New graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 4870) on my Mac Pro

When I started playing Bioshock on my ageing Mac Pro, I found that the graphics card (a Nvidia GeForce 7300GT, apparently) was so poor by today’s standards that the game was practically unplayable. I therefore decided to get a new ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card. Despite the fact that Apple say this card is for recent Mac Pros (Early 2009 or Early 2008), it works fine in my original Mac Pro (2006).

The HD 4870 certainly makes a hell of a difference to Bioshock. It’s like a new game and it looks absolutely beautiful now (as well as being a superb game generally). What’s interesting, though, is how much difference the new card has made to my Mac at times when I’m not playing games. It seems to have given it a whole new lease of life, and it’s much more responsive now. I guess most of that is simply because it’s got a lot more power available to update what’s happening on the display, although I’m curious to know if any of it is to do with OpenCL. OpenCL is a technology supposedly in use now on Mac OS X to offload certain computing tasks from the CPU to the GPU wherever possible, but I’ve no idea how extensively it’s been utilised so far.

What with the new graphics card, the new optical drive I fitted recently, and the hard disk upgrades I’ve done over the years, it’s great the way that my Mac Pro continues to evolve and be very usable despite its age. More RAM next, I think.