Using a Clone PC Video card in a Mac Pro

Howdy World, I seek your input. I want to run a clone PC video card in my 2008 Mac Pro machine. In particular, I was thinking I’d get something as close to the $280.00 Apple provided NVIDIA 8800 GT card as possible. My current first choice is the $180 eVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT.

I expect the potential major problem to be that a clone video card may be unaware of the boot process of a mac machine. I’m speaking with particular respect to EFI. That said, I’m also aware that clone PCs are intended to be able to use EFI instead of BIOS – so I’d expect decent newer video cards to support this.

So, my question is has anyone tried this? I suspect if I have a driver problem I can use the nvinject project for OSX86 to help me figure out getting my card supported. I’m okay editing the odd kext or something if I have to. But of course, I don’t want to really have to work my butt off just to have semi-functional support on the card. So if anyone has tried this and can comment, please do!

1 comment to Using a Clone PC Video card in a Mac Pro

  • Well, I bought an eVGA NVIDIA 8800 GT video card to try. I had to find an supplementary power cable for the video card as it was required by the card. This was difficult as Apple seems to have used a not so standard connector on the motherboard. After I found one and powered the machine up everything seemed okay in that it made the typical mac chime sound, however nothing came up on my displays. I tried a different PC video card (my 8500 GT from another machine) and got the same result.

    I’ve got the 8500 GT working on OSX86, so I know there’s some obscure means of getting a PC card to work, however, it’s probably a fairly low-level problem. I decided it wasn’t worth my time as the additional ~$120 it costs for an “Apple version” of the 8800GT. I mean, that’s getting close enough to the ~$450 I’d need to build a cheap new system with a PC 8800 GT in it. So I returned the 8800GT I bought.

    My theory without actually knowing anything is that the PC cards need some knowledge of EFI (rather than BIOS) in order to boot. That said, I believe that are some clone motherboards out there that use EFI – so I was expecting the newer video cards to support EFI. Maybe there’s a firmware component?

    An alternative theory is slightly more offensive – it may be possible that Apple has the EFI (or something similarly low level) rigged to only enable display output to a very small set of device IDs. I really have no idea – just guessing.