Video card - is it worth

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Washac, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Washac macrumors 68020

    Washac

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    #1
    Hi All

    I have at the moment an Nvidia GeForce GT120 card in my Mac Pro.

    Thinking of buying an ATI Radeon Hd 4870 card

    I assume is this worthwhile :)
     
  2. Cycom macrumors 6502

    Cycom

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #2
    That upgrade is well worth it. Big improvement in both gaming and pro apps (where applicable).
     
  3. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    totally depends on what you use your computer for.
     
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #4
    It will certainly make your energy bill jump a few steps. The 120 runs without any additional PCIe power where the 4870 runs on two additional six pin cables of 12V supply. I don't have numbers but be prepared to use 100 W more power and considerable more fan RPMs.
     
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    100W? Never ever. That might count if you are continuously gaming or running render apps that can utilise the GPU to it's fullest.

    And higher fan speeds? According to your signature, you've got the card in your system? Did it change any of the RPMs of your system after you popped it in?
    I assume not.

    My Pro came with the 4870 any my fan speeds are as low as the pre-configured minimum, which is 600-1200, depending on the specific fan group.
     
  6. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #6
    I have both cards and have used the 4870 on and off in the last months. It makes my 2009 machine blow out a lot more heat when I have it in media server mode by night. It also hikes up the PCIe bay fan to cope with increased waste heat. I'm running a RAID card as well, so my PCIe bay isn't totally cold without the 4870 either. 100 W may be really a peak figure but it is certainly no negligible power difference. I would at least expect 50 W in idle.
     
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    ATI 4870 TDP is 225W
    GT120 TDP is 50W

    In OpenCL, the GT120 currently scores only marginally lower than the ATI 4870, whether this is driver issues or OpenCL's natural love of Nvidia's core structure is debatable. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=8890758&postcount=17

    Very few tasks can actually leverage the GPU at this point, so unless you are gaming, I would buy the cheapest card possible to drive your display (GT120) and when software you use starts taking advantage of GPU processing, buy the best card you can afford at that time.

    So OP... I don't think it is worthwhile unless you want to game.
     
  8. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
  9. 3587 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #9
    Well, if your anything like me... I don't "need" the card and I'll probably never use it to it's full advantage, but I'm going to replace my GT120 with the GTX 285 anyhow! Maybe it will help in some areas that I use... Like iPhoto and iWeb, but if it's too much card for that, oh well, I'd rather have too much than too little! ;)
     
  10. wpc33 macrumors 6502

    wpc33

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #10
    We're telling you, you won't notice any difference in performance, but since you cannot be stopped, be sure to spend on your Stepford Card for :apple:points!
     
  11. justit macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #11
  12. pr-photo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    #12
    I went for the GTX285.

    Photoshop seems snappier and the few games I have can be set on max for all settings.

    Also has the advantage of Dual DVI-I outputs though that depends on your preference to Apple displays

    I'm running dual 24" Dell 2408WFP

    Card was difficult to get in the UK though
     
  13. Cycom macrumors 6502

    Cycom

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    Does Safari also feel snappier? ;)
     
  14. King Mook Mook macrumors 6502

    #14
    It depends on what you use it for; If you just use it to surf the web then no, not really, but if you are using more graphic-intense apps (if you use them then you know what I mean) then yes.

    King Mook Mook
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #15
    That's max though, as the PCIe power cables can't provide more that that. Reality is different, but is dependent on usage (PC or MP systems).
     
  16. 3587 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #16
    So, say in normal daily computer use... Safari, Mail, iPhoto, iWeb, Pages, Numbers... Would you notice ANY difference between the GT 120 and the GTX 285? Even the smallest amount?

    I just installed the GTX 285... I had the GT 120... iPhoto seems much quicker... Video/loading of Safari pages seems to snap a little quicker... Would this card have much to do with that or is it all in my head?
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #17
    The GTX 285 does run faster, but it's overkill IMO. The HD4870 would have been nice too (maybe just as, or even better, as ATI's tend to have better drivers under OS X than the nVidia cards), and cost less.
     

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