Best GPU for 3D Modeling etc.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MentalVizion, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. MentalVizion macrumors regular

    MentalVizion

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austria
    #1
    Hey,

    Since I got quite a bit into game developing and stuff again, I thought my Mac Pro could use a graphics card upgrade.

    I plan on running Maya, ZBrush and probably the new Unreal Engine once it gets a little bit more polished. Photoshop also gets some use of course.

    I currently have a Radeon HD 5770 (the Mac one) installed.
    I don't know alot about CUDA. OpenGL and all that stuff, so a little light in the dark would be nice ;)

    As far as I got it, Maya performs better using CUDA graphics cards. Is that right?

    A few possible cards I read into:

    The Quadro 4000
    Radeon HD 5870
    GTX 285 Mac Edition
    Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition

    As you can see, I'd like to get something that kind of works for the mac out of the box.
    So firmware-flashing windows cards are kind of a no go. Except it really is the SO much better choice :p

    About the Quadro 4000 I read kind of mixed opinions. Alot of people say they gained a hige performance boost, others say they barely feel a difference to the 5870 for example.

    The 2 main options for me would be the 5870 and the Quadro I guess, but as I said I don't have a clue about graphics cards :p

    If I would go for the Quadro, I could use both the Quadro and the 5770 if I got that right (since they both use only 1 power connector). Is it possible to tell Maya to only use one of the 2 GPU's or so?

    I'm really quite tapping in the dark here and would be happy about some opinions. :)

    btw: I don't plan to game with it.
     
  2. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #2
    This is a hard question to really nail down as there's lots of debate simply between just desktop class cards vs workstation cards. It really probably comes down to your budget. If you don't plan on gaming, then a workstation card would probably be the best bet. What version of Maya will you be running? Maya does not offer much in the way of CUDA support. I know of several plugins where it is useful, but overall a CUDA-centric card is not necessary. Most actually tout the performance of Firepro cards in Maya. CUDA could, however, come into play with your rendering. What renderer(s) do you plan on using?
     
  3. librarian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    #3
    maya 2015 introduced many gpu features, for example the standard viewport now is the hardware one, ability to preview displacement in realtime and advanced shader support/editing for game development.
    I don't recommend the quadro as your focus areas will be texturing and shading, and a gaming card is probably faster and a cheaper solution for that. Maya also support Physx based simulations for clothing and hair, wich can be ported to games, an Nvidia card is more recommended.
    CUDA can be used for realtime path raytrace render engines such as Octane, altho OS X support is very limited for these rendering solutions at the moment.
    I don't recommend ATI hardware if you plan to use maya + mavericks because of crappy drivers (numerous bugs and glitches in maya, you can't set up an image plane properly for example).
     
  4. MentalVizion thread starter macrumors regular

    MentalVizion

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austria
    #4
    Hey,

    Thanks for the answers so far.
    I maybe should have stated that I am more worried about a card that functions properly with the new Unreal Engine. I guess all of the above cards SOMEWHAT function properly with Maya, don't they?
    There probably are some performance differences nevertheless.

    I can't say to much about Maya, as I am just getting in. Im nowhere near a professional level yet, but I would like to start off with a setup that won't point and laugh at me^^

    The minimum GPU specs required to run the UE4 on Mac seem to be either a Radeon HD 6870 or a Geforce 470 GTX. It also needs to support OpenGL 4.1 as I just found out.

    Thus, I have to ditch the GTX 285 if I am not completely wrong.

    I am also running a 2nd drive in my Mac Pro that got 10.6.8 installed. (for Music production)
    So I have to use a card that still has SL driver support. And as far as I am concerned, the 7950 Mac edition does not. Kind of sad, as I really liked that card performance wise. (also looks damn sexy :D)

    Is the Quadro 4000 a "genuine Apple card"? such as the 5770 and 5870?
    IIRC they had it available in their store back then, right?

    So yea, as a person with 0 knowledge about GPUs, I'd say I probably have to choose between either the Quadro or the 5870.

    The Unreal Engine 4 states the 6870 as minimum requirement, but I still think that the 5870 would work.

    What I don't like about the 5870 however, is the 2 plug power consumption.
    If I'd go for the Quadro, I still could use the 5770 aswell.

    Which leads me to the question: How exactly does running 2 GPU's affect the system? Isn't there some sort of hassle going on between the two cards?


    Thanks for the input so far :)
    I know I ask a lot of questions, but I just like to be sure beforehand with such things :p
     
  5. librarian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    #5
    the quadro 4000 gets totally smoked even by a radeon 6870 by at least a 35% margin, but I'm not sure it can hold up on unreal engine 4 considering the performance penalty of mac os.
    the 7950 is almost 3 times faster than the quadro 4000, and should be good enough for UE4 for starters.
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #6
    In most of the time, running 2 GPU is meaningless unless you have to power lots of monitor.

    Personally I think even though you want to power 3 monitors, use the single 7950 setup still better than Quadro 4000 + 5770.
     
  7. MentalVizion thread starter macrumors regular

    MentalVizion

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austria
    #7
    I really dig the power of the 7950 however, as I already stated, I need 10.6.8 support which the 7950 does not offer.

    I have been reading into some Maya-GPU performance stuff and it seems, as if nVidia still is the better choice. Also Epic Games state, that the Unreal Engine 4 "works better" with nVidia cards.

    I'm just worried, if the Quadro 4000 will be able to handle UE4.
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
  9. MentalVizion thread starter macrumors regular

    MentalVizion

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austria
    #10
    Exactly.

    I know SL really is restricting me here, but it is to much of a rock solid system to just drop it. Especially for music production.

    Also, I need it driver wise. Some devices don't offer newer drivers then the ones for 10.6.8.

    Back to the GPUs:

    I found this about the Quadro 4000 at the Unreal forums:
    https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/14046/it-is-about-the-hardware.html

    Doesn't look to good :(

    Is the 5870 actually stronger then the Quadro 4k in everything else then rendering?

    Are there any other 3rd party cards made for mac? Such as the 7950, 680 etc?
    I really don't want to use flashed windows cards that don't even offer a boot screen. Especially when I do have to switch between Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion later on.
     
  10. gpzjock, Apr 18, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #11
    This is what Techpowerup has on both cards:
    http://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/899/quadro-4000-mac-edition.html
    http://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2189/radeon-hd-5870-mac-edition.html

    Judge for yourself, Nvidia have announced that their GameWorks software library is a core part of Unreal Engine 4: http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/178831-balkanized-gaming-nvidia-gameworks-now-a-core-part-of-ue4-amd-counters-with-mantle-integration-in-cryengine so you may be stuck with Nvidia.
    Which is a shame because on paper the 5870 kicks arse: 2720 GFLOPS vs. 486.4 for the Nvidia.

    I have a flashed Sapphire Vapor-X 5870 in my Mac Pro 3,1 it is very smooth, but the Palit Jetstream 4GB GTX 770 in my Hackintosh beats it at everything hands down. I keep the 5870 for Snow Leopard, the Hack runs Mountain Lion.
    If you need to run a late model Nvidia card then Mountain Lion would be a preference, or even Mavericks.
     

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