View Full Version : Wich Graphics card?

Jan 11, 2002, 06:30 PM
I have a G4 400 with an AGP Rage Pro 128. I'm sick of crappy graphics. I keep dreaming of a new machine, but in reality, if I had a better graphics card, my machine would do everything I need it to.

So, I was thinking about what I might buy. A GF3 would be nice, but would it be too limited by my processor? Especially given I'm a student, if I can get similar performance out of a cheaper graphics card, I'd be very happy.

Any ideas? And any ideas as to what kind of fps I'd get?

Jan 11, 2002, 06:41 PM
An AGP RADEON or GeForce in a current rev is about the best card you can get for games. Some games with older core code, such as Diablo and Driver may have difficulty with them as the cards are newer than the Game and adequate patches may not be immediately available. If your applications of choice are not games, I'd recommend either staying with what you have and upgrading your processor or researching application-specific rendering cards. There will always be something new, If you want to save money, wait until a new rev and buy the previous rev in the first 2 weeks after the release of the new one. There is a GeForce 2 single-monitor version that works VERY well. The Geforce 3's 64 megs is a bit extreme unless you need 120FPS! If that's the case, please seek rehab!! :p :eek: :rolleyes: :) :D

BTW: I'm using a G4 450 with an nVidia GeForce 2 MX right now and it keeps up with Quake 3 Team Arena JUST FINE. of course OS X.1.2 and a Gig of RAM help considerably.

Jan 12, 2002, 10:04 AM
check out http://www.xlr8yourmac.com

They have a user supplied database of hardware that works and does not work. They even have an article on changing the firmware on a cheaper PC GF3 to work in a MAc

Jan 13, 2002, 12:17 AM
I've decided to try flashing a "Asus V7100Pro SE GeForce2 MX400 64mb AGP Video Card W/TV output"

Phew, that's a mouthful!

Has anyone here done anything like this before?

Kid Red
Jan 13, 2002, 01:17 AM
I have the G4 450 as well with the 128 rage pro. If I upgraded to a GeForce 3 or the ATi 8500 or something, what would that do as for improvemnets for me?

I use Photoshop exclusively, and X is not really usuable for me, I got 512 ram. I will be upgrading to the G5, but if it doesn't come out till July, I was wondering if a card upgrade would do anything to make my wait more enjoyable. Will it?

Jan 14, 2002, 02:42 PM
Sadly, inexpensive graphics cards are aimed at gamers and, as such do not address Photoshop. They're designed only to accelerate open GL Apps that demand a high FPS rate. Photoshop would be better served with more RAM allocated. If you really want a render engine, Totalimpact makes a general purpose PCI card with 4 G3 or G4 processors and it's own RAM. It's run off Yellowdog Linux and certainly isn't cheap but it does allow you to dump highly intense processes off of your main system loop.

look around at [www.totalimpact.com]

Jan 14, 2002, 03:10 PM
But wouldn't there be AGP limitations? I mean a GF3 needs AGP 4x, and AGP Powermacs have AGP 2x (if I remember right...). The card might either not work, or you will not be getting the most performance out of it.

I would try and get a PCI version (does nVidia sell them?) of a GF3. If nVidia doesn't sell them (which I think they don't), try buying a PC one and flashing the ram...

Jan 14, 2002, 03:14 PM
GeForce 3 is in the existing Quicksilvers as a BTO option. If you can get an AGP and you're not trying for multiple monitors, just get the GF3. However, over 32Mb is getting freakishly ahead of the curve.:rolleyes:

Jan 14, 2002, 04:51 PM
The new Radeons are awesome. They get lower framerates than a GF3, but ATI's truform technology makes everything look better, and they still get higher framerates than the human eye can see. Go to the ATI page and look at the stuff about truform; It is very cool.

Kid Red
Jan 14, 2002, 05:08 PM
But what is the best card for 2D work?

Jan 14, 2002, 05:49 PM
the radeon is the best all around card right now for the mac
it does great 2D renders and is better with photoshop in "real life" experements than the GF3
but with games, the GF3 was a little better....
summary: radeon for Photoshop-ish/production stuff and the GF for gamers

(i have both in my 867 tower doing exactly waht i just mentioned)

Kid Red
Jan 14, 2002, 07:59 PM
Thank you, that's what I've been trying ti figure out for a while. So when the new towers come out should I get the cheap card and then buy the 85oo and pop it in?

How hard is it to replace a graphics card?

Jan 14, 2002, 10:48 PM
Kid Red... if you can remove and install memory, you can most likely change the video card. It is so simple... all you will need is a philips head screw driver. Remove the one screw holding the card down, and gently rock it front to back and gently pull up. Once it comes free, set it aside (someplace that is anti-static). Remove your new card from it's package, line it up with the AGP slot, and push down until it stops moving. Replace the screw that you removed before and you are all done.

mischief... in your comments "Sadly, inexpensive graphics cards are aimed at gamers and, as such do not address Photoshop. They're designed only to accelerate open GL Apps that demand a high FPS rate. Photoshop would be better served with more RAM allocated."

I have just one word for you... *********. The ONLY way what you said works is if you are referring to video cards that cost under $50 or so. Anything over $150 is going to work out just fine. I have a 32MB ATI Radeon (Mac edition) that makes everything I do much better and faster. Photoshop renders and refreshes much better and faster with the better video card. The rest of what you put in there sounds a lot like an advertisement.

I intend to get one of the Radoen 8500 cards in my next Mac system (G5 when they come out) either through the BTO, or I will get the cheapest card possible from Apple and switch it out for the Radeon.

You can get a kick ass card for under $300 (+/- a few dollars) that will increase the performance of many, many of your applications. Anything that renders onto your screen (do you know any that don't do that, besides word processors that is?) will benefit from a better graphics card (either a GF3 or Radeon 7000/8500). One must, is to go with the AGP card, since the PCI bus is slower then the PCI (hence the x factor).

Kid Red
Jan 14, 2002, 11:10 PM
Thanks for the info, I've never messed wth the graphics card before as I didn't know or understand it's importance.

So o you think the 8500 is/will be better for photoshop then the GeForce4?

Jan 15, 2002, 12:07 AM
historicaly speaking ATI has given better Photoshop performance on Macs than any other graphics card...
that's one of the main reasons they stayed in so long, as oposed to switching to the gamer friendly VooDoo series or the GF series quicker...
that is historicaly however and only time will really tell

Jan 15, 2002, 03:40 AM
Well I got my ASUS 7100 Pro / T today (64MB GeForce2 MX 400). I was expecting to have to flash it and all that jazz... but I stuck it in and it worked straight out of the box. I just had to install a couple of extensions in OS 9 - OS X worked with no problem.

Well, except for the TV out which doesn't work at all... :(

Jan 15, 2002, 12:00 PM
Is that a graphics card you installed that improved performance or a whole new system? If you had a thoroughly anemic card to start off with I could see an improvement just in V-RAM. As to MASSIVE RENDERS a Gaming-oriented card is not optimal. All I was pointing out was the lack of a purpose-built rendering card made for precision in still images as opposed to motion in a sane price range. Photoshop performance in "continuous" operations will appear enhanced because of the larger amount of V-RAM and quicker refresh rate. Actual render time is more dependant on processor power.

Jan 15, 2002, 01:44 PM
I installed the 32MB Radeon into my G4 500 about a year or so ago, replacing the Apple Rage 128 card (16MB). Everything else was the same. Upon installing the card, I had better resolutions available, faster performace at those resolutions, and a faster system overall. Games moved better, Photoshop moved better (much, much faster refresh/renders), my 3D apps performed better (Cinema 4D, Bryce, Poser...).

I know that ATI makes their cards so that they perform much better accros the board, compared to each previous generation. As well as to the competition. This is for both the Mac and pc, since I did a similar upgrade to my custom pc. I had originally made it with a 32MB Radeon, but recently upgraded it to a 64MB Radeon 8500 card. Let me tell ya... it kicks massive amounts of ASS! Granted, I haven't done much for rendering on the pc, but that is only because it is a game system. I will be making a few minor modifications to it over the next week or two, including a case change. I also might remove the 20GB drive and just boot off of the 80GB RAID (a pair of 40GB drives). Once all that is done, I might install some of my 3D apps that came both Mac and pc on the cd's.

Jan 15, 2002, 02:16 PM
The best graphics card to get would be the Radeon 8500 Mac. It is about 20 times faster than the Rage 128. I am suprised that apple still ships Geforce 2MXs, $1500+ PC have at least a Geforce 2Pro. It seems like apple is not very interested in games and 3D Graphics or it would include the Geforce 3 or ATI 8500, as standard in its pro Mac as high end iMac. This is the main reason I have not got a desktop Mac. But my PB G4 550 is very good at games compared to other PC laptops.