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Thread: Is there any promise or rumor for new mac towers?

  1. #1
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    Default Is there any promise or rumor for new mac towers?

    also, how more powerful is the current family of towers vs. the earlier multi-cores, say ~2009.
    thanks,
    steve z

  2. #2
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    Not enough to spend a bunch of money on. We have both and they are pretty close to just as capable. Nice thing is, no complaints - both are power houses. Bad part, they are very close to similar capabilities - a little edge to CPU to the newer one. I'd drop an upgrade graphics card in your 2009, if haven't done so already. And wait for the 2013 release. Apple has to either shit or get off the pot on the MacPro, time is past running out. No new MacPro in 2013 ends the Pro market for them. They promised it though, so I can wait, even patiently. The current machines are pretty good.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    what will a new graphics card do please?
    now its 512 vram stock

  4. #4
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    Takes graphics processing load off the CPU.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  5. #5
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    Could you perhaps characterize that a little better for me cuz I bet graphics cards are expensive, but I'd make the jump if I could sense the improvement. I got 16GB of tower RAM so of course i hope I'm well set. Thanks

  6. #6
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    Every last user leans on graphics processing differently than the next guy (or gal). Very hard to even generalize that you will benefit 'x' from adding so many times faster graphics GPU performance. Too many variables. You will benefit, by how much depends on what you use your computer for, how big the file sizes are, how hard the GPU works, how many simultaneous GPU processes you run and so on.

    The purpose of the graphics card is to take the code that is written to display whatever graphics you use, video, photos, games, etc, and crunch it out on the fly with conditions set by you, the OS,the application(s) that are running, and the data it is running on. Take something simple like a couple dozen open photo windows in a photo editor, every one of which is in ram, both on the computer and on the graphics card. Swapping from pic to pic and scrolling up and down large photos takes a lot of processing to display what you see, all maintained simultaneously to every window open on your desktop. With older slower cards, and less VRAM, more of that is done by the CPU instead of the GPU.

    Today's GPUs rival CPUs in processing power. In some machines the graphics cards actually assist the processing of the CPU when it gets hammered on. Not so common on Macs, but one example where it does is using late model nVidia cards, which support CUDA processing, which integrates the entire system to enable cross support back and forth GPU and CPU.

    I have no idea how to quantify a number for you. I don't sell graphics cards since the choices are so small on Macs that it is impossible to differentiate and create a market. So the only time I actually research which cards are capable of what is when I personally need one. Then I may spend days researching it, reading performance specs, studying how each small piece of the specification will effect the types of processes I personally do, narrowing down to that which would increase performance for ME.

    The hardest my machine ever works is in 3D gaming, so in the end I usually have to reduce the scope of my research to how well different high end cards will enhance something like Direct X or other game processing requirement. And every time I do the research the rules have changed enough that I have to learn what is important all over again.

    You will get a lot of variation in preference when talking over the best card for a task. But worth the discussion to see if you can improve your computer enough to make it run for another year or two. In my opinion, graphics capability is the first thing to show degradation in capability as a computer ages. I almost always order the upgraded card when I buy a Mac tower. And later in its life, replacing the card with a higher end one, will typically buy me more useful life. Costs have ranged from $150 to $600 typically, although once I bought a $1200 card as an upgrade. Today's higher performance nVidia cards run between $300 and $1200, so card price hasn't changed much over the years. The one I am currently running in my MacPro is the $450 AMD (ATI) 5870. It has yet to be less card than I need, and is a killer performer. The newest nVidia cards have it thoroughly beat in GPU performance. By how much, you'd have to do some reading on sites that compare them. Problem will be that almost no one in the Mac community does comparison on the Mac models competently. The good testing review sites are for PCs, like this. All the Mac cards have PC versions, so you can find them on the PC sites and draw your own conclusions. then research the Mac sites for bugs and shortcomings in that particular card.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  7. #7
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    What are the signs of v card inadequacy?
    Will iStat reveal anything useful?
    I use iMovie & and Photoshop Suite.
    Thanks Rick.

  8. #8
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    Main thing is slowdowns during graphics intensive work. Problem with giving a better answer is most of the discussion and tools for testing GPU efficiency relates to games. There are some high end video editing suites that will tell you that the graphics is hindering performance, or have test utilities to let you know if you have enough oomph for the task. But generally, it is seat of the pants: 'when I do a graphics intensive job my computer drags'.

    Gamers often go by frame rate. And there are tools to display that.

    My only point in mentioning graphics was that, along with ram and storage speeds, it is about all you can do to keep a machine's performance current. And for those of us who like a game now and then, a graphics card upgrade is the only way to even put some things on a Mac.

    We have 2 nearly identical MacPros here, one has a 5870, the other has an older nVidia GT120. The 5870 machine runs circles around the other machine when it comes to graphics. Everything else is near identical on both machines, but forget gaming on the GT120. Play pretty anything comfortably on the machine with the AMD 5870.

    The MacPro is one of the best investments for longevity ever in computers. Tweaking a few things, like the storage to new faster drives and the graphics, makes them last even longer. We have yet to ever retire any of ours. They just keep on ticking. Only hard part is for those users who tire of the same old same old and just gotta have a new one. That is tougher since Apple is slower on the upgrades than ever before. I would like a new MacPro..... but have absolutely no need. I haven't found anything I can't do with this one.

    The whole purpose of the post was, if you have need of more speed, and since you need also wait for a new MacPro, you can improve a couple things and feel a useful boost in performance. There is no mathematical way that I can show you to prove you gain 'x' amount of performance for a given card, too many variables. But it is at least worth the consideration.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  9. #9
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    Geek Bench from Primate Labs will get you some good numbers on raw computing power comparisons. Keep in mind that is really depends on what you are doing, and whether your software can take full advantage of all of the cores, plus GPU performance needs as Rick pointed out.

    You can see that two things are going on: CPU power is going up AND number of cores is going up. If budget is no issue, yeah, the 12 core kicks butt:




    Video render is mostly CPU, as long as your storage is up to requirements, depending on HD, compression, format, etc.

    Photoshop is more RAM and storage intensive, generally.

    -----

    We have been promised a new Mac Pro by Tim Cook himself, sometime in 2013. No hints or clues what to expect yet.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  10. #10
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    Very good thank you.
    Well, thankfully so far i have not experienced even a hint
    of performance anxiety with the full resolution 30" display
    and the 512 Vram oem. Recall I'm all about Photoshop suite
    and iMovie. I'm still curious how you would characterize
    performance anxiety tho, cuz if there are occasional minor
    slow downs on big files, it might pass unnoticeable, cuz
    I am used to that. Would I see page swaps? etc?

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