Graphics Card for Mac Pro

I have a 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 2.8 GHz Quad Core with 16GB on which I’m running Harmony 12. It has the stock Radeon 5770 video card and I’m starting to see issues even though I’m not even using any fancy effects yet. For instance, I have a drawing that has dozens of thin stripes done with the line tool and when I’ve gone back to do touch ups, there are glitches that sometimes put in extra color where I don’t want it - then other times it works just fine. I think it’s because of my underpowered graphics card. As I’m not super tech oriented, I’d like to upgrade to either an official Mac edition card or one that has been flashed so that I get a boot screen.

I’ve narrowed it down to three cards, all of which will improve my performance:

  1. Nvidia GTX 970 4GB - there are no official Mac editions of this card, only ones that have been flashed and I have to download drivers from Nvidia but it will be the highest performing.
  2. GTX 760 - apparently these do not have to be flashed to work on Macs.
  3. AMD Sapphire 7950 - there are official Mac editions of this card, as well as PC editions that have been flashed. I would only be interested in an official Mac edition. I think it will be the lowest performing of the three choices.

I’d love Mac Pro owners using Harmony to weigh in on this!

Hey, I have two Mac Pros, one from 2006 (1,1) and one from 2008 (3,1). I have changed out the graphics cards plenty over the years.

In the 2008 Mac Pro I currently have an nVidia GTX 680, these came in two flavors of 2 GB and 4 GB of RAM and the CUDA cores were 1536. I quickly replaced the GeoForce 7300 and the nVidia 8800 GT in those Macs. I have had a ATI 4870, and a ATI 5770 but they were both only 1 GB. My current card the GTX 680 generated less heat and the fans did not ramp up as often as the 5770 card. nVidia is probably recommended more for Toon Boom products. The only downside I have with nVidia is that Apple’s Motion seems to be more finely tuned for AMD/ATI cards, but that is one app and that is okay.

I also think that the more RAM you have on the card the better. Also, I think it is important to not get stuck with a card that only has a 128-bit memory bandwidth, 256-bit and 384-bit are what you really need and like I said the more memory the better.

If you compare that Radeon 5770 card with the nVidia GTX 970 card and the 7950 card, it goes like this:

5770 has 1 GB of RAM, GTX 970 has 4 GB, 7950 has 3 GB
5770 has a memory bandwidth of 77 GB/s, the 970 has a memory bandwidth of 224 GB/s, the 7950 has a memory bandwidth of 240 GB/s
5770 has 800 shading units, the 970 has 1664 shading units (or CUDA cores), the 7950 has 1792 shading units

I think you would be really happy with buying that GTX 970, 4 GB card. The 7950 has slightly better memory bandwidth and more shading units but you only have 3 GB of RAM on the card and it does consume more power, some 200w versus 148w for the GTX 970. I never realized how quiet my Mac Pro could be until I installed that GTX 680 card. Sure, it could just be an isolated incident but in my experience the nVidia card is just more quiet, generates less heat and the fans aren’t as loud as the ATI cards that I previously had installed.

Just my 2 cents.

I have the Nvidia GTX 970 4GB.

It was recommended by Toon Boom Support when I was researching my Hackintosh build.

Thank you all for your input - it really helps! I think I’ll go with a flashed GTX 970 4GB card.