Upgrade to 5870 or Buy 8GB Memory Stick?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by milbournosphere, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Hi all,

    I, like many, am in the market for one of the new Mac Pros. After working out my budget (and realistically going over my needs), I've decided to get the 3.2 quad core box. Now I have two choices: I can either upgrade to the 5870 and use the stock RAM for now, or stay with the 5770 and get an 8GB ram stick. It is my intention to eventually have 24GB (3x8GB) of ram in this box, hence my desire to get an 8gb stick to start with.

    Unfortunately, I cannot afford both right out of the gate. Which do you think would be best to start off with? I will be doing a lot of number crunching and simulations with this box, in addition to some Photoshop/Illustrator work and gaming. What do you all think, RAM or graphics card?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Are you sure that you will really need 24GB? The issue with 8GB module is that it won't work with other RAM. If you got one 4GB module, you could use it along with stock RAM and get 7GB. You could just get the stock model and wait for the magic of GPU flashing to happen, then you can get PC 5870 which is cheaper, possibly 5850 too.
     
  3. Etherz10 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #3
    What do you plan on doing?

    if it was me i would go for RAM as 5770 isn't that much worse than 5870
     
  4. latech macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #4
    I would go for the 8gb of ram, cause that gpu will not really do anything for illustrator or photoshop. Lloyd who does MacPerformance found that the 5870 didn't not help out any with Open GL. And Photoshop is the memory eater.
     
  5. milbournosphere thread starter macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #5
    I plan on mainly using this box for virtualization and number crunching. I'm taking some heavy AI courses this session and will be doing quite a bit of testing in that regard. I also do some photoshop and illustrator work from time to time, as well as gaming when I have free time. Has anybody seen how much better the 5870 (with its wider memory bus) is over the 5770?

    @Hellhammer: I don't need the 24GB of ram right now, but I really want this machine to last, and it seems silly to go with 4GB of RAM now, only to have to throw it away or trade it in later in order to get to the full potential of the machine later. I know it's more expensive now, but I think it might save me money in the long run. What do you think?
     
  6. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #6
    Depends what you mean by "not that much worse".

    The 5770 is exactly half the speed of the 5870, which is a huuuuge margin.

    Both cards are great, though. There isn't anything wrong with the 5770, it's fast in it's own right, but the 5870 is much faster.
     
  7. barefeats macrumors 65816

    barefeats

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2000
    #7
    We are not finished testing but in hi rez, hi qual, 4x aa with 5 games, the 5870 was 30% faster than the 5770. Tho the memory bus of the 5870 is twice as fast, the full bandwith is rarely reached in the real world apps.
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #8
    It's not just the bandwidth... the 5870 has double the number of stream units as the 5770, so twice the computational power. Real world results will vary, but on a technical level, the 5870 is basically two 5770s.

    Looking forward to your results of the 5870 in older Mac Pros, almost as much as them being available for order as kits. :)
     
  9. milbournosphere thread starter macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    I think I'm going to save my cash for the RAM. People seem to be finding roughly a 50% increase in performance with the 5870 over the 5770, and even Apple's tests seem to show that on their little performance pages. I think that in my case, I will benefit more from the RAM than the card right now. Plus, I just called and I can pick up the machine in store from my local Apple Store, rather than buying online and having to bite my nails watching it inch its way over here from China :)
     

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