Graphics cards for Mac Pro & Video Editing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MatchFrame, May 2, 2008.

  1. MatchFrame macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #1
    I am about to purchase a Mac Pro, and I saw the rumor about the new ATI Radeon 3870 coming for the Mac Pro in late May.

    I had a few questions about it and Mac Pro graphics cards in general. First, will this card be available as an optional upgrade when configuring a Mac Pro from the Apple Store? Is that usually how it goes?

    Secondly, I'm a video editor planning to use this Mac Pro primarily for Final Cut Studio and After Effects. It seems to have been indicated that ATI cards are better for this sort of work, versus the 8800GT they off right now.

    Do these programs gain significant benefit from using ATI or is it more unsubstantial?

    The other question I have is whether or not these cards would be recommended for use with the Avid product line (namely Avid Xpress Pro or Media Composer). It seems that Avid only will certify NVidia graphics cards, as it has with the 8800GT. I also am aware that Avid is not compatible with Leopard just yet, but will be in the near future.

    So does anyone know if Avid performs well (or at all) with the ATI cards? Would the overall performance increase of ATI over NVidia be enough to take a chance with compatability issues?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!
     
  2. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #2
    Well, I know for a fact that the 8800GT blows away the Radeon HD 2600XT when it comes to gaming. When it comes to Motion 3 the Radeon HD 2600XT card is actually better for some reason. I would also think the ATI Radeon 3870 would blow away both cards when it comes to graphic design and Motion 3 rendering. 8800Gt is mostly for gamers. I will probably pick up the ATI Radeon 3870 when it comes out.

    The ATI Radeon 3870 should be available for BTO option on Apple's site and as a kit when it comes out. I just hope it doesn't come standard with MacPro's. That would suck. lol
     
  3. dengar169 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #3
    I've been wondering this same question about which graphics card to purchase. To either of you know which would help in doing animation and rendering in, let's say Maya?
     
  4. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #4
    This is the order of cards from best to worst that I think works well for Pro Apps...

    1. NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
    2. ATI Radeon HD 3780 (not availble yet)
    3. ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT (Better than 8800 GT for Pro Apps.)
    4. NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

    For gaming, the obvious choice would be the 8800 GT.
     
  5. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #5
    In Maya, do you tend to work in wireframe? A lot of what works well depends on your workflow. I use Lightwave, Cinema4D and the Pro Apps on a regular basis but my income is really from high-end After Effects work. I have been incredibly happy with my ATI 2600.

    -steven

     
  6. MatchFrame thread starter macrumors member

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    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #6
    Thanks for clearing all this up guys. Seems like until I Leopard works with Avid Media Composer to grab the Radeon 3780 (as there is noooo way I can afford the Quadro FX 5600 any time soon).

    Any idea about Avid incompatibilities with non-NVIDIA cards?
     
  7. pogostick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    #7

    From: http://www.avid.com/resources/qualified/MediaComposer-Qualified-Apple-Workstations.pdf

    "Mac OS X Leopard, Revision 10.5.3 for version 3.0 software (planned for release in June 2008)"

    Also, ATI Radeon X1600, seems to be the 'latest' ATI card to be 'certified' by Avid, but that's in older iMacs... The 8800GT is the only 'qualified' Nvidia card listed for a current MacPro.

    So sometime in June, there will be Avid MC 3.x and support for OS 10.5.3, the ATI support is an unknown as far as Avid is concerned at this point.

    But hey, maybe with the "new thinking" will come ATI support... doubtful tho.
     
  8. MatchFrame thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #8
    Wow, I completely missed the June 2008 expected OS 10.5.3 update, even after searching Avid's site. That makes me more optimistic. Thanks!

    I don't know where Avid's going to head from here. Great to see Media Composer come down in price, for sure.

    But their alliance with NVIDIA seems pretty important considering they're competing with the financial powerhouse and ever-expanding/enterprising Apple. I guess I just wish that NVIDIA would bring some more of its Quadro line to the Mac instead of just the super-high-end 5600. Or put a little more effort into its drivers and realize that the majority of Mac Pro users are doing multimedia work and not playing computer games exclusively.

    A book I'm reading claims that Apple does what it can to slow down Avid from making Mac's more appealing for the program. Seems they would like to keep it on the PC as much as possible.
     
  9. fluidedge macrumors 65816

    fluidedge

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    #9
    i wish there was a way of getting fireGL cards to work in a mac pro. They're so much cheaper than the quadro and people rave about them for maya/3d work.
     
  10. pogostick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    #10
    Glad to be of service - Finally my hours spent on the Avid Community Forums have been of some use.
     

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