New Mac Graphics Card Advice


Hi Pete,

thank you.

I have asked quite some people about that fact…
The ones, who are working at a Mac Service Center say, that the Mac can handle the card I have.
There are actually two type of cards of the 580’s: the GTX580 with 1.5GB and the GTX 580 with 3GB. The 3GB version needs an additional power supply for sure, but not the one I own (1.5GB). I run the card since August 2012 in my Mac Pro 3,1 (early 2008) and it does a good job. The Mac people said, I should have no worries about damaging my Mac Pro.

Best regards



In my research on the topic I came across this. It relates to DaVinci Resolve which is very picky about what Graphics cards it uses. It won’t work on my machine at all for instance, I have an early Mac Pro 4,1 with the Radeon 4870. Lite just crashes, well it dit the last time I tried to use it. Resolve uses CUDA so it will only run on an Nvidia card. Since much of the Adobe suite now uses CUDA for acceleration with the Mercury Engine then these scores are useful to see which Card is best suited. Also Octane render, 3D coat, Element 3d all require a good graphics card for optimum performance.

For instance it seems counter intuitive that a 570 with 480 cores would chew through stuff faster than the more recent 680 which has 1536 cores. There is a technical reason for this but in my research it seems that the 570 is the card best in this area.

If you want the Apple boot screen Macvidcards do the customizations to the card and you can find them on ebay although this worries me somewhat as I am not entirely sure about warranty and whether you would be getting a genuine product.


Serge, Pete and Richard, thanks for all the info guys!

I’m totally confused between the performance of 500 series vs 600 series cards too. It’s seems the more I search, the more conflicting reports I discover. The specs clearly show that 6xx should be better at CUDA yet users report differently.

The only thing that’s consistent is the power requirements, which frankly has me leaning towards the 660ti at the moment…

Or, simply do nothing and wait and see what Apple reveals later this year. Meanwhile, Element and FreeForm aren’t running optimally, and I have no access to Octane. :shrug:


Well, just try it.
Do the movement instead of standing still with no decision :thumbsup:

All the best



Hi all-
Just thought I’d put in my two cents. I know everyone in this thread is a die hard Mac guy with major investments in Mac hardware and software. I get that. The thing is as a 3D guy from way back, you may want to start thinking about moving to the dark side. I made the switch a long time ago and it’s awesome. I can build my own nutty rendering machines, software is much more readily available, work just gets done.

I’m just throwing this out there because I don’t see Apple as high end workstation computer company anymore. Their money is in phones and tablets. I say, move on. I’ve recently built a dozen GPU based workstations using 4 GTX 680 cards for rendering with Octane.

I’ve come to LOVE the Octane renderer and if I was using Mac’s I’d be very hobbled. Window’s 8 is working just great.

My thoughts. Thanks.



Alec, what made you pick the 680 over the 580? Was it the power requirements? Certainly would be hard to get a PSU to support x4 580s in one box.


Yes the 580 draws a lot more power. When we fire up 4 680s we need to make sure we’re not going to knock the building out. Keep in mind I’ve now got twelve of those for card set ups.


Hi Alec,

Love to hear more about your workstation builds (i.e. hardware specs, reasons for choosing particular hardware, etc).

Not to hijack this thread, maybe you could answer this in the current Octane thread, and we can carry on the conversation over there.



Hi Jim-
I have a brief build out post here on the Octane forum…

Let me know if you have any questions.



I have to say you are right I really should move forward but I am a very hands off kind of guy. I don’t like to build stuff, and also whenever I have used Windows it made me scream. It’s just nowhere near as friendly as Mac OSX. My son wants a gaming PC so I may put C4D on there and see how it goes

all the best



I’m in the same boat. I just can’t get my head around Windows. I worked in Windows only studios for at least 4 years and I never could get comfortable with it. I guess that’s just not how I’m wired. I know that PCs have far more options and also powerful for OpenGL work, but I’m just not as productive on the platform as I am on the Mac.


I switched in 98’ because I was an Architectural student and AutoCAD was PC only, and I never went back. What specifically is Mac OS doing that Windows isn’t?


Different strokes for different folks I guess. We should just be using whichever tool it is that keeps us ‘in the zone’, and for me I just connect with the Mac. I’m fully aware of all the trade offs and compromises vs. the PC platform, and I do envy how Windows gets better support and wider software choice for the DCC market. But for me, it’s really about the workflow that I feel most comfortable with, and there’s also a rather intangible quality about the Mac that makes me feel ‘inspired’ when I’m using it.

Or maybe I’ve just drunk too much Apple Koolaid over the years…


I think it can certainly be narrowed down to marketing wizardry, my fascination though is in the how, and that seems to be something people can’t explain.


Apple products and OSX appeal to designers I think because there is an attention to detail that I don’t think you can find elsewhere. Recently I wanted a cheap laptop that I could use to take with me on holiday to edit and archive photographs. As a longtime Mac user I decided I was going to take the plunge and look for an equivalent machine in the PC world. I came back with a MacBook Air. There’s just no comparison in terms of weight elegance and I am part of the Mac ecosphere so it just worked for me. Yes it was more expensive than a netbook, but they were heavier and ergonomically stunted. But I was very near. In the end though nothing came close. Reading the book about Steve Jobs he was adamant that the inside of the computer was as good looking as the outside. To a lot of people that’s just crazy talk, but to me it makes perfect sense. It’s why some people buy an Audi and others buy a Ford.

Bit off topic but still …


More Off-Topic…

I got my first Apple (2nd computer) back in '84. In '85 bought my first IBM PC… and ever since have had both Macs and PC my whole life. In the past few years I have swayed more to the Mac side due to those items you describe, particularly the ecosphere of Apple, as well as XCode being only available on OSX.

While there are many pros/cons to both, I’m not sure if I would give up on one side or the other completely. Just wish all developers offered cross platform software under the same license.


Maybe Apple will drop out of the computer building biz and start selling MacOS for PC’s.


I doubt it. Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. That is where all of it’s profits come from. Their software is practically given away, and is really more about tying the magnificent hardware design to a seamless end-to-end user experience.

They surely do have some holes in their game right now, particularly on the pro-end. But, there are supposedly big things happening this year with the Mac Pro, so I guess we’ll see if they shore any of that up in the coming months.


Yes certainly power is a big issue with the 580. It would be tough to power 4 580s. Plus I still think there’s more headroom in Kepler than what otoy is getting out of them right now. I’m drilling over the Titan board right now.



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