Monitor Calibration and Graphics Card Upgrade...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DanB0328, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2013
    First of all, I've posted this on another site, so if you see it again, sorry for the repetition. Just trying to get another point of view.

    Hi everyone. I have a few questions about my Mac Pro setup. (Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Xeon 4,1, 16 Gb Ram, 640 Gb Main HD, 2 1 TB HDs for files, OS X 10.6.8) Let me start with how I came to these questions. Recently I noticed that the calibration on my monitor was WAY WAY off. I had a Samsung LCD (23" Syncmaster 2333) calibrated it with my original Spyder. But everything somehow, some day, slowly became washed out, and the files I was delivering to my clients were way too dark... without my knowledge. I was overcompensating for the lightness of my monitor. Very bad situation since I work a lot in Photoshop on print work. I just hope I haven't lost them for good because of this mistake.

    Now, my questions are about what I just bought and looking for suggestions and/or answers for moving forward. After numerous suggestions, I bought a Dell U2412M 24" UltraSharp LED Monitor. Plugged it in, and it looks wonderful. Now, I know I probably have to calibrate it, but Question 1 I'm wondering if my original Spyder will work with this monitor, or any LED/modern monitor for that matter. Or can I download an ICC profile somewhere to upload to my system preferences? I heard that OS X Snow Leopard has had issues with calibration on monitors, but I'm not certain if that's true. Or are there any really good ways to calibrate without having to buy a new calibrating system?

    After buying the Dell monitor, and not the $1000 Apple monitor with the horrible glossy screen, I realized I just saved about $700 and decided to upgrade my Video/Graphics card. I bought the ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 Gb. (The original was Nvidia GeForce GT 120 512 Mb) I thought not only would this help prolong the life of my Mac, but it could speed up performances in the main programs I use which are Photoshop CS5 and Carrara 6 Pro (3d modeling software). I also use Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, & InDesign (all CS5) a lot, but I thought PS and Carrara would be the biggest memory hogs. Anyway, after installing the card, I did a benchmark with Cinebench. (1st time and 1st one I found on the internet.) Basically it gave me about twice as much boost on the OpenGL test. (15 fps to 28 fps) Kind of disappointing since the guy at Microcenter told me it would boost it by almost 4 times the speed. So then I tried doing some tests in Photoshop and Carrara. No difference in the speed of anything.:confused: Maybe I was able to move around a bit smoother in Carrara, but the rendering speed is exactly the same. Question 2, is this thing really worth the $250 investment for what I am using it for? Will it make a difference in the long run with newer software? Or would just replacing my main HD with an SSD HD be a better choice for me?

    Sorry for the long winded explanation and thanks in advance for any suggestions and/or help.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    As far as i know, rendering in 3D software mostly relies on the CPU so the graphics card upgrade wont have much of an effect if any at all. It will however, improve the real time renders (displaying textures etc while modelling and rotating around your objects).
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2013
    Hmm. That's good to know. I thought that it was for the actual rendering as opposed to the real time/preview render.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2013
    So do you think this is worth it for what I need since I get around in the 3d program fine as it is? Or do you think it will be necessary for future software updates?

    (The thing that scares me is the fact that I did this on my G5 and it helped out a lot with 3d issues. (real time rendering) But then found out that my next update to Adobe CS5 Suite wouldn't run on my G5. I had to buy a whole new computer and the $300 I just spent on the graphics card was a waste.)
  5. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Let me apply some real labels to this. Scrolling around your viewport in any OSX 3d application will be OpenGL based. This means it's hardware rendered through OpenGL at whatever fps. If you're lagging, it could be an issue of drivers, software, or hardware. You might want to try their forums too before spending a lot of extra money. Offline rendering is usually cpu based, but it depends on the renderer. There are CUDA based renderers in the wild and a few OpenCL ones. The shader and API restrictions are more limiting, so you don't see as many feature films rendered that way. The point is you have to know the renderer used by the software and look these things up yourself or question people who are directly familiar with that software package.

    Regarding the print issues, it's not as simple as most people think. Your display emits light. Prints reflect it. This means that matching them is somewhat dependent on viewing conditions, but you will want a standard environment for it. Ideally the temperature of the lighting falling on the print will match the temperature of the emitted lighting from the display both by measurement and more important visually. The brightness needs to follow the same criteria. When comparing paper white (reflective) to monitor white, it shouldn't be drastically different. Photoshop has some proofing options to help, but it's difficult to get them to work perfectly. Now you're probably wondering what will happen once the viewing lighting changes. Well metamerism is possible, but you have to consider context. Think of a white wall illuminated with a red flashlight. It would look red, and so would the paper if viewed under that same lighting. There is a certain amount of visual context.

    When it comes to displays, you're likely to have to turn them down quite a bit unless you want to drop several thousand dollars on an expensive viewing table, which will provide a very diffused very bright source of lighting with a controlled temperature. Even then you'd be changing bulbs frequently, allowing for warmup time, and still making slight changes to get a perfect match. The best thing you can do is turn your display down to where it's a good visual match to the print. If it looks really muddy, you need a different display. I would go for NEC over Apple any day for the money they both cost. Calibration/profiling is only useful for fine tuning if the display will perform at an appropriate brightness level. Also keep in mind you want an even source of illumination when viewing prints for correct evaluation. There's no way for me to cram a perfect explanation into a post, so feel free to ask further questions. A lot of people endure these headaches.

    I've never used Carrara, although I have several years of experience with Maya and I know everything about Adobe, speaking of which you should make sure you know their newest upgrade policies. They kind of suck.
  6. macrumors 603

    Mar 10, 2009
    What does "original Spyder" mean? The current Spyder Pro product is Spyder4Pro. So is this more accurately Spyder (the original version ... circa early previous decade 2001-3 ) ? If so I think you have a problem. These kinds of monitors didn't even exist back then.

    The spec page for Carrara 8 says that it isn't even compatible with OS X 10.7 (Lion). The OpenGL layer is stuck at version 1.3.

    I can only imagine what version 6 is stuck on.

    Again I'm not even sure v6 even knows what to do with a card like the 5770. If look at the Windows specs it seriously looks like the Mac program is dead in the water.

    Since the software comes from an era where GPUs couldn't do much computation that isn't very surprising. You'd want to try something that is going to take at stab at something OpenCL.

    As for Photoshop it should turn on automatically but it good to double check.

    If primarily working with straightforward 2D manipulation probably won't see much. There are plugins that are more computationally aware though.

    If set up is 100% HDD based than the biggest bang for the buck would be getting the OS and Apps onto a SSD. Put your bulky media on a different drive. Depends upon how "empty" your 640GB OS/App/User drive is.
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2013
    Wow. Thanks for all the info. Took me a while to get back because I was trying to look up a lot of the stuff you guys talked about.

    deconstruct, yes I mean the original version of the Spyder. I was pretty sure it was out of date and useless, but I thought I'd ask in the off chance that there might be updated software that would work with it and a new IPS monitor.

    I was unaware of where to find that info about Carrara, or both cards for that matter. I am pretty familiar with that program, so until I learn something more advanced, and can afford it, I will continue to use it.

    Sounds like this new Video Card isn't really going to benefit me too much right now. However, after checking the System Reqs for Adobe CS 6, it sounds like my original card will get the jobs done in all of the programs. Just barely though. So I guess my best move is to return this new card until I absolutely need it (or decide to buy a new Mac in a couple of years) Seems my original card supports up to OpenGL 2.0 or 2.1. Sound correct? Which is still good enough to run even the latest MODO 3D software.

    Maybe I'll take the money I get back from this new card and purchase a new SSD and Calibration Kit. Do these below look like good choices?


    I was told by the guys at Microcenter to go with Crucial because it is the most compatible with Mac. True? I would try to just have my apps and os on this and redirect where everything else is saved to another drive.


    Thanks so so much again.
  8. macrumors 603

    Mar 10, 2009
    It really isn't so much that it is an IPS monitor. That specific monitor is a "standard gamut" monitor with simulated 8 bit color.

    what you are primarily going to get with a calibrator and periodic updates is consistent results.

    The bigger issue is that the light source is different from the legacy backlighting schemes. The source spectrum is going to be different and the impact on the adjustments different.

    I was told by the guys at Microcenter to go with Crucial because it is the most compatible with Mac. True? [/quote]

    Apple uses Samsung 830 drives. I think Crucial has more fans right now because the $/GB is lower. You'll be looking for something that doesn't need TRIM to keep performance over the long haul since Apple only supports TRIM on drives with there specific firmware. But if don't have their firmware the "closest" would be same drive minus the firmware.

    If not going to put lots of compress media (jpeg, mp3 , etc) on it and leave TRIM turned off then some of the drives that OWC sells will do OK. OWC actually has firmware update stuff that works with Macs (although boots into non OS X environment it looks like one). Most of the other vendors require boot into some DOS specific utility.

    Checking to see if the monitor is compatible is probably a bigger differentiating factor. I'd poke around in the support forums and knowledge bases for those vendors looking for that specific monitor.

    Again this is more so that the monitor is consistent or consistently off much more so than trying to precisely match some specific profile that varying print options may be presenting.

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