Best MDD GPU for under $30

MatthewLTL

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 22, 2015
1,684
18
Rochester, MN
Here is what i want:

either VGA/DVI or Dual DVI
Core Image Support
Better than the GeForce 4MX
Under $30USD
720p Video Playback (If possible)
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,721
3,272
Kentucky
I'd say a 9600XT, but it's ADC+DVI(and requires modification for a G4).

Look for a 9600 PC&Mac-dual DVI(one dual link), and no modification needed for an MDD. I'm not sure about 720P, but this is probably the best you're going to get for $30.
 

MatthewLTL

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 22, 2015
1,684
18
Rochester, MN
I'd say a 9600XT, but it's ADC+DVI(and requires modification for a G4).

Look for a 9600 PC&Mac-dual DVI(one dual link), and no modification needed for an MDD. I'm not sure about 720P, but this is probably the best you're going to get for $30.
I cannot find one specifically labled PC&Mac but i DO see a Mac ATI Radeon 9600 (Blue) that has the red ATI logo on the card above the heatsink
 

flyrod

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2015
425
109
Geforce 6200 might do it. Not sure about 720P, is that more to do with the CPU?
 

MatthewLTL

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 22, 2015
1,684
18
Rochester, MN
Geforce 6200 might do it. Not sure about 720P, is that more to do with the CPU?
Well, I have no means to flash one. I know someone on here bought one for a cube that it didn't work. does anyone have a PCI mac card? With a PCI card flashing shouldnt be hard as I HAVE a AGP Radeon 9550 i'd like to flash
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
@MatthewLTL A Radeon 9600 class card will offer great performance for an affordable price.

@Dronecatcher I have noticed a large improvement going from low end cards like the measly Nvidia FX5200 to my ATI 9600 XT or 9800 Pro. The difference between higher end cards like the 9600 XT and 9800 Pro in terms of video playback is very little however.
 

happyfrappy

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2007
343
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Location eh?
For any given CPU speed, I've found a higher spec GPU improves video playback...that's just me though - I think everyone here disagrees :)
ATI/AMD GPUs handle video playback better than nVidia in the PPC era, some folks don't believe there is some kind of hardware acceleration going on but you seen/see many complaints related to GeForce FX 5200 being a turd at 720p playback vs Radeon Mobility 9600(I experienced this first hand as I have a 2003 FW800 PBG4)... also the 6200 is a castrated 6600LE with extra pipelines laser etched/cut disabled due to poor yield rates and most are paired with DDR2 VRAM too. Early 6200 & 6600LE production you could unlock the firmware locked pipelines by flashing the firmware to a 6600GT but it was a wise idea to make sure it could handle it by being OC-ing to 6600 territory before flashing it as some 6200 could only be safely re-flashed to a 6600LE in some cases.

From owning a desktop PC of that era, I moved from a 6600LE to a GT and trust me a 6200 would be much worse or on par with a 12" PowerBook G4 with an external monitor or clamshell-ed. My old 6600LE choked with a 1080p monitor & 720p playback, managed to find a 6600GT($30) and it was a night & day difference back in 2008.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,066
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Lincolnshire, UK
@MatthewLTL A Radeon 9600 class card will offer great performance for an affordable price.

@Dronecatcher I have noticed a large improvement going from low end cards like the measly Nvidia FX5200 to my ATI 9600 XT or 9800 Pro. The difference between higher end cards like the 9600 XT and 9800 Pro in terms of video playback is very little however.
Yeah, that was my first eye-opener - the difference between the FX5200 and the 9600.

There's a great article here - a comprehensive review of Tiger, that goes a long way to explaining how OSX uses Quartz Extreme & Core Image and the role the GPU plays:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2005/04/macosx-10-4/1/
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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@Dronecatcher Very interesting article and I find it ironic that back in 2005 they were complaining about the fast release cycle of OS X that we love to complain about today.
When you read all of those reviews, what I like are their findings that each new version of OSX runs faster than the previous on exactly the same hardware! Guess those days are over!
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,405
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@Dronecatcher I found Mountain Lion to be better than Lion, Mavericks better than Mountain Lion, and El Capitan better than Yosemite in terms of performance.
I see you conveniently left out the comparison of Snow Leopard/Lion ;)

10.11 is an improvement over 10.10, so in that case you're right.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
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Lincolnshire, UK
@Dronecatcher I found Mountain Lion to be better than Lion, Mavericks better than Mountain Lion, and El Capitan better than Yosemite in terms of performance.
Is that running on the same hardware? I've had little experience of Intel systems - I remember my C2D iMac slowed down when I put Lion on it.
I'm thinking of the shift for example with my G3 iMac - it shipped with OS X 10 but ran 10.4 faster - does an Intel that shipped with 10.6 move faster with 10.10 installed?
 

MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
3,845
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Manchester, UK
On the 720p Video playback request ...
PowerPC era cards won't accelerate video decode besides MPEG2 from a DVD - it's all on the CPUs. It was 2006 ish before GPUs with MPEG4/H.264 decode assist became available, and it took Apple until OS X 10.6 to API the features. Typically Radeon HD 2000/GeForce 8000 series onwards, so commonly PCIe only and with no PowerPC firmware available.

Radeon 9600 FTW in this case I think.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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Kentucky
@Dronecatcher Very interesting article and I find it ironic that back in 2005 they were complaining about the fast release cycle of OS X that we love to complain about today.
I believe that Tiger actually had the longest "life" of any version of OS X(early 2005 to late 2007) although Snow Leopard was close.

I wasn't around Macs very much at the time, but the first couple of versions were brutal-I think 10.0-10.1-10.2 were on about a 6 month cycle, although OS X(IMO) didn't really become useable until 10.2.

To me, a 2 year cycle is about right-I'm not a fan of the current 1 year cycle.

When you read all of those reviews, what I like are their findings that each new version of OSX runs faster than the previous on exactly the same hardware! Guess those days are over!
I had a write-up a while back about a installing every version of OS X on a 500mhz DP Gigabit Ethernet. The difference is definitely noticeable, although even PB is a step up from OS 9 thanks to full-time use of both processors. Tiger flies on that machine, and optimized Leopard is about as good.

Unfortunately, I have to keep a stack of video cards and memory next to the machine, as I'm constantly reconfiguring it if I want to boot into older versions of OS X. Public Beta and 10.0 are particularly bad.

One other thing I find interesting is that Core Image support is present in all G5 GPUs(as well as most aluminum Powerbooks), but the OS didn't take advantage of it until near the end of their life. I guess that Metal in 10.11 is sort of similar in that the hardware for it has been there for it for all computer for at least three years, and some even further back.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
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Lincolnshire, UK
One other thing I find interesting is that Core Image support is present in all G5 GPUs(as well as most aluminum Powerbooks), but the OS didn't take advantage of it until near the end of their life.
It's equally confusing around Quartz Extreme - it's meant to deliver a huge performance boost by levering a lot of work onto the GPU...and yet it's turned off by default, even when the machine is more than capable. I read conflicting reports as to whether it offers any boost, so tried a few machines turning it on and off - benchmarks revealed no difference.
 

flyrod

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2015
425
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...a 6200 would be much worse or on par with a 12" PowerBook G4 with an external monitor or clamshell-ed.
The 12" powerbook uses a 5200, and in a cube at least there is a huge jump in performance between the 5200 and 6200. The 6200 supports core image as well. There's a thread around here with posts of openmark scores for various video cards, and that also shows a big difference between 5200 and 6200 cards.

I've not kept track of prices, but for the op's $30 could he get a 6600gt or a radeon 9600/9700/9800?
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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but for the op's $30 could he get a 6600gt or a radeon 9600/9700/9800?
IMO, for the specified price a 9600 is the best plug and play(or minimal modification) card. The 9700 and 9800 will either be a lot more expensive or will require flashing(and modification).

I'm not sure if the Mac 6600GT was made in anything other than PCIe for the late '05 G5s.
 

happyfrappy

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2007
343
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Location eh?
All AGP 6/7-series were on a PCIe bridge chip similar to 3rd party AGP ATI Radeon 35xx/46xx, if I had a PowerMac G4 I'd test my 6600LE in one. I'd still lean towards a Radeon 9600 on a Mac, less headaches since ATI/AMD never released so many variants like nVidia had done.

The 12" powerbook uses a 5200, and in a cube at least there is a huge jump in performance between the 5200 and 6200. The 6200 supports core image as well. There's a thread around here with posts of openmark scores for various video cards, and that also shows a big difference between 5200 and 6200 cards.
I've read plenty about the pros/cons of the 6-series as I own two, for large monitor/media playback you'll hit the wall depending upon the variant of the 6200... there is several versions DDR, DDR2, DDR/DDR2(NV44 revision) & OEM DDR3 and clock speeds vary from maker to maker. OpenMark is useless as you don't know exact maker/sku of the cards in question, for all we know someone is using a DDR3 version overclocked to a 6600LE or an early 6200 DDR/DDR2 firmware unlocked which could be OC-ed to a 6600/6600GT.

Edit Update: Pulled the AGP 6600LE out of a box of parts, looks like mine was DDR-only via Linux hardware info GPU was clocked 350 Mhz & VRAM at 550Mhz as if it were a 6600--more or less performs on par with a NV44 revision AGP 6200. My AGP 6600GTO is clocked at 525Mhz & VRAM 1000Mhz. Like I said, earlier some makers "tweaked" their variants for marketing reason(s).
 
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