Need help picking a new GPU.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by lukewind, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. lukewind macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    I have a Mac Pro 4,1 Octocore System with an ATI Radeon HD 4870 & 16GB of RAM.

    I have some spending money and I kinda want to upgrade the GPU again. I use mainly FCP, After Effects, and gaming.

    Is there currently any good GPU's that would give me a decent boost in terms of performance in programs like After Effects? I looked at the 5770 and 5870, both seem nice but I don't know if either are gonna really give me a decent leap in performance.

    Anybody in same situation as me and see increase with either one of these cards? I don't have enough to buy the quadro cards, way too expensive, but I can spend up to $450.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. jb502 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011
  3. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    5870 will give you a decent leap in performance. Not huge, but decent.

    GTX285 is slower than the 4870 for your apps. Don't buy it.
  4. jb502 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011
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    Uh, gtx 285 uses cuda. How is it slower than 4870 in after effects? Wait, how is it slower at anything? Check the benchmarks
  5. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Hold yer horses.

    Lion is coming, with it should be an increase in GFX card options, Nvidia and Apple don't seem to be playing nice atm but there is a good chance that the AMD cards of the future will be working very well with OS X. I would keep saving and wait till Lion is released properly then review the options again.
  6. eyup macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2006
    Wouldn't putting your System and Apps on a SSD (solid state drive) boost performance?
  7. Rics macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    Well, i'm going to buy a MP soon and in IMHO i'll check about nvidia cards because they have developed this CUDA system that's used by some render engines and speed up dramatically the renders tasks for 3D graphics.

    With Lion could be a refresh by ATI on OpenCL but what is important, out of the Lion use of OpenCL, is the presence of softwares that use the OpenCL for rendering jobs, thing that at the moment isn't available as for CUDA.

    Then i don't know if the Adobe apps take care of CUDA and use it, surely Octane and Arion for 3D renderings are.
  8. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    Because After Effects doesn't use CUDA. Only Premiere.

    The ATI drivers do much better with pro apps like Final Cut. NVidia has always been faster at games, ATI has always been faster at pro apps. It's just been a result of how the drivers have been tuned.

    CUDA doesn't help hardly at all with compositing, which is what After Effects does. It's used for accelerating playback, which is Premiere's domain, and is why Adobe only adding CUDA to Premiere.

    OP has already said he's an FCP user. FCP has always done better with ATI cards, and FCP does not support CUDA. Given this, there is absolutely no reason the OP should care about CUDA, and they should go for the faster card for their apps.

    Seriously, none of the apps op listed support CUDA. Stop with the CUDA.
  9. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    No one knows how FCPX is going to perform with each card. if you're a big FCP user and are considering an upgrade, wait until it's released and then upgrade accordingly. Your GPU is fine, I do lots of video/effects related work and have gotten by with the stock '08 MP's 2600XT just fine, and I used to be a whore for the highest end video cards, haha.
  10. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    While this is true.... the 5870 is much faster on a raw numbers level than the 285, and Apple is not a CUDA supporter. I can think of no reason why one would want to buy the 285 for FCPX.

    Apple doesn't even ship any machines with NVidia cards currently. That should tell you their opinion on NVidia cards. This will likely be reflected in their software.

    I'm not so sure what you're saying is true...

    The 5870 comes with a very nice boost in VRAM, which is very important for video editing.

    Yes, you can edit on a 2600XT, and nothing is going to break. But you'd have a much faster workflow on a newer card.
  11. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    I'm not so sure the current FCP even touches the video card for much of any tasks right now, does it? I'm all ears, I know FCP X will heavily leverage the GPU but I was under the impression that the current FCP is pretty CPU heavy.
  12. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    Yes, current FCP is heavy on the video card. Stuff like RT Extreme. The framebuffer can also be on VRAM.

    Current FCP uses the CPU for playback, which is quite heavy, but FCP still also is heavy on the GPU.
  13. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    In this case, i'm ordering a GPU soon as well haha

    but at the same time, I use RT extreme all the time with seemingly no issue.
  14. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    RT Extreme has been around for a long while. I remember using it on my Powerbook G4.

    I know of some video software that will crash when working on HD footage on a card with less than a half gig of VRAM, so at the very least it's a good idea to stay current for VRAM.

    From what I understand, it's probable that FCPX will use the GPU for playback, much like Premiere. Don't take my word for it though... I've worked with some of FCPX's subsystem, and in theory the playback subsystem could be GPU accelerated, by it depends on the format of the video in FCP. So far I've only used those portions for H.264.
  15. jb502 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Here are the facts:

    Though the new driver and OS release doesn't make the GeForce GTX 285 go faster, it continues to dominate in our extreme 3D tests and competes well with the Radeon HD 4870 in all but one Pro App Core Image test we tried. Therefore it wins the "best all around performance" award.

    what were you saying about the 4870 being faster???
  16. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't see FCP on this link...

    Nor this one, but I will note that the 4870 nearly overtook the 285 on Motion, even though the 4870 has half the vram and Motion is VRAM heavy...

    Read my post instead of spamming links please.

    I said the 285 is faster on games.
    The ATI cards are faster on pro applications.
    The OP clearly said he does not play games.


    Benchmarks of the 285 getting smacked around by the 4870 on pro apps.

    And for the record, I've usually bought NVidia hardware because I was a CUDA programmer. But ATI has done significant work optimizing their drivers for the sorts of operations the pro apps do.
  17. jb502 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2011

    Pro Apps? Only pro app I saw was motion 3. So the 4870 is faster with motion 3. thats it.
  18. 100Years macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2011
    This thread got me thinking: I've seen some Windows apps that make use of ATI Stream technology; maybe we'll start seeing Mac apps do the same (if some don't already)?
  19. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004

    ATI's also bench far better in CoreAnimation, which is what FCPX uses.

    I've actually had NVidias kernel panic in CoreAnimation (did heavy CoreAnimation development for a while.)

    ATI Stream is actually dead. They're reusing the brand for their OpenCL implementation now.
  20. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    i had a 4890 in my mp 1,1 and since ive upped to the 3,1 and the 285, and its a world of difference. image quality for starters is much better on the Nvidia card than i had with my 4890. In windows the 285 is much, much faster pretty much all round with any game than the 4890, however, i dont get to game much anymore.

    The only apps i use a LOT is photoshop and Sketchbook pro for drawing and painting, and its much, much nicer. also the 4890 sounded like a 747 on take off, whereas the 285 though not silent is much, much quieter..

    i got no idea about motion nor FCP, but thats just my findings, above all, i appreciate the better image quality and less noise. YMV. :)


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