Mac Pro Graphic Card: ATI Radeon 2 x 5770 or 1 x 5870?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rob Jarvis, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Rob Jarvis macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2011

    OK, So I've just ordered my new Mac Pro for work and here's the spec:

    Two 2.66GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory: 12GB (6X2GB)
    2 x ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB Graphic cards
    2 x 512GB Solid State Drives
    2 x HD Cinema screens
    One 18x SuperDrive

    £8,950.00 (ouch!) being made up now, and delivered next week.

    What I need to know is would it be better / faster going for 1 x ATI Radeon HD 5870 1 GB or stick with the 2 x HD 5770's graphc cards?

    I popped into The Apple store in Regent Street, London today and as a Joint Venture Business account holder I got to see someone straight away and no one could answer me the question which would be better or faster?

    1 x ATI Radeon HD 5870

    or the

    2 x ATI Radeon HD 5770

    I work with extremely High Resoultion Image and design files, so it's imperitive to get the best.

    I very much look forward to your valued opiions.


    Rob Jarvis

  2. nastymrx macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2011
    From what i can understand is that the 2x 5770 is preferred if you runs multiple displays. So go for the 5870 solution if only one display is needed.
  3. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    The 5870 is the fastest offer you can currently get (officially) and quite a bit more powerful than a 5770. So for now you should go for a 5870 (as you can not link two 5770 similar to what would be possible under Windows via Crossfire).

    Chances are that Apple will introduce official support for the next-generation graphic cards (Radeon 7xxx) with introduction of a revised MacPro coming spring.

    If you should not be satisfied with the 5870 by then you could still add one of the next-gen graphic cards...
  4. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    What about a quadro 4000 card? Lots of VRAM and great performance.
  5. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I'm not an expert in graphics cards. But here is my understanding.
    for 2-d work the 5770 and 5870 are essentially equal.
    For 3-d rendering the 5870 has a big advantage (roughly twice the speed).
    Similarly if the software you use can take advantage of the gpu the
    5870 is faster. If you want to have more than two screens then
    two cards are typically better than one.

    For your use - to be honest - I don't think you'll notice a difference
    (it does not sound like you are doing 3-d renderings).
    So then the decision comes down to which you are more likely to
    do first - add another monitor, or start doing 3-d renderings,
    or using software that can take advantage of the gpu.

    Like I said, I'm not an expert. Maybe somebody who is will come along.
    In which case they will probably want to know what software you are using.
    But since you've already ordered your Mac, seems a little late to be asking for this kind of advice . . .
  6. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    high res images + two screens = alot of video memory

    Two 5770 = 2*1GB video ram, twice as one 5870
    5870 is a faster card but it does not sound like you need GPU performance
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    I'm guessing you do 2D design. in that case, the graphics card performance isn't important, since you won't be stressing it. basically, you don't need a 5870.

    the advantage of using two (or more) video cards is that, when using one monitor per video card, the video RAM doesn't get split, e.g. plug two monitors into one card and each monitor gets half of the card's VRAM. so since you work on multiple monitors, get two 5770s.
  8. Rob Jarvis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2011
    I'm doing 2D work no 3D rendering or video editing, purley opening and editing large RAW files and .PSD files, so mostly Photoshop and InDesign stufff.

    I shoot in RAW format from the Hassleblad camera typically the files are 50 - 80 MB each i then have to batch convert them save them etc then create design files in Indesign so placing all these super high resolution images creates large files.

    So, because I'm not doing any 3D work should I swap the two 5770's for one 5870? don't forget I'll be running 2 cinema screens though.

    Thanks in adavnce

    Rob Jarvis
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    no, the point is you're not doing graphics-intensive work, so the more powerful 5870 is a waste of money. stick with two 5770s, one per display.

    FYI, Photoshop won't be able to use all the cores in a 12-core. it only uses four. I'm pretty sure ID is even worse about multicore support. the six-core (3.33 GHz) is a better option because of that, tradeoff is you only get four RAM slots instead of eight.

    if you use C1, that will use all or most of a 12-core, but I imagine most of your work is in PS (whether you use C1 or not).

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