I’ve just completed upgrading my 2010 Mac Pro with the EVGA Geforce GTX 680 Mac Edition. The old ATI card was starting to make a clicking noise which was becoming frustrating when recording voice work. I’ve had 3 prior mac pro card die on me so I wanted to get it sorted BEFORE I was left with an unusable machine this time. I’m now outside my AppleCare warranty, so this made it an even higher priority.

I purchased the card from OWC. There are a couple of places in Australia selling the card, but it’s stupidly expensive. Over $1000 for a card that is a few years old is a bit much. It was about $700 after shipping. Still not pleasant, but better than +$1K.

Geforce GTX 680

The install process itself was pretty straightforward, but I’ll post the details of my experience in case it helps anyone in a similar situation.

  1. Shutdown the computer
  2. Remove the cables plugged into the old graphics card. In my case this was three monitors.
  3. Remove the side of the case and lay the machine horizontally on the floor.
  4. Unscrew the two thumb screws holding the PCI cards in. This was a bit fiddly.
  5. Remove the bracket. This again was a bit fiddly.
  6. Remove the 2 power cables from the old graphics card. The new card ships with 2 power cables, but they appear identical to the current card (an ATI Radeon HD 5870). You will need the extra power cable if you had a lower end card to begin with.
  7. This took me a moment to figure out. There is a metal bar near the motherboard/logic-board that helps hold the card in place. The old card also has a plastic extension to lock it into the front fan. There is a little button on the side of the fan housing which you push toward the front of the case. This moves the bar, and allows the plastic extension to come free.
  8. Gently left the old card out. It’s a big one and it’s a tight fit, but it does come out after some wiggling.
  9. Install USB 3 card. (Just kidding, I also got a USB 3 card (NewerTech MAXPower USB/eSATA 2×2 Host Adapter) with my order so I installed this while there was more room).
  10. Install the new Geforce GTX 680 card.
  11. Push the fan housing back to where it should be.
  12. Plug in the two power cords.
  13. Put the PCI securing plate back on and screw into place.
  14. Plug in your monitors again and re-orientate the mac pro.
  15. Power up with your fingers crossed. Mine seemed to work first go which I wasn’t really expecting. Hooray!

Thet pretty much sums it up. I’m hopeful this will give me another couple of years before I need to upgrade to the new Mac Pro. Doing the maths, it would cost me about $8000 to get the right spec machine for my video/photography needs. This would be the 8-core, 2xD700 and 64GB (aftermarket) RAM. Also a thunderbolt storage array to have decent disk speeds.

I figure this sub-thousand dollar upgrade will give my machine a good bump. I also have RAIDed SSD boot drives, RAIDed data drives, RAIDed scratch SSD drives etc, so the performance is still decent. It’s not new Mac Pro good, but for 7 grand it’s close enough for a year or two.