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Author Topic: Mac Pro video card update query...  (Read 2451 times)

flynnyfalcon

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Mac Pro video card update query...
« on: September 19, 2012, 07:54:13 AM »

Hi all,

I've popped this on another forum, but thought I'd try this learned crowd as well  ;D

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.

Cheers,

Flynny
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francois

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 08:14:51 AM »

Hi all,

I've popped this on another forum, but thought I'd try this learned crowd as well  ;D

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.

Cheers,

Flynny


You might want to read this article on XLR8yourMac.com.

If you're looking for a cheap and bootable PCIe card to use a SSD at full speed then Apricorn seems to offer just that. I haven't yet tested their solutions (Velocity Solo x1 and Velocity Solo x2 (*)). The less expensive retails for $39 and the x2 model goes at $99.

(*) MacPro Compatibility
The Velocity Solo x2 will function in all Mac Pro models, but will only boot in EFI64 machines which are the last 3 models known as Mac Pro 3,1 4,1 and 5,1 Your Mac model can be found by doing an "About This Mac", and then "More Info". The first two models known as Mac Pro1,1 and 2,1 are EFI32 so won't boot from the Velocity Solo x2, but will function as high performance storage.

Hope this helps…
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 08:16:51 AM by francois »
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Francois

flynnyfalcon

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 09:17:17 AM »

You might want to read this article on XLR8yourMac.com.

If you're looking for a cheap and bootable PCIe card to use a SSD at full speed then Apricorn seems to offer just that. I haven't yet tested their solutions (Velocity Solo x1 and Velocity Solo x2 (*)). The less expensive retails for $39 and the x2 model goes at $99.

(*) MacPro Compatibility
The Velocity Solo x2 will function in all Mac Pro models, but will only boot in EFI64 machines which are the last 3 models known as Mac Pro 3,1 4,1 and 5,1 Your Mac model can be found by doing an "About This Mac", and then "More Info". The first two models known as Mac Pro1,1 and 2,1 are EFI32 so won't boot from the Velocity Solo x2, but will function as high performance storage.

Hope this helps…

Ooh, just saw the title to your linked page...  Perfect!  Off to read for a little while  ;)
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flynnyfalcon

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 09:32:02 AM »

Wow, the test results sound incredible!  10x faster in OpenCL  ;D
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flynnyfalcon

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 09:46:49 AM »

It looks like the OWC Excelsior offers more throughput at around the same price, maybe a bit more.  Can be bootable on Mac Pro 3,1 as well which is important.
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francois

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 10:23:02 AM »

It looks like the OWC Excelsior offers more throughput at around the same price, maybe a bit more.  Can be bootable on Mac Pro 3,1 as well which is important.

The Apricorn Solo 2x is cheaper than the OWC Excelsior.

• Apricorn + OWC Mercury Electra 6G 240 GB :  $99 + $248 = $347
• OWC Excelsior + same size SSD: $495

The Excelsior card offers the advantage to come from one and unique vendor. So, if some problem develops it's probably easier to get a replacement than to play ping-pong between OWC and Apricorn.

On top of that, I don't know how Apricorn's customer service compares vs OWC…
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Francois

flynnyfalcon

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 11:33:49 AM »

The Apricorn Solo 2x is cheaper than the OWC Excelsior.

• Apricorn + OWC Mercury Electra 6G 240 GB :  $99 + $248 = $347
• OWC Excelsior + same size SSD: $495

The Excelsior card offers the advantage to come from one and unique vendor. So, if some problem develops it's probably easier to get a replacement than to play ping-pong between OWC and Apricorn.

On top of that, I don't know how Apricorn's customer service compares vs OWC…

It looks like booting in 3,1 is troublesome which is a big issue.  I was hoping for a 240Gb minimum, preferably 480Gb to use as RAID0 128MB partition for OSX and programs, 128MB for Photoshop Scratch ... and ideally 224MB for Working Photoshop files.

The OWC, although quite expensive looks to be the only option.
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francois

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Re: Mac Pro video card update query...
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 12:16:48 PM »

…The OWC, although quite expensive looks to be the only option.

I agree with the OWC choice but... top performances = top price

 :(
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Francois
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