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Xserve Graphics Card
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Jul 21, 2013, 12:20 PM
 
I know its not a typical use, but I'm thinking of putting a GPU in my Xserve (2008) so I can use it for some occasional gaming.

In the pas I have played one or two Windows games via Boot Camp on my Late 2008 MBP but the last time I played Modern Warfare 2 on it, it overheated and turned itself off. I think its just getting a little too old.

I'm aware the Xserve is not intended for gaming in any way shape or form, but with 2.8GHz Xeons even a single core makes it faster than my MBP. I'm not looking to do anything state of the art, MW2 and maybe Planetside 2 would be nice. Windows will be running from a SATA SSD s that should help too.

The weak point as far as I can tell is that there is no additional power available for a big GPU. Can anyone suggest the best PCIe 2.0 card which will run on bus power alone? I'm not looking to spend much on it, so the absolute best is probably not on the cards. Something adequate for the games mentioned will do fine. I'm sure there is a card for £30 or so that will do but I am completely out of touch with the GPU models these days.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jul 22, 2013, 02:37 AM
 
Best that will run without external power connection is a Radeon 7750. I would not go lower than that for any gaming these days, even if it isn't exactly $30.

Edit: make sure that you get the GDDR5 version. The DDR3 version is about a third the power and not worth it ever.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jul 26, 2013, 06:59 AM
 
I don't really need to run the latest and greatest. I'm thinking Dawn of War 2 and maybe MW3?
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Jul 26, 2013, 07:04 AM
 
So I found this 7750:

VTX 3D Radeon HD 7750 (VX7750 1GBD5-HL) 1024MB PCIe Gen 3.0 Details

I'm guessing from the size it should fit very nicely into the Xserve without any trouble. Are all 7750s PCI 3.0? I only have PCI 2.0 so if I'd be paying for some overhead I couldn't really use, then maybe an older card would suffice?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jul 26, 2013, 07:25 AM
 
This might be a futile exercise. Boot Camp is not supported for Xserve which means the fans won't run properly and it would probably cook itself. Thats a pity.
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Jul 26, 2013, 12:09 PM
 
PCIe bandwidth is almost completely irrelevant. Intel's regular desktop chips only have x16 3.0 slots for all graphics cards put together, so anyone running more than one GPU is stuck with x8 3.0 - which is the exact same bandwidth as x16 2.0. People run cards more than 4 times as powerful as a 7750 on that without noticing. Don't worry about it.

If Boot Camp is not supported and the fans need the OS to operate them (which is not necessarily the case, I don't know about Xserves) the fans will run at max at all times. Noisy yes, but you won't damage anything.

If you want another step down, either look for a GDDR5 version of a 7670/6670 (same card, just a rebrand) or look for used. You are losing a lot of performance for a small saving, though. Unfortunately nVidia decided a while back that the low end was not worth bothering with, so there is basically no competition - and with integrated graphics growing ever more powerful, the market down there is shrinking fast.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
   
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