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Old Mar 17, 2009, 06:41 AM   #1
rawdawg
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FCS2, upgrade GPU in Dual 1.25 G4?? -waiting for 32nm Arrandale MBP

My Dual 1.25 G4 FW800 is 7 years strong! Love it, but it's seeing the end of it's life. I ultimately want a MBP but of course want to wait until a significant update life like mentioned here.

Currently I do run FCS2 without the motion or color, although it's slow. I would like to use Color and Motion though. If I upgrade the graphics card would it work? Also would upgrading the graphics card make the program run any faster?!

Any luck with particular graphics cards? Guess shelling out the cash seems silly since I want to buy a MBP soon, but feel it could be worth waiting for the new chips.
Thanks so much for the advice.

Last edited by rawdawg; Mar 17, 2009 at 01:00 PM. Reason: More appropriate title
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 07:21 AM   #2
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If it still works, keep it. It doesn't hurt to have 2 macs, you can use the G4 as a server / secondary web surfer for years yet.
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 02:17 PM   #3
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do you think FCS2 performance will be significantly improved enough with a GPU to warrant waiting another year for a MBP?

Subjective, I know, just want to hear experience from those who have tried a GPU upgrade and if they feel it was worth it and could be worth it in my case (wanting to hold out for new MBP chips)
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 07:03 PM   #4
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I worked with Final Cut Express on a G4 before, but for the life of me I can't remember the video card. Are you working with standard-definition content? I don't think I would want to touch any HD on a G4, even though I owned one for a good time. Still, if you are working on SD stuff, then yes - a new video card, as long as you are not breaking the bank, would be a good investment.
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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I've been working a lot with HDV, which has been brutal. I have plenty of experience with this, and it takes FOREVER.. But I want to start using Motion and Color.

In addition I'm going to start using footage from a 5D mark ii (H264 1080p30) transcoding to ProRes422. The obvious is clear, my G4 is ancient for this type of work. I need a new computer, and I've been putting it off as long as possible. I don't edit "That" much but hope to be doing a lot more very soon. I just wrapped on a TV show that I've been on forever and hope to be doing a lot more of "my own" stuff.

So ideally I need a new computer. And a mobile one would be great, I've hated being tied down by my G4 the past 7 years. I have a 24" external monitor for when I'm at home. But it kills me knowing the life of a laptop is half that of a desktop. So I've really waited until the last possible moment to buy something and it looks with the new chips coming next year I'll regret a purchase now.
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 07:51 PM   #6
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I don't actually use Final Cut, but I was curious about your question so I took a look at apple's website. Here are the requirements for both color and motion 3.

Motion-Specific Requirements

* A standard or built-to-order system configuration with a NVIDIA GeForce 5200, 6600, 6800, 7300, 7800, 8600, 8800 or Quadro class graphic card.
* A standard or built-to-order system configuration with a ATI Radeon 9600, 9700, 9800, X800, X1600, X1900, or X2600 class graphic card.
* For 16- and 32-bit rendering: a graphics card with at least 128MB of VRAM.


Color-Specific Requirements

* The standard graphics card in any Mac Pro, 17-inch MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, or 2.5GHZ or faster Power Mac G5 Quad.
* For 32-bit rendering: a graphics card with at least 256MB of VRAM.
* A display with 1680-by-1050 resolution or higher (excluding 20" iMac); dual displays are highly recommended.
* A three-button mouse for full functionality


It looks like motion needs a card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support to function. I'm guessing your G4 has something like a Radeon 9000 which doesn't support this. Its possible to flash a PC card and use it in your system, perhaps a Radeon 9800Pro or Geforce 6800 line. That will allow you to run motion. As for how WELL it will run... well... obviously the faster the card the better. You might want to check the discussion forums on Apple's support site. Under the FCS forums, you might find people running similar systems and see their responses/complaints.

As for Color, it seems to require a G5 quad or an Intel mac. I don't know if those requirements are hard coded into the program or not, but I wouldn't count on that running on your G4.
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 08:24 PM   #7
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The Nvidia 7800GS is as good as it gets...but limiting factor is single DVI port. (will run a 30" though)

Fastest AGP card for Mac by a big margin.

CS4 recognizes it...I imagine motion does too.

If you have an AGP PC you can flash one yourself for between $75-100 or buy one flashed already on Ebay for $200-300.

The 6800 cards are good flashes but don't always work well on MDD.

There are flashed X800s but the affordable ones are VGA only.

Radeon 9800 is best deal...flash a PC one yourself for $25 or so, or buy a flashed one for around $100.

No easy choices.
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Good advice, thanks!

An ATI 9800 Pro sounds to be the most economical solutions, especially if I plan on dumping it when new chips for the MBP come out. I really don't want to keep a dinosaur alive, just really don't want to get burned buying a MBP if that link I provided really makes it seem there will be a big upgrade in the next year...

I tried searching the apple discussion forums and was surprised nothing really showed up specifically about a GPU upgrade with FCS2 on a PPC G4.... So I started one: http://discussions.apple.com/thread....77820&#9177820
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Old Mar 18, 2009, 01:33 AM   #9
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There is one Motion 2 benchmark for a G4 with different video cards here.
http://www.barefeats.com/mutant.html
I hope this helps.
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