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Old Jan 12, 2013, 12:54 AM   #1
BrioBriss
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What's the best Graphic card upgrade for a Mac Pro 4.1

Title said pretty much everything. I'm in 3D and I want to get a 2nd graphic card to make my renders fasters. I actually have the graphic card that came with the computer (nVidia GeForce GT 120 with 512 MB - I think). I know absolutely nothing about graphic cards so I'd like to know what's the options that open to me and what's the ones that would be the best for me (3d render).
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:15 AM   #2
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Read this thread, choose a GTX model that suits your budget from the list, make sure you are running Mountain Lion. Job done.
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1440150
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gpzjock View Post
Read this thread, choose a GTX model that suits your budget from the list, make sure you are running Mountain Lion. Job done.
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1440150
I'm actually with snow Leopard, I really need to upgrade? And btw, if I'm working on bootcamp Windows 7, would it still works?
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:36 AM   #4
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Read the sticky thread.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BrioBriss View Post
I'm actually with snow Leopard, I really need to upgrade? And btw, if I'm working on bootcamp Windows 7, would it still works?
If you don't want to upgrade your OS and any other trouble, your only choice is the Apple's stock ATI Radeon 5870, although it is almost 3-year old. If you want anything newer, then explore the sticky thread or wait for Apple's next generation video cards.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 01:39 PM   #6
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What programs are you running for 3d rendering? Does the software company list supported video cards?
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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You can get an ATI 4870 up to 6870 from eBay that are EFI flashed that will work on Snow Leopard. Much cheaper than Apples crazily over priced ATI cards!
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 12:00 PM   #8
BrioBriss
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Updated questions

Alright, thanks for the help/reply everyone!

I actually red the sticky topic everyone is reffering me about. Though I have a question about it, why all this topic is only about Graphic cards for PC that works on Mac and have no words about the Graphic cards made for Mac? I'm wondering why nothing is said about these Graphic cards made for Mac.

Is it because PC cards are better/cheaper? And what's the point getting a PC Graphic card working on a Mac since most of them seems to appear to show some bugs etc, IMO I'd prefer to run a Graphic card made for Mac and avoid any problems, even since it's for work.

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Originally Posted by BigJohno View Post
What programs are you running for 3d rendering? Does the software company list supported video cards?
I'm actually working on Maya 2013. Didn't checked about which Graphic cards are better/supported, but to be honest, I don't plan to works only with Maya so I'd prefer not base my purchace on only 1 software.

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Originally Posted by tjlazer View Post
You can get an ATI 4870 up to 6870 from eBay that are EFI flashed that will work on Snow Leopard. Much cheaper than Apples crazily over priced ATI cards!
Alright, thanks for telling here, I'll check that out. Actually I think I'll upgrade to Montain Lion to get the better chances of my side, but if the one you pointed are better in term of performance/price, I guess I'll go for it.


Also another question that came up since I know pratically nothing about Graphic Cards other than the Wikipedia's page that I red. Which specification of the Graphic Card optimise the fast 3D renders? In other words, what specifications should I look for if I want to optimise my rendres time?

And last question, if I want to get a 2nd screen, is the DVI plug is always included with the Graphic Card or I need to buy one separately?

Thanks for the help everyone!
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 02:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BrioBriss View Post
Is it because PC cards are better/cheaper? And what's the point getting a PC Graphic card working on a Mac since most of them seems to appear to show some bugs etc.
Better price/performance ratio, more cards to choose. Minor downsides as lack of bootscreen, but most of users can live with that.

Quote:
I'm actually working on Maya 2013. Didn't checked about which Graphic cards are better/supported, but to be honest, I don't plan to works only with Maya so I'd prefer not base my purchace on only 1 software.
What other software you're using? Check what GPU acceleration type it uses, then base your choice on that.

What are other specs of your MP? How much money you'd want to spend?
In general, balanced system is the key. CPU intensive tasks do like RAM too, working on huge files needs fast storage etc.

Here you'll find some Maya 2013 tests with different graphics cards. Windows environment, but it should give you basic view. All cards used in test, excluding FirePro, can run in Mac OS (AMD 7*** currently only on 10.8.3 dev. preview).
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-166
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 02:59 PM   #10
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Better price/performance ratio, more cards to choose. Minor downsides as lack of bootscreen, but most of users can live with that.



What other software you're using? Check what GPU acceleration type it uses, then base your choice on that.

What are other specs of your MP? How much money you'd want to spend?
In general, balanced system is the key. CPU intensive tasks do like RAM too, working on huge files needs fast storage etc.

Here you'll find some Maya 2013 tests with different graphics cards. Windows environment, but it should give you basic view. All cards used in test, excluding FirePro, can run in Mac OS (AMD 7*** currently only on 10.8.3 dev. preview).
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-166
Alright, thanks here. I work with usual Adobe softwares (Photoshop/Premiere/After Effects), maybe soft Image in the future too.

I am on a 4.1 Mac Pro/32 GB of RAM with the acual Graphic Card: GetForce GT 120 512 MB. Don't remember the other specs, but it's the originals ones from a 4.1 Mac Pro (No add-on other than Hard drive and RAM).

Thanks a lot for the article, will read it, seems pretty much great! I was actually looking about NVIDIA Quadro K5000/Quadro FX 4800, I even just strated a topic about it: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1528887

Didn't know about "FirePro". Might check this as well.

Thx!
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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You may not need all that horsepower or money spent. The card you are on now is very very slow. As others have mentioned you need to find out what type of supported acceleration your primary apps are using and buy the brand that supports that. If it is OpenCL then an AMD/ ATI can work well for you. If it is CUDA or if for the mercury playback engine you'll need Nvidia which complicates things as Apple has no current offering so you have to go PC and maybe the OS upgrade that entails. 1st step is what apps. Most current consumer cards will run circles around that GT120 so anything will be faster. I wouldn't plan on a $1000.00 card just yet.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 03:48 PM   #12
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You may not need all that horsepower or money spent. The card you are on now is very very slow. As others have mentioned you need to find out what type of supported acceleration your primary apps are using and buy the brand that supports that. If it is OpenCL then an AMD/ ATI can work well for you. If it is CUDA or if for the mercury playback engine you'll need Nvidia which complicates things as Apple has no current offering so you have to go PC and maybe the OS upgrade that entails. 1st step is what apps. Most current consumer cards will run circles around that GT120 so anything will be faster. I wouldn't plan on a $1000.00 card just yet.
Hmm, actually to be honest from what I red in other topics, most of the gamers Graphic Cards for Mac aren't optimal for 3D, so I don't really see any other option there. According to the article posted on the Maya 2013, the NVIDIA Quadro seems pretty much optimal for Maya and other Adobe apps so in this case this is pretty much what would work the best IMO. If I'm wrong, let me know but everything looks like to point in the NVIDIA Quadro direction actually.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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Nvidia 570 and 580 are very good. Nvidia 6xx not good.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 02:57 AM   #14
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I use Photoshop/Premiere/After Effects & just upgraded from a GTX285 (already far better than your GT120) to a GTX570 which has improved performance considerably. Everything is much smoother & rendering out is faster. I bought the card used on eBay for just 120 (about $190) so it's a low cost option.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 04:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BrioBriss View Post
Hmm, actually to be honest from what I red in other topics, most of the gamers Graphic Cards for Mac aren't optimal for 3D, so I don't really see any other option there. According to the article posted on the Maya 2013, the NVIDIA Quadro seems pretty much optimal for Maya and other Adobe apps so in this case this is pretty much what would work the best IMO. If I'm wrong, let me know but everything looks like to point in the NVIDIA Quadro direction actually.
It all depends on your needs, TBH.
If you spend, let's say, 70% (or more) of your work time in Maya and rest in the CS6, you should be happy with Quadro 4000. Mac version can be had under $600 off eBay.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b_3y_PGVvg

It does quite well in Premiere, PS and AE CS6, however GTX will do better.
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/art...celeration-162
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/1019643#1019643
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Old Mar 29, 2014, 11:32 PM   #16
tarafran
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upgrading my Mac Pro to 5.1 need a new video card

I have a 2 x 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon early 2009 4.1
I'm going to upgrade to 5.1 2 x 3.47 GHz next week and could use a new video card to replace the aging NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB.
I need a quiet card as it is use in a recording studio
The only other card on the PCie buss is an AVID HDX connected with one of the molex connector for power
I'm on Maverick 10.9.2
Thanks
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