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Importance of Video Cards?

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Andrew KunkleImportance of Video Cards?
by on Jun 29, 2012 at 4:50:21 pm

Looking to upgrade my video card from a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120:, to a NVIDIA Quadro 4000 for Mac. Using a Mac Pro Quad-Core Intel Xeon. Will using this drastically increase render speed in After Effects CS6? Is it worth the $800 investment. I primarily create TV commercials that are heavily motion graphics based. Would it be more beneficial to spend $800 on just upgrading RAM? (currently at 20 GB) Thanks for your input.


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Walter SoykaRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jun 29, 2012 at 5:14:58 pm

The GPU only matters if:
  • You are using AE CS6's new ray-tracing renderer
  • You are using a third-party effect that can make use of GPU rendering (Sapphire, Optical Flares, etc.)

20 GB is pretty good for a quad-core system.

If you have money for an upgrade, you might consider adding an SSD for AE CS6's new cache system.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Kevin CampRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jun 29, 2012 at 5:26:54 pm

if you're not sure if you'd use the gpu accelerated features, then you might look at the gtx285. it has about the same number of cuda cores and should give you similar acceleration as the 4000 for a lot less money.

under heavy usage, i would expect the 4000 to be more stable, but if you are unsure of how much you'd use those features, i think the 285 would be a good stepping stone... you can always ebay/craigsist it if you out grow it.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Kevin CampRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jun 29, 2012 at 6:31:52 pm

you may be interested in this benchmark article posted today:

http://www.barefeats.com/aecs6.html

note on the same macpro with an ati/amd card (or non-qualified gpu) versus a qualified gpu, the difference in raytrace performance is about 10 fold. so if you use the raytrace feature a lot, you would like to upgrade your card.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Darby EdelenRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jun 30, 2012 at 6:14:15 am

[Kevin Camp] "if you're not sure if you'd use the gpu accelerated features, then you might look at the gtx285. it has about the same number of cuda cores and should give you similar acceleration as the 4000 for a lot less money."

If you're running Lion, you can download the latest Quadro drivers and use a GeForce GTX 560 Ti (EFI flash not required). You'll need to get the right PCIe power connectors for it and add the card to the whitelist contained within the After Effects CS6 package. Technically it's my understanding that even the GTX 580 will work, but I'm not sure about the power connectors required there.

I just installed a 560 Ti in my Mac Pro and it renders faster than a Quadro 4000. The Quadro, of course, is a tested solution while these others are not.

Darby Edelen


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Brian CharlesRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 1, 2012 at 10:13:39 pm

[Darby Edelen] "I just installed a 560 Ti in my Mac Pro "

Darby, did you buy a Mac version or a standard PC Card? I'm hoping to do the same and have been looking at EFI flashed cards on eBay. Which brand did you buy? Any problems finding the power connectors?



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Kevin CampRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 3:28:20 pm

actually, it sound like you don't need to flash the 560ti or 580. after darby's post, did a little searching and found several mentions of this, and they all said that the cards worked in a mac without flashing.

as darby mentioned, you do need to have lion and the latest driver from nvidia.

the only note that is that there will be no video output from the card as you are booting. this is probably due to the rom not being for osx, so there's no video until the software (driver) is loaded.

i talked to rob morgan at barefeats.com briefly about this, he is planning on having a 580 in house today and will update his cs6 ray-tracing benchmark when he has the results.

the 580 has about 2x the cores as the quadro 4000 or gtx285, so i'll be interested in his results. hopefully he'll also detail any issues he encounters with the set up.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Walter SoykaRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 3:37:00 pm

[Kevin Camp] "the 580 has about 2x the cores as the quadro 4000 or gtx285, so i'll be interested in his results. hopefully he'll also detail any issues he encounters with the set up."

Juan Salvo and Danny Princz did some AE/GPU benchmarking [link].

The GTX 580 mops the floor with the Quadro 4000.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Darby EdelenRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 3:37:51 pm

Everything Kevin said lines up with my understanding.

From other things I've read the OS is not 100% aware of how to handle features of the card like the various power states, but the experience has still been better than any other card I've used. That said I'm not throwing my old card off the roof any time soon :)

The easiest power connectors to get to in the Mac Pro are on the motherboard and are mini 6-pin (not standard). These cables worked for me: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UR1654/

I've read some posts by more adventurous folks who are rerouting power from the power supply, but I'm not comfortable trying that myself.

Darby Edelen


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Kevin CampRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 4:08:23 pm

as i've read more about the power requirements, the 580 (at about 500w) may need an external power supply, that may come down to how many internal powered components you have currently installed. the 570ti sounds safer (in regards to internal power).

you (darby) may have elluded to that in you're first post.

and, thanks walter for the benchmarks.


--edit--


sorry, i got some number mixed up...

darby had a 560ti (not 570ti), and it has a power consumption of 500w. the 580 is 600w.


Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Brian CharlesRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 6:17:29 pm

Many thanks to all for your replies. I'll likely pick up a 570 and order the power cables from Amazon.



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Darby EdelenRe: Importance of Video Cards?
by on Jul 2, 2012 at 8:06:10 pm

[Kevin Camp] "darby had a 560ti (not 570ti), and it has a power consumption of 500w. the 580 is 600w."

Those power numbers are not the card's power consumption but rather the minimum total system power supply recommended. I believe the dual quad core Mac Pro power supply (what I have) is 980W so that's plenty.

The 560 Ti and 570 both use 2x 6-pin power connectors, which the Mac Pro can supply from its motherboard via the mini-to-standard 6 pin connectors I previously linked to.

The 580 requires one 6-pin and one 8-pin power connector though, and I'm not quite sure where an 8-pin power connector can be attached in a Mac Pro.

Darby Edelen


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