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I have a "Early 2008" Mac Pro (MacPro3,1) which has a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT in it (the mid-range choice at the time). Unfortunately, it only has 512 MB of VRAM, and that's getting to be more and more of a restriction. The rest of the computer still meets all my needs (or can be upgraded), so it's time to replace the card.

I am looking for something gaming focused, although I'm not expecting (or looking for) something that can render the latest twitch-based FPS on SuperUltraHigh quality at 120 FPS. I just want something that can handle the "High" quality settings for moderately recent (e.g. 2014) games at a reasonably smooth speed. Example games would include Civ V, The Talos Principle, and Wolfenstein: The New Order (with Bootcamp).

That said, I don't know enough about relative performance of cards to know what a good buy for that would be, or even how to define a requirement. So here's the rest of my requirements:

  • Support for the standard Mac boot screens (either natively or via a flashing service)
  • Price under $1000. If it needs to be flashed, that needs to be included in the price.
  • Support for 2+ monitors. Specific outputs don't matter, although at least one DVI port would be nice. (I'm buying a new monitor at the same time, and can get a adapter as needed for the other.)
  • Compatible with the limitations of my computer (PCIe 2.0 x16, 225W max draw)
  • Quiet under non-gaming usage (i.e. not significantly louder than the computer's own fans)
  • Works under Windows (via Bootcamp) as well.

Nice-to-haves include:

  • Price under $500.
  • Relatively quiet while gaming (shouldn't be so loud as to be heard in the next room)
  • No known compatibility issues with Parallels Desktop

I'm currently considering the GeForce GTX680 Mac Edition, but I don't know if that meets all of my performance or noise requirements. Any support for buying it or alternative recommendations would be appreciated.

  • A slight correction: the 8800GT was the high-end gaming option at the time. The Quadro is a workstation card with poor gaming performance. – Mark Jan 17 '16 at 20:04
  • @Mark - Huh. I didn't realize that. That makes a lot of sense, though. I'm definitely glad I made the choice I did, then, even if it was for the wrong reasons. – Bobson Jan 17 '16 at 20:27

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