GT120 or 5770?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by you39, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. you39 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2010
    I'm about to connect a third monitor, and wonder what graphic card is appropriate, so I'm trying to update my knowledge a little. I'm not doing 3D or moving image work, and don't care for games. My main Application is Adobe Illustrator, CS3 for the moment, will update to CS5 or 6 if that happens soon enough. I realize the general answer to this question is "don't bother" because "any card is fast enough for 2D". However...

    Is "any card fast enough for 2D" because...
    a) ...the video card does not play any role in rendering the vector data, gradients, transparency etc. from Illustrator?
    or b) ..."typical" Illustrator 2D work is said to be not complex enough to challenge even a low end card these days?

    Since I do have some images where zooming and panning is far from fluid on my current setup, a 2009 2.93 quad & GT120 and enough RAM. I would like to know: Is the proposition I quoted meant to be understood in an absolute or in a relative way?

    PS: I also realize this forum does not specialize in Ai, however Ai specific forums tend to be a little backwards, technically, as I am myself.
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Very few non-3D applications that I'm aware of in OSX utilize the GPU to any great extent. Even an application like Aperture, which does utilize the GPU, seems to use it very isolated circumstances and even then, does not push it hard.

    Hence, for your work, I would recommend another GT120 if you need to drive added displays. It's the lowest cost option to achieving your needs, although not by a huge amount. In fact, it doesn't really matter what card you choose - just don't spend a lot on a high end card expecting to extract value from it with your workload.

    I don't do any 3D work or gaming on my Mac Pro either, and I run dual GT120 cards to drive my two MDP displays. The performance has never been an issue and they are quiet and don't consume much power.
  3. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    A second GT120 is a good idea in your case... It's a proven and uncomplicated card, and... you'll have the chance of connecting a 4th display (or HDTV) down the road. Plus, you'll save some money on the card, and keep heat, noise and power consumption down.

  4. you39 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2010
    Ok, I see, but "not push it hard" and "not to any great extent" are relative? An example: If I draw a star using the star-tool, give it 50 points, assign one transform effect with 500 copies and a small vertical movement and another with 500 copies and a horizontal movement, so I get a field with about 12 million points - zooming in and out I get delays of up to several seconds until the image is drawn. In other words something is pushed too hard? Is this a shortcoming of the video card?

    In the end, Ai and 3D applications share some similarities; points, lines, curves, tangents, fills etc. that have to be rendered, rasterized to a bitmapped output (the monitor)? Is that not a function of the GPU?

    Yes, if not necessary now or later I would prefer the lower cost, heat and power consumption of the GT120. I admit, my question is at least partially academic.

    On a different note, did you install them in adjacent slots or did you separate them?
  5. you39 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2010
    Yep, that was my thinking...
  6. 3587 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 23, 2008
    I'd get the 5770... Throw the GT 120 in the trash! It was night/day difference going from the 120 to the 5770 for me... Just dragging windows around the screen on the desktop was a huge improvement! Get the 5770, it is perfect for a perfect price.
  7. highdefw macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2009
    5770 hands down. I'm running a gt 120 as well for other displays, but my 24 ACD runs beautifully. It's well worth it.

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