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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

nVidia Quadro FX 4800
in the Nehalem Mac Pro
Versus Other GPUs

Posted Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The engineers have been busy over at nVidia. They have prepared two GPU upgrades for the 2008-2009 Mac Pro: The Quadro FX 4800 and GeForce GTX 285. We tested the Quadro FX 4800 with both Pro Apps and 3D Games to see how it compares to "mere mortal" GPUs.

QB sus read

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LEGEND OF GRAPHS
RED means fastest
FX4800 = nVidia Quadro FX 4800 (1.5G GDDR3)
R4870 = ATI Radeon HD 4870 (512M GDDR5)
FX5600 = nVidia Quadro FX 5600 (1.5G GDDR3)
G8800 = nVidia GeForce 8800 GT (512M GDDR3)
R3870 = ATI Radeon HD 3870 (512M GDDR4)
G120GT = nVidia GeForce GT 120 (512MB GDDR3)

INSIGHTS
The Quadro FX 4800 is an impressive "workstation quality" replacement to last year's "gorilla" Quadro FX 5600. It costs only half as much, consumes less power, yet it offers higher performance.

On the other hand, depending on what apps you run, the "consumer quality" Radeon HD 4870 does some things faster at a fraction of the cost. I expect the same will be true of the soon-to-be-released nVidia GeForce GTX 285.

Some notable features of the nVidia Quadro FX 4800 include:

  • 1.5GB of GDDR3 video memory (three times as much as the Radeon HD 4870)
  • 192 parallel processor cores
  • 384-bit memory interface with 76.8GB/s bandwidth (33% faster than GeForce 8800 GT's 256-bit interface with 57.6GB/s bandwidth but slower than the Radeon HD 4870's 256-bit interface with 115GB/s bandwidth)
  • two Dual-Link DVI ports (no goofy Mini DisplayPort requiring $100 adapter for second 30" Cinema Display)
  • stereo port (for scientific visualization)
  • 150W power consumption (one power feed; yes you can install two of them)
  • "ultra" quiet fan (we can testify to that)

Supported Platforms:

  • MacPro3,1 ('early 2008') or MacPro4,1 ('early 2009') or later with PCIe 2.0 slot
    Note: MacPro1,1 and MacPro2,1 with PCIe 1.0 slots are NOT compatible

Other more technical features include:

  • 128-bit color precision
  • Unlimited fragment instruction
  • Unlimited vertex instruction
  • 3D volumetric texture support
  • Hardware accelerated antialiased points and lines
  • Hardware OpenGL overlay planes
  • Hardware accelerated two-sided lighting
  • Hardware accelerated clipping planes
  • 3rd generation occlusion culling
  • Window ID clipping functionality
  • Hardware accelerated line stippling

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY THESE HOT GRAPHICS CARDS
ClubMac has the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 For Mac 1.5GB DDR3 PCIe Graphics Card listed for $1460. Other World Computing also has it listed on their site.

ClubMac has the ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro listed for $329. Compare that to the Apple Store USA price of $349.

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copyright 2009 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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