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Old September 22nd, 2011, 09:09 AM   #1
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mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

i have a mac pro 8 core (harpertown) with a nvida 8800gt graphics card.

here are the mac pro specs:

Mac Pro "Eight Core" 2.8 (2008) Specs (Mac Pro Early 2008, MA970LL/A, MacPro3,1, A1186, 2180) @ EveryMac.com

i'm thinking of upgrading my card to a ati 5770.

i thought i read somewhere the upgrade is necessary if using fcp x (or was it lion?)

any thoughts on upgrading the nvadia 8800gt to ati 5770?

advantages? disadvantages? alternatives?

thanks in advance to those who care to share.

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

Check these links:

Radeon 5870 and 5770 on 2008 Mac Pro

Apple Motion 5 - various GPUs

I recently upgraded my 2008 Mac Pro to the GTX285 for the CUDA support, which is a big plus for working in Premiere CS5 and up. I'm still working mostly in FCP7and FCPX but it's nice to have Premiere as an option.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

matt-

thanks for the quick reply.

i was aware of the barefeats link but not the other.

thanks you for adding to the conversation.

as the links suggest, the 5770 did fine, outperforming my 8800 while others did better than the 5770.

i can get the radeon ati hd 5770 as i pull from another machine for $150 which is a pretty good price and that is why i'm now interested.

that said, i-like so many including yourself-am now looking at premier as an option and the cuda speed bump is most appealing.

what was your previous graphics card in your mac pro?

how did you decide upon the gtx285?

care to share what it cost?

plug and play?

is fcp now quicker or was it truly premiere that drove you to the gtx285?

sorry for all of the questions.

thanks in advance.

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

I had the stock ATI 2600 so there's been a big jump in performance in both FCP7 and Premiere. FCPX won't run on that card so that was the main motivation to upgrade. Plus it's just a weak card.

I paid 300 on ebay for the GTX285, but I haven't seen that price again. It's a pricey card, but the 5770 for 150 is a good deal (OWC has it for 240, a bit less on ebay).

There is a GTX275 on ebay for 280 that I was thinking of buying sold by Mac Pro Gear (only buy from high-rated sellers if you buy there). It's a re-flashed PC card but is otherwise very close in specs to the 285 with the same CUDA cores:

New nVidia GTX 275 896MB Video Card for Mac Pro

The 285 was plug and play, though I had to update the CUDA drivers to get it working with Premiere 5.5. Very easy to do.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 06:42 PM   #5
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

I'm presently using an ATI 5770 in a 2.66 Mac Pro but moving over to a Quadro 4600 within a week. You will see a big improvement with the ATI in FCP and it can run 3 monitors. It is a very good card but if you are going to be running either AVID or a current version of Premiere Pro you want a CUDA based video card. The GTX285 is one of them and there are a few Quadro cards that will work on a Mac without any tweaking.

If you are staying withe FCP for a couple of years don't worry about NVIDIA cards otherwise do the research.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 04:32 AM   #6
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

My wife & I each have a 2008 eight core 2.8GHz Mac Pro. We updated her 2 x ATI 2600 to an ATI 5770 & using two Lindy mini-DisplayPort to DVI adaptors she has three DVI monitors connected. I bought a used GTX285 (Mac edition) on eBay for about $300. We have both been evaluating Premiere Pro CS5.5 but thus far have seen no difference in performance although our projects have been very simple. The GTX285 fan is much noisier than the 5770.

Most of the various alleged Mac GTX2xx & Quadro 4xxx cards for sale on eBay are actually PC cards that have been flashed with a hacked firmware to make them work on the Mac. Personally if I were using a Hackintosh I would go for one of these cheaper options but if we ever see a real slowdown on the 5770 versus the machine with the GTX285 then I would buy a proper Mac card to put in the Mac Pro. Sadly the GTX285 is now only available used & the Quadro 4xxx cards are $1000+
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Old September 24th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #7
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

You can still find new GTX285s( Mac originals). The one I recently bought on eBay was new. Even Amazon carries one, though it's expensive. Re-flashed PC cards should also be fine. It's the exact same card with different firmware.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #8
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Lawrence View Post
You can still find new GTX285s( Mac originals). The one I recently bought on eBay was new. Even Amazon carries one, though it's expensive. Re-flashed PC cards should also be fine. It's the exact same card with different firmware.
Maybe the supply situation is different in the US but I couldn't find a new Mac GTX285. The only one available on Amazon.co.uk is 'refurbished' & priced at 380 (about $585).

The reflashed PC cards are not necessarily physically the same as the Mac version & in fact of the GTX2xx cards only the GTX285 ever had a Mac version. I'm not saying that they won't work but be aware that they could be noisier bacuse of a differnet fan (could be quieter also:-)

Last edited by Nigel Barker; September 24th, 2011 at 12:17 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

Regarding the re-flashed cards, I was referring only to the GTX285. From everything I've read it's the exact same hardware with different firmware. With other cards, I'm not sure. In any case, there is usually a lot of information on the web about popular cards that have been re-flashed for the Mac. If you can find one that's been thoroughly tested on your system I would feel confident buying one.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 11:21 PM   #10
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

If your interest has been peaked check eBay there are a few vendors that sell NVIDIA cards for the various Mac Pros and at a significant discount from the original MSRP. However, the 5770 referenced earlier is a great card unless you plan to use Premiere Pro, AVID or Blackmagic (DaVinci) Resolve. Then you should go with a qualfied NVIDIA card. the GTX285 is available on eBay at a reasonable price.

BTW if you are upgrading from the 8800 GT to the ATI 5770 you would gain a 3rd monitor possibility and somewhat larger screen sizing (but do you have 30" screens?) and maybe faster graphics in SOME apps but not all. In FCP the ATI might be faster but maybe not. In Premiere Pro and AVID the 8800 GT would trounce the ATI.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #11
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

I just discovered that not only does Premiere use CUDA to offload rendering the timeline but also it uses it when exporting to final media. I just did a test with rendering out a 2.5 minute project to 1280x720 H.264 MPEG4 video for upload to Vimeo. 2-pass VBR 6Mbps target 10Mbp peak. Render at maximum depth. On the Mac Pro with the GTX285 it took under 3 minutes but on the Mac Pro with the 5770 it took over 10 minutes.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #12
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Re: mac pro 8 core (harpertown) graphic card upgrade?

Nigel, that's quite a difference in export time. Do you happen to have FCPX on your machines? The 10.0.1 update now supports optional GPU supported exporting. It cut the time in half on my machine using the GTX285 for a similar job to yours. I'd be interested to hear how it does with the 5770 since the original poster here was also interested in running FCPX.
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