Buying new Mac Pro & Monitor; not sure on the best GPU choice.....

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tripppletrouble, May 30, 2009.

  1. Tripppletrouble macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    #1
    Hello all:

    I've made the decision that I will be purchasing a new Mac Pro (not sure which one or the details yet though), but it will be a Mac Pro for 100% sure.

    Also I wanted to get another monitor. I currently have a 23" :apple: cinema display but have really wanted to get a bigger main monitor to put in the center/main spot, & then also keep my current older 23" cinema display in use as a 2nd one (and set it up as an 'extended desktop' like mode, to the right of my HOPEFULLY NEW 30" MONITOR :D. I do lots of graphics work & video so that will help a LOT :)

    One thing though is that I think since I've waited this long & am finally ready to get it all, it'd actually be probably a smart idea to hold off a few more days; until that developer meeting or conference expo thing from almighty :apple::apple::apple: where most (smart :p ) people around the web; and pretty much all of the awesome folks here at MR agree about too!) ....grrr ;)
    I have to order the Mac Pro & Monitor TOGETHER because I am using a special deal that requires that & since I need a bigger monitor I might as well do it this way I'd think?
    I want to wait until the Apple event in a week or what ever because I am hoping that they finally upgrade their monitor lineup and make an updated 30 inch one with a builtin isight since I don't have one right now.
    Plus MacRumor's buying guide also doesnt recommend buying the monitor right now if you can wait, which I can. barely :)

    But I'm just not sure which is the best way to actually set the darn thing up to have it run as good as it can. From the way I see it, there are just a few ways it could go, but let me know if I'm missing something.

    Assuming that a new 30 inch display comes out, otherwise I'll just probably buy the one they have out right now (Or is this a dumb idea? I know that there are many other monitor options out there except I just don't know much about them or how to pick a good one).........
    so if I buy that new Mac Pro, a new big 30 inch display, & want to also hook up my current 23" cinema display I have now to it, which of these would be best?

    #1 - Buy the "better" more expensive graphics card which is the ATI one. And then have both monitors hooked up to it (I think I need just a cheaper adapter to convert that newer port type to my monitor's DVI or whatever).

    #2 - Buy 2 separate cheaper nvidia cards and connect each display to its own card.

    #3???

    QUESTION
    IF I did #1, and use what I think is the faster graphics card of the 2 available; and have it power BOTH of my displays (a 30" & 23"), would it actually be less efficient err like not as good as say, #2?
    ......#2 is where I have 2 separate but slower nvidia cards, with each one only having to power/drive a single display (I think the nvidia is a 'slower' card than the ATI due to its price. I know that sounds dumb but isnt it probably true?)

    Does that kind of make sense to anyone? Or am I just not thinking on the right path here & (if) the ATI card is faster overall then it should just work the same with 1 or 2 monitors somehow? :eek:

    thanks to any one reading!!
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    What exactly will you be doing with the system?
    What software?

    Answers might help, as you could get advice that leads you to a not so wonderful choice. Particularly in the financial realm. ;)
     
  3. Tripppletrouble thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    #3
    thank you for replying!! :)

    most of the stuff I work on is pretty processor and or graphics intensive. I dont play games though but do work on lots of 3D modeling type things & video editing so the speed of the redrawing & stuff is still needed.

    for the actual software itself. I do lots of fun stuff :D

    My probably most used app list is:
    * the Adobe CS4 apps, mostly photoshop, illustrator, after effects.

    * for video, besides AE I mainly use final cut pro (and just about all of its Studio apps; especially Motion, which is pretty gpu heavy & runs nicely with nice fast cards :) I know). I also use Shake a bit when needed (Used to use Combusion, but it and I are phasing out)

    * I do some 3D modeling work using mainly Maya 2009. But am slowly moving away from it and towards Maxon's Cinema 4D (I also love its integrated BodyPaint module --- which I think is excellent for most of the work I do. For certain projects, I've also used the cool Modo suite for modeling mostly.

    * the last part of "work" that I do is some programming with Xcode. I'm not a pro my any means but do develop some things in it to help out myself, or a maya plugin, and even some fairly big & complex projects for 3D plugins; and while Xcode is pretty memory low, it can get bogged down with compiling large projects (and it'd be nice to have a faster Mac [this depends on mainly the CPU I am guessing. as you can tell I'm not much of a 'hardware guy :rolleyes:

    * Additionally, I use things like Mathematica for various things (quite a neat program indeeed). And the obvious list of things like Safari mainly for web browsing; and Entourage for email (yes, the rest of the suite is on here but I don't do all that much, maybe just some Excel here and there, etc. That's about it for "work", but I also am a musician and trained recording engineer (currently it is only a hobby though

    * I also do lots of audio work (mostly for fun), but use pretty high end stuff. My main app is Logic Pro. And I routinely have at least say, 10-15 tracks (minimum usually because of acoustic drums and using lots of multiple mics) going simultaneously. but I also like effects, and layering them on multiple tracks can add up pretty fast processor wise. Another big part of this is when using software instruments as plugins in Logic, with many (many!!!! :D) running at the same time, with effects & probably over other audio tracks too.....

    QUESTION Time!
    Q: I have 8 GB of RAM right now in my Mac Pro [processors are 2x3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon]...
    With this current setup, I can quite easily max out the realtime playing/playback capability (which sucks, and brings up my actual question I guess)...

    * Does anyone know yet or have experience with the latest Mac Pros, enough to see any kind of real world improvement over previous models AND that have checked their CPU usage [via activity monitor, or whatever] when using one of these types of CPU intensive apps? Does it space it out pretty well per core/processor even when running TONS of proc-intensive tasks all at once and so on?
    I'd really like to know how well the current apps are able to deal with 8 cores and such, and if they actually CAN or if it is more there for future releases and wonderful marketing :)


    WOW sorry for that huge list. :eek:
    I bet you were expecting like a short bulleted thing with about 5 items in it.
    really sorry about that --- making it & my 1ST post so fricken long! I hope someone at least has time to read it :rolleyes:

    thanks so much for any thing you can offer, even a 1 liner :eek:
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    On the existing machine, there's a few things you can do. (It even applies to the '09 if you do go ahead and get it).
    1. Upgrade the memory. 16GB might do you quite well.
    2. RAID. It's also easier to do in the '06 - '08 models, particularly going with a 3rd party hardware solution, and keeping it internal. :)

    The '09's are different. The backplane connectors for each drive bay are now soldered directly to the logic board. The data is routed via traces on slot 4 for Apple's new RAID card. This is a problem for 3rd party cards, as they use cables. Primarily MiniSAS*4i (iPass cable in your current machine).

    Internal isn't impossible, but you primarily would have to use both optical bays, and relocate the optical drive to an external 5.25" enclosure.

    The last option on the '09's, is an external RAID system. It does offer the greatest possibilities for both speed and capacity, but it's also the most expensive way to go. :rolleyes:

    3. Upgrade the graphics card, as you're interested in. I'm not sure of the best one to try ATM though. Search MR, as I'm certain this has been asked before, and solutions presented. (I can't remember if the 4870 has been used sucessfully on the older models). :eek:

    Otherwise, I'd think the 4870 would be a nice card. Perhaps the 285, when it actually shows up. But I'm not sure when it will make an appearance. Some seem to think it might in June, but I'm not so sure.

    As for the '09's performance with the software you're using, think of it this way. It will act the same, but will run a little quicker, given the improvents in the CPU and memory access. As far as one program using all 8 physical cores, I'm not aware that any of those listed can. But you can run multiple instances simultaneously, and save some time that way. ;)

    Hope this helps, rather than confuse you. :)
     

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