Geforce Gt120 or Ati HD 4870 ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JohnnyMac1, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. JohnnyMac1 macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    I do photography mostly,some graphic design and am some video. I may be doing more video in the future though. What are the real world differances in the two cards? I ordered a 226 octo with the base card but am interested in switching that card if it will make a logical upgrade for the price.
    Thanks in advance for any info!
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Neither card will either help or hinder you significantly at this point.

    The ATI's advantage will only be apparent with 3D rendering and gaming.

    When OpenCL and apps that can leverage the processing power of the GPU become available, then the choice of GPU will be more relevant.
  3. thomahawk macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    Osaka, Japan
    In my experience. Nvidia was best for gaming and ATi for production purposes (ex. photoshop, video editing, 3D rendering, etc)

    I dont know about now. but im ATi all the way. I even converted my gaming ways from nvidia to ATi. why? Cheap, Quality, and efficient. thats all in my expirience however. other ppl may beg to differ
  4. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 is way better for gaming than Nvidia GeForce GT120.
  5. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    Yep, this generation of Mac Pro... the GT120 isnt even in the same galaxy as teh 4870
  6. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2009
    They switch back and forth every generation incase you didn't notice. My G5 was kind of an exception (nividia 5200 low end, next ATI 9600, nvidia 6800 high end) but the next generation was ATI low (9650) nvidia high (6800GT Ultra), then nvidia low(7300) ATI high(X1900), then ATI low(HD 2600) nvidia high(8800). Now it's back to nvidia low(GT120) ATI high(4870).
  7. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
    The GT 120 is a joke and an insult in a high end machine. Unbelivably absurd. Nvidia is simply renaming one and two generation old video cards. Apple should be ashamed of themselves for sticking in this as one of the two video cards offered to it's captive customers.
  8. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    But this has almost always been the case. Graphics offerings on Apple desktop machines have been a generation or two behind the PC (sometimes even on the high-end, too) for as long as I can remember.

    What I find funny right now though is that the new 3.06GHz iMac has faster base graphics (GT130) than any of the new base Mac Pros. But admittedly, the Radeon 4870 is one of the better desktop graphics offerings Apple has had in years.
  9. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Isn't it so you can stick four of them in the Mac Pro? Low power, low heat. Plenty of tasks that people might use Mac Pro's for receive little or no benefit from the GPU.

    But if you're just getting one card it makes sense to get the 4870. It will be cheaper to get it with the machine than to buy it separately later.
  10. ender78 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2005
    Aperture loves GPU power. If you plan on using Aperture, get the 4870 [I did with my 2.26 Octo ]
  11. OddThomas macrumors regular


    Apr 21, 2008
    Grapevine, TX
    talk to me about that ender78... i use Aperture a lot and shoot in RAW mode so pictures are typically 10meg. i have the 2600hd on 2008 2.8 MP. it does ok and aperture sees only minor delays. i assume by your comments that my pictures and thumbnail renders will be instant??? cause i want a 4870!!!

    can you give me some real world for instances?? what do you use to take pictures?
  12. ender78 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2005
    Sorry for the late reply. Aperture is a lot snappier on this machine. I store some of my image libraries on an external drive so load times are not instant but Aperture is actually usable on the MP versus my 3 year old MBP.
  13. FRKT macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Seeing the development of OpenCL, I'd recommend a HD4870 over a GT120 even for people who don't do graphic-related work at all. There's an excellent chart of recent video cards here. The HD4870 is rank 8 as of today, whereas the GT120 is rank 113. The aforementioned scores four times higher than the GT120. I'd say that's worth the $200.
  14. schweinsteiger macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2009
    Here's what the excellent site has to say about the two cards:

    Video power pig Permalink

    The standard NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 is the right choice unles you’re doing gaming or HD video. Its power consumption is modest, so that the 2.93GHz MP09 consumes about 182 watts at idle with dual GT120 cards, 4 internal 1TB hard drives and 16GB memory. Quite impressive, actually.

    By comparison, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 is a power pig—with it and a GT120 installed as above, at idle it sucks up another 45 watts, and inexplicably under no load suddenly will suck another 150 watts for a total system consumption of 375 watts with nothing going on (idle). This causes my uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to spin up its extra loud cooling fans up due to the extra power draw. What a nuisance.

    In short, avoid the Radeon HD 4870 unless you really need it for something, like gaming or HD video processing. It won’t help with things like RAW-file processing.

    It convinced me to order my 2.93 Quad with two GT120. (I will run three monitors).
  15. chelsel macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    the GT 120 scores 50% better than the video card in my 2 year old MacBook Pro (GeForce 8600M GT). Considering that I was satisfied with the gaming performance of my 2 year old MBP... I think I'll be more than happy with the GT120.

    Maybe when Snow Leopard finally arrives and the real world results of OpenCL are measured then it will be time to consider an upgrade... perhaps to an even better card than the 4870.
  16. FRKT macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2009
    That's fair. I just find that $200 is a small price to pay for four times the performance, regardless of whether I actually need it right this moment. Either way, the GTX 285 is scheduled to be released for the Mac Pro in June. Apparently it's an amazing card, although it lacks a Mini DisplayPort so it may not be an option for some.
  17. chelsel macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    And for some, it might save them $29 on an adapter :)

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