It’s All In the Cards
What's the best graphics card for Motion? Right now, the choice is clear.
By Mark Spencer | October 17, 2008
Motion is a GPU-based application, which means that the graphics card you choose makes all the difference in the world: the better the card, the better Motion's realtime performance. There are a myriad of cards on the market, but if you have a Mac Pro, your choice is a simple one: you want the Radeon HD 3870. It's quite simply the best card out there right now for Motion on a Mac Pro, it works on all Mac Pro models, and it's surprisingly inexpensive at about $200.
Now, you may be wondering about the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB card that is available when you configure a new Mac Pro on the Apple store. Well, due to driver issues, we just haven't seen the level of performance that card is capable of - in fact, some have found it slower than the stock Radeon HD 2600 XT. And on top of that, folks who recently upgraded their OS from 10.5.4 to 10.5.5 saw a performance decrease with that card! Here's some test results:
There's one other build-to-order option, the incredibly expensive
NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 1.5GB. But don't waste your money - for Motion, the 3870 performs better.
I was recently working on a project at dvGarage where we upgraded three brand new Mac Pros to the 3870. The combination of the card upgrade and increasing the stock 2GB of RAM to 10GB had a huge impact on Motion's responsiveness, playback frame rate, rendering, and exporting.
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