Bought a used mac pro with 2 video cards ... which to keep?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by octomac, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. octomac macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2011
    #1
    First post here. I recently moved from a 24" imac 2.4ghz dual core to a mac pro (early 2008, 2 x 2.8 quad core, 10g ram, 120 SSD, 2TB). This machine came with two video cards installed. An ATI Radeon HD 2600 and GTX 285.

    I know the 285 scores a lot higher on most benchmarks but for what I do (photography, general purpose usage, programming, a little TF2 on steam) they both seem to be equivalent.

    I am leaning towards selling the 285 but before I do I wanted to make sure that I am not shooting myself in the foot. Is this card really just for gaming or will i see other benefits (open CL, video editing, etc)?

    Plus going down to one card lowered the fan noise quite a bit (still present and I hate it).
     
  2. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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  3. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Yes, the GTX 285 is way better. For the longevity of the computer's sake I'd say that you definitely should keep that one. You could use the radeon card if you want to add more monitors in the future, or sell it on ebay :)
     
  4. octomac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    It is a mac 285 card.

    I can appreciate that it is a "faster" card but what does that really buy me? I have tried both with my dell 2405FPW and I really cant tell discern any "seat of the pants" difference. I am using CS4 so maybe it cant take advatage of the newer hardware.
     
  5. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

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    #5
    Hello,

    As long as you're not gaming, both cards will behave more or less the same. The "less" part has to do with the onboard memory, but if you're not planning on using multiple displays, you won't really feel any difference.

    Loa
     
  6. octomac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Only enough space for one monitor for me. Would like to have a 30" though ;)
     
  7. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    #7
    Actually, if your going to keep the 285 you will also need to keep to other card. Don't know about lion, but in snowy, you can install the base os on the 285, but then if you upgrade it to 10.6.8 it breaks the driver fir it and you have to install the nvidia 285 for Mac driver to get the 285 to work...
     
  8. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #8
    Video cards don't make the screen look sharper or anything. It helps with rendering 3d video. If you do anything that requires 3d rendering, the video card will make your computer run faster for that task. Otherwise, it would not make much of an impact. However, more video ram allows for more apps and windows to be rendered without dipping into the system ram. Also, expose, etc animations will be smoother with a lot running if you have a better video card, as this is the kind of 3d rendering that the video card handles. Finally, some software, like flash, can offload rendering to the video card to free up CPU cycles.

    TL;DR: A faster video card is helpful in a lot of ways.
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #9
    I havent had an issue with that, but what's stopping you from installing the Mac driver before upgrading to 10.6.8?

    another issue with the 285 is you can't use the latest Windows drivers, it gives you a black screen. forgot which version I'm using now, I think it's from last July or something.

    the x1600 has 256MB of VRAM. if you use Aperture, that's just not enough. not sure about LR or other similar software. video editing again depends on the software. you'll want something decent if your software supports OpenCL or CUDA.

    you could consider selling them both and getting a GT 120 (512 MB, weak for 3D, but quiet) or 5770. I'm not sure how much 285's go for now, but last time I looked 5770s were cheaper.
     
  10. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #10
    10.6.8 overwrites your old drivers of course.
     
  11. goMac macrumors 603

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    #11
    The GTX 285 will play Steam games way way way better.
     
  12. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #12
    I'm gonna go the other way and say the ATI card. For two reasons.

    1. Nvidia's Mac drivers are BS.
    2. If both cards are fine for the work you are doing then sell the 285 and make a little money back.
     
  13. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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  14. kkanuck macrumors newbie

    kkanuck

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    #14

    I spoke with CS at Nvidia and Apple, and they both claim the other will be supplying any future firmware updates, not them.....


    I also have this black screen for windows, is there any fix for this? If a slap a GT120 into it on top of the GTX 285 for Mac card, can I swap the cable on the back when I boot to Windows in bootcamp? Presently I have no way to easily use windows without removing the 285 and putting the GT120 back in.
     
  15. alksion macrumors 68000

    alksion

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    #15
    Well as a video editor, I would keep the 285 because it takes advantage of CUDA acceleration in Premiere Pro CS5.

    But.. this isn't my computer and you are not a video editor, so sell the 285 and buy yourself a good beer to celebrate the money you just made back from a big purchase!
     
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I'm using 266.58. yes you can swap the cable.
     
  17. Neodym macrumors 65816

    Neodym

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    #17
    Make sure you have computer and monitor powered down when changing the cable - monitor cables are not intended to be hotswapped.

    Most modern monitors feature at least two inputs. Why don't you connect both cards to the monitor and switch inputs there? Or add another monitor to your setup - one for each card...
     
  18. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #18
    Curious then that there is a pin that is spe ifically for "Hot Plug Detect". You can switch displays at will. The "HPD" pin does same thing as hitting "Detect Displays".

    The 2600 is NOT an OpenCl card, so FCP-X won't install with it in, and will run slower if you do get it installed.

    Especially as you mention a 30" display, I would keep the 285. Gaming on a 2600 is like racing a Yugo in Formula 1.
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #19
    Sell both cards and use the money for a 5770, 5870, or 6870.
     
  20. kkanuck macrumors newbie

    kkanuck

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    #20
    I have an Apple 30" CD so I believe I cannot use that option, only one display input to my knowledge...I have to reboot to get to Windows anyways, but thanks for the tip, I have hot swapped before but good to know its a no no!
     
  21. kkanuck macrumors newbie

    kkanuck

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    #21
    So you have no issues booting in Windows 7 in bootcamp with the GTX 285 mac edition?


    I have the June 2011 firmware for mine which is the latest to be found to this day on the customer download page to this date I believe.
     
  22. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    #22
    just for ***** and giggles, i also dont have any issues running win7 on my gtx285. did a reinstall just 2 weeks ago before putting it on the plane.
     
  23. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #23
    no.
    current is 285.something, from October. haven't tried it. i tried updating the drivers over the summer, that's when I discovered the newest ones didn't work and rolled back to 266.58.
     
  24. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Phoenix, AZ
    #24
    It should also be noted that the 2600 XT doesn't support OpenCL at all. The GTX 285 does. The 285 is also the fastest official NVIDIA card ever made for the Mac (faster than the Quadro 4000).

    I'd keep the 285 if you need CUDA (Premiere CS5.x, DaVinci Resolve). But given your usage, that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Best scenario:

    1. Sell the 285. Premiere and DaVinci users still pay good money for these.

    2. Buy a Radeon 5770 as its replacement and pocket the extra cash. They have pretty comparable performance to 285s and they're quieter and more power efficient.

    3. Keep the 2600 XT as a backup card or perhaps a secondary card to drive a third display. Outside of those uses, they're not very desirable cards on the used market.
     
  25. octomac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2011
    #25
    Is the 5770 comparable in quietness to the 2600? I put the 285 back in last night and can tell a difference in fan noise.

    For what its worth the 2600 had a cinebench score of 16.42 and the 285 had a score of 28.09.
     

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