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Thread: Mac Pro video card update query...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Mac Pro video card update query...

    Hi all,

    I have recently given my 8800GT a quick roast in the oven to restore some vitality which has done the trick well. But it has got me thinking that I may soon require some upgrades to keep my Mac Pro running smoothly and future proof it... for a little while longer anyway.

    I am a pro Photographer and use my Mac Pro regularly for large 2D file retouching. Stitched Digital Medium format files often reach 2GB+, so I am contemplating updating my video card to bring it inline with the larger files I work with, compared to the smaller files back in 2008.

    Currently it seems to run fairly well, but any increase in performance would be appreciated. I also often have approx 100 (smaller RAW) files open in PS6 at any one time which does push it a bit.

    My main priority is colour accuracy, bit depth, power etc. I realise CS6 doesn't take advantage of CUDA (albeit a few features do), but in the future it may? For 2D work, is minimum 1Gb RAM required or more... 1.5...2.5Gb? Is having a powerful games based card advantageous for 2D work? Are such "games" based cards less critical when it comes to precise colour accuracy?

    I have looked at the 5770, 5870 & even a flashed GTX-570 1.2Gb or 2.5Gb. The Quadro I've disregarded, as I'd prefer to put the extra money towards a PCI-e SSD boot/scratch disk.

    My current Mac Pro setup is:
    27" NEC PA271
    2008 2.8Ghz Octo
    16Gb RAM
    8800GT 512mb
    1x 1TB Drive System
    2x 2TB Drive Raid 1 Photoshop Scratch
    1x 2TB Drive Business related
    Synology 4 Drive RAID Photo storage

    Any help or related experiences would be greatly appreciated.



  2. #2
    Member Dan Ortego's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
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    Re: Mac Pro video card update query...

    Hmm, thatís a tough one as your MacPro is fairly well configured as it is. Mine is a 2009 and is similarly configured including the same NEC display. Personally, Iíd wait until the spring when Apple is finally going to release the new MacPro from the ground up. I suspect it will be a smaller form factor and incorporate more modern technologies and hopefully a universal GPU standard. If it turns out to be just a simple facelift with Thunderbolt and the usual low-end 1-2 GPU cards, then Iím going to look at a PC. Heck, an Origin Pro PC costing less than the MacPro will run circles around the latest MacPro and that's just the way it is.

    Iíve been using Macís since day one in 1984 and I love the OS, although Iím not sure about Appleís plans for the future regarding the Desktops. They said they will make something really special but I have learned that doesn't always mean much. Apple Maps anyone?
    Last edited by Dan Ortego; 29th September 2012 at 12:30.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2009
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    Re: Mac Pro video card update query...

    A few months ago, I upgraded my wife's machine from a 2006 Mac Pro (1.1) to a 2009 machine since the old Mac Pro could not use more than 5Gb reliably (we tried RAM from 3 name brand companies).

    Yesterday, I loaded up Bootcamp and install Windows 7 on the old 2006 Mac Pro.

    According to the Windows Experience test, the 2.66 Xeon on the 2006 machine is only just a tad slower than the 2 i7 Nehalem 2.8/2.9 Ghz 2009/2010 machines I have. From the 2006 Xeon to the 2009/2010 Nehalem, there are 2 generation difference? (one "tick" and one "tock" of going from smaller geometry and newer microarchitecture) Anyway, not bad at all!

  4. #4

    Re: Mac Pro video card update query...

    Yes its is good for all of you.

  5. #5
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
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    Re: Mac Pro video card update query...

    I have a similar setup and it's been a workhorse for years now. I've made the purchase price back a hundred fold.

    Still, I look forward to the promised new Mac Pro rumored to be introduced this year.

    In the meantime, I've installed two SSDs and am amazed at the speed increase. All my apps and OS are on one drive and the second receives images from my card reader. Working on images from that drive is very speedy (and quiet!). Both SSDs get a nightly backup, but so far they have performed flawlessly. Not cheap, but a significant difference in performance that made it easy to wait for the next iteration of the MP.


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