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Apple sends mixed messages about 8800 GT

updated 12:55 am EST, Fri January 11, 2008

8800GT: not for 'old Pros'

Owners of the previous revision Mac Pros may be out of luck if they wish to upgrade to the new Nvidia 8800 GT card that is available to the new towers. Several threads in Apple's forums [1|2|3] indicate mixed impressions, even when users contacted Apple directly; the US representatives were adamant that the card would not function on an older Mac Pro, while Apple UK employees said the card would. Users have presented research that shows the cards should be backwards compatible, some are so confident in their beliefs that they ordered an upgrade kit without waiting for official confirmation.

Bare Feats owner Rob-ART mentions that he has spoken with both Apple about the issue, and they assured him that the card would not function due to a firmware incompatibility. Several Blizzard employees dismally confirmed those findings, since they were eager to upgrade their Mac Pros with the new graphics card.

The closest answer users can find is a vague statement in a support topic that mentions various cards from the power-user lineup, and notes "All of these cards are only compatible with the family of computers with which they shipped."

The previously mentioned upgrade kit does not list requirements on its product page in the online store, merely identifying it as "NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro". Many high-end users and gamers that have purchased the earlier model Mac Pro are upset about the lack of graphics card upgrades, expressing feelings of abandonment by Apple.

by MacNN Staff



  1. adrian_milliner

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what's the point?

    apart from windows games via bootcamp, why would you want to upgrade the graphics card to the 8800gt?

    and surely, no serious gamer would be using a macpro that that purpose?

  1. howiethemacguy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Damn gamers!

    They would b**** if they had a graphics card with 1 terabyte of memory and ran 1000 times as fast as anything we have on the market today. They're never satisfied.

  1. xedgelockx

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not a "gamer" issue...

    I resent that this is being characterized as an issue that only effects over-demanding gamers with unrealistic performance expectations.

    I had to replace my failing Power Mac this last December (2007) with a brand new Mac Pro. I did not have the luxury of waiting until MacWorld. Now, my computer that is literally weeks old is obsolete because Apple refuses/neglected to issue a firmware update.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    poor xedgelockx

    "my expensive computer is obsolete" boo frackin hoo

  1. csimon2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: boo frackin hoo

    I agree, it seems people really do just want to b**** about nothing. What? You just bought a Mac Pro and now it is obsolete because the newest models decided to move to a new PCIe standard? Certainly, that does suck, but it has in no way turned your still new mac into a paperweight by any stretch of the imagination.

    And if you are real gamer, then I have even less empathy for you because surely you have heard of the mac elite website by now, and if not then shame on you. Apple has consistently over the course of its history been the worst hw and sw vendor to support gaming on its systems. They, along with ATi (terrible supply problems) and nVidia (still no 3rd party, neh even 1st party releases under their own brand after all these years) have fostered the need for even the most casual of gamers to resort to converting PC cards to Mac versions. So stop your whining, buy a PC GPU, and convert it for the mac and be happy! The 8800 is bound to be supported through this method in just a matter of time.

  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I am disappointed at the elitist comments here. It reflects poorly on the Mac community.

    There is nothing wrong with gamers, or wanting to use a Mac Pro for gaming. It's certainly a better value than the equivalent PC system. In some cases PC games run faster under Boot Camp than they do natively under Windows boxes.

    Apple needs to start being more flexible with their component upgrades. This issue is not just about gamers, but about giving pro users the choice and options to do what's best for their needs, not to lock out customers because they want to force people to upgrade to new machines. That represents a bad customer relationship.

  1. Leuey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    listen up idiots

    You guys are complete idiots. The MacPro is just that - a **PRO** computer. Production companies (like mine) that have a bunch of Mac Pro's (are game companies like Blizzard that use Macs) need fast graphics cards for work. The previous crop of Mac Pro's are saddled with cards (like the ATI 1900XT) which perform far worse in **professional** apps like Maya, Modo, and Motion. It is not unreasonable to expect to be able to upgrade the freaking graphics card in a **Professional** computer. It's a freaking snap to do it on the PC.

    Here's the problem with Apple:

    1. They were way behind on graphics hardware, the main reason for a bunch of people to buy a new Mac Pro is the 8800 - THAT'S IT! The CPU is not that much faster than the old 8-core. Now we all know NVidia will release 98xx series cards in a couple of months and Apple won't bother to upgrade for another 1.5 years (!).

    2. Apple OpenGL sucks compared to OpenGL on XP. XP machines (read a MacPro booted in XP via bootcamp) is WAY faster in heavy duty 3D apps than OS X. So a faster card to necessary to pick up the slack from *crappy* drivers.

    3. Why not just buy a PC you ask? FCP Studio isn't available on XP, I (like many others) prefer OSX - which is why I switched my studio over. It's now seeming like that was maybe a bad idea.

    Let me put it to you this way - if you're trying push around several million polys on your screen with your 3D app you need the fastest card you can get. The Quadro isn't faster - it only has more memory (for 5x the price). The 8800 is as good as it gets - it's the **only** reasonable card for many **Pro's** and it's a huge disappointment that Apple is unable to get it to work with a machine a few months old. It's pathetic.

    For those of you who think it's gamers - let me reiterate, you're idiots. *Gamers* play on the PC because it's 1,000x better. We only play on bootcamp if we have no other option. The groans are from graphics professionals and devs.


  1. MacNZ

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm with leuey

    I don't even use a Mac Pro...a road warrior, and have used PowerBooks and macs for years, but get off it Apple apologists. Apple is way off the mark on the graphics issue.

    The way it is, they may as well have soldered darn 1900XTs into the previous Mac Pros and taken $500+ off the price- that is essentially what they are doing with their attitude to graphics cards at the moment. I would be royally pissed if I had invested in a previous model Mac Pro, and would even consider jumping ship if 3D was critical to my job.

    Apple seems to listen on some issues and not others. They are slowly working through Leopard bugs and iMac video issues, but why the heck can't they listen to their user base on this one. Every time there is a pro mac upgrade I survey the board and the majority of pro buyers, whether they will use it or not, shell out for the best graphics card they can....for two reasons 1) it seems to have become almost routine that apple will s**** graphics options later, and 2) The graphics upgrades actually do improve performance, especially when Apple is telling us their software is offloading certain tasks to the GPU.

    I have no problem with gamers because they should at least be welcomed to the Apple platform. I don't game and don't have a lot of time for it, but I by no means agree with the pathetic approach Apple is taking on this one. If its another tactic to push people into upgrading more regularly then it seriously risks scaring more off the platform. I, for one, was thinking of making the move into the pro desktop line sometime in the coming months...I shan't be doing it!

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not good at all

    I love Apple as much as the next fanboy, but this situation is not acceptable. Apple markets the Mac Pro (and the Power Macs that preceded it) as an "expandable" workstation. It doesn't matter if you're a gamer or a professional -- calling a machine expandable doesn't mean a thing if you will forever be stuck with outdated hardware that *should* be expandable, especially when the rest of the computer industry has been doing this with ease.

    I'm thinking twice about jumping on this revision of the Mac Pro now -- I don't want to be stuck with a machine that could easily last me 5+ years, only to be unable to upgrade the graphics hardware to suit increasing software demands.

    If Apple can't handle the demands of supplying newer graphics hardware to older workstations, they should just stop doing it. There are plenty of other 3rd party graphics card vendors that would be all too happy to take this on, if only Apple would let them.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: listen up idiots

    For you information, Leuey, Apple does provide professional graphics cards for Mac Pro computers. But it seems you are confusing 'professional' cards with 'gaming' cards, like 8800 GT. And if you think that running Maya on 8800 GT instead of x1900XT is exactly what a professional need then you are wrong.

    While I do agree with your statement that Apple's graphics upgrade routine is less than adequate in a world where the graphics performance grows 2-3 times faster than the CPU performance, I can't say OS X OpenGL implementation is lacking in terms of performance in comparison to that of XP. Where did that come from? Care to provide a link?

    And thank you for blessing us with your presence here, mr. non-idiot.

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