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Old March 22nd, 2009, 10:16 AM   #1
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Which graphics card

I currently have a Mac pro fitted with a standard ATI Radeon HD 2600 graphics card (according to the hardware info page on the computer). My card only has two monitor output sockets. I have just googled the above card and according to ATI's specs it should have two hdmi outputs also!! Could mine be an earlier card?

I'm wanting to be able to hook up to an external tv monitor as well as keep my two computer monitors. Can you recommend a decent graphics card? Being able to input analogue video would be good also.
Thanks
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Carl, when it comes to FCP, the Graphics Card is really not the place for analog I/O.

With the advent of Motion and Color being heavily GPU-intensive, you obviously want the beefiest graphics card you can afford - 512 MB if possible. That is, if you're going to be using those apps a lot with HD footage or many layers.

For analog I/O, you may want to consider something like the $350 Blackmagic Intensity Pro:

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

Or, the $980 Firewire - based AJA Io LA:

AJA Video - Serial Digital Video Interface and Conversion

AJA | Io LA - 10-bit Uncompressed I/O Breakout Box | IOLA | B&H

or, the $1600 ExpressCard/34 or PCIe - based Matrox MXO2, which also offers HDMI:

Matrox MXO2 - Overview

Matrox | MXO2 External Video I/O for Mac | MXO2 | B&H Photo Video

of course, if you're just working in DV resolutions, and want analog I/O, you can get away with an analog to DV converter, and use Firewire (sub $460 for I/O, sub $200 for input only):

ADVC300

ADVC55

Also, many DV decks and cameras offer analog to DV conversions. It's standard practice in DV to keep a deck hooked up by Firewire and use it for preview to an external monitor. What specific format(s) of footage are you working with?
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 01:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Walters View Post
I have just googled the above card and according to ATI's specs it should have two hdmi outputs also!!
I BELIEVE that HDMI can be adapted out of DVI (without embedded audio) using a cable adaptor. Perhaps that's what the online documentation refers to?

ADDENDUM: And Scott has given you some EXCELLENT and comprehensive advice above.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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There are DVI to HDMI cable adapters out there but it's a crap shoot how any particular HDMI TV monitor will behave with it. Computer monitors with HDMI inputs should work fine. There are some standards implementation issues with HDMI that haven't been ironed out by the industry yet. Regardless of whether you use HDMI or DVI, there are color space issues that will be difficult to address. The optional cards and hardware Mr Anderson mentioned will give you color accurate output.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 06:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Walters View Post
I currently have a Mac pro fitted with a standard ATI Radeon HD 2600 graphics card (according to the hardware info page on the computer). My card only has two monitor output sockets. I have just googled the above card and according to ATI's specs it should have two hdmi outputs also!! Could mine be an earlier card?
You have probably found a reference to some Windows version of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 family with HDMI sockets. There is only one Mac version of the ATI Radeon HD 2600XT & that has two DVI sockets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Walters View Post
I'm wanting to be able to hook up to an external tv monitor as well as keep my two computer monitors. Can you recommend a decent graphics card? Being able to input analogue video would be good also.
What exactly do you want the external TV monitor for? Is this for reference for broadcast standard video output from FCP?

Cheers

Nigel
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:19 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info so far chaps, much appreciated.
HDMI is not really required irt was just that i'd read it on the ATI website.

Nigel, i've had another look and I think you're correct it is the windows version. Mine does indeed just have the two DVI outputs.

As regards the monitor, yes it is for reference playback only. I used to use a PC for editing with the Matrox Rtx 100 card and that had a breakout box which allowed you to plug in the tv monitor. It just makes it easier to view a full screen image for reference rather than using the computer screen.
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