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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > upgrading my G5 video card

upgrading my G5 video card
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BWSchultz
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Jan 3, 2007, 02:47 PM
 
So upgrading a video card is kind of confusing...

I have the original G5 1.8ghz single processor. Yes, the one that was discontinued virtually immediately in November 2003. I got the midrange video card at the time, which I believe is the ATI Radeon 9600 Pro. I would like to update this card. That should help me get another 2-3 years out of this great machine.

I think at the time the high end video card was the 9800 Pro. I believe that has 128 mb. What else can I stick in there? I think I need the card to be AGP 8x Pro but I'm not sure. Of course, I would like to have dual monitor capability.

Is this one a possibility (and good)?
Newegg.com - DIAMOND Radeon X1650PRO X1650AGP256SB Video Card - Retail

Thanks for your help.

bws
     
Lateralus
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Jan 3, 2007, 02:50 PM
 
Your machine can take;

GeForce: FX 5200 Ultra, 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra.

Radeon: 9600, 9600 XT, 9650, X800 XT, X850 XT, 9800 Pro 128MB, 9800 Pro 256MB, 9800 XT.

Pretty much anything you find on NewEgg isn't going to work. You have to have a Mac version of a video card. NewEgg has a few but they're all from the ones I listed above and they are specifically denoted as being Mac versions.
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chris v
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Jan 3, 2007, 02:57 PM
 
Look here:

Video Cards, Adapters & KVM Switches at OtherWorldComputing.com

I went with the 9600 Pro 256 mb and it does the trick for me, but I'm not a gamer, so your milage may vary.

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BWSchultz  (op)
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Jan 3, 2007, 03:03 PM
 
I'm not a big gamer either. I do have a roller coaster design program that's fun and that could really use some extra oomph. And a few other things, too.

I believe my 9600 has only 64mb. I assume a 9600 pro with 256mb would make a huge difference?

I see some Radeon boxes that have MAC EDITION on them. I guess that's what I should be looking for here.
     
Lateralus
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Jan 3, 2007, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by BWSchultz View Post
I believe my 9600 has only 64mb. I assume a 9600 pro with 256mb would make a huge difference?
Unless you're driving multiple displays at high resolutions, you wouldn't see much of a difference at all. A 9600 is still a 9600.
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BWSchultz  (op)
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Jan 3, 2007, 03:16 PM
 
No, I just have single monitor at the time. Would like to add a second but haven't found the right one for the right price yet. I'm now looking at the 9800XT with 256mb. OWC has it for $175. The 9600 Pro 256 MB is $219. Should the 9800XT be better?
     
Lateralus
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Jan 3, 2007, 03:21 PM
 
Very much so.
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mduell
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Jan 3, 2007, 09:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by BWSchultz View Post
No, I just have single monitor at the time. Would like to add a second but haven't found the right one for the right price yet. I'm now looking at the 9800XT with 256mb. OWC has it for $175. The 9600 Pro 256 MB is $219. Should the 9800XT be better?
Yow! That is the real cost of owning a Mac. Those are $60-80 cards for PCs. $200 will buy you a 7900GT (about the same as the X1900).
     
chris v
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Jan 4, 2007, 01:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
Unless you're driving multiple displays at high resolutions, you wouldn't see much of a difference at all. A 9600 is still a 9600.
I saw a noticable difference in the smoothness of exposé & Dashboard, at least, though certainly not vast. Could be the Snappy™ Placebo effect.

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andrewbw
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Jan 5, 2007, 10:57 AM
 
I just bought one of those $175 Radeon 9800XT's for my G5 (Dual 2GHz) from Other World Computing. It's a nice card, and a good match for your G5. A 1.8GHz processor isn't going to over-saturate it (it'll still be waiting for input more often than not) but it will give you more headroom than a 9600, and has 256MB, which is useful should you ever decide to add a second monitor, or as Apple continues to off-load OS functions onto the video card.

I think this is the best bang for the buck out there right now, short of getting a deal on one of the NVidia cards that will work with your machine on eBay or somesuch. The next step up from ATI would be the X800, but they're still in the $300+ range new, which is a lot of money to spend if you're not a serious gamer.
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jmccainiii
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Jan 5, 2007, 01:50 PM
 
Hey Andrew, does the 9800xt support monitor rotation? It's called versavision on some cards but it doesn't say on the owc site if this card has it.
     
andrewbw
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Jan 5, 2007, 04:02 PM
 
Yup, it does. The option to rotate the display showed up in the "Monitors" panel in System Preferences right after I installed it, and it works as advertised.
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jmccainiii
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Jan 5, 2007, 04:52 PM
 
Thanks for the info. It has been difficult to find this anywhere.
     
RaddishIoW
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Jan 6, 2007, 12:05 PM
 
I upgraded my G5 Dual 1.8 from a GeForce FX 5200 Ultra (the standard card) first to a 9600 Pro (64Mb), then to my current 9800 Pro (128Mb), and I get a good framerate and general speed with most things... World of Worcraft runs at above average detail settings fine on my 1280 x 1024 Formac display.
The 9600 Pro is basically the same level as the 5200 Ultra, especially with the limited RAM, so I then sold my 9600 and bought a 9800 second hand on ebay about a year ago. Done me proud. You can also overclock ATI cards quite easily, if you want to risk it... :-)
     
MichiganRich
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Jan 6, 2007, 12:59 PM
 
Monitor rotation works on the 9600 you've already got. I have the same 9600 in my G5 1.6 and it works on mine, just a button in the display pref pane.
     
emark
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Jan 6, 2007, 05:13 PM
 
take a look at barefeats.com

you will find excellent comparisons using a variety of applications to show where the $ vs. performance sweet spot is in simple graph, followed by good common sense conclusions.


The 9800, as old as it is, is still excellent. I'm less familiar with the nvidia offerings, but one thing I believe is that the generation of shader support may be better suited to not only games but to current and more important, the FUTURE OS needs...look into that on the specs at the manufacture, or, look at the tables on WIKIPEDIA...very comprehensive.


as far as I can remember, the 9600 is great general purpose but still 4 pipelines...the 9800 is 8 and when pushed in games or tough rendering jobs at higher resolutions really shines. the difference in performance between the 128 and 256 is negligible, and only then shown when pushed... but again, if for a few more bucks you can get the more up-to-date shaders/vertex thing-a-ma-jiggies than do so...look to the future for that is where you will spend your time!

good luck.
     
Leighgion
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Jan 7, 2007, 08:57 AM
 
Before you go too far down this road, make sure updating your video card is actually going to make a difference to your practical work.

While more programs aside from 3D games are starting to leverage the power of the video chipset, they're still by far in the minority as I understand it. Unless your software is specifically written to hook into the GPU's power, you could have the mightiest video card on earth and your work would still be CPU-bound. Even with OSX using the GPU for things like Exposé, Core Image and Core Video, for the daily use of the OS I haven't found any particular improvement in performance from the lowest end Core Image-supported card to better.

My own G5 started out with a Geforce FX5200, moved to a Radeon 9600 and then 9600XT. Doing video editing with Final Cut 3, which doesn't touch the graphics chips, I was perfectly happy on all of them. My upgrade to the Radeons were primarily a matter of curiocity about how much H.264 playback might benefit due to hints in the system reqs about HD playback that Quicktime 7 might be doing at least a little offloading to the videocard for H.264. Playback did notably improve on 1080p HD movie trailers with the Radeon 9600, but that's about all the improvement I saw and my next upgrade didn't improve that trend further than I can see.

I did recently buy one of those Radeon 9800XT's from OWC, but that upgrade was spurred specifically by my purchase of the Final Cut Studio 5.1 suite, which very clearly leverages the video card's power in several cases, especially for Motion 2.

If you're not a gamer and your primary software isn't written to unleash a powerful video chipset, that 9600 may be all you need. The 9600 also supports dual monitors just dandy. Just buy an adapter for the appropriate port to the appropriate connector.
     
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Jan 7, 2007, 11:30 AM
 
For the AGP-based PowerMac G5s, the X800 XT (retail) or the X850 XT (Apple OEM) are/were available. Both have 256MB and will drive one 30" display. These Radeons will only occupy a single slot, leaving the adjacent PCI slot open. And for what its worth, both will support display pivot/rotation.

The Apple OEM nVidia 6800 Ultra DDL is very similar in speed to the X800 XT; slightly faster then the X800 XT with some apps (especially Motion), slightly slower in others (some games). The 6800 DDL (non-Ultra) is slightly slower all around than the X800 XT, but still a very good performer. Both also have 256MB of VRAM. The nVIdia 6800 series cards from Apple both support two 30" displays as both of their DVI ports are dual-link capable. The ATI cards for the G5 only will drive one 30" display at max. So the nVidia cards are the only way to get two 30" displays in an AGP-based PowerMac G5. Neither one is available at retail, so you'll need to hunt around for them (eBay, Mac parts dealers, etc). The nVidia cards also use a big heatsink/fan combo that obstructs the adjacent PCI slot, unlike the ATI offereings. And just FYI, none of Apple's nVidia chipsets - at least as of OS X 10.4.8 - support display rotation. If you want that feature, you'll have to go with ATI.
     
Leonard
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Jan 7, 2007, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by jmccainiii View Post
Hey Andrew, does the 9800xt support monitor rotation? It's called versavision on some cards but it doesn't say on the owc site if this card has it.
Any Mac Radeon 9600 and above (Radeon 9800, X800XT, X850XT, etc...) will support monitor rotation. I don't think Nvidia cards support it.
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Jan 7, 2007, 09:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post
Any Mac Radeon 9600 and above (Radeon 9800, X800XT, X850XT, etc...) will support monitor rotation. I don't think Nvidia cards support it.
Actually, I've got a Radeon 8500 Pro in one of my old G4s (currently in one of my daughter's rooms), and it also supports display rotation.

But you're correct about the lack of support in the OS X nVidia drivers. It is however clearly a driver issue, as nVidia cards on PCs running Windows (even the nVidia 7300GT in the Mac Pro under Boot Camp) supports display rotation.
     
jmccainiii
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Jan 9, 2007, 11:40 PM
 
Upgraded to the 9800xt and now I have strange yellow lines on both of my displays. I loaded the drivers from ati but can not find any trouble shooting info on what this may be. Anyone have any ideas?
     
BigBadBiologist
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Jan 9, 2007, 11:59 PM
 
Could be bad video RAM or overheating. You could try downloading graphiccelerator and underclocking the video card and see if that fixes the problem.
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jmccainiii
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Jan 10, 2007, 12:07 AM
 
graphiccelerator doesn't support my rom revision. Is it possible it is a bad card? I put the 9600 back in and everything looks great so I am at a loss as to driver conflict or bad card.
     
BigBadBiologist
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Jan 10, 2007, 12:28 AM
 
more likely a bad card. OS X doesn't generally have driver issues when the hardware is natively fully supported (like the 9800). Make sure the fan is going on the video card heatsink. Where did you buy your card?
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jmccainiii
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Jan 10, 2007, 12:41 AM
 
Fan is going. Not pushing the card at all graphic wise. Lines show up durring boot. Got it from OWC. Hope they are good about exchanges.
     
jmccainiii
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Jan 10, 2007, 12:42 AM
 
Thanks for your input
     
blackbird_1.0
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Feb 1, 2007, 12:10 PM
 
I've got a 1.6ghz G5, and have been wondering if I should get a new card. My brother plays games sometimes, but most of the time I just do video, audio, and graphic design. I've got a 64mb card in there now.
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BigBadBiologist
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Feb 1, 2007, 01:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by blackbird_1.0 View Post
I've got a 1.6ghz G5, and have been wondering if I should get a new card. My brother plays games sometimes, but most of the time I just do video, audio, and graphic design. I've got a 64mb card in there now.
If your card works for what you're doing then there is no reason to upgrade.

Also, the amount of RAM on the card isn't the primary determinant of video performance. It's more the GPU on the card. So saying you have a 64meg card doesn't mean a whole lot. For example, you probably have an ATI 9600 in your system. Whether you have 64meg or 256meg of RAM on an ATI 9600, there isn't going to have a whole lot of performance difference for the majority of tasks (and even gaming to a large extent).
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blackbird_1.0
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Feb 1, 2007, 09:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by BigBadBiologist View Post
If your card works for what you're doing then there is no reason to upgrade.

Also, the amount of RAM on the card isn't the primary determinant of video performance. It's more the GPU on the card. So saying you have a 64meg card doesn't mean a whole lot. For example, you probably have an ATI 9600 in your system. Whether you have 64meg or 256meg of RAM on an ATI 9600, there isn't going to have a whole lot of performance difference for the majority of tasks (and even gaming to a large extent).
Ah, okay, thanks. I guess I'd rather soend my money to get a USB pci card, then. I'm running out of ports.
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Feb 14, 2007, 03:28 AM
 
I have the original G5/1.6 and it has the GForce FX 5200 with 64 MB. It doesn't have enough power to run Civ4 with the kinds of details I'd like so I've been trying to find the ATI X800 XT but no one has it in stock and no has had it in stock since at least November 06. Does anyone know what gives?

Should I try to find a used ATI X850 oem and try that? Or go with the nVidia 6800 UltraDDL? My main goal is to play Civ4 with higher graphics settings. I have one 19" DVI display so dual support isn't crucial.
     
Buckaroo
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Mar 9, 2007, 12:38 AM
 
I'm finding it harder to find any good deals on Dual Link DVI video cards.

I have a G5 Dual 1.8

Some salesman told me the reason is ATI has shut down its production facility to retool for Lead-Free production.
     
barto
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Jan 12, 2008, 02:01 AM
 
I also have a G5 but I have the duel 1.8's. Will installing a bigger and better card increase the VRAM as well? I'm trying to run "Color" from the FCP studio 2 and it tells me I don't have enough VRAM.

Thanks.
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mduell
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Jan 12, 2008, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by barto View Post
I also have a G5 but I have the duel 1.8's. Will installing a bigger and better card increase the VRAM as well? I'm trying to run "Color" from the FCP studio 2 and it tells me I don't have enough VRAM.
If you buy a card with more VRAM, you will have more VRAM.
     
Bookem0328
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Jan 21, 2008, 03:28 PM
 
Just wondering if anyone has had any experience with the older video cards and the new system and software. I am in the process of upgrading. I have a G5 Dual 2.0 Ghz processor Mac (not dual core). I just added 4 Gb of ram to make it 5.5 Gb. I have 160 Gb internal drive and a 500 Gb external drive (Firewire 800). Just installed OS 10.5 and CS3 Web Premium software. I also use Carrara 6.0 Pro, Poser, and Daz for 3D work a lot. I noticed that the instructions with the new Photoshop said that it would be better to upgrade, and NOT use my original nVidia5200 graphics card for ANY 3D work in it. Which, by the way, is a big reason I bought this software. Any recommendations on graphics/video cards? I have noticed that my monitor does take a while to redraw before I installed this software anyway. Any recommendations on any other upgrades you think might help would be welcome and greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance!!!
     
Leonard
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Jan 21, 2008, 03:44 PM
 
Video card recommendations are above - nothing's changed since. In fact, from other forums, I've heard it's getting harder to find these cards, especially new X800XT's, so if you want to upgrade, buy it now before they don't exist anymore.
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Bookem0328
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Jan 21, 2008, 04:04 PM
 
Thanks for the quick response!!!!!!

So I'm guessing these are what you're talking about?

GeForce: FX 5200 Ultra, 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra.

Radeon: 9600, 9600 XT, 9650, X800 XT, X850 XT, 9800 Pro 128MB, 9800 Pro 256MB, 9800 XT.

Looks like most people lean toward the Radeon cards. Is the X800XT the best one for my
needs? No gaming here. Strictly work related. But want to have this last for a while. OWC the best place to buy?

Oh yeah, are these things hard to install? I'm pretty sure I can look it up somewhere and figure it out. Macs are pretty easy to upgrade usually.
     
Bookem0328
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Jan 21, 2008, 04:17 PM
 
By the way, I just found this:

Radeon X800 Mac Edition versus others

Not sure what most of it means, but it might help someone out there.
     
Kenneth
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Jan 21, 2008, 09:46 PM
 
I have a X800 XT card inside my DP 2.0Ghz G5 Rev.A, not bad as I still have an Apple display with ADC connector.
     
Leonard
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Jan 21, 2008, 10:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bookem0328 View Post
Thanks for the quick response!!!!!!

So I'm guessing these are what you're talking about?

GeForce: FX 5200 Ultra, 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra.

Radeon: 9600, 9600 XT, 9650, X800 XT, X850 XT, 9800 Pro 128MB, 9800 Pro 256MB, 9800 XT.

Looks like most people lean toward the Radeon cards. Is the X800XT the best one for my
needs? No gaming here. Strictly work related. But want to have this last for a while. OWC the best place to buy?

Oh yeah, are these things hard to install? I'm pretty sure I can look it up somewhere and figure it out. Macs are pretty easy to upgrade usually.
The X800XT used to be the easiest to find because it was available in retail. Most of the others are OEM cards, which makes them harder to find. Don't bother with any of the 9600's (and of course the Geforce 5200, which you have) if you want an upgrade, as they won't be too much of an improvement over your current card. If you are doing 3D work (which you seem to mention), you want the X800XT, X850XT, or one of the Geforce 6800's. The cards will be a bit noisier than what you have as all of them have a fan for cooling.

The cards are easy to install, just take out the current card (there is one screw holding it in and maybe a tab, and then it pops out) out and put the new one in. There are instructions online at Apple that I can link you to, once you get it. It's as easy as installing RAM.

What type of connection does your monitor have - VGA? DVI? ADC?
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Theodour
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Jan 23, 2008, 03:00 PM
 
This seems like a great solution ...

I'm assuming it works on an AGP G5 as well.

You have to flash it on a PC, apparently, or buy one pre-flashed from ebay, like this.

I was lucky, and got a rare retail X800 last spring ... but if I'd known about this at the time, I probably would've gone this route, since it is cheaper and faster, and once the flashing is done, plays just fine with the OS.
     
Feynman
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Mar 5, 2008, 05:59 AM
 
What card would you guys suggest to drive video_ts DVD folders from a PowerMac G5 1.6 GHz machine onto a TV via DVI? Or is the PowerMac G5 1.6 GHz machine to slow to drive an external eSATA RAID based solution?
     
mduell
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Mar 5, 2008, 10:52 PM
 
Playing DVDs is not demanding at all... grab the cheapest card that will work. And you can go with a USB RAID array instead of eSATA for cost/simplicity. I like the AMS T4U.
     
marcolitot
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Apr 6, 2008, 06:37 PM
 
Hello
I have a Powermac G5 bi processor 2GHZ late 2004
OSX 10.4.11
the old graphic card packed up on us it seeams.
I installed a radion 9200 mac edition that was used in a G3 for kids to play..
it work only without original graphic card out
But not all is well
DVD player stutters badly on subtitles...
some windows too when they open,
Quick time is out of order
Final cut pro HD gets funny screen reactions
I have a sonnet SATA PCI X card that runs a jive with 3 750 HD inside..
Any idea ?
Can the old card be checked ? repaired ?
is the 9200 not enough ?
Works fine in G3 with 10.3.9 or so...
Can someone help
     
ryan1802
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Apr 16, 2008, 11:41 AM
 
hi, just a quickie...
should there of been a power supply cable with a newly bought ati 9600 pro pc&mac edition?
     
   
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