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Old May 2, 2012, 02:07 AM   #1
whwang
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Juice up a MacPro with video card(s) for Photoshop CS6?

Hi,

I have a MacPro5,1 with 2 6-core 2.93 GHz i7, 24GB of RAM, and 1 Radeon 5770. I am processing large 2D images in Photoshop CS5 and I am basically limited by processing speed. Adobe claims that CS6 can make better use of GPU. This makes me wonder whether upgrading to CS6 will make significant change.

Furthermore, I also wonder how much CS6's performance will be scaled with video card. For example, If I upgrade the 5770 card to 5870, will I feel it? How about Quadro 4000? Will I feel a difference? Can CS6 make use of multiple video cards? For example, if I add a second 5770 instead of upgrading the current 5770 to 5870, will it make a difference?

Any insight on these is appreciated.
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Old May 2, 2012, 03:12 AM   #2
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I have a MacPro5,1 with 2 6-core 2.93 GHz i7, 24GB of RAM, and 1 Radeon 5770. I am processing large 2D images in Photoshop CS5 and I am basically limited by processing speed. Adobe claims that CS6 can make better use of GPU. This makes me wonder whether upgrading to CS6 will make significant change.

Furthermore, I also wonder how much CS6's performance will be scaled with video card. For example, If I upgrade the 5770 card to 5870, will I feel it?
It's hard to say at this point. Until benchmarks are posted (there's really none I know of), we really don't know. The Mercury Graphics Engine (MGE) in Photoshop CS6 seems to apply mostly to certain filters. Adobe has a FAQ for CS6's GPU support here.

Regarding performance, you seem to have plenty of processing power and RAM. What's your disk array like? The processing of large images can be easily bottlenecked by disks that can't keep up.

Quote:
Can CS6 make use of multiple video cards? For example, if I add a second 5770 instead of upgrading the current 5770 to 5870, will it make a difference?
I would tend to doubt that. If MGE in Photoshop is anything like MPE is in Premiere, it'll only use one GPU. Therefore, if you wanted something faster, you'd want a faster card.

But my suggestion would be to try CS6 out with your existing 5770 when it releases and see how it performs. You may not even need to upgrade.
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Old May 2, 2012, 04:03 AM   #3
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Unless Apple or a 3rd party releases an Nvidia GPR, I am pretty confident our GTX570 2.5GB is going to be THE card to have for CS6. There are already 2 people who have picked one up and will vouch for it. One person specifically mentions a 2X+ speedup for video apps in Adobe. Would stand to reason that the same holds try for other parts that work with Mercury.

Not only does it offer full boot screen support on Apple Displays, it can also run a 30" from it's DVI port. Nvidia has shown that they will release solid drivers for their cards, whether or not Apple is eager to include them in OS point releases.

Adobe is all about Nvidia cards and CUDA. Don't waste your time with AMD / ATI cards. Support for OpenCL is added as an afterthought, much like for Resolve.

Cpt. Chunk or any other well respected Mac person is welcome to borrow one for review purposes. We are Hollywood based, near the (former) Kodak Theater.
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MacVidCards View Post
One person specifically mentions a 2X+ speedup for video apps in Adobe. Would stand to reason that the same holds try for other parts that work with Mercury.

[clip]

Adobe is all about Nvidia cards and CUDA. Don't waste your time with AMD / ATI cards. Support for OpenCL is added as an afterthought, much like for Resolve.
It turns out the MGE in Photoshop isn't using nVidia CUDA technology. They are specifically using OpenGL and OpenCL for it. As you pointed out: I got a significant boost in performance over my Quadro4K with one of your cards. But that was using an application (Premiere Pro) that specifically makes use of the CUDA technology.

jas
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Old May 2, 2012, 06:49 AM   #5
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It turns out the MGE in Photoshop isn't using nVidia CUDA technology. They are specifically using OpenGL and OpenCL for it. As you pointed out: I got a significant boost in performance over my Quadro4K with one of your cards. But that was using an application (Premiere Pro) that specifically makes use of the CUDA technology.

jas
Good to know.
Not everyone wants nVidia inside their Mac.
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:29 AM   #6
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Not everyone wants nVidia inside their Mac.
Yes, I understand there are some misguided souls out there. One day, ya'all will see the light.

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Old May 2, 2012, 07:40 AM   #7
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Let me boil it down.

With an AMD/ATI card you can run OpenGl and OpenCl.

With an Nvidia card, you can run OpenGl, OpenCl, and CUDA.

CUDA is used in more apps than OpenCl.

There is NO ADVANTAGE to using ATI/AMD. It limits your choices.

NVIDIA 1

AMD 0
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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NVIDIA 1

AMD 0
What he said.

jas
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:17 AM   #9
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Yes, I understand there are some misguided souls out there. One day, ya'all will see the light.

jas
LOL. I still am one of those misguided souls, then.

And, a lot of Macs don't have replaceable grfx cards.
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:18 AM   #10
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Point to me, where on the Apple store I can actually buy this Mac-approved GTX570 or GTX580 card, or any such "Mac-approved" nVidia graphics card that is even being sold and it approved as compatible with the Mac Pro.

I didn't think so.
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post
And, a lot of Macs don't have replaceable grfx cards.
And those Macs aren't the subject of this thread, of course.

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Originally Posted by WardC View Post
Point to me, where on the Apple store I can actually buy this Mac-approved GTX570 or GTX580 card
MacVidCards never said anything about "Mac (or Apple) approved", did he? Neither have I, nor anyone else that's got one of his cards. It's an aftermarket modification that just happens to work exceptionally well, thanks to his hard work along with the fine folks at nVidia. Ya know.. the folks that wrote the drivers for these cards? Even though they're not "approved" by Apple?

Just because Apple doesn't sell it or approve of it, doesn't mean it isn't good. And in fact, for getting work done, nVidia cards are just better performers than ATI/AMD cards.

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or any such "Mac-approved" nVidia graphics card that is even being sold and it approved as compatible with the Mac Pro.
You didn't look too hard, did you?

Click here.

jas
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:55 AM   #12
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I consider "aftermarket modifications" to be a hack to get unapproved hardware to interface with a system -- which is what is is.

If I was doing professional work or worked for a firm, I would not want to take the risk of hardware flaking out due to an error in firmware flashing or coding, and yes, I have read all of the frustrations and hiccups people are having on these "video card discussion threads" with their thousands of posts about kext problems and incompatibilities.

Simply not for me -- I want something I can buy, plug-in, and be 100% assured that it will work from the manufacturer, and yes, have Apple's approval that the card is compatible and verified to work with 100% of the software, acceleration, thermal specs, and hardware specs -- and not flake out on me.
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:00 AM   #13
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Simply not for me -- I want something I can buy, plug-in, and be 100% assured that it will work from the manufacturer, and yes, have Apple's approval that the card is compatible and verified to work with 100% of the software, acceleration, thermal specs, and hardware specs -- and not flake out on me.
Then suffer with underpowered ATIs, or pay mondo bucks for a new nVidia Quadro 4000 if that approval means that much to you.

And more importantly, move along. Apparently this thread isn't for you.

jas
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Old May 2, 2012, 04:15 PM   #14
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I consider "aftermarket modifications" to be a hack to get unapproved hardware to interface with a system -- which is what is is.

If I was doing professional work or worked for a firm, I would not want to take the risk of hardware flaking out due to an error in firmware flashing or coding, and yes, I have read all of the frustrations and hiccups people are having on these "video card discussion threads" with their thousands of posts about kext problems and incompatibilities.

Simply not for me -- I want something I can buy, plug-in, and be 100% assured that it will work from the manufacturer, and yes, have Apple's approval that the card is compatible and verified to work with 100% of the software, acceleration, thermal specs, and hardware specs -- and not flake out on me.
YOu can buy many PC Nvidia cards that will plug in and work with 10.7.3.

Both Apple and Nvidia have written drivers for them, except without MacVidCards and Netkas' help they would run with no boot screen and at PCI 1.0 speeds.

The mods done by MacVidCards add the boot screen and alter the BIOS/EFI to run at native PCI 2.0 speed therefor maximising the GPUs abilities.

You can stick with the official AMD/ATI offerings but if you wanna get work done faster then do some research you will see that the mods don't bite!!
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by whwang View Post
Hi,

I have a MacPro5,1 with 2 6-core 2.93 GHz i7, 24GB of RAM, and 1 Radeon 5770. I am processing large 2D images in Photoshop CS5 and I am basically limited by processing speed. Adobe claims that CS6 can make better use of GPU. This makes me wonder whether upgrading to CS6 will make significant change.

Furthermore, I also wonder how much CS6's performance will be scaled with video card. For example, If I upgrade the 5770 card to 5870, will I feel it? How about Quadro 4000? Will I feel a difference? Can CS6 make use of multiple video cards? For example, if I add a second 5770 instead of upgrading the current 5770 to 5870, will it make a difference?

Any insight on these is appreciated.
Getting back to the original question. I suggest you download the trial and try it out. For some reason I couldn't find the download on Adobes site but found a legitimate link very quickly using google - installs perfectly and I've been using to quite a bit so should be fine for benching!
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MacVidCards View Post
Let me boil it down.

With an AMD/ATI card you can run OpenGl and OpenCl.

With an Nvidia card, you can run OpenGl, OpenCl, and CUDA.

CUDA is used in more apps than OpenCl.

There is NO ADVANTAGE to using ATI/AMD. It limits your choices.

NVIDIA 1

AMD 0
Of course the only reason for that is NVidia forces an artificial monopoly on CUDA...

I wouldn't worry too much about CUDA. CS6 has switched to OpenCL. I expect everyone else will follow.
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by WardC View Post
I consider "aftermarket modifications" to be a hack to get unapproved hardware to interface with a system -- which is what is is.

If I was doing professional work or worked for a firm, I would not want to take the risk of hardware flaking out due to an error in firmware flashing or coding, and yes, I have read all of the frustrations and hiccups people are having on these "video card discussion threads" with their thousands of posts about kext problems and incompatibilities.

Simply not for me -- I want something I can buy, plug-in, and be 100% assured that it will work from the manufacturer, and yes, have Apple's approval that the card is compatible and verified to work with 100% of the software, acceleration, thermal specs, and hardware specs -- and not flake out on me.
Oh so your the guy that orders the way too expensive hard drive upgrades and way way way way too expensive RAM upgrades with your Mac so you be assured of having Apple's approved parts! I knew those folks must exist but I've never seen a post from one. Go Apple.
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CaptainChunk View Post
It's hard to say at this point. Until benchmarks are posted (there's really none I know of), we really don't know. The Mercury Graphics Engine (MGE) in Photoshop CS6 seems to apply mostly to certain filters. Adobe has a FAQ for CS6's GPU support here.

Regarding performance, you seem to have plenty of processing power and RAM. What's your disk array like? The processing of large images can be easily bottlenecked by disks that can't keep up.

I would tend to doubt that. If MGE in Photoshop is anything like MPE is in Premiere, it'll only use one GPU. Therefore, if you wanted something faster, you'd want a faster card.

But my suggestion would be to try CS6 out with your existing 5770 when it releases and see how it performs. You may not even need to upgrade.
Thank you. It is indeed a good idea to try CS6 beta and see what it offers in terms of performance. I have a 128 GB SSD as boot drive, 4 WD RE4 2TB in RAID0. I tell Photoshop to use the RAID0 for scratch and avoid using the SSD. However, occasionally the OS complains that the SSD is full when I am doing heavy editing in Photoshop. I don't know how to avoid this.

In this thread, people also talked about nVidia vs ATI. Since Photoshop makes use of OpenCL and OpenGL, is it true that I can just stick with ATI without much penalty on Photoshop performance?
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:04 PM   #19
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LOL. I still am one of those misguided souls, then.

And, a lot of Macs don't have replaceable grfx cards.
Is it because of the old macbook pro defective cards debacle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonvp View Post
Then suffer with underpowered ATIs, or pay mondo bucks for a new nVidia Quadro 4000 if that approval means that much to you.
Apple is still charging release price for that Quadro as well, even though it's around $700 elsewhere. I wouldn't want to pay that much for an aging card at this point if possible. ATI cards don't seem as bad on Macs as they are on Windows, but I haven't seen the most recent OSX comparisons, so it's fully possible that I'm wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whwang View Post
Thank you. It is indeed a good idea to try CS6 beta and see what it offers in terms of performance. I have a 128 GB SSD as boot drive, 4 WD RE4 2TB in RAID0. I tell Photoshop to use the RAID0 for scratch and avoid using the SSD. However, occasionally the OS complains that the SSD is full when I am doing heavy editing in Photoshop. I don't know how to avoid this.

In this thread, people also talked about nVidia vs ATI. Since Photoshop makes use of OpenCL and OpenGL, is it true that I can just stick with ATI without much penalty on Photoshop performance?
That's weird. You should be loaded with ram. Photoshop loves ram. It's much like the cookie monster, only it wants contiguous memory space rather than cookies. In my experience OpenGL in CS4 and 5 wasn't implemented all that well. I haven't tried 6 yet. I mean with 4 and 5, good card or crappy card, it wasn't an amazing implementation. 2D in general is nowhere near as intense on the gpu, so I don't think the raw hardware was the problem. Anyway I'd really want to see up to date tests, and there's no guarantee that the gpu is your problem at all. How big of images are we talking? I deal with images up to 10k (sometimes larger) at 16-32 (exr) bpc. I've dealt with this for many years. I keep history states low, turn off spotlight on scratch drives, load up with ram, turn off all thumbnails (I'd label things either way). It's a much longer list than that, but I've dealt with large 2D files since the Power PC days, so I had to do something to keep it from royally sucking .
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:54 PM   #20
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Is it because of the old macbook pro defective cards debacle?

Apple is still charging release price for that Quadro as well, even though it's around $700 elsewhere. I wouldn't want to pay that much for an aging card at this point if possible. ATI cards don't seem as bad on Macs as they are on Windows, but I haven't seen the most recent OSX comparisons, so it's fully possible that I'm wrong.

That's weird. You should be loaded with ram. Photoshop loves ram. It's much like the cookie monster, only it wants contiguous memory space rather than cookies. In my experience OpenGL in CS4 and 5 wasn't implemented all that well. I haven't tried 6 yet. I mean with 4 and 5, good card or crappy card, it wasn't an amazing implementation. 2D in general is nowhere near as intense on the gpu, so I don't think the raw hardware was the problem. Anyway I'd really want to see up to date tests, and there's no guarantee that the gpu is your problem at all. How big of images are we talking? I deal with images up to 10k (sometimes larger) at 16-32 (exr) bpc. I've dealt with this for many years. I keep history states low, turn off spotlight on scratch drives, load up with ram, turn off all thumbnails (I'd label things either way). It's a much longer list than that, but I've dealt with large 2D files since the Power PC days, so I had to do something to keep it from royally sucking .

My images (layered, in PSD or photoshop large document format) can be as large as 2GB. Even if Photoshop uses all the 23 GB of RAM assigned to it, it should still use the scratch disk but not any other disk I did not assign to it.

So far, except for the above small problem, the performance is quite good. However, I am planing larger images. I may be forced to add more RAM (36GB? 48GB?), which is relatively straightforward to do. The next thing I am worrying is processing power. Maybe the RAM is large enough, but it may still takes the CPU(s) lot of time to process. This is why I am wondering how much GPU(s) can help.
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Old May 2, 2012, 10:35 PM   #21
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http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memor...ry#1333-memory

Wow.... RAM is dirt cheap now.
Is it crazy to put 128GB of RAM on a Mac Pro just to process large pictures in Photoshop?
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Old May 2, 2012, 10:39 PM   #22
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My images (layered, in PSD or photoshop large document format) can be as large as 2GB. Even if Photoshop uses all the 23 GB of RAM assigned to it, it should still use the scratch disk but not any other disk I did not assign to it.

So far, except for the above small problem, the performance is quite good. However, I am planing larger images. I may be forced to add more RAM (36GB? 48GB?), which is relatively straightforward to do. The next thing I am worrying is processing power. Maybe the RAM is large enough, but it may still takes the CPU(s) lot of time to process. This is why I am wondering how much GPU(s) can help.
Yep... I've dealt with that. It's not at all fun at times. You mentioned cpu calculations. I don't know exactly what you're doing. If you're dealing with large comps or something, yeah that can be fairly cpu intensive. CS6 should be able to address even more ram, but I'm not sure you'll necessarily need to go higher. Even using Adobe's typical rules on ram (at least 5 times your file size) you're looking good. It could be a lot of things. Like I said it could be adjusting settings. I tend to keep things like navigator and histograms closed on large files. Certain adjustment layer calculations are excessively cpu intensive and can generally be avoided. Exposure layers are an example of this. I'll try to think of a good diagnostic to suggest.

As for CS5, it can only offload a very limited number of things to the gpu. It has OpenGL drawing and a couple accelerated functions. I haven't really seen how that has changed in CS6. I was simply suggesting waiting for some good reviews on this before dropping a lot of cash on something that may or may not provide a measurable improvement.
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Old May 3, 2012, 12:10 AM   #23
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Adobe is all about Nvidia cards and CUDA. Don't waste your time with AMD / ATI cards. Support for OpenCL is added as an afterthought, much like for Resolve.
A little fuzzy on how this whole Nvidia thing works but from this thread and other sources I'd gain nothing from using an AMD card but will from Nvidia. So will I see any benefits from using older Nvidia non GTX 4xx stuff?
http://www.tonymacx86.com/wiki/index..._Card_Database
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Old May 3, 2012, 02:35 AM   #24
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Cpt. Chunk or any other well respected Mac person is welcome to borrow one for review purposes. We are Hollywood based, near the (former) Kodak Theater.
You know, I might just take you up on that.

Quote:
Good to know.
Not everyone wants nVidia inside their Mac.
I never really got the irrational hatred toward NVIDIA GPUs.

While there's a lot to be said about the value for dollar offered with AMD/ATI GPUs (especially in gaming), there simply aren't a whole lot of pro apps out there with OpenCL implementations for GPGPU computing, let alone good implementations. Like it or not, CUDA is king in the pro world. Whether or not that changes drastically in the future has yet to be seen.

Quote:
Wow.... RAM is dirt cheap now.
Is it crazy to put 128GB of RAM on a Mac Pro just to process large pictures in Photoshop?
Currently, Mac OS X can address up to 96GB of RAM. Anything thing above that will register, but not be used (software limitation confirmed by OWC). You can however, access 128GB of RAM in Windows 7 64-bit Pro/Ultimate and in Linux.

Quote:
As for CS5, it can only offload a very limited number of things to the gpu. It has OpenGL drawing and a couple accelerated functions. I haven't really seen how that has changed in CS6. I was simply suggesting waiting for some good reviews on this before dropping a lot of cash on something that may or may not provide a measurable improvement.
Agreed. It will be interesting see how big of improvement OpenCL brings to the table with Ps CS6. Because CS5 barely touches the GPU at all, and when it actually does, there really isn't a ton of appreciable difference between cards.

Quote:
A little fuzzy on how this whole Nvidia thing works but from this thread and other sources I'd gain nothing from using an AMD card but will from Nvidia. So will I see any benefits from using older Nvidia non GTX 4xx stuff?
NVIDIA's performance edge in Adobe apps is primarily linked to the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) in Premiere Pro. It needs a supported CUDA card to run in HW acceleration mode. Other popular Adobe apps (like Photoshop and After Effects) in their current release forms are mostly using OpenGL, with the exception of certain third-party plugins. But the current implementations are for the most part, nothing I'd call groundbreaking. In cases like that, it probably doesn't matter much whether your GPU came from NVIDIA or ATI/AMD.
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Old May 3, 2012, 02:58 AM   #25
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And those Macs aren't the subject of this thread, of course.



MacVidCards never said anything about "Mac (or Apple) approved", did he? Neither have I, nor anyone else that's got one of his cards. It's an aftermarket modification that just happens to work exceptionally well, thanks to his hard work along with the fine folks at nVidia. Ya know.. the folks that wrote the drivers for these cards? Even though they're not "approved" by Apple?

Just because Apple doesn't sell it or approve of it, doesn't mean it isn't good. And in fact, for getting work done, nVidia cards are just better performers than ATI/AMD cards.



You didn't look too hard, did you?

Click here.

jas
Great info, thanks.
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