Graphics cards for new Mac Pro... which one!?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iLex1980, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. iLex1980 macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2014
    I am a composer and I have my eyes on a Mac Pro 6 core with probably 32 or 48GB of RAM.
    However, I am in doubt about the video card.
    Initially I thought about the D300 cards as the video power is not needed for audio.
    Then an audio specialist told me Apple is moving more and more tasks from the CPU to the GPU and for the future a better GPU (D500s) would be a better option.
    Then a video specialist (!) told me that even the D300s give more than enough power for whatever Apple has in mind for the GPU (assuming only video playback and general tasks, no 4K editing of course).
    Does anyone have an idea on this?

    Oh, and I know it's 'only' a difference of around €300, but as my complete new setup (including UAD Satellite and new HDDs etc) is going to be quite expensive I am looking to save wherever I can.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    bare feats has just posted another nMP GPU comparison
  3. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2014
    If you don't plan on having the machine for a long time (say ~3 years), the low end card is fine.

    However, if you plan on having this machine for longer, say 4+ years, get the top of the line card. It is the only thing in the machine that is not upgradeable. The SSD, the memory, heck, even the processor seems to have the possibility of being upgraded But those video cards are forever.

    So, get the lowest amount of ram possible, get a 3rd party memory upgrade, and invest the savings in the video cards. 4 years from now, you'll be glad you did.
  4. iLex1980, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014

    iLex1980 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2014

    Please note that I am an audio professional.
    What developments are you expecting that would require so much GPU? I am not into 4k editing :)
  5. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    I think the other poster's point was about doing a little future proofing depending on how long you intended to keep the nMP, and his suggestion is valid since future developments are largely unknown.

    Other than that, one thing you may want to consider (going back to your original post) is which specialist's answer you think is more accurate and informed - the audio specialist or the video specialist.

    If you haven't already, try looking for other online discussions/articles/forums about this topic. Actually this website also has a "Digital Audio" forum in the Special Interests section. You could try posting your question there as well and see what other audio professionals have to say. :)
  6. applereviewguy macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2011
  7. ZombiePhysicist macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2014
    Just the base operating system. For example, 10.9 will not even boot unless you have a minimum of an ati 5770 in a Mac Pro. If you had the base video cards in the old Mac Pros, was it the 7300 or something like that, you wouldn't be able to even run the operating system. Apple is constantly leveraging more and more video processing, even if you are not. What seems amazing today, is going to be barely sufficient in 3 years, and likely outdated in 4. Get the top end card if you plan on holding it for more than 3 years, if not, the low end card is fine.
  8. Matrixfan macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2008
    As of now the video cards are not upgradable, but I don't see this set in stone. It is technically possible, but involves reapplying thermal paste. As an official Apple upgrade kit, I don't know...

    IMHO the shader capability is the same across all the cards, they represent the same level of GCN architecture. In the future if there is a feature requirement for something, it will apply equally to the current range. It seems so that you don't lose anything with the D300. Unfortunately Apple GPU drivers are so unadvanced compared to the regularly updated official Windows drivers that performance and scaling is lagging behind. In terms of price/performance it's either D300 or D700. D700 is 7950, the D500 is a "D300 turbo" based to the same island name chipset.

    I am sitting in the fence with upgrading to the nMP, also to integrate Windows gaming for now. In Europe the price difference is so enormous that it's better to build a dedicated gaming PC from the cost difference between the D300 and D700.
  9. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    You should be more concerned about processing capabilities than GPU. You should get the cheaper GPU and use the money you would have on a higher end CPU for a 8 or 10 core processor.

    Processing music uses CPU's. Check and see if your software will benefit from it. Call the manufacturer if you have to.

    That's what I would do.

    if you can wait do that because the mac pro will be getting refreshed this year with haswell-e and DDR4.


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