Upgrade video card vs upgrade entire system

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ronweathers, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. ronweathers macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2010
    I am kicking around between upgrading video card in my 1st gen Mac Pro (2 x 2.66 dual core, 8gb ram) from 7300 Gt to ati 4870 vs. upgrading to a newer system altogether...

    Newer MP has 2 x 2.66 quad cores, 12 gb ram with the 4870 card.) What kind of improved performance might I really expect or even notice when using photoshop, light video editing, 3d graphics.

    I have not included costs because I want to focus on the performance boosts sans cost for the purpose of this discussion.
  2. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Photoshop and light video editing will not benefit much. 3d graphics would benefit, ie you could probably handle more complex models, but would do nothing to speed render times.

    I'm not even sure you can put a 4870 in a first gen MP, though, I'm not sure about that.
  3. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    Oh pleeze! This forum is full of posts concerning 4870 & MP 1,1! It works!!! Next time you're not sure about something, don't say anything.
  4. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Why? I prefaced it with I'm not sure, and that's just a flag for him to look into it.

    That's a lot different than "dude, you can't get a 4870 in an MP1,1 the thermal envelope just can't handle it and your microwave oven will stop working."

    So, the next time you feel like getting all preachy, just chill the freak out and if YOU have any input, just give it, nice and polite like. Otherwise, don't say anything, ok?
  5. PurpleLogix macrumors member


    Jul 2, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I would upgrade the card, I did and yes it is a MP1,1
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yes, the card will work in that system. You just can't really benefit from Open CL, as the 32 bit firmware can only allow single point precision floating point calculations, where as the 64 bit EFI allows for double precision. It makes a difference, but as software isn't really capable of using it yet, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll need a new system by then.

    So I'd base it on how you will split your time for your usage. It's still a wonderful system for photo work, but not so much with 3D, given the graphics card selection is so thin (HD4870 is the current top dog for the 1,1 systems, as the GTX 285 will not work). Presumably, the Mac version of the 5xxx will work once released (based on the same firmware spec; EBC rather than EFI64 as nVidia's recent Mac cards are).

    Once OS X goes to K64 exclusively, you'll no longer be able to use the latest version either, which is the other limitation of EFI32 firmware.

    It's not to scare you, but help guide you to the right decision based on primary usage.

    If it's primarily for photo work, I'd say get the 4870. But if you're getting into 3D rather heavily, an EFI64 system would be warranted IMO, and would recommend going with a 3.2GHz '08 Octad in the refurb store (same price as the base '09 Octad, but faster for both single and multi-threaded applications). It's a much better bargain, even with upgrades added into the cost. Fewer problems as well.

    Just a thought. ;)
  7. ronweathers thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Great feedback. Appreciate your time and expertise. Probably will go for the 4870 upgrade for now... but keeping my eye out for the next update to the MP line.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    :cool: NP. :)

    I'm (and many others) hoping there will be a 5xxx ATI model when the 2010 systems ship. It's also expected it will work in your system. Just none of the newer nVidia offerings, as the firmware is different (specification; EBC = EFI Byte Code vs. EFI64). EBC can work in both 32 and 64 bit EFI systems.
  9. uujamchen macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2009

    nanofrog, your technical knowledge and willingness to assist others is second to none. Thanks!
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Thanks. :) That's what forums are for. :D :p

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