Aperture and GeForce 7800GTX

I received and installed my new Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX 512MB video card from rubytuesday. For those of you who have not been following the saga, the stock Nvidia 6600 video card that most Dual-Core G5 PowerMac owners have purchased is dog slow when performing any Core Image tasks. CoreImage is used throughout Mac OS X but especially in apps such as Motion or Aperture. The 6600 was in fact removed from Apple’s list of recommended cards for Aperture a few months ago.

Since Apple isn’t offering any aftermarket video cards, people have had to purchase reflashed PC video cards. The 7800GTX has been reviewed and given a stellar review on the Mac performance website BareFeats. At $750, it’s not cheap. Given the speed increase over the 6600, however, the 7800GTX will pay itself off with my next photo job.

I’ve posted a couple of videos on YouTube that demonstrate the speed differences between the 6600 and the 7800GTX below the fold.

I ran my tests using the recently released Aperture 1.1.2. This version has some noticeable speed improvements over the previous updates, but as you can see, it’s still slow. The first movie shows Aperture running on my Quad with the stock 6600 video card. Notice how long it takes for the image to update after I have moved the sliders. The performance of the straightening tool is especially slow with the 6600.

The second movie shows Aperture running on my Quad with the 7800GTX. Notice how much more quickly the image is update when operating the sliders. The straightening tool, for instance, updates in pretty much real-time.

All in all, this is looking to be a good upgrade. If you are a photographer using Aperture with a Dual-Core PowerMac and the stock 6600 video card, do yourself a favor and purchase a 7800GT or a 7800GTX today! rubytuesday has four cards for sale:

  • 7800GTX 512MB RAM
  • 7800GTX 256MB RAM with Quadro Cooler
  • 7800GTX 256MB RAM
  • 7800GT: Equivalent to the OEM 7800GT

Update 6/28/2006: Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.7 update, which some people say improves Aperture performance even more. Will test out in the next few days with my observations.

Some photos from the installation.

10 thoughts on “Aperture and GeForce 7800GTX

  1. Jonathan

    Which version of the card did you purchase – was it the one with the Quadro cooler. I too am fed up with Apple, and although I confronted Apple, they did not offer me a solution. Regards

  2. 7800GTX 512MB RAM. It comes default with the Quadro cooler. Read the review here: http://www.tow.com/2006/06/27/aperture-and-geforce-7800gtx/barefeats.com/mutant4.html

  3. Jonathan

    How long did rubytuesday take to reply to your PM?

  4. One day. I found he was overall very responsive.

  5. Colin

    Hi Adam. Quick question on your flashed 7800 GTX. I’ve just bought one from eBay and it’s showing up as a Quadro FX 4500 (512MB) ROM Revision 2149 in my G5 Quad System Profiler. I assume this is something to do with the 7800 GTX being flashed with the ROM of a Quadro FX 4500 to get it to work on a Mac (? just a guess). I was just wondering if you could let me know what yours says in System Profiler? Thanks!

  6. Colin

    Just a little update following-on from my post above regarding the flashed 7800 GTX showing-up in System Profiler as a Quadro FX 4500. I had a lovely response from a a seller on eBay called mrmacmods… “These 7800GTX cards, as you know are originally PC versions, which then have a quadro FX 4500 rom flashed to it. The rom that is flashed to it is a special rom (firmware) that has been modified to work with these cards under OSX. Even though they are a 7800GTX card, The architecture of these cards are pretty much identical to a quadro FX 4500. They are reported in OSX as a quadro FX 4500 to allow OSX to use the much better Open GL extensions! This is left like this on purpose, it’s not a mistake. This a very good thing. As these cards are even faster than the genuine apple FX 4500 for a 3rd of the price. So don’t worry about it reporting a quadro Fx, it’s actually a good thing.” If you’re considering purchasing a flashed 7800 GTX for your older G5 dual or quad I’d definitely recommend checking out mrmacmods eBay listings!

  7. John aka. Mrmacmods

    Hi all & Colin, Thanks for the plug, John here from Mrmacmods. Yes these Flashed 7800GTX’s & 7800Gt’s rock! They are super fast! Anyone who has the last generation G5 dual/quad core should have one! Anyway want send a special thanks to all in the apple video card flashing community who helped develop these cards. Any one who is interested in purchasing one please don’t hesitate to contact via ebay Australia http://myworld.ebay.com.au/mrmacmods. Check out my listings! Cheers John

  8. rubytuesday


    I’m the one who actually WROTE the 7800GTX512 ROM for Mac. I am also the one who arranged with Rob-Art at Barefeats to have it tested. I am very proud of the fact that I left PPC Macs with fastest card ever made for them.

    I am however a little perplexed by this “Quadro 4500” in profiler business. The ROM I wrote most definetely says “7800 GTX 512” in system profiler. I spent 3 sleepless nights writing the ROM, I should know. Lots of intricate moving of RAM timings, etc. So if someone is selling these cards with “Quadro” in System Profiler, THEY ARE NOT THE REAL DEAL and more importantly THEY ARE NOT NEARLY AS FAST. The Quadro ROM was my starting point, but many things were done to get the speed up. The card will run the Quadro ROM stock out of the box, but will be BOG SLOW.

    If you have any questions, come see me at STrangedogs.com.


    1. Rafa and a quad

      Hello everyone.
      I just bought a nvidia/Dell geforce 7800 gtx 512 to flash it and mount in my G5 quad. I received a lot of help in ppc forum but now I’m stopped because I can’t find a guide to flash this card. Rubytuesday spent his work and hours preparing the rom for that card, so I have a question for him

      Why don’t you make a guide to flash this card?

      I never did that before and I don’t want to spoil the card

      Thank you

  9. Robert

    @Rafa and a quad Did you manage your 7800gtx working on your Quad G5? I did and I have a Quad G5 too. If you’re still stuck mail me hal9000 [at] canavese [dot] it

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