Graphics Cards: Where and What:

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
There are so many graphics cards out there and with the impending release of Jaguar, many may want to upgrade (myself included)



Now, for people with newer systems with AGP 4X support, the choices are simple and out front, an Nvidia or an ATI. Yet, for those with older systems that have AGP 2X or PCI, what options are there?



Will AGP4X cards run on 2X or even PCI buses? If only a few, which ones? While back, only gamers and digital photography-ers upgrades their graphics cards, yet, Jaguar is obviously a GPU intensive system, so what options are there? <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> :cool: <img src="confused.gif" border="0">

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    [quote]Originally posted by Nebagakid:

    <strong>There are so many graphics cards out there and with the impending release of Jaguar, many may want to upgrade (myself included)



    Now, for people with newer systems with AGP 4X support, the choices are simple and out front, an Nvidia or an ATI. Yet, for those with older systems that have AGP 2X or PCI, what options are there?



    Will AGP4X cards run on 2X or even PCI buses? If only a few, which ones? While back, only gamers and digital photography-ers upgrades their graphics cards, yet, Jaguar is obviously a GPU intensive system, so what options are there? <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> :cool: :confused: </strong><hr></blockquote>



    AGP cards will not work in PCI slots. 4x cards will work in 2x slots, but the forthcoming 8x cards will only work in 8x and 4x slots.



    The leading candidates right now are:



    ATI Radeon 8500 nVidia geForce4 Ti

    ATI Radeon 7500 nVidia geForce4 MX



    The 8500/Ti are programmable and considerably more powerful for 3D graphics (and probably Quartz Extreme). They also have more VRAM which helps both 3D and probably QE. Between the ATI/nVidia pairs above there really isn't much difference -- not enough for the average user to notice, anyhow.



    Graphics cards are still advancing very quickly, so waiting 3-6 months will mean that you can get a significantly more powerful card than if you bought the top-of-the-line today. If all you do is run QE and current productivity applications you may never notice the difference... but as powerful hardware graphics become more pervasive I think we'll see more software that takes advantage of it for things other than games and 3D modelling.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    razzfazzrazzfazz Posts: 728member
    [quote]Originally posted by Programmer:

    <strong>

    AGP cards will not work in PCI slots. 4x cards will work in 2x slots, but the forthcoming 8x cards will only work in 8x and 4x slots.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Hm, I'm not sure, at least from the AGP specs, it seems like it should be possible to make an AGP4x-only card that (i.e. one that only has the 1.5V key, but lacks the 3.3V key) - such a card would not work in AGP2x slots. Not sure if any such cards exist in real life, though.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz
  • Reply 3 of 6
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    [quote]Originally posted by RazzFazz:

    <strong>



    Hm, I'm not sure, at least from the AGP specs, it seems like it should be possible to make an AGP4x-only card that (i.e. one that only has the 1.5V key, but lacks the 3.3V key) - such a card would not work in AGP2x slots. Not sure if any such cards exist in real life, though.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Yes, I think you are correct... but at least for the cards I listed above I'm pretty sure they're all 2x/4x compatible.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    nebagakidnebagakid Posts: 2,692member
    Are the only differences between the Mac and PC versions cost?
  • Reply 5 of 6
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    [quote]Originally posted by Nebagakid:

    <strong>Are the only differences between the Mac and PC versions cost?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    There is usually some on-board firmware that differs. It is usually carried in FLASH memory and sometimes you can get software that will convert from PC -&gt; Mac, but I haven't been looking lately so I don't know what is available for which boards.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    I know that it was possibly to flash certain GF 2MX PC cards, namely the Elsa model, for use in Macs.



    I don't know about ATi, though I'd love to tap into the much cheaper PC retail versions of ATi products. I don't know if it's possible.



    I don't know if anyone has tried flashing GF 4MX cards, but the key to a successful flash is making sure that:



    Apple card and PC card have same make & model of EPROM. Since ROM isn't really memory, make and model are key factors.



    Apple card and PC card have same type of RAM. That is, if you have 64MB of 300/600Mhz DDR RAM on the Apple, you want the same on the PC card.



    Physical inspection should indicate that the two cards have the same chips. Minus one usually, since only Apple uses ADC.





    End note:

    I'm in a similar boat, though I'm building a mac from parts, not upgrading. The Radeons are mcuh better cards, in my opinion, they are nearly as fast (or faster), but they have a much better driver and seem to have far fewer errors, plus they work significantly better with DVD playback. I'm guessing that this means they work better with Mac OS, which should mean they will work better with QuartzExtreme as well.
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