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Thread: Will an extra 4gig of RAM lift the performance of an old video card?

  1. #1

    Default Will an extra 4gig of RAM lift the performance of an old video card?

    Hi
    Will added 4gig of RAM lift the performance of a 5 year video card GForce 8800 GT with 512mb - I hav a 5 year old Mac Pro - Quad core.
    Apparently there are no upgrades available for this older card - so wondering if it worth the investment of adding RAM.
    Thanks You, Tipene

  2. #2

    Default

    It depends on how much ram you already have, but unless you're on the minimum 2GB or 4GB currently it's not likely to make a significant difference.

    So, some questions are:

    1) How much ram do you already have?

    2) What type of RAM is it? If it's DDR2 then it's horrendously expensive compared to buying (say) a new GPU card (something like a 5770 from ebay)

    3) What software are you using?

    4) What type of things are you editing?

  3. #3

    Default Reply

    Many thanks David for your reply (my answers to your questions are below in Blue).

    Im thinking of holding on to the computer for say another 3 years as I get back into more editing and therefore will it continue to do the job well with some upgrades. The problem is that I have had a break from video and audio editing for the past 3 years - so Im at a turning point of wondering how best to spend my money - upgrade the 5-6 yr old Mac Pro - or save up for a new iMac (cannot afford a new MacPro).


    The company currently fixing a internal drive issue (recovering the data) tells me that its no longer possible to upgrade the Video Card - a GForce 8800 GT 512mbRam. AGREE or DISAGREE?

    [QUOTE=David Partington;208346]It depends on how much ram you already have, but unless you're on the minimum 2GB or 4GB currently it's not likely to make a significant difference.

    So, some questions are:

    1) How much ram do you already have? 4 Gig of RAM (4 x 1Gig) - a total of 8 slots are available.

    2) What type of RAM is it? If it's DDR2 then it's horrendously expensive compared to buying (say) a new GPU card (something like a 5770 from ebay) The computer is in being fixed at the moment - one of the drives died a couple of days ago - so I do not have the computer here.

    3) What software are you using? A mix of video and audio - Final Cut Pro 7, Premiere Pro CS6, Logic Pro, ProTools 9 (about to upgrade), Ableton Live are the main ones

    4) What type of things are you editing? Video for sound and moving image art installation work, music composition and arranging, music recording.

  4. #4

    Default

    [QUOTE=Tipene Ralph;208351]The company currently fixing a internal drive issue (recovering the data) tells me that its no longer possible to upgrade the Video Card - a GForce 8800 GT 512mbRam. AGREE or DISAGREE?

    That depends on the exact model. Mine is a MacPro 3,1 and yes it's perfectly possible to upgrade, you just pop in any supported card and away you go. Ebay is full of them. However, it's worth finding the exact model from the 'about this mac' menu when you get it back.

    4 Gig of RAM (4 x 1Gig) - a total of 8 slots are available.

    Ouch. That's really not enough for efficient video editing on anything 'modern'. FCP7 should run fine (with transcoding) but then it can only use 4GB. My guess is that Premiere Pro CS6 doesn't run that smoothly with anything substantial without transcoding, but really needs a video card with CUDA support to be really efficient. Something like the NVidia GTX285. I used to run one of these in my MacPro when I used Premiere Pro CS6 (having gone there from FCP7 originally). Then I swapped back to the ATI5770 when I went to FCPX. Even so, the old MacPros are now showing their age, even with the 16GB I have fitted :(

    The computer is in being fixed at the moment - one of the drives died a couple of days ago - so I do not have the computer here.

    My best guess is DDR2. That's what my MacPro has. It's stupidly expensive compared to DDR3. :(

    A mix of video and audio - Final Cut Pro 7, Premiere Pro CS6, Logic Pro, ProTools 9 (about to upgrade), Ableton Live are the main ones

    More ram would help, even for FCP7, but seriously, 4GB is not going to make that much difference. Get to 12GB / 16GB and you'll see more improvement. However, these older MacPros have much slower memory bandwidth (800Mhz) so what ever you do, that's the real bottle neck.

    Upgrading was something I've really struggled with. The old MacPro can still hold it's own in so many ways. It's still a great machine, but alas newer editing software is showing it up when it comes to GPU requirements. I looked long and hard at both the new MacPro and the iMac 27". In the end I opted for a maxed out iMac 27" (I got third party ram) because of the CUDA support for After Effects. Some Race Trace rendering I needed to do took 4 hours on the MacPro (even 2.8 hours on the new one!) but only 2 minutes (TWO MINUTES!!!!!) on the iMac (due to the GPU type). It totally blows my old MacPro away when using it with FCPX and even Premiere Pro CS6. So, if you're worried about going from a MacPro to an iMac (as I was) let me put your mind at rest. The iMac 27" with 4GB GPU, 32GB ram etc is a very fast machine, and is available from the refurb store at several hundred pounds off list. So, while I'm still transitioning much of my day to day stuff, video editing, motion graphics (After Effects), Logic Pro X etc are now being used exclusively on the iMac.

  5. #5

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    Hi David
    Many thanks for all the help. Your latest reply confirmed it for me. I'm going to wait and upgrade by purchasing a new iMac 27" (with the high GPU RAM etc) - instead of upspec-ing the old MacPro. Will save the MacPro for the audio editing stuff I need to do this year. All the best! Tipene

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