2-NVIDIA GeForce GT 120's or 1 ATI Radeon HD 4870?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mlyon, May 30, 2009.

  1. mlyon macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2009
    I realize that 1 GT 120 will run 2 monitors, but is it faster if you have a dedicated video card per display, or just get the faster 4870 for dual monitors?

    No bootcamp use, or games just Adobe CS4 and Aperture.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    No. Well, maybe an indiscernable amount.

    In any case, for games, CS4 and Aperture w/2 or fewer screens, you definately want the 4870, not the GT120.
  3. Peterjk macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    One or two 120s


    I'm in kinda the same dilemma.

    Since I have had two different but identical Mac Pro's (2009) with two different 4870 graphic cards - both were frezzing up the usb bus! - and Apple could not / would not help!!! I now need to find an alternative.

    The fault only shows when my two Samsung Syncmaster 931C are connected via DIV and NOT showing when they are connected via VGA.

    Anyway - I need to go the Nvidia 120 route - and I am wondering if my gaming experience would improve if I have two? I only play on one screen.

    In other words - what do I gain by having two cards?

  4. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    The ability to add two more monitors. Little else that's worth it under OS X, really.
  5. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    neither of the programs you mentioned are particularly harsh on the graphics card, so a 4870 should be able to handle dual monitors no problem (however, i'm not sure about the mini-displayport adapter)

    unless you do stuff on the second monitor while playing games, you only need one...

    and have you thought of the GTX285?

  6. stormtroopar macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2009
    I think in terms of just running these 2 apps in a dual monitor setup, the 1 GT120 should be fine. I have tried it and didn't find any issue with it on a quad 2.66 macpro 2009. But Aperture does take advantage of the GPU for various computations instead of the cpu so the ATI will give you a bit of an edge there when you are using those features... I forgot which ones, but unlike lightroom, certain things are GPU accelerated with Aperture.

    Bottom line though, either single card setup, ATI 4870 or GT120will run your dual monitor setup fine without much slow down. And also, in OSX, SLI is not supported unlike windows, so you can't combine the power of 2 gpu cards to run a single app anyway.
  7. Peterjk macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    The EVGA GeForce GTX 285 does look like the right choice - just a shame that:

    1) I can't find it in the european branch of Apple store (only US)
    2) That I can't put it in the Mac Pro from the get go.

    I'm hoping the frezzing problems I've seen with the ATI Radeon 4870 wont be an issue with a (any) Nvidia card.

    Are there any users using two Samsung Syncmaster monitors with Nividia here, by any chance?

  8. netkas macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2007
  9. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Plug it into any DVI connector, your monitors should be good to go. And what's wrong with not putting the card in right away?
  10. Peterjk macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    Well, the thing is: the 4870 is causing me a lot of problems.

    I have 2 (actually 3) Samsung Syncmaster 931C which for my purpose is more than efficient - but Apple forgot to state anywhere, that those (and from what I've seen in forums later - also other screens) wont work with that particular card. The screen looks fine, but the usb action (at least keyboard and mouse) freezes every 3 senconds.

    Once I shift to VGA - no problems. Other than it dosent look very good, and I can't seem to run more than one monitor per card.

    BTW I take that it's possible to run three monitors on two Nvidia 120 cards -right?

  11. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Yep. Use a MiniDisplayPort to DVI connector.

    Also, can you link to these forums? The only thing I haven't seen play nice with the MacPro is the earliest batch of LP2475s, and HP was quick to update the firmware.
  12. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Ah! Okay, sorry about that... Brain fart. Well, if using only one connector works, then maybe you should consider the Matrox TripleHead2Go. Works with OSX as far as I know, just read up on the specifications.
  13. Peterjk macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2009
    The Matrox thingie looks fine, but why bother when there's room in the Mac Pro and in my budget for two GT 120's.

    Or am I missing something here.

    Anyone running three (Samsung) screens on two GT 120's on Mac Pro?

  14. bponticello macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2010
    I just recently upgraded my computer to a new dual 2.26 quad core...with 12gb memory....2tb main drive...and 2 of the Geforce Nvidia gt120 cards...I am running 2 of the older generation Apple Cinema displays (the first issue of the metal case ones) both are 23in HD widescreens. Now I upgraded from a single ATI Radeon (not sure version - but was appx 3yrs old and was in the old Mac Pro) I had issues with the card overheating and had to overclock the fan...I also had problems with one of the adapters....basically it would be fine unless i had to restart computer, then i had to let it sit for like 4hrs before I could get the card to read both monitors...so I decided I wanted dedicated cards for each monitor...I do a lot of high end graphics work...as well as 3-d building in second life and gaming in WoW...I use 1 screen for those apps (not simultaneously - either SL or WoW) and normally have a video or something running in a browser on the other....now since the upgrade I am finding video performance is actually WORSE than when I was on 1 card that was half dead...any suggestions?? I have had to turn down resolutions in SL and WOW and have found serious lag issues even using Photoshop while running a DVD on the other screen....
  15. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Your problem is that the GT 120 is slower than the 4870. You need to upgrade to a 3870, 8800, 4870, GTX 285, or if you can find an appropriate one, flash a PC 4890. Just pick any of of those above cards - it'll be much faster than your GT 120s.
  16. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008

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