Which video card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Cactusface, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Cactusface macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2015
    Leicester. UK
    Hi Chaps,
    I'm fairly new to the mac pro! that is an old pro 3.1 at the moment I have a Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512Mb video card, so what's a better card, would like to do a bit of game playing, but mostly used for PCB cad, photography, etc.

    Perhaps a bit disappointed that this 8 core (2x 2.8GHz Quad) is a bit on the slow side at times. How would a single quad core pro 4.1 perform??

    Any help or advice very welcome.


  2. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    A quad core 4,1 would be slower especially for any application that can use eight cores. It can however be relatively easily upgraded to a six core 3.46GHz which would be a lot faster than the eight core 3,1.

    Your graphics card is very old & slow for any graphics intensive operation. What's your budget? The best bang for buck is to add a used PC GTX570 for $50 or so. It's similar performance to a GTX680 & may be faster for CUDA. You won't get a boot screen but the GTX570 uses native OS X drivers & you can keep the 8800 if you need to see the boot screen.
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    A 4,1 single quad core with a higher clock speed is much faster than what you are using now. I doubt any of the applications you are using are taking advantage of the 8 cores. If you flash the 4,1 with the 5,1 firmware, you could pop a newer CPU in there, all the way up to a W3690 (3.46 GHz hexacore) and that would be way, way faster.

    For gaming, that is a really old graphics card. Personally I don't like having two video cards, and I do like having a boot screen, so depending on your budget I'd get a flashed 7950, 7970, 680, or 970 maybe. Some of those you can flash yourself. The GTX 680 is quite easy to flash, provided you don't get a weird one.
  4. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Why do you think that? I use Photoshop & Premiere which use multi-core well. Yesterday I used a free WAV->MP3 converter which nicely maxed out all eight cores on my 8 core 3,1 while converteing a few hundred WAV files. Even if a single application doesn't scale beyond 4 cores another 4 cores leaves you with sapre capacity to run other programs.
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    It depends on the software you are using, the exact applications, and even the functions you mostly use in an application.

    But, generally speaking, few applications can actually make top use of more than four cores or so. Even within a multicore application like Photoshop and Premiere, most functions are helped by clock speed--only a handful of functions can use all cores. And a couple of functions use GPU acceleration.

    Games don't use more than 2-4 cores, so will benefit far more from more clock speed than more cores.

    CAD programs are largely single threaded, so also will benefit from more clock speed than more cores.

    Conversion programs like your WAV->MP3 converter, Handbrake, or Compressor are the exceptions. Conversion functions within a program like Photoshop and Premiere also benefit greatly from more cores, because the job can be split up and carried out in parallel. Unfortunately most non-conversion-like work cannot be. Someone else here made a much more elegant explanation of this than I am able to--wish I could find it.
  6. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Most of us run several applications simultaneously so the fact that any single application might not scale well beyond 2-4 cores still means that in a dual CPU eight core system we can run several programs at full speed rather than them all having to share just four cores.
  7. DPUser macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2012
    Rancho Bohemia, California
    Digital Audio Workstation software will use everything you've got.
  8. JimmyPainter macrumors member


    Nov 13, 2015
    I am running a Mac Pro 3,1 with a 7970 and it screams. Especially for $500 + $150 for used 7970. I kept the original Video card for boot screen and the Lexmark Sala score I am getting is right there with a nMPro D300s.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page

7 November 11, 2015