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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Quadro 4500FX card.... should I get one?

Quadro 4500FX card.... should I get one?
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Aug 21, 2006, 02:16 PM
 
Hi guys..

Can you think of any reason, other than price.. not to get a Quadro 4500FX with the new MacPRo? Such as compatibility issues, poor performance in games, etc..
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Aug 21, 2006, 02:36 PM
 
I read somewhere that it's not that much faster than the X1900 (in games). But I could be wrong. It's also ridiculously expensive if you intend to use it for games.

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Aug 21, 2006, 02:38 PM
 
More than Games... I'm gonna use it for everything from FCP HD, and Aperture... to Photoshop and games.. but I don't want to pay 3x the price for a card that is going to only shine in one area (like MAYA or something) and then lag in the others..

This is my concern... if it's all out better in every way, then I'll poney up.. I want the best.. not the most expensive

oddly, some of the specs on the X1900XT look to be better than those of the 4500FX.. such as bandwidth, and a few other items..
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Aug 21, 2006, 02:59 PM
 
Stick with the X1900XT. If you don't know why the Quadro is worth the money, then it's not worth your money.

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Aug 21, 2006, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by MaxPower2k3
Stick with the X1900XT. If you don't know why the Quadro is worth the money, then it's not worth your money.
that's what I'm getting to.. I don't "know", and the cost isn't an issue, so if there are ANY advantages, other than some useless stereo 3D out.. then I'm willing to pay.. I.E. if downt he road this card will become obsolete later, or if the frame rates are better in Video/3D.. or if it can do anything better, then I'm interested.. but if it's just some tweak in the drivers that lets it program 3D Maya images better, then you're right, I can't use it.
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Aug 21, 2006, 03:20 PM
 
From what I've read, the x1900 is faster than the Quadro.

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Aug 21, 2006, 03:28 PM
 
You won't see any advantage in any Adobe apps, Apple apps, or games (in the case of games, the X1900XT will be faster, like tooki says). The Quadro is a specialized GPU for CAD and visualization work. For most graphics/video use (even on the professional end), the X1900XT will be just as good, if not better than the Quadro.

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Aug 21, 2006, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki
From what I've read, the x1900 is faster than the Quadro.

tooki
Some of the specs on apple sight show the X1900XT to be more impressive.. except the fill rate where there is about a 1 billion difference... (about 10%)..

For me, I'm more interested in top notch real world results.. such as Core Image, or Motion / FCP HD performance..
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Aug 21, 2006, 03:37 PM
 
Ok, guys you've convinced me NOT to spend the $1000 extra... and shave 3 weeks off my wait! :wall:

I was hoping that there was an advantage to the card to justify the cost.. didn't expect to actually hear that it was slower in the regular stuff... that shuts the door for sure on the 4500FX!
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Aug 21, 2006, 04:55 PM
 
Well, you should know what you spend your money for. If you just want to waste it for bragging rights, it's your call.

What exactly is it you want to do with it?
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Aug 21, 2006, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
Well, you should know what you spend your money for. If you just want to waste it for bragging rights, it's your call.

What exactly is it you want to do with it?
I've since been convinced it's not worth it..

In terms of serious work: Photoshop CS2 (and 3), FCP HD, and Motion, and Aperture

In terms of play: 3D games, iApps, and Internet/multimedia


The rumor that the delay in shipping the ATI card stems from the fact that the X1950XTX is due to be shipped on the 15th of Sept is the clincher for me.. given that the x1900 is the best car for me (as demonstrated to me), the X1950 can only be that much better.

Ultimately I live by the adage.. buy the fastest computer you can... and this is my intent.. If the 4500 isn't going to speed up my apps, then it's not worth it.
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Aug 21, 2006, 05:49 PM
 
Yup, it's a great setup as it is, congratulations!
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Aug 22, 2006, 09:15 PM
 
Nice to hear about the alleged X1950 XTX, because I too believe in buying all the computer you can buy. However the new card is not that much faster (7%) and who knows when it will be Mac Pro compatible?

Looking at your proposed setup I see only one display. Many graphics pros, including me, consider a second monitor (for palettes, thumbnails images, etc.) a necessity. If space permits add a 20" or 23" display to that rig with the money you save by not getting the expensive GPU.

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Aug 22, 2006, 10:07 PM
 
The Quadro line is about pro-level features, not gaming performance.

It should give about the same performance as the X1900XT, maybe a 10% difference back and forth depending on the game.
     
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Aug 22, 2006, 10:24 PM
 
Product Line Differences between Quadro and GeForce (or Radeon)

There are notable differences between Quadro and GeForce cards, and a great effort is put into creating the perfect solution for both professionals and gamers.

Anti-aliased points and lines for wire frame display

A unique feature of Quadro GPUs is supporting anti-aliased lines in hardware, which has nothing in common with GeForce's full-scene anti-aliasing. It works for lines (but not for shaded polygons) without sacrificing system performance or taking extra video memory for over-sampling. Since this feature is standardized by OpenGL, it is supported by most professional applications.

OpenGL logic operations

Another unique feature of Quadro GPUs is supporting OpenGL Logical Operations which can be implemented as the last step in the rendering pipeline before contents is written to the frame buffer. For example workstation applications can use this functionality to mark a selection by a simple XOR function. When this function is done in hardware, such significant performance loss as a GeForce adapter would cause will not happen. OpenGL can be used for either consumer or workstation adapters.

The most common applications for GeForce adapters are full-screen OpenGL games. CAD applications work with OpenGL windows in combination with 2D-elements.

Up to eight clip regions (GeForce supports one)

A typical workstation application contains 3D and 2D elements. And while view ports display window-based OpenGL function, menus, rollups and frames are still 2D elements. They often overlap each other. Depending on how they are handled by the graphics hardware, overlapping windows may noticeably affect visual quality and graphics performance. When windows are not overlapped, the entire contents of the color buffer can be transferred to the frame buffer in a single, continuous rectangular region. However, if windows do overlap, transfer of data from the color buffer to the frame buffer must be broken into a series of smaller, discontinuous rectangular regions. These rectangular regions are referred to as "clip" regions.

GeForce Hardware supports only one clip region which is sufficient for displaying menus in OpenGL. Quadro GPUs support up to 8 clip regions in hardware, keeping up the performance in normal workflow using CAD/DCC applications.

Hardware accelerated clip planes

Clip planes allow specific sections of 3D-objects to be displayed so that users can look through the solid objects for visualizing assemblies. For this reason, many professional CAD/DCC applications do provide clip planes. The GPU of the Quadro family supports clip-plane acceleration in hardware - a significant improvement in performance when they are used in professional applications.

Optimization on Memory usage for multiple graphics windows

Another feature offered by the GPUs of Quadro family is Quadro memory management optimization, which efficiently allocates and shares memory resources between concurrent graphics windows and applications. In many situations, this feature directly affects application performance and offers considerable benefits over consumer-oriented GeForce GPU family.

The graphics memory is used for frame buffer, textures, caching and data. NVIDIA's unified memory architecture allocates the memory resources dynamically instead of keeping a fixed size for the frame buffer. Instead of wasting the unused frame buffer memory, UMA (Unified Memory Architecture) allows it to be used for other buffers and textures. When applications require more memory from quad-buffered stereo or full scene anti-aliasing, manage resources efficiently has becomre a more important issue.

Support for two-sided lighting

Quadro hardware supports two-sided lighting. Non-solid objects may display triangles from their "backside" when viewing the objects from the inside. Two-sided lighting prevents the lighting effect from dropping to zero when the object surface normal points away from the lighting source. As a result, these "backward-facing" triangles will remain visible from all possible viewing angles.

Hardware overlay planes

The user interface of many professional applications often require elements to be interactively drawn on top of a 3D model or scene. The cursor, pop-up menus or dialogs will appear on top of the 3D-viewport. These elements can damage the contents of the covered windows or affect their performance and interactivity.

To avoid this, most professional applications use overlay planes. Overlay planes allow items to be drawn on top of the main graphics window without damaging the contents of the windows underneath. Windows drawn in the overlay plane can contain text, graphics etc - the same as any normal window.

The planes also support the transparency function, which when set allows pixels from underneath the overlayed window to show through. They are created as two separate layers. This prevents possible damage to the main graphics window and it also improves performance. Likewise, showing an overlayed window as transparent with graphics inside allows items in the user interface to be drawn over the main graphics window.

Clearing and redrawing only the overlayed window is significantly faster than redrawing the main graphics window. This is how animated user-interface components can be drawn over 3D models or scenes.

Support for quad-buffered stereo for shutter glasses

The Quadro GPU family supports quad-buffered stereo, but GeForce GPU family does not. Quad-buffered stereo is a type of OpenGL functionality which does not depend on any special stereo hardware to show the effect. Two pictures, both double-buffered, are generated. Display is done alternately or interlaced, depending on the output device.

Many professional applications like 3ds max, SolidWorks or StudioTools allow users to view models or scenes in three dimensions using a stereoscopic display. It can be done by a plug-in like in Solidworks, an application driver like MAXtreme in 3ds max, an external viewer like QuadroView for autocad-based products, or by the application itself. The use of stereoscopic display is to have an overview in complex wire frame constructions, making walkthroughs much more realistic and impressive or simply to improve the display of large 3D-scenes. Stereo support on Quadro GPU family significantly benefits professional applications that demand stereo viewing capabilities.

Unified driver Architecture

Quadro GPUs provide several additional features and benefits for professional optimization and certification in applications.

Application Optimization

Quadro works closely with all workstation application developers that include Alias, Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley, Dassault, Discreet, Multigen-Paradigm, Newtek, Nothing Real, Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC), SDRC, Softimage, SolidEdge, SolidWorks, and Unigraphics, and it ensures that every application takes full advantage of the features provided by GPUs and that performance of graphics drivers are fully optimized.

Certification

Quadro drivers undergo rigorous in-house quality and regression testing with various workstation applications. By testing new workstation drivers against numerous applications, higher quality drivers can be released.

(Adapted from Leadtek's website)
     
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Aug 23, 2006, 11:56 AM
 
WOW! Thanks for the knowledge, Mark.

That's the most exhaustive rundown on the Quadro family I've ever seen. All I knew was all the Pro-E workstations in R&D here use Quadros..

For my use, I'll stick to ATi consumer cards as long as I can.

Z
     
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Aug 23, 2006, 12:08 PM
 
Mark... I swear, I called Apple, Nvidia, posted here, and two other Mac forums, as well as anandtech.. and didn't get anything close to the quality of this answer.. I'd love to have a guy like you around when I have questions that need REAL answers on hardware.. Thanks a lot, and I'm sure whom ever does a search in the future on Quadro will find this info MOST helpful.

For me, it is clear that the features that Quadro offers have little or no effect on my consumer apps, or for that matter FCP and CS2..

Thanks again.
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Aug 24, 2006, 06:42 PM
 
too add fuel to the rumor of upgrades..

Here is the email I got from Apple re: the iMac I just ordered for my kids..


To Our Valued Apple Customer:


Apple is pleased to let you know that we have upgraded the iMac you recently
ordered from the 160GB Serial ATA drive to the 250GB Serial ATA drive at no
additional charge.
Did they do it because I dropped close to $10K in the past week? or were they out of 160GB's?? or is the new spec for the iMac 250GB?? Who knows... maybe the X1950XTX is not too far fetched!
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Aug 24, 2006, 07:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Application Optimization

Quadro works closely with all workstation application developers that include Alias, Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley, Dassault, Discreet, Multigen-Paradigm, Newtek, Nothing Real, Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC), SDRC, Softimage, SolidEdge, SolidWorks, and Unigraphics, and it ensures that every application takes full advantage of the features provided by GPUs and that performance of graphics drivers are fully optimized.
The list of these companies can give one a clue of what type of work this card excels: engineering, visualization, and CAID packages (SoftImage, Alias AutoStudio, etc.) using NURBs modeling. Swinging around a complete A-side surface version of a F-150 with diagnostic shading is a lot different than swinging around polygons and has different card needs.

Probably Inferno stations, too. Essentially, whatever once needed an SGI Onyx.
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Aug 24, 2006, 10:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by UnixMac
too add fuel to the rumor of upgrades..

Here is the email I got from Apple re: the iMac I just ordered for my kids..



Did they do it because I dropped close to $10K in the past week? or were they out of 160GB's?? or is the new spec for the iMac 250GB?? Who knows... maybe the X1950XTX is not too far fetched!
The retail price difference between 160GB and 250GB drives is about $10.
     
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Aug 24, 2006, 10:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
The retail price difference between 160GB and 250GB drives is about $10.
what do you suppose the retail price difference between an X1900 and X1950 will be?

..remaining hopeful..
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Aug 25, 2006, 09:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by UnixMac
what do you suppose the retail price difference between an X1900 and X1950 will be?

..remaining hopeful..
Depends on "trim" level (GT, base, XT, XTX), but at the same level probably not much different. X1950 is more of a 6 month refresh than a higher model line.
     
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Aug 26, 2006, 10:47 PM
 
I've heard the 1950XTX will retail for $450-500
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 02:12 AM
 
VERY INTERESTING.. my computer seems to have shipped.. The email shows X1900XT in the specs.. so I guess Apple was a bit conservative in their original time quote!
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Sep 3, 2006, 03:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by UnixMac
VERY INTERESTING.. my computer seems to have shipped.. The email shows X1900XT in the specs.. so I guess Apple was a bit conservative in their original time quote!
well I hope shipping dates come down by like 2 weeks... my ETA is october 4th!

Zach
     
   
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