Mac Pro Video Card options: HELP!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cabasner, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. cabasner macrumors member

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    Oct 9, 2005
    #1
    Okay all,

    I must admit that I'm just VERY ignorant regarding the importance of the type and quality of video cards. I simply don't know whether I care about the card selection beyond the bad-mouthed standard NVIDIA card for my purposes. I do NOT do video, nor do I play games. I DO, however, use my computer for Photoshop, and will be using a higher end Eizo LCD monitor when I buy my mac pro. Will image QUALITY (in Photoshop or Aperture or Lightroom) be affected by the card? Is there a reason, for those types of applications, that I would need more than the base NVIDIA card? What are the maximum number and size of monitors I would be able to hook up to the Mac Pro with the base card?

    Since these are the Mac Pro options, tell me why I'd need more than the base.
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 (512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM)
    ATI Radeon X1900 XT (512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM)
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT(256MB of GDDR2 SDRAM)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
     
  2. Unorthodox macrumors 65816

    Unorthodox

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    #2
    The default card (NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT) is a piece of crap. I can't believe Apple uses this card.

    I would definitely upgrade to the ATI Radeon X1900 XT. The ATI Radeon is right in the sweet spot. Good performance for a good price.

    The NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 is much, much more expensive and your not going to need it for what your doing.
     
  3. Josias macrumors 68000

    Josias

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    Mar 10, 2006
    #3
    Considring it's only a $350 upgrade, it's very good deal. I don't believe the 7300GT is crap. I know it's more of a low-end card, but it still has very good performance. For Photoshop or Aperture, I don't think you'll feel significant difference, yet I'd still recommend upgrading to the X1900 XT, since it will last you alot longer, you'll get two DDL ports, and also better performance, for only $350 extra.;)
     
  4. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #4
    how does the x1900 compare to the 7800GT?

    EDIT: in terms of gaming
     
  5. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    #5
    Do you really think the X1900 XT would make a difference for using Adobe apps and other photo/2d editing software? It seems unlikely. I'm in the same boat, do similar kind of work (no 3d modeling, no video, no games—though I'd probably end up playing something just cause I can), and the upgrade to the X1900 XT is very tempting but makes my already expensive BTO configuration more expensive. OTOH if I got the 7300GT, there might come a time in a few years when I'd want to upgrade it.

    Why doesn't Apple offer a 7600GT or something...
     
  6. Unorthodox macrumors 65816

    Unorthodox

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    #6
    You could always get 2 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT.
     
  7. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    #7
    That would be stupid. The cards don't work together (no SLI) and I don't need to attach 4 displays. ;)
     
  8. Unorthodox macrumors 65816

    Unorthodox

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    #8
    Oh, Yeah. That would be stupid.
    I thought the cards ran in SLI mode.
    I guess not.

    Why not get 4 and have 8 displays!
     
  9. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #9
    the x1900 ATI will definitely benefit you, if you start using Aperture. It is definitely worth the money.

    As far as monitor support, with the base 7300gt you can hook up one 30" and one 23". With the other options, you can have a dual 30" setup.
     
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #10
    In photoshop you will not notice a difference as it is processor dependent. Odds are lightroom would not show any difference as it is another 2d app by Adobe. However, you should see a performance difference with Aperture since it is designed to take advantage of core image technology in Mac OS X. Therefore allowing it to take advantage of your graphics processor.

    You would probably see more of a speed difference with a faster processor, more RAM or a faster hard drive. For the three hundred dollars to upgrade to the X1900 you could get two 75GB Western Digital Raptor hard drives and run them in RAID 0. This will make a huge difference when loading, saving and organizing multiple RAW files.
     
  11. quruli macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2006
    #11
    For what you are doing the 7300GT is plenty. Paying $350 for an upgrade to a faster consumer gaming card is foolish when you won't be utilizing the benefits of having it.

    Sure Aperture may be a little snappier, but is it worth $350? I think not.
     
  12. cabasner thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 9, 2005
    #12
    Thanks, all, for the info/opinions thus far.

    The system I'm planning to do is the 3GHz Mac Pro, with at least 4GB Ram (wish the 8 GB option wasn't so DARN expensive!!!), and probably the 2 x 500 GB hard drive option. However, I am also pondering whether I should just buy the small single 160GB hard drive to start, and then maybe put in a couple of those new Seagate 750GB Barracuda drives. I have no clue about that, though, as I'm pretty much paranoid about doing anything aftermarket. I'm really not that concerned about internal storage, though I know it sounds as if I am since I'm considering the 500GB factory or a 2 x 750 GB aftermarket option. I plan on at least one, if not more (for rotating backups) big external hard drives for data backup. SPEED is the key factor for me, in hard drives, and image quality, in video cards and monitors. Should that influence my hard drive ideas?

    Next, Velocityg4 suggested "For the three hundred dollars to upgrade to the X1900 you could get two 75GB Western Digital Raptor hard drives and run them in RAID 0. This will make a huge difference when loading, saving and organizing multiple RAW files." Would I be able to add something like these in the 3 and 4 hard drive bays and run them in RAID 0 and still have PhotoShop take advantage?

    Speaking of displays/monitors, as I said in my first post, I'm probably looking at either an Eizo S2410W, an Eizo ColorEdge CE240W, or an Eizo ColorEdge CG210 as my primary monitor, with an inexpensive, but quite nice (already owned) 19" widescreen AL1916W ACER monitor as a palette (second) monitor. Would that combo work, that is, can I hook up my cheap ACER to the Mac Pro as a second monitor? It sounds like even the 'cheap' card could do that, but please, someone, confirm for me. I must admit that you folks have me leaning toward the ATI Radeon card.
     
  13. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    #13
    I don't see why image quality in any of the available graphics cards would be different, they should all look the same. The difference is in speed.

    Even the 7300GT has two ports, one dual-link DVI and one single-link DVI. You'll need a ____-to-DVI adapter to hook up any non-DVI monitor. Dual-link is required for the 30" ACD, but I think you could even have two 23/24" monitors with that card.
     
  14. Mr. Mister macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2006
    #14
    The biggest downside, if any, of the X1900 XT is that it's gonna be pushing your ship date back to September at worst, although it's rumored X1900 XT Mac Pros are shipping next week.
     
  15. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #15
    If the Acer is DVI it should work fine, all you have to do is plug it in.
     
  16. cabasner thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Thanks, again, all. Yes the ACER has a DVI input. Cool...I'll have lots of on-screen real estate.

    As far as delays in getting the computer, I'm going to be waiting awhile anyway. After reading the posts here in the forum and other places about the fact that PhotoShop CS2 runs no faster on the Mac Pro than it does on the G5 Quad (due to having to run via Rosetta), and probably won't until Adobe releases the next revision to PhotoShop that is optimized for the Intel chips (mid 2007, possibly?) I will probably wait until then to buy the Mac Pro.

    I'm still interested in folks' opinions and knowledge regarding the hard drive configurations I've discussed and which of those options will provide the best performance. Again, I'm more concerned with SPEED than with volume of storage. Also, if anyone has any opinions regarding the differences/advantages/disadvantages of the 3 Eizo monitors I mentioned in the post above, I'd love to hear about them. I know I want an Eizo, just don't really know where to go to determine WHY I'd want one of the 3 over the other 2.
     
  17. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    #17
    I hope that's true. If I decide to get the X1900 XT, it won't be too long before I'll be ordering my MP. Of course the Airport card option already makes it 2-4 weeks. :( Anxious, too anxious I am...

    Anyone know if the X1900 XT would be substantially louder than the 7300GT? I know it's a much larger card and requires more power. I imagine it has a fan on it that puts out some noise. Would it always be on or only under heavy use?
     

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