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Hackintosh video card upgrades

Things aren’t looking too good at the moment for those wanting a reasonable priced video card to use with a hackintosh and Windows. My system has an Nvidia 7300GT that works well with Mac OS 10.5.4, and performs ok under Windows XP. I only really use Windows for games, and have recently been playing through Half Life 2 again. I tried using Crossover Games to install it on OSX but the performance was choppy, so I’m rebooting into Windows whenever I want to play. The original game is fine at 1680×1050, and Episode 1 ran just as well. Episode 2 is the stumbling block, with a big drop in smoothness unless the video options are turned all the way down or resolution dropped. Episode 3 doesn’t have a release date yet but is sure to up the hardware requirements even more.

So what are the upgrade options? The Nvidia 9600GT is unsupported and doesn’t appear to be working yet, and neither are the newer 260 and 280. There are several options lower in the range, but how much of an improvement these would give is debatable. The best option from Nvidia looks to still be an 8800GT. On the ATI side the latest 4850/4870 are reported as working, as are the 3850/3870 that preceded them. Aria have a 3870 512Mb for £82.19 and a  4850 512Mb for £123.26. The problem here is going to be noise. My current Sparkle 7300GT is passively cooled so is silent. Looks like much research ahead, just as soon as Insanelymac starts working again.

  1. Kelly Baker
    August 15, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I have a eVGA 8800GT single slot card. Very quiet and slim.

    You could also go with a 8800GTX or even 9800GTX.

    I think the 8800GT is the best value however.

  2. basshead
    August 15, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for the advice Kelly

    In the UK from my usual supplier the 8800GT is available from £105. 9800GT’s are priced from £91. That puts the 9800GT fairly close to the ATI 3870, so those appear to be the two to investigate further. The 9800GTX is around £130 and up, so is a bit more than I wanted to pay.
    From what I can make out the 9800 is based very closely on the 8800, so the lower priced 9800 looks like better value. Time to hit the reviews.

  3. Anonymous
    November 26, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    This entry drives me nuts! Everytime I search for 4850 support for Hackintosh the first entry google throws is this where it says: “On the ATI side the latest 4850/4870 are reported as working”, when this is completely false! Still waiting for 4850 support as for november 2008.

  4. basshead
    November 26, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    At the time this article was written I had read two reports from hackintosh owners in forums claiming to have the 4800 series cards working. Hence the ‘reported as working’ comment not ‘are confirmed as working’. I went on to buy a 9800GT since details of how these cards were setup didn’t appear.

  5. krits
    December 6, 2008 at 11:52 am

    4800 cards are working but there’s no hardware acceleration

  6. December 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    The 4xxx series cards aren’t working. You can use them, like every other video card ever made, but no QE/CI, which renders your OS X install useless.

  7. ekli
    May 14, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Hi everyone, I have installed Ipc 10.5.6 on my dell 490 precision,but I cant install the nVidia 9600GT, i tried to edit the kext , but it dosent work, may be i do something wrong when i select the dvd drivers when i install it, please if some one can help me, thank you

    Dell Precision 490
    One Intel Xeon 5060 (3.2GHz,1066 MHz,2x2MB Cache)
    2gb ram
    nVidia 9600GT 512mb

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