upgrade mac pro for video editing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by realist666, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. realist666 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,
    First time poster so please bear with me. I've had a hunt around in the archives and I can't find an answer to my specific question so wondering if any gurus out there might help.
    Anyway, I have a Mac Pro 2.66 dual core with 6 gig of ram and an Nvidia GeForce 7300GT graphics card.
    I'm upgrading to Snow leopard and have just installed Photoshop CS5.
    Photoshop can't see the graphics card and Apple recommend upgrading from the 7300 card as apparently there can be issues with it and Snow leopard.
    So its gotta go.
    I'm also going to start video work and will look at installing Final Cut Pro and Aftereffects.
    These programs require massive computing/graphics power.
    So my questions are:
    - What is the best graphics card out there for my Mac Pro and do I need to install an older version for my computer as it is about two years old?
    - Should I look at upgrading the processors or is that not going to worthwhile or too hard?
    - I'm going to put in more RAM so what sort should I go for?
    - Anything else I should be doing or know of before I embark on this upgrade?
    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    1. ATI 4870

    2. Is your Mac Pro dual core (only one CPU) or quad core (two CPUs)?

    3. OWC
     
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #3
    Correction:

    1. ATI 4890 ;)



    also RAM with frequencies higher then 667 can be used and is sometimes cheaper.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Via flashing, yes ;) If OP wants card which will work out of the box, 4870 is the fastest

    But if your other RAM is 667MHz, it'll be underclocked to 667MHz so unless 800MHz is cheaper, it's not worth it.
     
  5. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #5
    upgrade Mac Pro

    Thanks guys,
    Hellhammer, its a dual core and the ram is 667.
    I think I'll go with the 4870 as I think with my amount of knowledge flashing could open up a world of pain.
    If it ain't plug-out, plug-in I could be in trouble.
    Do you guys think after this upgrade I'll be looking at a worthy machine for FCP and/or AE or am I putting lipstick on a pig?
    Thanks
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Unless you can afford a new Mac Pro, yes. I would sell it and push the money towards new one though as dual core isn't the fastest for video editing
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    Likely not as newer nVidia cards need 64-bit EFI, not sure though. Anyway, 1800$ for GPU is IMO way too much, especially if his Mac Pro is only dual core and it would be the bottleneck, even ATI 4870 might be too powerful
     
  8. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    I'm afraid a new Mac might be a bit of a stretch at this stage :-(
    That Nvidia looks interesting.
    Can you please tell me what makes the biggest difference to speed with video editing:
    Video card
    RAM
    Processor speed?

    Thanks
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    All are needed and does their own thing but mainly CPU IMO as it does most of encoding, rendering etc. RAM is for every app but I think +8GB isn't really worth for you as your CPU isn't that fast. Support for GPUs has been developing all the time but again, your CPU ain't that fast so ATI 4870 is more than fine.
     
  10. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #11
    I think that does it then.
    4870 it is.
    Just one last question.
    I suppose buying a new processor and installing it would be (a) hard and (b) waste of time/money as there would be other bottlenecks (e.g. bus?) built into such an old machine that I couldn't get much of an advantage?
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    Just to add that AFAIK, you have two 2.66GHz dual core CPUs so total of four cores? Then there may not be need to update, but if you want, I think you can use 2x quad core as well (Clovertown/Harpertown) but I'm not sure. They cost pretty much though
     
  12. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    According to the mac lifecycle website the mac pro is due for replacement soon.
    I might just wait and save my pennies until I can afford a new one rather than pump money into this old machine.
    It can limp along until then.
    Thanks for your help.
     
  13. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #14
    The fastest graphic card that supports the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine used in Creative Suite 5 is the GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition. Unfortunately it isn't supported by the Mac Pro 1,1 model you seem to have.

    The Radeon HD 4870 (or the Radeon HD 4890) is not even supported by Adobe Creative Suite 5, so there is no reason to upgrade to it.

    Since Creative Suite 5 is fully 64-bit, more ram will also boost performance.
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    How about OpenGL? It says in Adobe's site that the list of supported GPUs is being updated all the time so it's just matter of time when ATI 4870 gets support
     
  15. CCK macrumors member

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    KY
    #16
    You could pay for half your machine by just going with the CS5 suite, unless you already have FCS.

    FC is lagging behind the others NLE's, and all of us editors are anxious to see what/if they have a major upgrade this year.

    Check out this tread.
    http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/final-cut-suite/478585-fcp-7-vs-adobe-premiere-cs5.html
     
  16. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    #17
    Doesn't matter. You will notice that the only parts on the short list are GPUs from nVIDIA that are CUDA-capable, unfortunately.

    If the Radeon HD 4870 were supposed to be supported it would have been so at launch, considering it is 2 years old now.
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #18
    No.

    The 2006 - 2007 MP's are EFI32 based firmware, and the Quadro FX4800 is EFI64 (OS X). To run it for OS X, you need an '08 or newer.

    Windows OTOH, it would work in any of the Intel MP's. :eek:

    It's possible, and others have already done it (Quad core 53xx processors). As per cost, you can on occasion, find them at a good price on eBay <example, has 2x available> or possibly Craig's List. Buying them new however, isn't worth it.

    The X5365 (SLAED is the one you want as it's G0 stepping and will work) is the fastest of the group BTW (3.0GHz), and those most seek out, though there's been a couple that have opted for 5355's (2.66GHz).

    As you're becoming aware, those systems are already limited for graphics cards. What you may not realize however, is the ability to upgrade the OS won't be possible for much longer. :eek:

    Snow Leopard has 2x Kernels, one 32 bit (K32), the other 64bit (K64). Apple has announced that they will drop K32 (which is all that can run on the EFI32 systems), so you'd be stuck with the last version of OS X that has K32 (which may well be Snow Leopard). We don't know exactly which version of OS X will drop it, but as 10.7 seems to be on a slow track, and seems more likely to me than 10.8. Assuming K32 is available in 10.7, it will not make it into 10.8 (products such as Snow Leopard are interim products, and Apple's a history of not supporting them for very long). It's really not that far away. :(

    So even if you do decide to swap out the processors, you'd need to be squirreling away funds for a new system assuming you intend to continue using OS X for your primary work.

    In EFI32, cards that can/will support GPGPU operation, will only function for Single Precision Floating Point Calculations. EFI64 allows for Double Precision (big difference).
     
  18. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #19
    Please bear with me as I've read the latest postings on this topic and (being a newbie) I'm more confused than ever.
    There are a lot of acronyms that I don't understand and even when I research their meanings I can't quite see how they relate to each other.
    So the bottom line is, can someone please advise me on what upgrade video card is compatible with a dual core 2.66 mac from Nov 2007?
    I'm foregoing the processor upgrade but I'd like to do something to update the video card at least.
    Thanks guys.
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #20
    Given the system you're using, the only brand of recent cards that will work is ATI. Of the currently available models, the HD4870 would be the fastest (I'm not considering the ability to use Flash or injector methods with PC cards).

    Now the 2010 systems are due to release soon, and we're expecting the HD5870. As it will use the same firmware methodology, it would also work in your system (EBC based firmware = EFI Byte Code). Unfortunately, it's not going to be all that inexpensive (figure the card's initial MSRP as to what it would be in a Mac edition).

    It's up to you as to which of these you'd choose, but the newer nVidia cards WILL NOT WORK in your system at all.

    Hope this helps clear things up a bit. :)
     
  20. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #21
    Excellent.
    Thankyou nanofrog.
    I'm just after a bit of a boost and leave behind some of the problems that snowleopard and photoshop cs5 have with the nvidia 7300 that's currently in the computer.
    I don't want to splash huge cash on the upgrade considering the machine is elderly so sounds like the ATI HD 4870 is the go.
    Thanks again.
     
  21. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #22
    Sorry guys, just one more question.
    I've gone online to buy the card and am faced with choices from the following:
    MSI Radeon HD 4870/512, XFX ATI HD 4870/512,
    GeCube ATI Radeon HD 4870/1gb, Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD 4870/1gb, Asus Radeon HD 4870/2gb, etc etc.
    Are these just different brand names and they would all work?
    Would the 1 or 2 gb be much faster than the 512 and worth 2-3 times as much?
    There's also mention of dual cards.
    Would they work/be worth considering?
    Thanks
     
  22. kxfrog macrumors regular

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  23. realist666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 1, 2010
    #24
    Thanks kxfrog.
    Wow, that costs almost $700 in Australia.
    (penalty for living at the arse end of the universe).
    I think I'll skip the whole upgrade process and wait for the new computers to come out.
    Thanks for the advice.
     

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