View Full Version : New grapics card.. or new system?
February 18th, 2006, 10:40 PM
I have a powermac AGP.. 200 GB HD (total), 1GB RAM, 1 GHZ processor, and a 128 MB VRAM graphics card (PCI). I do a lot of movie stuff.. rendering, moving large files, using external drives, burning DVD's, and so on. I was wondering what you guys think: I recently got the new 128 MB VRAM PCI graphics card.. should I return that for the 256 MB AGP card.. or save up for a new system (a long ways down the line). I am hesitant to get a new card because I don't want to buy a 300-dollar-card for a 100-dollar-computer. Will this card make movie rendering faster? Where does the graphics card stop, and the processor start? For how much longer will this make my computer usable for video editing?
I have a ati 9200, thinking about getting the 9800.
February 19th, 2006, 06:13 PM
iMovie started dropping frames playing clips.. which is REALLY concerning, because thats not exactly an intensive graphics operation. I think I'll splurge on an AGP model.. this better work. Any last-minute opinions, before I go to the store?
Lt Major Burns
February 19th, 2006, 06:22 PM
the PCI bus will cripple any card in it. PCI was never meant for intesive graphics.
PCI was outdated long before 32mb cards came out, and bottlenecks any card faster than that.
an analogy could be like this:
your mac is currently using 20% of the power from that card. put a card twice as powerful in, and it'll still use the same amount of power, because it's all it can use, but the PCI bus will mean it's now using only 10% of the power of the card.
the 9200 is wasted through a pci bus, but is available to allow recent advances in graphics technology to be available to users limited by a PCI bus. the 9800 is just overkill. there's no way any of that power can get through that bus.
February 19th, 2006, 06:34 PM
I put in the original stock (AGP) card, and the movies played smooth as ever! For some reason, games worked a lot better with the PCI card, but other than that.. wow. What a bad card.
Lt Major Burns
February 19th, 2006, 07:05 PM
not a bad card, just poor use of a substandard bus. like a SATA drive on a USB 1.1 connection.
February 19th, 2006, 09:16 PM
... and I'd put the money towards a new Mac in the future. Make your Mac work for as long as you can, but I wouldn't put too much money into it, really. Even a Mac mini will by far surpass your setup in, say, half a year or a year. The processor's faster even today, and so is the graphics card. The only things the Mac mini is worse is that you can't really expand the system internally and the internal harddrive is slower, because it's a notebook drive. But the Mac mini has FW, and you can use a FW harddrive to boot from. So actually, your future Mac might not even be _that_ far away... But even if you intend to buy a PowerMac (or Mac Pro, should they call it that in the future), I'd still advise you not to spend too much money on your old Mac.
February 19th, 2006, 09:46 PM
I think I'll have to get the graphics update anyways.. but this will probably be the last upgrade. I hope I'll get 2 years more out of my powermac with this upgrade, but until then, I need a computer for editing work. Plus, 16 MB of VRAM is just sad.
I don't know if I would even want a mini.. it's too small. But I guess ill have to settle with the future mini-equivalent. Probably won't be able to get a powermac.. the only reason that I have this one is because it was free from a friend (!).
Lt Major Burns
February 20th, 2006, 09:28 AM
16mb of ram isn't that sad, it works. the point is, buying new graphics hardware for that pci bus or even that 2x AGP bus would be a false economy. don't do it. instead, start saving to replace the machine.
the mini is small, yes, but that's really the point. why have such a behemoth of a computer sat under your desk?
February 20th, 2006, 09:47 AM
i can already hear the argument. to expand it internally. but where's the sense in that, really... you'll upgrade it for hundreds of dollars a year whereas you could really simply replace it with a new mini for about the same price. once you're *IN* the upgrade cycle, it's really just better sense to go mini.
February 20th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Yeah, I probably should save for a new system, but I am doing a huge project for my relatives 50th anniversary right now, scanning in a couple hundred slides and making a "memories" movie from 300GB of .dv data.. the 16 MB VRAM card just isn't going to cut it. Plus, the new card has TV - out, and that gives me the option of making the powermac a DVD library - essentially a media center, when I am done with it. And of course, this might even make the mac FCP-compatable (if so, barely), which is a good selling point, and if I ever find an old copy of FCP on ebay, I could run it.
I got this machine for free, so it's costed me less than a mini so far..
So, in short, It's dumb, but I need performance now, at least to hold me over until they have refurb intel minis.
February 20th, 2006, 10:17 AM
Would there be any way to turn the Powermac into a high-speed file-server? Unless they make the minis with LOT bigger in hard-drives in the future, thats going to be a factor..
Lt Major Burns
February 20th, 2006, 10:52 AM
as fryke said earlier, you use the firewire port on the mini to great advantages as running 500gb external drives.
February 20th, 2006, 11:29 AM
Thats true.. I'll probably get the intel mini when It comes out then.. by then my system will be useless.
February 20th, 2006, 12:20 PM
Getting a mac mini now probably wouldn't make sense.. I'd be paying 500 bucks for a memory and harddrive downgrade, and only a .25 processor increace.. thats out-of-budget anyways.
February 20th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Then just budget yourself for the next few months. If you practice some self discipline you can get a new PowerMac (or what ever Apple calls the new ones) when the new intel ones come out this year.
February 20th, 2006, 01:02 PM
I ended up having to get a new card, because I wasn't able to burn a DVD.. it crashed.
But, wow, this card is a monster! In graphics, it surpasses my dad's 20 inch iMac G5! I even got Front-row to work smoothly. I can view effects in real-time with iMovie 6.. with my old card, it wouldn't even render. Thats really all I need my computer to do now, so this card should keep the powermac alive for a few more years.. (The VRAM is the same amount that they put in Powermac G5's! Of course, they run faster because I only have AGP 2x, but still..)