Advice needed for a second graphics card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Dualrecto, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Dualrecto macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2008
    I currently have a 2007 first gen mac pro with the stock 7300gt running two 22" monitors. I am looking into purchasing a wacom cintiq and I will need another graphics card in order to run it.

    I do not play any games. I work primarily as a graphic artist, but also do some 3d and video editing. The next version of photoshop is supposed to be gpu accelerated so I rather buy a decent card now than have to buy another one later. I am also a musician so I prefer that the card is quiet. I am looking at the 8800gt, the Radeon HD 3870, or another 7300gt.

    Will the 3870 be able to run with the 7300gt simultaneously? Is anyone here running ati and nvidia cards together? I am leaning towards the 8800gt right now since I already have an nvidia card. I am aware that currently because of the driver the core image processing on this card is not as fast as the 3870. Also I have heard of people's systems crashing with the 8800gt. Has this been fixed?

    To highlight the main points I am looking for a card that:
    1. Is stable and doesn't freeze the gui/crash.
    2. Is faster than the 7300gt.
    3. Is compatible (ati and nvidia together?)
    4. Is quiet. (I heard that the 1900 and 2600 had loud fans.)

    I appreciate any help, and I apologize for such a long question on my first post. Thank you.
  2. G5isAlive macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2003
    I just bought the radeon 3870

    I placed my order for the Radeon 3870 on Thursday, waiting for it to arrive. The reason I did not buy the 8800gt (even though I DO play games and its supposed to be great at games) is that I also work in Aperture and iMovie.

    What made me wait for the Radeon even though the money was burning a hole in my pocket was that I was at the Apple store, two mac pro's side by side, one 2.8 ghz dual quad core with the stock radeon 2600 (not the HD 3870), one with the 3.0 ghz dual quad core with nvidia 8800gt. The 30 inch monitor was on the stock card surprisingly, while the 8800gt was driving a smaller 23 inch monitor.

    I started up Aperture on both machines side by side with my son and did a few unscientific tests (scroll through the library, effects) and every time the stock radeon was faster than the 8800. Now before people start criticizing the test as uncontrolled I agree. But the thing is for the extra money it should not have to be a rigorous test. the faster card, on the faster machine, with the smaller monitor, should have been... noticeably faster. Or why bother?

    So I am relying on the bench mark tests that show the radeon HD 3870 is even faster than the stock radeon 2600. I will let you know when I get mine.
  3. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    For some time I ran an HD2600 and 7300 GT together on my Mac Pro. For your needs, it sounds like the HD3870 is a better fit than the 8800 GT.

    And yes, the HD2600 was a loud mother. My 8800 GT doesn't get that loud unless I'm playing Mass Effect or Assassin's Creed or some other graphics-intensive game.
  4. Dualrecto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2008
    That's great to hear that you were able to run the ATI and Nvidia without issues. I probably will go with the HD3870 because of the better core image processing.

    Anyone else here use ATI and Nvidia cards together?

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