What's wrong with the GeForce FX 5200?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by alexf, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #1
    I may be buying a base-model G5 soon and many posts have strongly recommended upgrading the graphics card to at least the ATI Radeon 9600 XT instead of the standard NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra.

    I work as a graphic / Web designer, play no games, and the only video editing that I do is in iMovie. I use two 17" Apple Studion displays. Would the GeForce FX 5200 be sufficient? Where would I notice any difference between these two cards? What would be the disadvantage to staying with the standard card? And the advantage to upgrading?

    Any advice would be appreciated - graphics cards represent a large gap in my computer knowledge / understanding.
    :)
     
  2. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    #2
  3. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #3
    Right, but I play no video games and don't plan on playing any.

    For what I do, what would the difference between these two cards mean to me?
     
  4. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #4
    You say you're a graphic designer. I know practically nothing about that sort of stuff, but I believe that once Tiger is released, Core Image will be very useful for doing graphics. I also believe that Core Image is GPU-based, and will therefore work faster on better video cards. With only a US$50 difference between the cards, I'd upgrade.
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    If you're not going to play games, and you're only editing in iMovie, I don't think the 5200 is a horrible card. It isn't the best, but the best isn't really needed in your case. You won't need the best card available, but I'd still want to get a slightly better card, regardless. When CoreImage comes out, and there are things to take advantage of it (which may take awhile, sorta like 64-bit optimized software and such), you'll want a better video card because the card will handle most of the graphics processing now. Video cards are good enough now that they can do it all, so getting a better card is a good idea. It doesn't have to be the best, but get one better than the 5200.
     
  6. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    #6
    OpenGL (ie: GPU-based) acceleration is turning up in more and more places on the Macintosh platform. Quartz Extreme acceleration of various GUI processes is probably the best known example. The CoreImage and CoreVideo frameworks coming up in Mac OS X 10.4 are similarly hardware accelerated. Apple's new Motion package appears to rely on hardware graphics acceleration also (check the recommended system requirements). Even if you never plan on playing any games, 3D hardware video acceleration is still important, and the faster your graphics card, the better. This is also to say nothing of the increase in resale value that your G5 will have down the track for someone who may wish to play games on it when it becomes their computer.

    The price difference between the GeForce FX 5200 and the Radeon 9600 XT is marginal, yet the performance difference is large. Get the Radeon upgrade. I should also add that unless you choose the Radeon 9600 XT upgrade at order time, there is really no currently available mid-range 3rd party graphics upgrade for the Mac. If you get the GeForce FX 5200, and then decide down the track that you really want more 3D grunt, you are limited to buying an ATI Radeon 9800 Mac Edition (approximately US $320-$350), or an nVidia 6800 Ultra (US $599). Once again...I'd really recommend spending that extra $50 upgrade to the Radeon 9600 XT at order time.
     
  7. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #7
    Thanks, that's good advice...

    One quick question: what is the difference between 64MB DDR SDRAM, 128MB, etc. on graphics cards?

    Again, where would I see the difference?
     
  8. jptrott macrumors newbie

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    Feb 20, 2004
    #8
    64mb of memory is becoming the standard minimum for most application requirements. Also because you will be running off 2 monitors it splits that in half which means that you would only be getting 32mb per monitor....and that really is poor video performance. You will really need a card with min of 128mb if you are running two monitors, especially with the new wave of technology coming soon.. ie Motion and Tiger.
     
  9. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #9
    Thanks everyone, now this makes more sense. ;)
     

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