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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > 1 G5, two graphics cards- which to keep?

1 G5, two graphics cards- which to keep?
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Seattle, WA
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Sep 11, 2013, 04:17 PM
Thanks again for everybody's help with my project computers and the G5 project especially. The pile of computers I got came with G5 graphics cards in both the G4 and G5. To use an ADC monitor on the G4 I had to get a G4 specific graphics card. Problem solved, but now I have two G5 cards.

Card #1: ATI Radeon 9600 Pro, 128 MB

Card #2: ATI Radeon X800 XT, 256 MB

Card #1 was obviously the OEM card and card #2 was probably purchased after market as this unit was used for video editing. I currently have an Acer DVI monitor for this unit; I may get a 21" Apple ADC monitor if it is still available.

I will not be doing any video editing or gaming with this unit. It will be used mainly for music playback, probably in iTunes or some other sort of playback program. Some light web browsing and word processing is also a possibility. eBay tells me I could probably get a good price for the X800 XT card, while the 9600 Pro is in the $10-$20 range. I get the feeling that the X800 XT card will be overkill for what I need, but is selling a really good graphics card crazy even if I don't need it? What can the X800 XT do that the 9600 Pro can't? I'd probably take the $$$ from the X800 XT and buy some more memory- I understand the value of that but graphics cards and their capabilities have always been kind of a mystery to me.


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Sep 11, 2013, 04:31 PM
Keep both, but keep the X800 installed. You're looking at older hardware, with the commensurate old capacitors in an era where all of them seemed to be iffy. If the video card fries, would you be willing to shell out cash to keep the G5 going, or would you rather have a spare card handy?
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Sep 11, 2013, 05:15 PM
Are you interested in older OS versions? ie - if you want to play an older game, you may need to boot your G5 into an older OS, right back to the OS it was released with. Macs usually won't boot to any OS earlier than the one they shipped with.

The OS it came with will not have drivers for a card released later, and the X800 may not have supported drivers for the original OS. What I'm saying is if you had to boot into the earliest OS your G5 supports, you might want to swap the 9600 back in. Otherwise, the G5 may boot blind during the early stages (OK so long as there are no boot issues) or may refuse to boot.

We'd need to know your G5 model to check the earliest OS version vs what the X800 supports. And you might ask in the Gaming forum if you're interested in OS compatibility with older Mac games.

With all that said, I agree with Esta. Especially if you try dual monitors. The 9600 will likely have trouble with UI graphics acceleration for two modern-sized monitors, both in routine clicks and animating screen savers. Little glitches and delays can be incredibly annoying, since they never go away. So you probably will prefer the X800 anyway, even if you "don't need the power". And keeping a $20 backup Mac card is a prudent choice.
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Sep 11, 2013, 05:48 PM
It's an early 2005 G5, 2.7 GHz dual processor. Won't be gaming and won't be using dual monitors. If the Radeon 9600 card fries I'd be interested in buying another one as they go for about $20 or under.

I'm inclined to sell the X800 XT if I can get a good price. I'll keep both once I get my software installed and make a final choice on the monitor. If I can't see or perceive a difference in the look and feel of the graphics, I will probably sell the X800 XT.

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Sep 13, 2013, 12:35 AM
OS X support for the X800XT started with 10.3.6. The only problem I had was after 2 years of somewhat heavy use, I had to replaced the fan with a arctic cooling (silencer) fan. As you suggested, try both out, then decide. Bare Feats did a comparison

BareFeats GraphicCards Shootout
G5/2.7GHz Power Mac with various graphics cards
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