I'm not sure which part your hoping is true, but I'm hoping that the availability of the second card is a sign that Apple is about to release a SLI driver because I would buy a second one in a heartbeat.
  • Reply 14 of 123
    buddhabuddha Posts: 386member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    I'm not sure which part your hoping is true, but I'm hoping that the availability of the second card is a sign that Apple is about to release a SLI driver because I would buy a second one in a heartbeat.



    I'm just hoping to be able to upgrade my x1900 to an 8800 - whatever means necessary (excluding buying a new computer )



    I'm pretty sure EFI is just a simple firmware, too.
  • Reply 15 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    Your never going to get an 8 pin PCI-E 2.0 power connector into a 6 pin PCI-E Mac Pro. It's just not going to happen.



    All 8800GT cards have a six-pin PCIe power connector.
  • Reply 16 of 123
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    Only a $200 upgrade on Apple's site. Thats a pretty good deal.

    I wonder if the retail price will be twice as expensive as its PC counterpart? ...which has usually been the case in the past, with ATI anyways.



    Does anyone know the GPU speed and memory speed of the cards from Apple?
  • Reply 17 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    All 8800GT cards have a six-pin PCIe power connector.



    Your probably right, but being that these cards are for Apple only, Apple may have opted for the 8 pin connector when having them built. I've read that the problem is that the new Mac Pro's are using UEFI 2.01, and the old ones are using UEFI 1.2 in which the new Mac Pro's have EFI64, and the old ones have EFI32.
  • Reply 18 of 123
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Does anyone know the GPU speed and memory speed of the cards from Apple?



    Standard Nvidia spec. They are not over-clocked.
  • Reply 19 of 123
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    Your probably right, but being that these cards are for Apple only, Apple may have opted for the 8 pin connector when having them built. I've read that the problem is that the new Mac Pro's are using UEFI 2.01, and the old ones are using UEFI 1.2 in which the new Mac Pro's have EFI64, and the old ones have EFI32.



    This is all very confusing
  • Reply 20 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    I'm not sure which part your hoping is true, but I'm hoping that the availability of the second card is a sign that Apple is about to release a SLI driver because I would buy a second one in a heartbeat.



    you also need a sli bridge
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