NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 for the Mac
Mac Pro users finally have a professional-level graphics card, but is it worth the price?
Benchmark tests indicate that under the Windows operating system the Quadro FX 4800 delivers marked performance boosts. Our own testing with the Windows version of the card in an HP Z600 workstation showed consistently improved performance when loading very large datasets into 3ds max, rendering in After Effects, or applying filters in Photoshop. In a Mac Pro the Quadro FX 4800 performed very well during testing with the Adobe CS4 suite as expected. But here is the nagging problem, we also tested an ATI Radeon 4870 (under $300) and found that while the Quadro FX 4800 did better than the Radeon 4870 the difference was often negligible.
Why would a $300 Radeon 4870 do almost as well as $1799 Quadro FX 4800? It could be argued that the Quadro FX 4800 exceeds at ultra high-end visualization like scientific visualization. That would mean that for standard high-end work like video processing there’s no need to dole out the cash for the Quadro FX 4800 when a less expensive Radeon 4870 will do the trick. Another possible answer is persistent problems with nVidia drivers on the Mac that prevent the computer and graphics card from working efficiently. All variables being equal nVidia cards working under the Windows operating system outperform cards working under the Mac operating system. Until this issue is sorted out Mac users cannot expect the same performance Windows users enjoy.