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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mac Pro video cards


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Vagrant

 
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I am not too familiar with how video cards operate, could somebody explain, or point me to a link that does, how having 2 or more of the Nvidia 256 cards in a mac pro would compare/differ to having the ATI or Quadro FX (and could someone tell me what makes the Quadro so expensive, I figure it must be more than the 512 vram.) Are the multiple graphics cards simply for driving more displays or can they interact with each other on graphics rendering? Thanks for any help in advance and sorry if this seems like a stupid question.
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lionel

 
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Well the Quadro FX is a workstation graphics card for things like CAD, movie editing etc

The 7300GT is an alright card but it depends what you want to do... I'd say the ATI x1900 XT if you only want to use a single monitor (or two 20-23" ones) and play games or do the usual stuff, 7300 seems like the basic card for running a monitor and doing anything, while doing it well.
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Well if you put in double video cards its really just taking up space unless you have two giant screens. Honestly I believe the single card options are just fine.

The more Vid RAM the faster and more efficient your video will process giving you faster FPS on everything you do.
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lionel

 
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How many screens do you have Graphite? *wink wink* *nudge nudge*
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Vagrant

 
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So would it be correct to state that putting in two of the nvidia geforces is not similar to having a single graphics card with 512mb vram but simply allows you to run more displays with one geforce doing x on this display while the other works on x on that display?
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lionel

 
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Pretty much yeah, that and the x1900 XT is a little over twice as powerful as a single 7300GT anyway...
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macgeek2005
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Originally Posted by lionel
Pretty much yeah, that and the x1900 XT is a little over twice as powerful as a single 7300GT anyway...
The X1900 XT is a beast.

For only $350 more, I don't see why anyone would take the 7300 GT.....

The X1900 XT can play any game on the market today at max settings without going below 30fps.
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jedinite
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I am not sure how the Quadro fairs against a quad (4) SLI configuration but I know that the 7300 GT is definitely the baby of the bunch.

In order I would say:

7300 GT --> 7300 GT SLI (2 cards) --> ATI 1900 --> 7300 GT Quad SLI (4 cards) or Quadro 4500 FX

Bascially the Quadro is a professional workstation card and is not benchmarked for consumer activities such as gaming. It's a card used for professional rendering and is not mass produced as much as the 7 series nVidia cards therefore that is another reason for the high price point.

If you are looking for technical differences the Quadro is a 256 bit card, therefore it will address larger chunks of information in it's memory than that of the 7300 card, which is only 128 bit. However, the 7300 can run in SLI mode, which means there's a interface between 2 cards that allows both of the cards to work together to process the same information, very similar to how the Duo core opporates. Usually for SLI the cards will either process every second line or they will process half the image each (approximately) and show you the combine image on the display.

So to say the Quadro is faster than Quad SLI configuration is arguable. Since I have not seen any tests for this, I do not know if paying $1650 for one card is a better solution than paying an extra $450 for 3 more cards. Think of it as driving 1 BMW 7series or driving 4 BMW 3 Series. Of course a BMW 7 will fit more people and be more powerful than 1 BWM 3 Series, therefore it will do more faster from A to B than the 3. It will probably fit about the same number of people travelling from A to be as 2 BMW 3s but will it compare to 4 BMW 3's?

On this note I'm sure that the 7300 Quad SLI configuration will outperform the ATI 1900 configuration. I just wish Apple would have went with the nVidia 7900 series cards to make this decision easier. 7950 GX2 cards are the highest end consumer cards on the market and are SLI configurable, therefore it would have put even the Quadro 4500FX to shame.

If anyone has an opportunity to test the 4x 7300 configuration vs the Quadro 4500 FX configuration let me know.
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Vagrant

 
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Cool, thanks a lot guys, this has been very helpful.
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Can anyone confirm or deny whether the nVidia Quadro FX 3500 works in the new Mac Pro Quad? Will the same nVidia driver they run with the 4500 work with a 3500. I have a spare 3500 from windows box that tanked and would like to use it if possible.
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Cam

 
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bit late into this topic, having 2/3/4 of the 7300's in 'SLI' config works in the same way as say the old voodoo 2's used to? With just one video output to a single screen, but all the cards plugged together working togetherto produce it??
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