What video card should I buy to upgrade my 2012 (2009 flashed) Classic Mac Pro?
 
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What video card should I buy to upgrade my 2012 (2009 flashed) Classic Mac Pro?  

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

I am gaming on a Zotac 1080EN. It's one of those lunch box gaming rigs. It has done great for me for years, but I'm ready to get some more FPS. I also have a classic Mac Pro tower (2009 flashed to a 2012) that I only run Windows 10 on for my VR setup. It's still very fast and has all the components I need to have a very nice gaming rig. It's currently running a GTX 1070, but I'm thinking if I could upgrade the video card, I could save myself from buying a whole new gaming rig.

I'm using an Acer Predator X34 G-Sync monitor. What is the fastest NVIDIA card I can install in my classic Mac Pro that will run faster than my Zotac 1080EN (GTX1080)? Note, the classic Mac Pro only supports PCIe 2.0, so I won't have full bandwidth to any GPU I install. I'm wondering if I would even be able to beat the performance of the GTX 1080 in the Zotac 1080EN.

Thank you.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@swisher-sweet I'd strongly recommend the RTX 2070 Super. The nice thing about the RTX cards is that they somehow have Boot Screen support for the Mac Pro tower. It's irrelevant if you only use Windows, but in case you need to do diagnostics or there's issues it's good to see the boot screen.

 

external graphics card builds
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2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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@itsage Thank you for the tip. A few follow-questions if you don't mind:

  1. With the PCIe 2.0 limitations in the classic Mac Pro, should I expect to see a performance improvement over my GTX 1080 using PCIe 3.0 if I go with the RTX 2070 Super?
  2. Are you recommending the RTX 2070 Super because of the price point or is this the fastest RTX card that work (due to power, size, or some other reason) in the classic Mac Pro?
  3. I love that the boot screen will work, but once it's in macOS, will it at least show the macOS UI even if not accelerated?

Thanks again!

 

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@swisher-sweet The RTX 2070 Super is the best performance value currently. You can check my build with the Mac Pro tower + RTX 2070 + GC-TITAN-RIDGE AIC [build link] for an idea of performance. I don't think direct x16 PCIe 2.0 connection has that big of an impact on dGPU performance. The RTX cards do provide monitor output but at low resolution and no acceleration in macOS.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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Thank you, @itsage. I went ahead and ordered this card:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1506708-REG/evga_08g_p4_3071_kr_geforce_rtx_2070_super.html

It appears to be the narrowest card (need room for my PCIe switch in the other x16 lane) they have and also has the USB Type-C with VirtualLink port, which might be useful if/when I upgrade my HTC Vive to the next generation headset. Strange thing is, it doesn't say it supports SLI, but it appears to have the connections for that. I don't think I could even do SLI in this Mac Pro, but might be something I do if I ever build a new another gaming rig.

Edit: Since posting this, I changed my mind and got the RTX 2080 Super instead.

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 6 months ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@swisher-sweet

NVLink:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/NVLink-on-NVIDIA-GeForce-RTX-2080-2080-Ti-in-Windows-10-1253/

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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joevt
(@joevt)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

The Type-C port is also useful if you want to connect a USB-C display like the LG UltraFine 4K or the Apple Pro Display XDR 6K display (but not the LG UltraFine 5K which would be limited to 4K without a Thunderbolt connection).

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage I cannot seem to locate a power connector for this GPU (8 + 6 connector). Do you know where I could get the connector(s)?

Edit: I found these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J4T413G

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071JJPJXW

Do you know if these will work?

This post was modified 6 months ago

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@swisher-sweet,  mini PCIe 6-pin to PCIe 6+2-pin adapter should work and gives you the flexibility between 8 and 6-pin plugs.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage,  thank you. I ordered two of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J4T413G

 

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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