Looking to buy first Mac Pro - graphics card advice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by PrincessPeach, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. PrincessPeach macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #1
    Hello

    I'm looking to buy a new Mac Pro now after years of saving. I'm probably going to go for the low end Nehalem since I will be pushed to be able to afford the octo (unfortunately) but I'm hanging on a little longer just in case we get some speed bumps or other trinkets around WWDC. Knowing when Snow Leopard is coming out will also be helpful. I probably won't wait though.

    This is my first major step into the Intel world in one significant way - I want to be able to play some Windows games in my free time. I've been through the whole thing in terms of software on my crippled (graphics-wise) aging Macbook but I don't know much about the hardware. I'd considered putting in two of the base Mac Pro cards yet I hear they're not very good. I'm not a passionate gamer at all and I don't care if my framerates aren't incredible - will the base cards keep me going for a few years before needing a rethink or will I end up stuck upgrading them after only a year to meet minimum specs again? The games I'm looking at are currently just Team Fortress 2 and similar "fun" games so I'd hope the base cards can handle that kind of thing comfortably.

    Reason for two cards is purely that I use two monitors and it's not that much more than one card when the price of the adapter was factored in (I understand SLI doesn't work?). Again input would be valued on this logic. I may just be being stubborn about Apple's expensive adapters.

    And a possibly silly bonus question, will Crossover/Parallels (I own both) be improved by the graphics card being better or are they capped out fairly low by other considerations anyway? I appreciate gaming is better done in full Windows mode, I'm just curious.

    I do like ATi drivers a lot more than nVidia, but I'm not sure if I like them enough to spend a lot more! The Mac will be used 95% of the time OSX side with the Windows time entirely spent with games. All of the stuff I do OSX side will be absolutely fine with the base graphics cards. I'm comfortable with that side of things.
     
  2. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #2
    best bang for the money will be the $200 4870 upgrade, the GT120/9500GT is more for UI and movie playing than games.
     
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    The other option is the GTX285 which should be released shortly and will have dual DVI connectors so you can run two normal monitors from one card. This will not be available from Apple though, so you will need to buy the MP with a GT120 installed and then replace it when you have everything in hand.
     
  4. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #4
    This would also work better if you wanted to keep both the GTX285 and the GT120 cards in the system since they are both Nvidia.

    Dedicate a monitor to each card.
     
  5. Luba macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #5
    If I want to use the GTX285 to play games on the Apple monitor I can't because it doesn't have a mini Display port, correct?

    Or I can buy a DVI to miniDisplay converter? If yes, I could buy a converter would I lose any picture resolution quality??

     
  6. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #6
    Unfortunately, that would mean Apple's screen could work with PCs. Sorry, but I do not think that DVI-> MDP exists.

    However, what exactly do you do on the OSX side? I personally would save $350 and go with the HP LP2475 from amazon.com (really good return policy for dead pixels as compared to other places). That's just me, though; the mantra with the MacPro is that third-party is generally cheaper for the same quality as Apple.
     
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Correct. There is no way to use the Apple 24" LED display with a DVI connector... so if you want to use the Apple display, your best card choice is the 4870.
     
  8. snouter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #8
    From what I read, a DVI -> mini Display Port is not possible, so don't hold out hope for one...
     
  9. PrincessPeach thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #9
    Thanks guys, together this sounds like a decent option. I'm upgrading my monitors at the same time so if I buy the Mac soon I can probably live with one monitor for a few weeks and save up for the upgrade then stick it in and feel the increased power and screen space.

    The slight delay will also give me more of a chance to see how the 4870 compares once these new cards are out in the wild. Unfortunately I'm in the UK so this is all a little more expensive than I would like, but it will be worth it I'm sure.
     

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