Since I have been learning more about Mac desktops after purchasing a Mac Pro, I have been trying to understand why video cards for Macs said “Mac Edition.” I always thought this was some kind of driver issue; I really could not understand why Macs were always at least a generation behind on video cards (and this post does not answer this question).
Recently, I found myself with a spare ATI Radeon 4850. Since my Mac Pro came with the default nvidia120 (I did not want to splurge for the Radeon 4870), I looked into putting the 4850 into the Mac. That is when I came across posts from people talking about flashing the BIOS of the video cards to make them work in a Mac. From what I understand, since the Intel Macs use EFI instead of a traditional PC-like BIOS, the video card has to have a different BIOS to support the boot process before the OS loads. Therefore, you cannot drop a PC video card into a Mac (well you can, but it won’t work by itself).
I read many posts about some people getting a Radeon 4870 PC card to work in a Mac after a BIOS flash and some driver manipulation. It is too bad there is not an easier process since Apple is not selling these “Mac” video cards cheap and there is a market out there, particularly it seems for people with older Mac Pros.