How much display is too much work for my Mac Pro?

quantum003

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 27, 2009
542
0
Superposition
I'll admit right now that I am overly protective of my Mac Pro, it's my baby.

I enjoy using 2 monitors, but I am wondering if these two ACD's are too much, since the one time I tried them both at once performance seemed sluggish. Here's the specs:

2.66Ghz Mac Pro early 2009 Quad-Core

12GB of RAM (3x 4GB)

The apple shipped video card is an NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, 512MB of VRAM

And I added an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT for the second monitor; it's 256MB of VRAM.

The two monitors are two Apple HD Cinema Displays, a 30" and a 24".

Am I being overly cautious, or are these two displays large enough to hinder my system performance if I use them both at once? The 30" is currently using the NVIDIA card and the 24" would run from the ATI.

Thanks! :D
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
what configuration do you have with the monitors? is the 30" set to the GT120? or to the 2600?

the 2600 is a bit old now. at least 3 years. i would consider upgrading it to another GT120.
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,931
54
England
Yes you are being over cautious. The 2600XT can drive two 30" displays fine even. Although OS X does utilize the GPU for things other than actual 3D modelling, you shouldn't have any issues if you are not using GPU intensive applications.
 

gotzero

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2007
3,224
0
Mid-Atlantic, US
The 2600s will run pretty much any set of monitors just fine on their own. A monitor on a discrete card should certainly not make the system sluggish. Are you sure it is not something else?

I ran a 30" and two 23"s just fine on a pair of 2600s for months without a single issue.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
what if SL has some visualisation features that the 2600 isnt quite capable of?

could be a RAM problem i guess, depending on whats being done.
Such things come under "what usage" though, but as a basic card it would suffice (internet browsing for example). But if say GPGPU use is desired, the card will matter. That card isn't the best for it, as its only capable of single precision floating point use only.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
Such things come under "what usage" though, but as a basic card it would suffice (internet browsing for example). But if say GPGPU use is desired, the card will matter. That card isn't the best for it, as its only capable of single precision floating point use only.
hardly anything under OSX can utilise GPGPU anyway! so it pretty much rules that out. maybe CPU usage was high at the time and made the UI feel slow?
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
hardly anything under OSX can utilise GPGPU anyway! so it pretty much rules that out. maybe CPU usage was high at the time and made the UI feel slow?
Maybe. There's a lot of missing information. Usage. Keeps popping up for some strange reason... :p

Seriously, it could be the software, especially if it's disk intensive with only one drive. We need more information to go any further than just a simple generalized question.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,530
33
Singapore
Maybe. There's a lot of missing information. Usage. Keeps popping up for some strange reason... :p

Seriously, it could be the software, especially if it's disk intensive with only one drive. We need more information to go any further than just a simple generalized question.
thats what i was thinking. maybe the computer was indexing? there are too many variables to even consider here its not even funny.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
thats what i was thinking. maybe the computer was indexing? there are too many variables to even consider here its not even funny.
It even could be that the cards are too slow for the software used (i.e. 3D rendering on bottom end cards). We just don't know. :eek: :p
 

quantum003

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 27, 2009
542
0
Superposition
what configuration do you have with the monitors? is the 30" set to the GT120? or to the 2600?

the 2600 is a bit old now. at least 3 years. i would consider upgrading it to another GT120.
Hey, thanks for the posts. The 30" is running from the GT120. The 24" would be plugged in to the 2600, but I took it out.

So, dumb question coming (brace yourself), but I assume I need a special "Mac" version of the GT120 don't I? So if I find a smoking price on a GT120 with 1GB DDR that came from a PC it won't work. I would need to flash the ROM... or just buy a different card altogether.

I do a lot of high-intensity photoshop work for web and for print, and I often have Flash or another large CPU draining program at the same time, but no 3-D rendering. Just large high-resolution image files, and it's very convenient to drag them all over in 2 different monitors. So I am interested in upgrading to a second GT120, as recommended by the very friendly poster that I quoted above. :) Anybody got any buying advice? Thanks!
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
So, dumb question coming (brace yourself), but I assume I need a special "Mac" version of the GT120 don't I? So if I find a smoking price on a GT120 with 1GB DDR that came from a PC it won't work. I would need to flash the ROM... or just buy a different card altogether.[\QUOTE]
Apple sells the Mac version of the GT120 ($149 here). Other than that, you'd have to try the injector or flash method to make a PC version work.
 

quantum003

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 27, 2009
542
0
Superposition
So, dumb question coming (brace yourself), but I assume I need a special "Mac" version of the GT120 don't I? So if I find a smoking price on a GT120 with 1GB DDR that came from a PC it won't work. I would need to flash the ROM... or just buy a different card altogether.[\QUOTE]
Apple sells the Mac version of the GT120 ($149 here). Other than that, you'd have to try the injector or flash method to make a PC version work.
Hmm... $149 is downright spendable... but the Apple store doesn't take Paypal so my wife would see. :p I'm sure that I'm technically competent enough to figure out the flashing process... I'm good with tech and tinkering but I would be starting from square 1. Are we talking about an hour or two for a first time flasher? An afternoon? A weekend?

Also, could one successfully flash a better GT120, one of the models with 1GB DDR3 instead of 512?

Thanks for your time. :)
 

lemonade-maker

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2009
497
4
Hmm... $149 is downright spendable... but the Apple store doesn't take Paypal so my wife would see. :p I'm sure that I'm technically competent enough to figure out the flashing process... I'm good with tech and tinkering but I would be starting from square 1. Are we talking about an hour or two for a first time flasher? An afternoon? A weekend?

Also, could one successfully flash a better GT120, one of the models with 1GB DDR3 instead of 512?

Thanks for your time. :)
I'd get an Nvidia 9800gt and use an injector such as NVDarwin 1.2.5. Like this
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Hmm... $149 is downright spendable... but the Apple store doesn't take Paypal so my wife would see. :p
:eek: Hmm. Put it on the a card, hide the bill, and pay it off in one lump sum. :D If she finds out, run for it, but don't leave the computer. :p

I'm sure that I'm technically competent enough to figure out the flashing process... I'm good with tech and tinkering but I would be starting from square 1. Are we talking about an hour or two for a first time flasher? An afternoon? A weekend?
It's not that hard, or take that long as I understand it (but I've not done it first hand). Research is required as to specific make and model numbers, as not all cards will work very well (some may not at all). There's a few threads on MR, and there's even guides on places like insanelymac.com IIRC.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.