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Old January 22nd, 2008, 06:40 AM   #1
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Configuring Mac Pro system... questions about video cards...

Hi,

I'm configuring a Mac Pro system, and I have questions about the video card...

What is the best video card option, taking in account that this machine will be used for 99 procent by Final Cut Studio (no games)...
Is the Geforce 8800 the best option, or is a ATI card better?

(taking in account the use for Motion and Color as well)...
In short: which is the best video card for use with Final Cut Studio?

Thanks in advance,
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 09:20 AM   #2
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the 8800 is the best bang for the buck. Barefeats.com did a comparison of the cards available for the new MacPros and the 8800 came out on top.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:13 PM   #3
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Considering how little it costs, whole setup considered, I was never in doubt about getting the 8800..
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:14 PM   #4
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I am in a similar position to Mathieu. However, I plan to use a Matrox MXO for HD monitoring - does that change people's advice on the better graphics card to use?
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Mayer View Post
I am in a similar position to Mathieu. However, I plan to use a Matrox MXO for HD monitoring - does that change people's advice on the better graphics card to use?
I'd e-mail Matrox and see what their approved system configs are.


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Old January 23rd, 2008, 06:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Andrew Kimery View Post
I'd e-mail Matrox and see what their approved system configs are.


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I tried that Andrew - they came back with a "don't know yet" (as expected!) :-(
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Old January 24th, 2008, 03:29 AM   #7
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The 8800 cards have a significant disadvantage. No overlay support! I ran into that little detail while trying to get the Blackmagic intensity to display a proper picture.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen View Post
The 8800 cards have a significant disadvantage. No overlay support! I ran into that little detail while trying to get the Blackmagic intensity to display a proper picture.
Don't know if it's a stupid question, but what is overlay support?
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Old January 28th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #9
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Sorry to bring this thread up again, but I have a pretty stupid question I guess:

If I would choose for 2x 23" screens with the Mac Pro, do I need 2 graphic's card? Or which will do?

Oh, and I still don't know (see post above) what an overlay is :-D...

Best regards,
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Old January 28th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #10
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One card is enough, they have connections for two screens (Both the ATI and the Nvidia cards).
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Old January 31st, 2008, 11:32 PM   #11
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As I understand it, Overlay is a way of displaying video in a window without having to go through the computer's cpu. The graphics card handles the video playback directly using it's own memory. In Premiere Pro, the source monitor and the program monitor display using overlay. DVD software also uses overlay in its main movie playback window.

Mikko, could you explain your post a bit more?

You are able to monitor using a black magic card right? With no overlay support on the nvidia, what options are there to have desktop preview?

I have ordered the nvida card with a mac pro, but it hasnt arrived yet. I would be very surprised if such a high end system couldnt even preview video without depending on the cpu.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 12:47 AM   #12
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Macs don't really worry about "overlay" support, that's a Windows thing. OS X windowing makes video happen in all apps without having to worry about it.

With the FCS apps, you are right to worry about your graphics card though, as a lot of them now leverage OpenGL (and therefore the gfx card)for filters and scaling. Any card that will work in a Mac will work, but if you want Motion and Color to run fast as designed, you will use the cards they recommend. Motion and Color are unbearable if you ignore the recommendations and use old/unsupported cards.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 03:02 AM   #13
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Thanks for the explanation,...
so pretty much every recent card should work?
Will the standard ATI be enough for Final Cut Studio (all programs) or better go for the NVIDIA? (sorry, bit confused again now).
I'm not planning to buy an external Black Magic Card...
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Old February 1st, 2008, 08:58 PM   #14
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If as Nate said, the apple apps are tapping into openGL, then you'll want to get the nvidia card. It has opengl support. Ati have their own kind of proprietary thing going on for accelaration.

I found a good site that explains it clearly:
http://www.videoguys.com/DIY-GPU.html


From that page:
"nVidia and OpenGL
nVidia has gone the Quadro FX route. These are special versions of their graphics cards optimized for OpenGL. nVidia works very closely with software vendors and workstation giants like HP to make sure they are delivering as much OpenGL power and that the software guys have the opportunity to take advantage of this. So you see Avid, Adobe, BorisFX, Magic Bullet and other video software tap into the Quadro performance more and more. Animation and compositing software engineers have also optimized their code for OpenGL


ATI and OpenGL
ATI has actually taken a very different route. Back in the early 2000s (I feel funny typing that), ATI realized that they could allow an NLE to tap into their graphics card for additional performance and features. Initially they were going to develop their own NLE plug-in technology for the graphics cards. At about the same time they started working very closely with Pinnacle. They worked with Pinnacle to deliver the customized graphic chip for the Pro-One card that delivered the real-time 3D transitions and effects. At the same time they kept working on ways to allow software developers to tap into their GPUs. The first real-time hardware for Edition was a customized ATI graphics card. Over time the Pinnacle (now Avid) guys figured out how to fully tap into the graphics card for real-time performance with Liquid. While nVidia cards also worked, an off the shelf ATI 1800/1900 series gaming card outperforms an nVidia Quadro card costing significantly more with Avid Liquid."

As I understand it:
Software like After Effects and FCP really makes use of openGL, so nvidia would be the best bet there.
Software like Avid, and hardware like the Matrox capture/monitoring cards and the RT.2 all work better with the ati cards.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 05:41 AM   #15
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Thank you very much, Brian, that made it much more clear...
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