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Re: EVGA announced GTX 680 Mac Edition

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jake blackstone
Re: EVGA announced GTX 680 Mac Edition
on Apr 7, 2013 at 4:01:07 am

Here is what "some guy on Reduser" i.e. Jeff Kilgroe says on the subject.

Current Mac Pro (4,1 and 5,1 variant), even the prior generation '09 Mac Pro 3,1, will use this card just fine.
Anyway, it's nice to see graphics card vendors are seeing the potential market. I'm also hoping it's a sign that a new Mac Pro is not too far off. Actually, I'm expecting it to ship with the next round of Xeon CPUs. Too bad Intel is so vague on release scheduling because that next round of Xeons could happen anywhere between tomorrow and the end of the year. Supposedly the chips are ready...
Only catch with the card is it will run in PCIe v2.0 mode, which means its potential bandwidth is crippled. No video card truly uses PCIe v3 bandwidth, not even close. I wouldn't sweat over that one. Glad to see this happening. It just became a whole lot easier to recommend a video card for a Mac Pro! :)
I saw mention of it the other day and thought it was an April fools prank. hehe.
Too bad they didn't make it a 4GB version...

A lot depends on your current system and what GPU you currently have. While newer GPUs keep coming out that have more capabilities, those capabilities are spread out across the entire range of features of those cards. Most of the improvements over the past few generations have been related to bandwidth, as in data throughput, texture and shader pipelines. For computational use, it's been a roller-coaster ride. It may be a good upgrade for you, it may not be. Need more info.

Apple opened up the graphics driver interface and GPU support a few years ago now. Starting with OSX 10.4, mostly open in 10.5, but fully open in 10.6 and later. The catch is that Apple does not use PC style BIOS functionality. A video card must have an EFI ROM in the form of a proprietary Apple EFI or an open standard U-EFI. The later is what PCs are starting to transition too, but for some reason it's taking forever for it to happen. Then again, the backward compatibility and legacy support of the PC world is both one of it's greatest strengths and its greatest folly. Video card makers must also supply drivers -- just as any peripheral card maker must do.

In the case of both NVIDIA and AMD/ATI drivers, they are now supplied directly to Apple by those respective manufacturers and also updated independently. So the nvidia drivers on OSX now have full support for their range of current GeForce cards. Where we run into issues is that without the EFI ROM, we don't get video support on the system for boot menus or other operations that occur before the OS loads video drivers. Once in the OS, with the drivers loaded, we have video support and most things work as they should. But some cards still encounter issues if they have special power management requirements or other functions that differ from the default specs supported by the drivers. So without a proper EFI, some cards won't report their proper RAM sizes or won't control their fans as ideally as they should, on previous OSX releases and earlier nvidia driver bundles, some cards would not come out of low-power mode. So this is what has spurred a secondary market for "hacked" video cards where the onboard ROM of a stock PC card is over-written with a Mac-compliant EFI firmware to make everything work as it should.

With a proper EFI ROM on the card everything works as it should and no hacking. That's what is being sold with these Mac Edition video cards. It's a regular and fully functional GTX680 video card in this case, but has a proper EFI ROM so the Mac will show the apple-logo startup screen, will allow pre-OS boot menus and all that. The card is properly profiled in system info and all power management functions work as they should.
If Apple were to release a new line-up of Mac systems that accept video cards like this, I'm sure more vendors would step up to offer them. Especially if they had more offerings than a single top-tier Xeon workstation, which is overkill for most customers.

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