View Full Version : Video card - will it really matter much?

05-03-2005, 07:32 AM
Hi all -

I have a G5 dual 2 gig w/ 2.5 gigs of ram. Until yesterday I had the "stock" 64mb card that came with it, which is, I believe, an ATI.

Yesterday I picked up the GeForce 6800 GT. The reason for this was that I've been doing a lot of work in Apple's Motion, and it's just plain slow. I figured this $500 card (plus a $100 DVI to ADC adapter) would make a big difference.

Honestly, it made some difference... but not much. Certainly not nearly what I would expect.

So my question is, will I really benefit in 3D apps? Or any apps? I'm beginning to wonder if it's mostly games that benefit, and yes... I love games... but I wasn't really planning on spending that money for something I barely have time for.

On the other hand, maybe there are really performance enhancements, and possibly some to come which take advantage of accelerated 16-bit processing. I don't know, though, so I'm asking here ;)

Any advice appreciated

05-03-2005, 08:52 AM
We have the same G5s as yours. We also use PC and Sun Workstations. Our experience with consumer-level cards is consistent with your observation, there's only modest improvements in performance. Unfortunately, these are our only choices with Macs. For the vast majority of projects, however, we function just fine in a Mac/3D environment.

The big performance jumps involve our Wildcat and FireGL cards (on the other platforms).

When working texture shaded mode in layout on complex scenes the differences are huge. As a baseline, open the Moonbase.lws in layout. How long does it take to refresh the camera view when you move to another frame (with your 6800 GT)? It takes over 10 seconds with my G5. On my Dell 450 with the FireGL card it's about 2 seconds.

Is it a fair comparison? Is it just a graphics card issue? I don't know. Anyway, keep your GeForce card, buy a 30 inch monitor, have fun.


Captain Obvious
05-03-2005, 09:46 AM
Theoretically, it should enhance OpenGL performance in 3D applications, too... but unfortunately, Lightwave doesn't benefit.

The general consensus seems to be that Motion really gets a kick in the pants from that kind of upgrade, though. Odd that you didn't get an improvement.

05-03-2005, 10:53 AM
Agreed. And we'd all like Motion to get more of a kick in the pants. You might consider loading up on RAM. Motion will use it.

Another thing that has really improved our entire workflow is multipass rendering and compositing in DFX (or Shake). It's incredibly useful to channel LightWave buffers to separate psd layers. We often break-up our scenes, this reduces the load on the card (and general processing). It also improves our editorial potential in post and reduces the need for precious render farm time.

There's an excellent video tutorial in the dfx section on Newtek's site, I think by Lee Stranahan. Worth a look even if you don't use node-base compositors. Multipass rendering has changed my whole thinking on scene development.

I love motion, but too often we have clients with pressing deadlines looking over our shoulders as we work.