Buying new Mac Pro: Graphics Card Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pazzo83, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. pazzo83 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #1
    I know that graphics card questions have been hashed out here ad infinitum, and I've been going through previous threads for the past couple months trying to get a sense of what I'd need. But, I figured I'd go ahead and present my situation and see what y'all thought about what I would need.

    I'm deciding between the 8800 GT and the Quadro FX 5600. I'm going to be doing a fair amount of work with GIS and AutoCAD for graduate school (this will be done mainly in Windows, but I wanted to get a Mac because that is what I've been using for the past 3 years and I wanted to be able to run both OS's). I'm also going to be doing web development work, work in Photoshop, work with Google Sketchup, and possible some 3D animation stuff. Most to all of that stuff will be done in Mac OS X. I might do a little gaming as well, but that's not really my big thing.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    Go with the 8800 GT unless you have $2,000 you want to blow.

    The Quadro 5600 performs virtually identically to the 8800 GT except in situations that require 3D visualization or the program is written to take advantage of the Quadros.
     
  3. WSU-Architect macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #3
    Being an architect in graduate school, unless you're really rich, the Quadro cards are never worth it. The performance to price ratio just isnt there, and even those programs with codes optimized for the cards, which is very few, don't see a dramatic enough increase in performance to ever justify the cost to the average consumer. I'd actually go with the new ATI card just released. I have an 8800GT, and while it's great enough for gaming and cad, it really blows with Sketchup (i.e. doesnt work) and isnt exactly snappy with photoshop either. Just my two cents, good luck!
     
  4. pazzo83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #4

    Which ATI card is that?
     
  5. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #5
    Radeon 3870.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #6
    If you want a Quadro for windows get yourself an FX 3700 for under $900 new which will likely offer you no noticable performance difference from the FX 5600. The 3700 is really as high end as you are likely to need and any of the cheaper recent cards from ATI or Nvidia will offer greater performance than a gaming card probably will under optimized openGL applications. Saying that, I believe the latest version of AutoCAD under Vista is now using D3D, not openGL so a gaming card is perfectly fine in that instance.

    The Radeon 3870 may very well be able to cope with what you throw at it too, it is hard to say how much power you need in this realm without knowing alot of details that you probably don't even know yourself yet.
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    OWC currently has the HD 3870 listed at $217.99.
    Far cheaper than the FX 5600. Last I looked, $2500-$2850 range. :eek: Mac compatible unit likely is the more expensive version. :(
     
  8. pazzo83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #8
    Just out of curiosity, how do you go about having one vid card for your Mac OS install and then another for Windows?
     
  9. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #9
    Computer Power User did a benchmark test a few months ago where the Quadros and FireGLs blew away the GeForce 8800 GT.
     
  10. WSU-Architect macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #10
    Your correct, and for that price they should beat the 8800GT. But the applications tested were the few I was alluding too that have specifically optimized drivers to fully take advantage of the Quadro cards. Speaking only in terms of architecture, those programs see limited use, though some (mainly solidworks, maya, and 3ds max) are used more commonly, there are programs with similar functions that are more specifically geared towards my profession. If I could afford the Quadro card, I would get it. But I cant, and the bang for the buck provided by mainstream consumer gaming cards I believe is much more than that of the Quadros. Especially considering many rendering programs make little use of the gpu currently, and instead are optimized for multi-core processors and ram volumes, Maxwell Render for example, which is where I choose to spend my money.So again, unless you're in a situation where you can afford it easily, or you live and die in programs that require it, I dont think the values there. Just my opinion though.
     

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