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November 16, 2010

Nvidia Announces High End GPU for the Mac Pro (and Hackintosh)

One problem Mac Pro owners face is a lack of available nVidia graphics cards for creative professionals, which is important because of Adobe's utilization of nVidia cards for Premiere Pro and other CS5 apps. Today, however, nVidia announced that their Quadro 4000 -- a serious GPU based on their latest "Fermi" generation of chipsets, designed for 3D rendering and other professional uses -- will be coming to the Mac Pro. This is a card for high-end post-production (not just in Adobe apps), and it's great that it's coming to the Mac Pro. However, while it's a good thing for Mac Pro owners, it's even better for Hackintosh builders. Here's why:

The Mac card has a retail price of $1,199, but if you built the No Film School Hackintosh you should be able to get the PC version of the card for $760 and use the Mac drivers when they become available (the card will be shipping "later this month") -- saving you another $340. You could always spend that money on a faster processor or more RAM, or just pocket the difference. If your goal is to save money and build a cheap machine -- and if you don't use After Effects or other post-production apps (see below) -- $760 likely will be too much to spend on a graphics card, in which case you can still grab the GTX 285. However, if you do have a need for serious graphics processing power, the Quadro 4000 should be a great option.

The official word:

Film and video professionals running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard can take advantage of the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, as the software leverages Nvidia CUDA parallel processing technology. Other software that takes advantage of the high-end GPU are effects and image processing applications NUKE and STORM from The Foundry, as well as MATLAB from MathWorks.

"Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine, accelerated by Nvidia Quadro GPUs, have redefined the non-linear editing workflow, delivering huge productivity gains," said Ginna Baldassarre, senior product manager at Adobe.

"Adobe looks forward to working with Nvidia to help more Mac users reap the benefits of real-time performance and the ability to create compelling, multi-layer projects with multiple HD or higher resolution video clips, all while instantly viewing results."

Link: Nvidia announces high-end Fermi GPU for Apple's Mac Pro

Your Comment

5 Comments

I'm not sure this card will make CS5 run any faster than a GTS 450, which should cost $130 or so

it'll certainly not help in premiere; maybe in after effects? (I didn't find what I could "see below" that is related to AE)

in relation to premiere, my info comes from this thread:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/adobe-cr...tests-yet.html

from someone who has tested a lot of different cards:
"right now the 450, 460, 470, 480 all perform pretty much the same with Premiere CS5 (when tested on the same computer, an AMD X4 and X6 systems.) Who knows about the future if Adobe starts using more CUDA cores."

from there, my conclusion is that you need a nvidia card with at least 1GB of GDDR5 memory and at least 96 shaders; once you meet those numbers, it won't matter if it's a cool and quiet card with 96 shaders or a hot monster with 512, it will run just the same

November 17, 2010

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(ok, where I said "certainly" it should say "most probably", there are no quadro cards tested on that thread)

November 17, 2010

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Interesting. Certainly for 3D rendering and usage in those other applications this card will offer increased performance, but perhaps not in Premiere Pro. Ideally they'd release a Mac version of the 460/470/480...

November 17, 2010

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I haven't tried it, but a GTS 240 with 1GB of GDDR5 should do, as there are mac drivers available for it

if the windows tests are valid for osx too, it should be just as fast as anything else

other cards that should also work (but I haven't tried) are: 250, 260, 275, 285

November 17, 2010

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All MPE cards perform about the same in CS5 right now. Right now is the important keyword. As time passes and Adobe improves the drivers the performance gap will increase. Still, even the 285 is already a power house for editing.

November 18, 2010

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