Upgraded The Graphics Card In A Mac

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"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."
--
Steve Wozniak

Our desktop computer is getting old, but I think it's still a good machine. It's a quad core Mac Pro we bought in 2007.
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The biggest problem with it was the video card. I paid extra to get a Mac version ATI Radeon X1900XT back then, and it had never worked properly. I would get garbled video, and the machine would regularly overheat. As long as we've owned this computer, I kept hoping that updates would fix it, but they never did.
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Last year, Apple finally acknowledged there was something wrong with the card and offered a
repair extension program for it. Unfortunately, I didn't find out about it until the program had already expired, so I looked for a replacement card for the machine first and on Amazon, a refurbished one costs $400. I wasn't about to spend $400 for a five year old video card, so I did a little research and found that the much better Radeon HD 5770 could be installed in our machine, and that card is new and costs a considerable amount less. I ordered it two days ago on Amazon Prime.
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J has been an Apple user her entire life, starting with an Apple IIe and going all the way up to now. She's never owned a DOS/Windows machine. My family also had a IIe, but it was all IBM-compatible/DOS/Windows after that (8086, 80186, 286, etc.) until 2002 when I bought my first Mac in college, an
iMac G4, and I never went back. Anyway, this was a long winded way to explain we've both had a long time using Macs, but we've never had an occasion to change any component besides memory or hard drives. With the issue of this video card, we finally did.

This is a screenshot of the System Profiler before I removed that busted card.
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I opened up the case, and located the card I was swapping out.
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After removing the cable that supplies the power to the card from the main board and unscrewing the brace that holds all the cards in place, taking the card out was not too much of a problem.
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The new card looked nicer than the old one, but would it work? I crossed my fingers.
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The most challenging part of the hardware installation was trying to get this cable back into the main board. After a bit of fiddling and repositioning myself so I could see, I got it plugged in properly.
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I closed it back up and restarted the machine. Immediately I could tell the difference. It was much quieter and finally, the video looked normal. Double the VRAM is nice. Also, this card supports three monitors. I should try that out at some point.
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On the software side, Mac OS X did not have any problems with the new install, but when I started Windows XP in Boot Camp, it was not happy. It recognized that there was new hardware, but then after seemingly working for a few minutes, it got stuck in a restart loop. Windows would start up for about 20-30 seconds and then restart.

I ended up having to restart Windows in safe mode and uninstalling the existing video card software information. I updated that and when I booted it back up, it worked!
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I'm hoping I won't have to do this again. It wasn't super difficult, but it was an unnecessary pain. The machine seems to perform pretty well, and I'm happy that I'm not getting garbled discolored lines on the screen anymore.

Related Item:
Apple ATI Radeon 5770 1 GB ZML MC742ZM/A
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