ATI vs. nVidia Performance for similar spec'd cards, drivers?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tucom, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Tucom macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    Does the red team (ATI) or green team (nVidia) have the better drivers and performance under OS X? I mean obviously a GTX 285 would prolly perform better (unless there's something seriously messed up, right?) than the ATI Mini, but how does it fair against rival ATI cards under OS X?

    Which "team" generally offers the better overall OS X performance?

    It seems as though Apple is sticking with only ATI for the forseeable future and only offer ATI options for BTO Mac Pros.

    Is Apple still supporting Nvidia as well as ATI for GPU performance?
  2. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    My anecdotal experience. I have two Mac Pros. Ordered both with Nvidia cards. Both Nvidia cards died, in both machines, within twelve months of purchase, I think one card died after like three months.

    Swapped out Nvidia and have run ATI cards, and now have two ATI cards in each machine for a total of four. No problems with them, been a couple years now without any ATI issues.

    Before 2008 when I used PCs, again I had Nvidia cards, they regularly failed after a couple years (tops).
  3. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had an NVidia 8800GT in my Mac Pro, I recently switched it to an ATI 5870HD....the ATI is WAY better! The annoying thing is that some games that use PhysX garbage has some slowdown issues...but for regular games that don't use proprietary BS it smokes NVidia.

    Also, my NVidia card would fan up like crazy when doing anything ATI is always quiet.
  4. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    I think that's something going on with you, hahaha, I kid, but could be that there's just been bad batches that you've gotten as I've never had an nvidia card fail, but I've had ATI cards fail (just one, from an ancient G3 Yosemite, but still, failed). I've had a 6600GT that's lasted for 7 years plus still going strong.

    Maybe there wasn't enough airflow in your PC's and there were bad batches in the Mac Pros?

    IDK, but regardless, Im curious which card has the better drivers under OS X.

    Any thoughts on that? Thanks for the info tho.
  5. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    Interesting, ofcourse the 5870 is a newer card so it would be faster, but glad to know it is in reality, but if you had the 768MB 8800GT, then it was far slower than the others (or one of the versions of the 8800GT was basically only about half as fast as they should be). I've got the speedy 512MB version and it smokes my 4670 1GB ATI card I had previously.

    Maybe ATI is the way to go, but it seems like nVidia as their ish together when it comes to drivers, and I'd say PhysX isn't proprietary BS as it's legitametly a powerful bit of kit that works, but I know what you mean ofcourse.

    Now, was that under Windows or OS X?

    Any thoughts to anyone for whether Apple may go with nVidia again or just stick with ATI?

    EDIT: Yeah, and only just with the recent cards has nVidia really made good, quiet coolers. I think that's why they were so noisy and potentially fail prone in the past.
  6. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    My 8800GT was 512MB.....I mainly game under Win7, but I have some Mac Games (Left for Dead 2, Borderlands) that run really well on the ATI and had to be down spec'd to get any decent framerates with the NVidia.
  7. siorai macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2007
    This is like saying you had a Geo Metro, upgraded to a Ferrari, and it's amazingly enough way faster.
  8. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    The only problem with that argument is that Geo Metros were NEVER fast (nor did they ever claim to be). They were underpowered, poorly assembled econoboxes.

    The 8800 GT (512MB, G92 core) was considered to be a pretty fast card for its time (2007-08). Naturally, technology progresses and one would hope that newer technology would outperform the old. For example, many muscle cars from the 60s and 70s were considered fast for doing a 7 or 8 sec. 0-60 (there were some rather beastly exceptions, of course) on gas-guzzling, carbureted, pushrod V8s. Today, sporty 4-cylinder cars can easily achieve that (and some even better) with twice the fuel economy.

    Getting back to topic...

    ATI vs. NVIDIA, all things being equal, really depends on your usage. If you run applications that support CUDA (like Premiere CS5/5.5), NVIDIA is your friend. Or say you're playing games in Windows that can take advantage of GPU-accelerated Phys-X. Another reason you may lean towards an NVIDIA card.

    In most other practical scenarios, the Radeon 5870 is a faster card all-around than NVIDIA's (somewhat) comparable Mac offerings, the GTX 285 and the Quadro 4000. There are certainly faster offerings from NVIDIA, but those are PC only.

    However, it would be interesting to see some benchmarked comparisons between similarly priced ATI and NVIDIA cards under OpenCL.

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