Aside from gaming, is there any reason to get the Radeon 4870 video card upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mcgowan7, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. mcgowan7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    #1
    Hi.

    I'm debating on whether I want/need the ATI 4870 video card upgrade in my (very) soon to be purchased Mac Pro.

    I've read alot of stuff, some people say the stock video card is fine. Others balk and say its way underpowered and overpriced. They compare it to other gaming cards.

    For the purposes of this post, Lets take gaming OUT of the equation... I have a gaming PC/PS3 for that.

    Questions:
    - Other than gaming, is there any reason to upgrade the video card?
    - What differences will I see between the gt 120 and ATI 4870 cards in my applications. (any apps).
    Note: I will run either card in dual head config attached to two 24 inch monitors.


    -Mike
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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  3. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #3
    Care to be more specific?
     
  4. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #4
    Graphically? :p

    The GT 120 is just a rebranded 9500 GT. It's a worse card than the 8800 GT.
     
  5. cmaier macrumors G3

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    #5
    In theory (maybe), Snow Leopard will be able to make better use of the 4870 than the 120's for general-purpose calculations; might make a difference particularly with highly-parallelizable calculations (image processing, audio processing, etc.)

    Though barefeats seems to show coreimage running slower on the 4870 right now (but that's probably a driver issue that will be resolved by the time snow leopard rolls around).

    Maybe.
     
  6. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #6
    No, technically. Saying something sucks eggs adds zero value to a discussion. And rebranded this or that is a meaningless statement too, unless it is placed into some sort of context.

    Besides, based on the reviews I've read, the 4870 blows. And quite loudly too, thanks to its fan.
     
  7. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #7
    Added to my post. Barefeats benched the GT 120 measurably lower than the 8800 GT, which came fairly close to the 4870 in some tests.

    Sucks eggs is quite a valid assessment for such a card being in a workstation computer.
     
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #8
    Link please?

    The GT120 is doing what I require, which is not GPU intensive (VMWare, Photoshop, Lightroom). I would not be too quick to assume that your definition of what a workstation should be is universal.
     
  9. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #9
  10. mcgowan7 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2008
    #10
    HELLO!!! Back to the original question please..

    People are pointing to bare feats gaming benchmarks, and I made this post because all I can find are gaming benchmarks.

    The question is:
    ASIDE from gaming, would there be any other reason to upgrade the video card?
    What apps would take advantage of the beefier video card?
    Will the GT120 handle leopards eye candy exactly the same?
     
  11. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #11
    I was just looking at the first link. The performance difference (edit: as measured by that pair of benchmarks) between the 4870 and 120 is very slight (~3%) and not worth the added cost or noise to me. Like the OP, I don't play games on this machine so those benchmarks are not relevant to my needs.
     
  12. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #12
    Maybe you guys missed this.

    If Snow Leopard lives up to its pre-billing, a better GPU will basically be like giving your CPU an extra shot in the arm...in effect the ability to up it's Ghz.

    It's not just to play games.
     
  13. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #13
    That is a decision that can be deferred until Snow Leopard is released and its effects on application performance have been assessed. (edit: in short, you can always upgrade your Mac Pro later if changes in the computing environment reveal a compelling reason to do so. )
     
  14. cmaier macrumors G3

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    #14
    Yeah, I wouldn't base my decision on what SL may or may not do either. I'd at least wait to see if Apple drops a driver update which improves coreimage performance in the mean time.
     
  15. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #15
    Either the OP needs a computer now, or he doesn't. If he doesn't need one now, then yes he should wait. Otherwise, you go with what you know.
     

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