Is it worth it to me to upgrade the graphics on the nMP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by krye, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. krye macrumors 68000

    krye

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    I have a 2008 2.8GHz Mac Pro. It's grown a little long-in-the-tooth and it's time for a new Mac Pro.

    With that said, I'm on the fence with the graphics card options. I think that the stock D300s will smoke my ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB card, but I'm not sure I should go with the D500s.

    I don't play games, so I probably don't need killer graphics. However, I do 3D rendering with DAZ Studio as a hobby, but again, I'm sure the D300 smokes what I'm currently using.

    Other than DAZ, it's all Pixelmator, RapidWeaver, Aperture, Eagle CAD, etc. Basic stuff that doesn't require killer graphics.

    So is it safe to assume that the D300s will be more than adequate for my needs or should I go for the D500s? $400 bucks is a lot to spend on something that I'm not going to take advantage of.

    I know in the past, the stock card in the Mac Pros were kind of "bare minimum" and that it was always recommended to go with the BTO option. Is the same true here, or the fact that I'm going from a 2008 MP to a 2013 MP make that assumption irrelevant?
     
  2. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    #2
    By the sounds of it, that is how much you value $400 and it's relative worth, I think you'd be better off with not upgrading.
     
  3. Hubies macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    #3
    If you do occasional 3D rendering, the D500 has you very much covered with that. It's twice as better at double precision floating point than the D300. In terms of gaming, they perform about the same in OSX, but if you're going to have a Windows installation through Boot Camp, you can use a tool such as MSI Afterburner to bring up the clock speed of both cards closer to what the D300 runs. Since the D500 has a wider memory bus and has 200-odd more streaming processor cores, i've tested very favorable performance at 2560x1440 for even modern games such as Tomb Raider and Battlefield 4. I'm really happy with my D500s as both a workstation and gaming solution. It's a good compromise in cost and performance.
     
  4. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #4
    You already mention that you're using those software as a hobby and not on a job where your time counts so I'll just stick with the D300s unless you feel like spending that $400.

    I'm using the D300 for 3D CAD work all the time, Aperture, FCPX (haven't tried 4K footages) and it seem to work fine for my needs. The D500 might theoretically have better spec then the D300, but it really depends if your software make use of it. With my CAD software, the D500 is disappointing compared to D300, the D700 takes the crown but that's way out of my budget.

    When it comes to games, on Windows I played full resolution Dota 2 with everything maxed out on a 27" monitor. It ran constantly at the default max FPS (60 fps).
     
  5. maplingstorie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    Malaysia
    #5
    I personally think that the GPU should be maxed if you can afford it. I can say that i'll be using the CPU way more than the GPU as I work as a music producer for a living. The way I see it, the mac pro's GPU is specially custom designed and should be only available from Apple. For the CPU and RAM, those can be easily be upgradable or purchased from Amazon or Ebay.
     
  6. krye thread starter macrumors 68000

    krye

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    Sounds goods. It's as I suspected then. The D300 sounds like a welcomed upgrade to the ATI card I'm using now. The D500 is probably overkill for my needs. I don't plan on gaming or running a 4K display any time soon.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Hubies macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    #7
    Yeah, I mean if the games you want to play are current titles, Blizzard titles and much of the indie games, it'll be more than enough to get you great performance at 2560x1440 for years to come. I'm only giving the perspective of a person who enjoys playing all sorts of games. The problem lies with more graphically intensive games in the future. Mantle and DX12 are both signs from the industry that where gains will come from will be from lower-level access to the GPU. When those become more prevalent, as I suspect they will when developers target PS4/Xbox One specs more closely for their games, higher clock speeds may not matter as much when the fundamentals of the the D300 are weak compared to the other two cards Mac Pros come with. But thankfully, the D300s are no weaker than the 780m under Windows. Actually, they're better so long as the application don't push up against a VRAM wall.

    I agree that the D500 is disappointing to use under current the current software environment, but I think when OpenCL and DX12/Mantle mature, the D500's wider memory bus and the higher steam processor count will pay off by simply being able to keep up. Maybe not with a smooth framerate, but a tolerable one. I'm not interested in buying another Mac Pro for some time. I don't think i'll need to with how mine is configured.
     

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