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Bookem0328 02-12-2013 02:55 PM

Monitor and Video Card Questions Mac Pro...
 
Hi everyone. I have a few questions about my Mac Pro setup. (Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Xeon 4,1, 16 Gb Ram, 640 Gb Main HD, 2 1 TB HDs for files, OS X 10.6.8) Let me start with how I came to these questions. Recently I noticed that the calibration on my monitor was WAY off. I had a Samsung LCD (23" Syncmaster 2333) calibrated it with my original Spyder. But everything somehow, some day, slowly became washed out, and the files I was delivering to my clients were way too dark... without my knowledge. Very bad situation since I work a lot in Photoshop on print work. I just hope I haven't lost them for good because of this mistake.

Now, my questions are about what I just bought and looking for suggestions and answers for moving forward. After numerous suggestions, I bought a Dell U2412M 24" UltraSharp LED Monitor. Plugged it in, and it looks wonderful. Now, I know I probably have to calibrate it, but Question 1 I'm wondering if my original Spyder will work with this monitor, or any LED/modern monitor. Or can I download an ICC profile somewhere to upload to my system preferences? I heard that OS X Snow Leopard has had issues with calibration on monitors, but I'm not certain if that's true. Or are there any really good ways to calibrate without having to buy a new calibrating system?

After buying the Dell monitor, and not the $1000 Apple monitor with the horrible glossy screen, I realized I just saved about $700 and decided to upgrade my Video/Graphics card. I bought the ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 Gb. (The original was Nvidia GeForce GT 120 512 Mb) I thought not only would this help prolong the life of my Mac, but it could speed up performances in the main programs I use which are Photoshop CS5 and Carrara 6 Pro (3d modeling software). I also use Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, & InDesign (all CS5) a lot, but I thought these 2 would be the biggest memory hogs. Anyway, after installing the card, I did a benchmark with Cinebench. (1st time and 1st one I found on the internet.) Basically it gave me about twice as much boost on the OpenGL test. (15 fps to 28 fps) Kind of disappointing since the guy at Microcenter told me it would boost it by almost 4 times the speed. So then I tried doing some tests in Photoshop and Carrara. No difference in the speed of anything. Maybe I was able to move around a bit smoother in Carrara, but the rendering speed is exactly the same. Question 2, is this thing really worth the $250 investment for what I am using it for? Will it make a difference in the long run with newer software? Or would just replacing my main HD with an SSD HD be a better choice for me?

Sorry for the long winded explanation and thanks in advance for any suggestions and/or help.

Bookem0328 02-12-2013 03:09 PM

Another thing I forgot to mention, not sure if this is just the new Graphics Card breaking itself in, but since installing it, I smell a faint burning odor. For a couple of days now. Is that normal?

pigoo3 02-12-2013 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495352)
Question 2, is this thing really worth the $250 investment for what I am using it for? Will it make a difference in the long run with newer software? Or would just replacing my main HD with an SSD HD be a better choice for me?

The 5770 video card is a very good card and relatively inexpensive (especially in a world where video card upgrades for Mac Pro's can be very confusing & limited choices). Also, a 2x increase in performance (looked at from a time perspective)...could also mean a 50% reduction in the time it takes to complete a project. For example...a 1 hour rendering could be reduced to 30 minutes (a nice savings).

Also...in some of the other tests you made where you saw no performance improvements. This probably means that those tasks are more cpu intensive...and don't rely on the video card.

Something else to consider. There is also a Radeon 5870 video card (the "big brother" of the 5770). The 5870 is supposed to have 2x the performance of the 5770...but it also costs 2x the price ($484). So with the 5870...you may see a 4x improvement vs. you previous GT 120 video card.

Regarding your question about would you be better off installing an SSD. An SSD only speeds up data transfer to & from your storage device...it doesn't really impact how quickly your computer is able to do things that are cpu or graphics hardware related. So an SSD will help things be faster...but it won't effect how fast your computer can do graphics/video processing.

HTH,

- Nick

pigoo3 02-12-2013 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495354)
Another thing I forgot to mention, not sure if this is just the new Graphics Card breaking itself in, but since installing it, I smell a faint burning odor. For a couple of days now. Is that normal?

It's possible. If the new video card is the only thing that is new...and this odor is new...then it would have to be related to the new video card install. High performance video cards can run very hot...so you want to make sure your computer isn't dirty (to maximize cooling air flow)...and you want to make sure that the fan on the video card is operating properly.

But yes...it is possible that a unusual odor could be due to the new video card install...but this shouldn't last very long.

- Nick

Bookem0328 02-12-2013 04:16 PM

Thanks for the reply Nick. So, I guess from what you said, it would be worth it to keep the new card for someone utilizing the increased speed more than I am? ie. maybe video processing. And that an SSD wouldn't really do much for me except for transfer speed? That's a shame because I thought for sure the graphics card would help with at least the 3d rendering since it has the option to use OpenGL. Not to mention make things run quicker and smoother in Photoshop. I just thought I didn't have some settings right. And I thought the SSD would help improve the speed of the actual computer with starting up, opening programs, and maybe even files. But I guess if those files are on a regular 7200 rpm drive, that wouldn't change much if any. Oh, and good to hear that the smell isn't going to set my computer on fire. That would be bad. But I might return it anyway if it isn't going to do anything for my performance.

Now onto the calibration part of the thread. Anyone have any ideas on that?

pigoo3 02-12-2013 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495364)
Thanks for the reply Nick. So, I guess from what you said, it would be worth it to keep the new card for someone utilizing the increased speed more than I am? ie. maybe video processing.

I'm assuming this is why you purchased the 5770 video card...for improved speed of graphics & video processing. But if you're not seeing improved speeds in the computing tasks you do (versus the stock GT-120 video card)...then I would guess that the 5770 isn't doing you a whole lot of good.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495364)
...except for transfer speed?

Exactly. An SSD will:

- speed-up computer boot times
- speed-up launching times for applications
- speed-up the time it takes for files to be opened from the SSD
- speed-up the time it takes for files to be written to the SSD

An SSD does not really help with the rendering of graphics/videos...unless for some reason the program needs to access the SSD for more information during a rendering.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495364)
That's a shame because I thought for sure the graphics card would help with at least the 3d rendering since it has the option to use OpenGL. Not to mention make things run quicker and smoother in Photoshop.

Different video cards can have different strengths. I would say double check the specifications for the GT-120 card versus the 5770 card...to see where the improvements are...and if those improvements relate to your work/projects.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bookem0328 (Post 1495364)
I just thought I didn't have some settings right. And I thought the SSD would help improve the speed of the actual computer with starting up, opening programs, and maybe even files. But I guess if those files are on a regular 7200 rpm drive, that wouldn't change much if any.

I think that with an SSD...you will see definite speed improvements versus a 7200rpm "traditional" hard drive. But SSD's are expensive. And if you're dealing with very large graphics/video files...you may run out of SSD storage very quickly. Unless you have a very large SSD budget to purchase a very large SSD.:)

- Nick


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