Video Cards

Thinking about buying a video card for my mac g5 1.8g single. Looking at the nvidia 6800 or perhaps the ATI 9800 special mac edition. Both are 256 memory however the ATI is $200 less expensive.

I know they have different software for rendering. Is this the difference? Anyone have any ideas on these cards. What sets them apart?

The NVIDIA 6800 is faster :slight_smile:

Doesn’t that mean real-time rendering, such as is used for the game engine? I thought that for proper renders, it was actually the CPU that was used. So (if I’m right) you may not want to have the superior rendering one, if it’s gonna cost $200 more.

Yup. The new graphics card will make all the real-time stuff in Blender run smoothly (that is, if you need it, even on my TI4200 I had no performance problems for my needs). CPU and system RAM are the only things that really matter in your system when it comes to a final rendering. If you get a better graphics card that just means that you’ll be able to use Blender at a higher frame rate with complex models and scenes. And, the scene has to be significatly complex for you to notice a difference in performance.

The difference between those two cards (and if you want more detail go on Tom’s Hardware or something) is that the NVIDIA 6800 is faster, but a lot of people have said that ATI 9800 has higher-quality shaders. Now, there are different versions of those cards, like Ultra, XT, etc., so that statement may not be entirely true about the two specific cards you are looking at, but that’s the overall comparison.

Quite honestly, you should be getting a graphics card for games before you get one for Blender. If it’s slowing down becuase the polygon count is too high due to the fact that you have the models subdivided x4 for preview, and there’s a flood of models on the screen, then you need to think more about using layers and only subdividing x2 for preview.

Now, if it wasn’t for the fact that you are getting a new card for your G5, I would have told you to screw ATI and go for the NVIDIA just becuase ATI’s drivers are crap in Linux, and only acceptable in Windows (except for their Hydravision, I liked nView way better). Because it’s for the Mac, I can’t say from past experience. But I can say from previous and current experience to always go for an NVIDIA card.

My original suggestion still stands. Get the NVIDIA.

I have the nvidia 6800, and I find it to be an astounding card…

My general advice is if you have an option between an nvidia and an ATI graphics card, go for the Nvidia every time (In terms of using it with blender at least)

Nvida Quadros are designed for 3D apps like blender. (but they cost an arm and a leg)

Thanks very much for the insight. My desire for a better faster video card is that when I use shaded mode I often have a wait (30 sec. or so) while the screen redraws. I find this anoying. Also I would just like the experience of seeing how the apps run with the faster card installed.

I am still stewing it over. Thanks again for the helpful comments.

When you switch to shaded mode, Blender has to process vertex colors due to material properties and lighting. It’s basically a really fast render so that it can figure out the vertex colors so you have some idea on how it will look without doing a final render. So, your video card won’t help there.

It also might be taking a while becuase of how high your subsurf is set to for real-time preview. I have an AMD 1.8 machine and I don’t have a lot of problems with it. Depending on how complex your scene is depends on how long it will take shaded mode to do it’s thing.

Textures are performance-eaters too… My humble GF4MX with 64 MB ram performs awfuly on something with several 1024*1024 or more textures in textured mode.

card decisions should be waited against speed and OpenGL driver quality- a card that’s good for games may not work too well for blender. As stated earlier, on PC’s (linux or windows) nvidia wins.

that why i say go with Nvidia Quadro FX 4400, it only costs around $1500 :wink: