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1x X1900 or 4x 7300's in the new Mac Pro? Which is faster?


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#1 Syzygy

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 01:43 PM

Anyone have any expectations or even benchmarks?  I'm assuming the 4 GeForce 7300's can be linked with SLI, right?  If that's the case, which would you get?  Which is faster?
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#2 teflon

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 01:48 PM

as far as I know, SLI only works with 2 cards...

so im expecting that all these 7300s will be running separate displays. Up to 4 30" displays, in addition to 4 23" displays?

But for any serious benchmarks, or any work running on 2 30" displays, I expect that the X1900 is faster... and by faster I mean lightyears ahead in terms of speed.
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#3 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:40 PM

View Postteflon, on August 7th 2006, 01:48 PM, said:

as far as I know, SLI only works with 2 cards...

so im expecting that all these 7300s will be running separate displays. Up to 4 30" displays, in addition to 4 23" displays?

But for any serious benchmarks, or any work running on 2 30" displays, I expect that the X1900 is faster... and by faster I mean lightyears ahead in terms of speed.

Not to sound sarcastic or anything but does that mean current manufacturers are ripping people off with those Quad SLI setups they are selling because only two of those GPUs are are actually in SLI mode?  Alienware ALX series for example comes with Quad SLI. On second thought if they do a two in one deal for each GPU then it would take up two slots but have four GPU's... but it's still four GPUs.
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Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

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#4 Goldibus

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:46 PM

If I were to get a pro I wouldn't buy from Apple' and drop my own video card in. My personal choice is the GeForce 7950 GX2.

The GeForce 7950 GX2 scored a 8865 in the 3D Mark 06 test compared to the 1900XT score of 5670, so its about 3 times faster, which is amazing.

If you had to go with any of the two cards Apple is up selling, then I would buy it separately or buy any other PCIE card that suits your needs.



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#5 Batcat

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:53 PM

3DMark06 is D3D/DirectX, it's a synthetic test tho game-related, even the math is off, and SLI needs proper interconnects and explicit driver support, let alone Quad SLI. If you don't already know AFR means Alternate Frame Rendering, you're probably in over your head here. Sorry.

See my remarks in the IMG News article.

#6 Goldibus

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:08 PM

View PostBatcat, on August 7th 2006, 12:53 PM, said:

3DMark06 is D3D/DirectX, it's a synthetic test tho game-related, even the math is off, and SLI needs proper interconnects and explicit driver support, let alone Quad SLI. If you don't already know AFR means Alternate Frame Rendering, you're probably in over your head here. Sorry.

See my remarks in the IMG News article.

Even if you can't use SLI you still replace that crappy standard card in the pro with any single PCIE card soulution, but damn you Apple, still no SLI, to me that is dumb move on Apple's part.

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#7 Dark_Archon

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:35 PM

SLI isn't really cost effective. Do you really want to drop an extra $500+ for a few extra fps in Quake 4. A single x1900xt could already run any game out there maxed out on graphics settings.
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#8 Batcat

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:59 PM

View PostDark_Archon, on August 7th 2006, 04:35 PM, said:

SLI isn't really cost effective. Do you really want to drop an extra $500+ for a few extra fps in Quake 4. A single x1900xt could already run any game out there maxed out on graphics settings.
It's not quite that powerful; newish games like ES4: Oblivion can take anything you can throw at them at high res and maxed settings- tho overall, mostly true. Bump ES4 to 1600x1200 or 1680x1050, throw in FSAA, AF, HDR lighting, max view distance etc. etc. and it's a beast. DIY graphics, tho, is specialized and there are devils in details.


Quote

When Nvidia unveiled Quad SLI on the GeForce 7900GX2, the PC world was excited about the prospect of four graphics processors for rendering. This came at a very high price, however, and it was only available through system builders, which was a disappointment for enthusiasts.

Nvidia then repackaged the GeForce 7900GX2 into the GeForce 7950GX2. The redesign eliminated the need for one of the SLI bridges and shortened the board. Other great improvements over the GeForce 7900GX2A included a better layout of the memory modules, ventilation of the bottom graphics circuit board and a shorter form factor. The advent of the GeForce 7950GX2 brought the official dual graphics processor solution to the elite enthusiast base that could afford it. However, one still had to go through an authorized vendor to purchase it.

While Nvidia developed the product for the hardcore high resolution and intense image quality crowd, the "do-it-yourself" crowd was left out in the cold. The reason was that the official drivers were held back, denying folks from experiencing building a Quad-SLI system on their own. This scenario has now changed-the drivers that were only available to insiders and system integrators are now public in the latest beta driver, ForceWare 91.33.
http://www.tomshardw..._it_is_hatched/

For most, it isn't worth it. Wait a year and buy a single card that will handle all the above. Make life a process of discovery. That's upgrading; improve the past as well as the present and future.

Besides, one X1900XT can already draw up to 110 watts, peak load, and the first top-model DX10 cards now look to draw in the 170-200w range. That's probably enough. ;)

#9 bobbob

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 04:00 PM

Quote

1x X1900 or 4x 7300's in the new Mac Pro? Which is faster?

You can't be serious? Even with SLI (which Apple doesn't seem to have...), it's obviously not going to be 7300s.

View PostDark_Archon, on August 7th 2006, 02:35 PM, said:

A single x1900xt could already run any game out there maxed out on graphics settings

Really? With all the AA at the highest res? On a 30" Cinema Display? Since your solution gets about 60 fps at only 1280x1024 with only 4x AA, it's obviously not maxed out. That's not to say anyone needs to have a better experience, but a better experience is certainly available.

#10 teflon

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 05:10 PM

actaully.. i think i remember a news item somewhere about quad SLI.. But i was under the impression that SLI was only available for the mid to high end ranges.

Either way, the 7300 is still not a very good card in terms of gaming capability, and the only reason why you would want to have it would be to run more than 2 30" displays.

for the DX10 cards, I personally, expect the trend to continue, with ATIs card being ridiculously power hungry, and Nv's cards being slightly more reasonable, and better performers. But ATI will have the advantage of having a combined pixel shader engine (or something like that)...

anyway, with the current offering, a X1900XT is the best you can get, and much much much cheaper than the 4500.

oh, and SLI will never really be worth it. Just as dual CPUs is not really worth it unless youre running something in the background. And when are you ever going to be running another game in the background?
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#11 Batcat

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 05:44 PM

The multiple cards aren't for gaming, they're for work.


Quote

A Pair of 30s -- or More?

The GeForce 7300 GT comes with one dual-link DVI and one single-link DVI port, allowing you to connect one 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display to the dual-link DVI port and one 20-inch or 23-inch Cinema Display to the single-link DVI port. Or connect two 30-inch displays to either the ATI Radeon X1900 XT or the workstation-class NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500. Both feature two dual-link DVI ports.

Like even more screen real estate? Thanks to the new double-wide PCI Express graphics slot, no matter which card you have installed as your primary graphics card, your Mac Pro still provides room for three additional PCI Express expansion cards. In all, Mac Pro lets you install up to four PCI Express graphics cards. Providing support for up to eight displays simultaneously, Mac Pro offers an ideal solution for advanced visualization projects and large display walls. You don't need a clear day to see forever. You just need a new Mac Pro.
My bold.

http://www.apple.com...o/graphics.html

#12 tiskippy

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 05:45 PM

Couple of notes in here.  First of all, yes you can do SLI with more than 2 cards.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like SLI is an option yet in these machines, which is too bad.  Not so much for gamers, but professional graphics solutions.  On the other hand, these cards may offer SLI without any note of it on Apple's website (though I doubt it.)

Oh, and for gaming, no matter what the price, the X1900XT is the best card.  The Quadro FX 4500 is a great card, but not for gaming.  We have a little Linux cluster at work for driving some visualization stuff that uses 9 computers, dual Opteron processors, 8GB RAM and a pair of 4500's in SLI.  Its a nice setup for our purposes, but it won't do well with games.  At least, not much better than a GeForce card with a far lower price.
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#13 Eric5h5

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:31 PM

View Postteflon, on August 7th 2006, 07:10 PM, said:

Just as dual CPUs is not really worth it unless youre running something in the background. And when are you ever going to be running another game in the background?

Yikes, that's not true, and will become less and less true as more and more apps become multi-threaded.  I remember when Blender went multi-threaded...render speed increased by a lot.  Photoshop has gotten big speed gains with dual CPUs since ages ago.  More recently, the Quake 4 SMP patch gave that game a significant speed boost.  Plenty of other examples.  I don't think Sony and Microsoft are throwing multiple cores into their gaming boxes just for the heck of it.... ;)

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#14 Goldibus

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 08:23 PM

View PostEric5h5, on August 7th 2006, 04:31 PM, said:

Yikes, that's not true, and will become less and less true as more and more apps become multi-threaded.  I remember when Blender went multi-threaded...render speed increased by a lot.  Photoshop has gotten big speed gains with dual CPUs since ages ago.  More recently, the Quake 4 SMP patch gave that game a significant speed boost.  Plenty of other examples.  I don't think Sony and Microsoft are throwing multiple cores into their gaming boxes just for the heck of it.... ;)

--Eric

Gamers are know for making sure their systems are running on the bare minium of stuff running as not to slow down gameplay, but these quad cores you could run dvd editing and play a game at the same time (something I want to do, but can't due to slowdown) so I heard from testers. I don't know if you could do it, but I would like to be able to.  ;)

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#15 Lucian

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 10:31 PM

To answer Tim's question clearly, Apple currently doesn't support CrossFire (ATI) or SLI (NVIDIA) on its motherboards or in software. Your best bet is to go with the X1900 XT.
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#16 Batcat

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 10:48 PM

View PostEric5h5, on August 7th 2006, 07:31 PM, said:

...More recently, the Quake 4 SMP patch gave that game a significant speed boost.  Plenty of other examples.  I don't think Sony and Microsoft are throwing multiple cores into their gaming boxes just for the heck of it.... ;)

--Eric
I was reflecting on that earlier. Gears of War, UT2007, Halo 3 et al would all run like buttah on one of these and a high-end videocard... but which ones will reach OSX (or even Bootcamp) anytime soon, or ever? GoW and H3 are X-clusives for some time, years, to come. Good topic for elsewhere.

#17 Goldibus

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:39 PM

I wonder since you can put as many video cards as you want to in the pros, maybe you could put one card in a PCIE slot that will only work with and can use in Windows and one that will work with OSX. Just a thought.

-Goldibus

#18 Endymion

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:40 PM

View PostLucian, on August 8th 2006, 12:31 AM, said:

To answer Tim's question clearly, Apple currently doesn't support CrossFire (ATI) or SLI (NVIDIA) on its motherboards or in software. Your best bet is to go with the X1900 XT.

I would guess the firmware would depend more on intel since Apple has been very with them for this. It is not too likely that intel would cripple their firmware just for Apple's line, but of course SLI still can't happen without drivers, so we get to wait and see when or if Apple ever provides them--since nobody else will be writing them.

#19 teflon

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 03:41 AM

View PostBatcat, on August 8th 2006, 05:48 AM, said:

I was reflecting on that earlier. Gears of War, UT2007, Halo 3 et al would all run like buttah on one of these and a high-end videocard... but which ones will reach OSX (or even Bootcamp) anytime soon, or ever? GoW and H3 are X-clusives for some time, years, to come. Good topic for elsewhere.

GoW might come out sooner than you think. After all, its Epic's game and not Microsofts.... But Halo 3 will be a while coming. And UT2007 has been pushed back to spring (I think).

either way, for Halo 3 youd really want a DX10 card, especially with the DX10 stuff that theyre putting into Halo 2 PC. That would get you the real performance with more shaders and stuff...

I think that UT2007 is still Dx9 though, so youd be pretty safe there
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#20 Batcat

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:56 AM

GoW's been announced for 11/12/06.

Quote

Microsoft® today announced what anxious players have been eagerly awaiting: Emergence Day 2006. Available exclusively for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the highly anticipated title Gears of War® will be available in North America on November 12, 2006.
UT2007 is headed first to PC, so Bootcamp should handle it. No ports are announced for GoW or H3, tho; they're exclusive to 360 and will be for some time.

So the issue isn't graphics; it's 'now that we have all this multithreaded CPU horsepower... where are the games to use it well on?' Teh supply of announced new heavy-hitter titles is about zilch. :unsure:

(Oh, and H3's well beyond first playable, well into several playtest phases. I'm guessing 8-9 months to release).