View Full Version : Video cards for Mac... which one?

11-30-2003, 08:36 PM
I currently have an NVidia GeForce 4X AGP 32Mb video card in my system, but I'm about to start a HUGE job. This leads me to some extra $$$. Now I'm wondering in your professional opinions what is best for my dual 867?

Let the posts fly in....


12-01-2003, 01:44 AM
Congratulations for your huge job, you need some help ? ;)

As long as you dont do animations the card seems to be okay for me. My old G4 450 has still the old ATI card, a little slow but usable. And usually i switch off display for not so often needed elements in Layout (btw i do my modelling mainly in FormZ).

The best advice i can give you is to buy a second computer, this helps a lotand is better than having only one superfast computer.



12-01-2003, 10:20 AM
It is going to have a flyby animation. It's quite complex having to show the current development and what will be added over the period of 40 years. So roads and buildings etc. need to be animated. The real fun thing is that it's by a surrounding hillside wil LOTS of trees and they have four potential layouts/plans that they want to show. It translates into about 6 minutes worth of animation. I've figured out some cheats for the trees and such, but I'm really needing some help getting my hands on a decent card and whether it should be nVidia or ATI.

As for work... I don't know. This project is complex because what I envision this being and the timeframe (6 weeks) is something i've never done. It's output is NTSC DVD and each 1.5 minute animation is going to contain 2700 frames. My estimate is that each frame is going to take about 5 minutes to render and the whole animation will take some 9 days to render unless I can figure out how to get my Macs to see each other on Screamernet.


12-01-2003, 11:04 AM
Well my new G5 has an NVidia card, but i cant recommend it, it has some strange display problems with Lightwave. So i can only recommend ATI 9600 or 9800.

I'm at the moment in the same situation, doing my first animations. But despite my scene contains 2.000.000 polygones, mainly from 3D trees, i have no problem. My estimation for rendertime is around 15 minutes per frame.

12-01-2003, 12:47 PM
If you are adding a new card to the G4, your best bets are the ATI Radeon 9800 or the Apple/nVidia GeForce 4 Ti. These have the greatest texture memory and best processors available. Both cost about $300-$400 (USD). They are 4x AGP cards, but will work in 2x machines.

If you have a lot of $$ coming in, I would definitely consider building a small rendering farm. With an eMac at about $800 USD (1 GHz G4 processor), it's a very inexpensive (but bulky) render node. You can get double your frame output for about $1600 USD, which is IMHO a great advantage when working on longer projects. Just think, you can render your frames in 1/2 the time with that upgrade...

late addition:
I purchased a GeForce 4 Ti this fall to replace my existing 2MX dual head, and I can tell you that this card improves OpenGL and texture loading in relation to the 2MX. Real-time playback is not better, but display accuracy is.

I haven't owned an ATi card since the Nexus 128 was the biggest waste of $300 I spent. Performance on this card no better than the Rage 128, which cost half as much.

12-01-2003, 10:19 PM
I was talking to someone today at a local PC shop and he was saying that ATI has set the standard for video cards and that their specs are what game developers base their requirements on. I'm not too sure what that means, but I'm not going to be hasty until I have some good referals from fellow Mac-inites.

I've not been able to set up Screamernet here on my 3 systems. I'm not too sure what it is that I'm doing wrong, but I know that it's just not working. I've been thinking of building a small render farms (one or two additional machiines), but I'm hesitant to do so if I can't get it to work. So far I have a 333 iMac, a G4 400, and a dual 867.

But my priorities are on the video card right now.

Ingo, what kind of problems have you been experiencing with your NVidia card?


12-12-2003, 12:42 PM
I'd say setting up screamernet would be the best thing you can do.

I strugled with lightwaves screamer net forever. Then I Got this thrid party app. http://www.catalystproductions.cc/screamernet/download.html It's much more reliable than the plain old LW network rendering.

still a little painful sometimes but no where near as squirrley.

Also I have a render dance I do like indians hoping for rain.

I place chicken bones on my nodes. and chant.

oh wa

ta na

si am

You can download it and set it up for free to get it working.

Then for a small fee upgrade it to however many nodes you want to include.

Well worth it.

12-12-2003, 01:06 PM
I think I've seen this before. I've not tried it out yet, but I might as well as now.

BTW the job went to someone else. I'm sad and depressed right now. I've not had a decent job in months...


12-12-2003, 01:39 PM
If you're going to drop money on a new graphics card, I'd wait a few months. Panther was supposed to support high end 3d cards, and hopefully they'll be introduced in january.


12-12-2003, 03:13 PM
What kind of high-end 3D cards are we talking about? Ones other than nVidia and ATI?


12-12-2003, 04:15 PM
Someone mentioned a bit ago that there were going to be Fire cards and Quadro cards available for g5s. Someone also posted recently about Wildcat cards possibly being made available for mac. The cards currently available for Macs are all game cards.


12-13-2003, 10:47 AM
Hey Fabmedia,

I have had loads of problems setting up screamernet also. But, I ran across a great article in 3D world magazine that describes the whole process step by step. After reading this article, I was able to get screamernet running at home. The big problem I had was just getting my macs to see each other in a networked enviroment. I am sure with OS 10.2 thats not a problem anymore.

I will be away from home for a week, but send me an email and when I get home, I can tell you what issue the article is in, or I can scan it and email it to you. It is really easy to follow, and I didn't have any problems getting it to work.
Hope this helps,

[email protected]

12-13-2003, 11:39 AM
Hey that's great! I have the odd issue of 3D world. Great magazine. I don't remember running across that article though. I'll be looking forward to that.

Cheers mate!

12-13-2003, 04:29 PM
Hey Arlen,

The article is in 3D World issue #29
"Build a Render Farm"

If you dont happen to have that issue, let me know and I will send you a copy of the article. It's a good article.

See ya,

12-13-2003, 05:50 PM
...sorry to barge in but could you send me a copy of that screamnet tutorial please.

thanks.:D :D

12-15-2003, 01:48 PM
Here's a Screamernet tute for Mac OS X:


12-16-2003, 07:57 PM
Sure, No Problem!
I will try to post it up on this forum, when I get back into town.


12-23-2003, 05:23 AM
I recently upgraded my graphics card from a 32mb MX to 128mb Nvidia TI and i noticed a difference in modelling (could see more polygons before it got very slow)
Will say that as far as rendering scenes, there was no increase in speed. Presume the rendering is down to processor speed rather than graphics card.

12-23-2003, 08:45 AM
Hey Guys,

Im back in town and will post up that
screamernet article soon.


12-23-2003, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by gazmon
Will say that as far as rendering scenes, there was no increase in speed. Presume the rendering is down to processor speed rather than graphics card That is correct. Rendering does not utilize the GPU.

12-24-2003, 08:45 AM
Hey Guys,
Here is the article from 3D world Mag. I used it a few times to config screamernet and found it really helpful. Sorry about the quality of the images. I dont have a scanner and had to shoot pics with a digital camera. Hope this helps!

Here is One image. This it the code you put into your cmdline file.


12-24-2003, 08:47 AM
Here is the First Part of the

12-24-2003, 08:48 AM
Here is the last part
Hope this Helps! Merry Christmas


12-24-2003, 08:48 AM
Ooops I forgot to attach the file

12-24-2003, 08:53 AM
AHHH! that last image was not readable
Here it is again