What GPU for a 4,1 for Photoshop & Lightroom?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rainmakr, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. rainmakr macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    Like many others, I've pretty much given up on a Mac Pro update from Apple in the near future and am looking to upgrade a mostly stock (has a 2.5" SSD) 4,1 single CPU 2.66 Mac Pro with the nVidia GeForce GT 120.

    I've been reading threads related to GPUs and CPUs and my head is spinning.

    My main uses are Photoshop, Lightroom, and VMWare Fusion (Windows 7 instance running 100% of the time) with the occasional Handbrake conversion thrown in. I'd like to experiment with video (Premiere, not FCPX) but that's not going to happen for awhile. The machine is not used for any gaming.

    I already plan on doing a 4,1 -> 5,1 firmware update and installing a W3690 cpu.

    But, I'm lost as to what I should do for the graphics card.

    I have no preference between AMD and Nvidia. I'm just looking to take advantage of the GPU utilization in Lightroom/Photoshop, have a quiet card, and stay around $200 or less.

    I'm also hoping for something that isn't going to require constant babysitting with regards to drivers. I'm OK, with updating the driver alongside OS upgrades, but would like to avoid opening binaries in a text editor and tweaking a couple of bits (though it sounds like those days are mostly in the past).

    I'm currently looking at the two below; but, only because they fall in the budget and have a few good reviews:
    Can someone help point me in the right direction?

    Thanks for your help,
  2. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    No matter which newest GPU you get, Mac drivers make these apps a little laggy compared to Windows versions. A GTX 980 feels not much faster than a GT120 on the Mac side.
  3. chriz_r macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2016
    The adobe apps you're using are mostly CUDA accelerated, so Nvidia cards would work best.
  4. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Something supported from OS X native drivers: e.g. GTX 680, GTX 770

    GTX 680 you can flash yourself (for EFI boot screen), GTX 770 you can get from MVC: http://www.macvidcards.com
  5. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    RX470 is not natively supported yet, kext edit may be required after OS update.

    750Ti even worse, black screen only until Nvidia web driver install and activated after almost every update (including security update). And yes, you have to install the driver with back screen only. You cannot pre-install the driver before the OS update.

    Since both PS and LR are not that GPU intensive. A RX460 may be better than RX470, the 460 has native support now, zero action required after OS update (as long as the card still supported).

    On Nvidia side, the last trouble free card is the GTX680, some 7xx card also natively supported by OSX, but 680 is guarantee.
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    No they are not. Let's stop this myth completely. Adobe uses the Mercury Engine, which is based on OpenGL and OpenCL. Cuda is only used for a couple of trivial filters. There is no CUDA support in Mercury.
  7. Igorexxaa macrumors newbie


    Nov 16, 2016
    I used quadro 2000 in Mac Pro 4.1 and had a lot of problems with Photoshop and Illustrator. Now I bought a rx 480 and my problems are over. I advise you to use Amd graphics cards, because nvidia drivers have a lot of errors in the programs from Adobe on os x.
  8. rainmakr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    Thanks for the replies. I forgot to mention that most of the time I'm only running a 27" monitor (NEC PA272W) at 2560 x 1440 with the occasional second monitor (1366×768).

    Also, I'm OK with no boot screen until the drivers load. But don't want to install drivers in the dark as h9826790 mentioned.

    Also is brand important with regards to drivers and getting it working, or will the Web Nvidia drivers work with any Nvidia card and the standard OS X drivers work with any compatible Radeon?

    In other words, can I go out and grab "any" RX 470 or GTX 680 (EVGA, Sapphire, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, etc), or should I stick with specific manufacturers?

  9. chriz_r macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2016
    I stand corrected, I was basing my answer on previous work that I did with adobe on windows so I'm sure I'm already behind on system requirements knowledge base but I know a lot of the effects I used were pretty heavy and benefited on CUDA. :)
  10. DB10, Nov 16, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016

    DB10 macrumors newbie


    Nov 15, 2016
    I'm looking to do the same thing & leaning towards getting a new unused NVIDIA card.

    Looks like these are accelerated in PS but I'm not sure if it's for both Mac & Win:


    Camera Raw
    Scrubby Zoom
    Birds Eye View
    Flick Panning
    Smooth Brush Resizing
    Image Size – Preserve Details
    Select Focus
    Blur Gallery - Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt-Shift, Path Blur, Spin Blur (OpenCL accelerated)
    Smart Sharpen (Noise Reduction – OpenCL accelerated)
    Oil Paint (OpenCL accelerated)
    Render – Flame, Picture Frame, and Tree
    Perspective Warp

    - nVidia GeForce: 400, 500, 600, 700 series
    - nVidia Quadro: 2000, 4000 (Windows and Mac OS), CX, 5000, 6000, K600, K2000, K4000, K5000 (Windows and Mac OS), M4000, M5000
    - nVidia GRID K1, K2
    - AMD/ATI Radeon: 5000, 6000, 7000, R7, R9 series, 7950 Mac OS
    - AMD/ATI FirePro: 3800, 4800, 5800, 7800, 8800, 9800, 3900, 4900, 5900, 7900, W8100, W9100, D300, D500, D700
    - AMD/ATI FireGL: W5000, W7000, W8000
    - Intel HD Graphics: P530, 5000
    - Intel Iris Pro Graphics: P5200, P6300, P580

    14.jpg 13.jpg

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