Originally Posted by tk8585
maybe a more accurate response is that i'm not sure what i'll be running yet, but am looking for the pros and cons of each gpu to help me decide what might be best for me?
If gpu performance was your highest priority, a notebook would not be the most effective route.
Originally Posted by tk8585
I'd be interested in After Effects and Final Cut, maybe the Avid equivalent. Video is something new for me, but I want the option to get into it at full speed. Who do higher-end GPU's cater to? Gamers mostly? HD cinema? All of the above?
It's noteworthy that I currently do not have an HD camera for filming, but again, the option to work with it is what I'm looking for, as like anyone else, I want this machine to last me a good while.
Ehh..... I don't know what to suggest right now. Whether something lasts depends upon changes in demands. I can tell you that both options are still slower than desktop cards from 2010, so take that under consideration. Some features in after effects require cuda. Read to find out whether they matter to you. If they do, you need an NVidia card. The raytracer is painfully slow on cpu calculations. There are other raytracers out there, but they don't directly plug into after effects. What gpus cater to depends on the gpu. On OSX a lot of software vendors validate a pretty broad range of hardware whereas on Windows (only important if you use bootcamp) they'll often validate only workstation hardware. This isn't so much the case with Adobe. It's more like Autodesk, CATIA, etc. On OSX they cater to any application that is frequently performance bound that leverages OpenCL, OpenGL, or in the case of some software, CUDA. As mentioned CUDA only works with NVidia, and all of this depends upon software and how it's used. Software depends a lot on how you use it. In the case of After Effects, it only bogs down with a lot of layers. It does eat up lots of ram, as during rendering it tends to allocate per core. It's used in Premiere as well. I don't know the full details of how FCPX makes use of OpenCL or whether there is an appreciable difference between one card and another. Sometimes the only thing that is important is that it supports whatever version of OpenCL or CUDA. The reason for this is that massively parallel computation is slowly becoming the domain of the gpu whenever the amount of memory is a non-issue.
I will add not to purchase something on theoretical needs. You can't guarantee the machine will last forever simply because you spent a little extra. Any upgrades above stock are basically wasted unless you know why you are purchasing them. People make this same mistake all the time. The other fallacy is that computers are getting much faster every year and a 3 year old computer will feel like sludge. It's not really the case anymore. Most of the performance is on the gpu end, and many people will not perceive a difference from year to year changes.
If I was unsure, I would go very conservative on spending. Ideally go for a refurbished unit. If you find your needs differ later and have to upgrade with the next cycle, you'll be buying based on your needs. All machines do depreciate, but bleeding edge ones are the worst. Storage prices come down and integrated graphics slowly catch up to the performance of mid range mobile graphics. If you wanted the fastest possible gpu, I would say buy a used 2010 mac pro cheap (under $1000) and get a 680 or something like that.