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I have a Mac Pro (early 2008) and I'm running Windows 7 Pro (64 bit) natively (i.e., with just Windows installed and no OSX or boot camp) on it.

If I buy an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 video card, will it work or do I have to buy a card that is Mac-specific (e.g., GeForce GTX 285 'for Mac')?

Also, more generally, will Windows video cards work on Intel Macs running Windows (in case I pick a cheaper card)?

I can't tell if it matters that a Mac does not have a bios. I searched other boards and I gathered that video cards would work fine because Windows has the proper drivers for them and OSX doesn't and not having the BIOS doesn't make a difference. I found one thread on here that seemed to indicate that as well, but I wanted to make sure.

Thanks.

*edit searched Nvidia's forums (duh) after the first answer found this thread (in case people were interested):

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=164810

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1 Answer 1

Here's what I know: All Macs that have bootcamp available to them DO in fact have BIOS. BIOS can be implemented in traditional way and on top of UEFI. For example I have a laptop whose UEFI only does almost nothing else other than starting BIOS.

Now for the graphics card part: I'd recommend that you wait for officially blessed card for macs.

Now for BIOS part: If windows 7 is configured to use UEFI, then you will have problems with video card. On the other hand, Apple is using obsolete version of UEFI, so it is quite possible that windows is only using BIOS emulation.

It is also important to note how UEFI and BIOS are used. Basically, systems main board has the biggest part of firmware. Once the system is started, it will load firmware form other devices such as video cards, network cards and so on.

Today almost all accessible video cards have firmware which will integrate with BIOS. Some cards also have firmware which will work with modern versions of UEFI. Now the question is how many cards will work with obsolete UEFI specification used by Apple? As far as I know, only officially blessed cards will, but I could be wrong.

Now I'll get back to windows: If your windows installation is using BIOS (and I believe it is), then your non-blessed video card should work fine with it.

Also, I had contact with hear-say that non-blessed video cards will work fine on windows, but I still believe that it would be best to test it out and be sure.

The safest way would be to obtain some relatively recent PCI-E video card and try it out. Surely you must know someone who could borrow you one. If not, then it may be economically justified to buy cheapest one available and see if it works on windows.

Also, just to clarify, UEFI was called EFI back in the version Apple is using.

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thanks for the response –  aquat33nfan Jun 5 '10 at 23:22
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