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Which Graphics Card Config Is Best?


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#1 erocks5

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:31 PM

Hey everyone,

I am looking at getting anew Apple Mac Pro in the near future. The main use will be to run Maxon Cinema 4D and some other 3-D software programs. I am looking for help in deciding which graphics card setup would be best from them. Here is their list of available components:

Graphics
Choose from a selection of PCI Express graphics cards from both NVIDIA and ATI, each able to support up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. Select a higher-performance card for more advanced graphics work, or add more than one card to power an array of displays simultaneously for visualization projects and large display walls.

Choose among these graphics card options.

ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
For excellent all-around performance in creative and productivity applications, choose one or more ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT cards. This card features a 256MB GDDR3 frame buffer, PCI Express 2.0 interface, and two dual-link DVI ports. With up to four ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics cards installed, a Mac Pro can support up to 8 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
For even greater graphics performance, choose the latest-generation NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 video memory. With a unified shader core and massive memory bandwidth, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT brings advanced performance to graphics-intensive applications like motion graphics, 3D modeling, rendering and animation. Featuring a PCI Express 2.0 interface for high bandwidth connection to the Mac Pro and two dual-link DVI ports for connecting up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

Dual-Display Modes
Each graphics card offers built-in dual-display support in two modes. Extended Desktop mode allows you to work on two monitors at once for increased desktop real estate and enhanced productivity. Video mirroring mode is useful when presenting to groups the same image that you see on your local display also appears on a projector or auxiliary display. Simply attach two monitors and the Mac OS will recognize both displays. Use the Displays system preference to configure your monitors in either extended desktop or video mirroring modes.

You can attach multiple Apple flat panels with DVI connectors to your Mac Pro graphics card directly. If you have an Apple flat panel with an ADC connector, the optional Apple DVI to ADC Adapter is required (sold separately).

Close

ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (Two dual-link DVI) [Subtract $135]
2 x ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB [Subtract $18]
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (Two dual-link DVI)
3 x ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB [Add $99]
4 x ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB [Add $216]

I guess I just don't understand what the advantage to having 4 ATI cards would give me over the NVIDIA 8800? Or, would I be better off going with the initial setup and of 1 ATI Radeon 2600 and upgrading on my own?

Thanks for your input!!

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#2 Sterling14

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 07:53 PM

I believe four 2600XT's is kind of a waste. It's better to have a more powerful card, then many slower ones. I'd say go with the 8800GT. It is an excellent card. I don't really know much about those programs you are using, but the 8800GT can play most modern 3D game on highest quality settings, without running sluggish.
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#3 BlackSpyder

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:41 PM

the 8800 is the best option and if im not mistaken can be used in a multi-card setup if need bee too.

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#4 smurfgod

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:44 AM

the 8800 is truly an awesome card, if you can make it, it can render it. And it can be SLi'd if your board can handle it.

on a sidenote the 9800GT uses 2 8800 gpu's per card, so in SLi its effectively a quad 8800. But it wasn't one of your options and isn't cost effective at this point.

#5 protozero

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:43 PM

From those choices, I'd stick with the 8800. The 2600XT('s) could probably handle the program. The GeForce 8800 does beat a single 2600XT and I think 2 as well. The triple and quad setup would give you more performance in most things, but it would also use alot power and the noise levels would mostly likely be high.

The GeForce 8800 seems the most reasonable and should do you fine.
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#6 erocks5

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 04:33 PM

Thanks everyone, you all had the same idea as me. The nice thing is that the new Mac's all come with dual quad core chips so I would imagine 8 cores and one decent graphics card should be really fast for rendering my 3-d videos.

Thanks again,
Eric




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