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Suggested Graphics Cards For The Macintosh? 7

ntac writes "After the recent unveiling of the nVidia cards for the new line of G4's, my graphic design co-workers and I have been debating which card has the most bang for the buck. ATI seems to have burned a lot of bridges within the Mac community. Does the GeForce2 have the juice to replace the ATI Radeon? I've also noticed that Mac drivers are available for the 3dfx Voodoo cards - is this another viable option? As designers, we are looking for high performance in Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark, Flash, and Premiere. Any help would be greatly appreciated."
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Suggested Graphics Cards For The Macintosh?

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  • Caveat: I haven't had a chance to try a Radeon card for any platform, so I can only comment on NVidia GeForce series cards.

    In my experience OpenGL performance on the GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce2 MX and GeForce2 Quadro chips have all been quite acceptible. Here's a page of WCS OpenGL benchmarks on various Windows machines:

    http://www.3dnature.com/glbench.html [3dnature.com]

    These are not all done on the same machine, so numbers are generally relative.

    That being said, the GeForce2 MX holds its own very well in OpenGL, and will probably outperform any other Mac 3D card out there (no data on Radeon yet).

    If you're not concerned with 3D, the point is moot. You don't need a GeForce or a Radeon.
  • Since is sounds like 3d is of little importance to you I would go with the ATI card due to the fact that it is the CURRENT 2d king on the mac and its better supported. However, if things keep on going as they are ATI will be pushed out of the mac space completely leaving me to wonder whether future apple OSes will be better optimized for the nVidia cards. This is of course speculation but if you want my advice Buy ATI for a machine youre going to be using over the next year or two then upgrading, but go with the GeForce for a machine which has to last you into 2005.
  • The GeForce2 card unveiled for the Mac is the LOW-END card that NVidia makes - the 2MX. If you buy one for a PC, you can find them for around $100 or so. I've no idea what Apple is selling them for if you (can) buy them separately, but it's probably a lot more than $100. The ATI Radeon is a more capable card in some respects, but for non-3D stuff, the GeForce2MX card is probably more than you need. I have one, and it's a great card. Why that card is the default one on the 'high-end' Macs is beyond me. It's a budget card! *shrug*
  • Note that the Nvidia GeForce cards tend to have noticably softer 2D images (IMO, and others) than the ATI cards (or Matrox, for that matter), which is likey to be a big negative for designers. Their higher end cards also lack DVI-I connectors for flat panel use (these are available on the MX cards).

    Also, the Nvidia cards only have significantly better 3D performance than the Radeons when used in 16 bit high resolution modes [sharkyextreme.com] (its mostly comparable with a similar GeForce in 32 bit tests [sharkyextreme.com], until you get to high resolutions and compare against a GeForce 2 Ultra). Those tests were done on a PC comparing with a GeForce 2 GTS, which is faster than the GeForce 2 MX that Nvidia is releasing for Macs.

    I think the best all around performance you'll find on the Mac right now is from the Radeon Mac Edition [ati.com] (which is 32MB DDR to compare in the above charts). It has better 2D performance (IMO, its a subjective thing but many other people have noticed and commented on the difference).

    Regards, RJS

  • According to www.matroxusers.com [matroxusers.com] ProMax are using the G400 chipset to make dualhead videocards for the Mac.

    See here [promax.com] for more info.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @04:25AM (#505374)
    With 3Dfx now officially pushing up the daisies, your choices have become a lot more limited.

    You can still get 3Dfx cards, yes. But there's a catch: for anything higher than Voodoo3 (meaning V4 and V5) you need to get 3Dfx's Mac-specific version of the card (they added some stuff to the Mac cards that you don't get on the PC, like QuickTime acceleration, but they also took some things away, like DVD playback). You also have to find the drivers, which isn't a very simple task now that the 3Dfxgamers site is down.

    NVidia has yet to come out with a retail Mac card; at the moment they appear to be OEM-only, though all of their current chips could at least theoretically work in a Mac.

    Then, of course, there's ATI. Decent cards, but extremely crappy drivers. You can try this one if you want, but watch your back; they may not be what you'd expected.

    Formac makes a very nice Mac-specific card with a nifty little gadget: computer 3-D glasses which Formac claims really enhance the experience (I haven't tried it, but I do know that normal 3-D glasses won't work in this case). However, be prepared to shell out the dough.

    I don't know if VillageTronic still makes their MacPicasso stuff, but these were absolutely wonderful cards in their time. Definitely check into this line; the card had a modular design so it could be expanded without replacing the whole card.
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @03:33AM (#505375) Homepage Journal
    If all you are doing is 2-dimensional graphics, then you don't need most of the bells and whistles the fancy 3D-optimized cards offer.

    ixMicro made a nice little 2D accelerated PCI vid card that you can get for almost nothing these days. That's what's driving the primary 20" monitor at my office.

    I'm running a Voodoo3 for second (although primary) monitor at home, where I do both 2D design and play 3D games. Its 2D accelleration is quite good, almost too good. Scrolling menus zip right by.

    Check Xlr8YourMac.com [xlr8yourmac.com] for comparisons of many video cards in many different systems.


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