As far as my professional experience goes, graphics solutions for Mac computer have always been rather "modest", to say the least.
Contemporary applications such as Adobe's Creative Suite 5.5 harness the power of GPU in a big way and that was the trigger in our decision to test the new Quadro 4000 for Mac. Since even the latest Mac Pro is exclusively being powered by ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards (note to Apple: AMD shut down the ATI brand and now consumer products are exclusively known as AMD Radeon), harnessing the real power of the GPU in Adobe's suite was simply not an option.
In this article, you'll see what difference does the new GPU in an older top-of-the line Mac Pro. Why spend thousands of dollars on a new Mac Pro system when you need to spend additional money to get the GPU power going... NVIDIA Quadro 4000 for Mac
NVIDIA Quadro 4000 for Mac and Old-school GeForce 8800GT for Mac
NVIDIA GeForce and Quadro cards were the default option for Mac Pro computers in 2008 and 2009. With the switch of key technical people from AMD to Apple, the tide began to change and Apple solely offers Radeon cards today (not even the professional AMD FirePro line).
In order to address the needs of numerous users of Mac Pro computers, NVIDIA released Quadro 4000 for Mac, the card with identical capabilities as its version for PC users.
Quadro 4000 is based on NVIDIA GF104 graphics chip, with 256-enabled CUDA cores, 256-bit memory controller connecting to 2GB GDDR5 memory. The bandwidth is set at 89.6GB/s, which is quite an impressive jump from the initial 57.6GB/s offered by the GeForce 8800GT. Bear in mind that fastest offered graphics card on spankin' new Macs offers 128-bit memory interface and 76.8GB/s of video memory bandwidth.In order to deal with single-slot cooling limitations, NVIDIA opened a hole at the back of the card - every bit of fresh(er) air helps.
As you can see in an image above, the cope with the heat produced by the GPU which usually ends up paired with a dual-slot heatsink, NVIDIA used the trick from GeForce GTX 480 - open a slot at the back which takes the extra air in. Even though it did produced fair share of heat, GeForce 8800GT comes without the mentioned opening.The Test System
Our intention was to see the difference between NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT, the original card which came with our 8-core 3.0GHz Mac Pro. Tested system had 8GB of FB-DIMM DRAM with four HDD's and internal three-disk RAID0 with roughly 260MB/s real-world writing speed. This was the best Apple could offer in winter of 2008 (all options were maxed out), and the system aged well - handling tasks just as well as the new Mac Pro (which is another story altogether).
This was connected to our 42" Panasonic Plasma TV and Dell 2408WFP displays. All displays were hardware calibrated using Datacolor's Spyder3Elite
. In this test, we'll only use Quadro 4000 for Mac. Further testing will involve running Quadro 4000 for Mac both as Master and as Slave card in DaVinci Resolve software.
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