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What graphics card do I need?
May 6, 2009 11:35 PM   Subscribe

What graphics card do I need?

I am doing some fairly advanced video editing on my Intel Mac Pro tower (about 2 years old). i thought I had the setup I needed- quad core, 8gb RAM, eSATA external drives.

But I'm getting an error message, specifically calling out my graphics card as not being able to render certain effects with the "size and depth of video" I'm using. In addition, I would like to be able to use my Oleva flatscreen tv as an external monitor, and cannot currently do so due to lack of compatible outputs from the computer.

Is there a card i can buy that will solve both these problems? Also, do I replace the current card, or just add a new one in an empty slot? I know a fair bit about computers, but my ignorance of graphics cards is almost total.

thanks!
posted by drjimmy11 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
Graphics card won't solve either of these problems.

The first problem is caused by the fact that the output format of the video file you're attempting to render isn't compatible the effects chain your video editing package uses. Experiment with different options like rendering with 10-bit color, or 8-bit color, with or without an alpha channel, etc. until you find something that works.

Basically, the first is entirely a software issue revolving around your choice of video editor. If you tell us what you're using someone here might be able to help you.

To the second, I'm assuming your flatscreen TV has an HDMI input. DVI and HDMI are really the same thing, just different form factors for the plug. You can buy a simple converter cable that will from the DVI out on your computer to the HDMI input on your screen for probably $20 at your local best buy/radioshack/whatever.

But yeah, no new graphics card required.
posted by Ryvar at 11:45 PM on May 6, 2009


If I recall correctly, your 2 year old Mac Pro probably has an Nvidia 7300GT in it.

Ryvar's response to the first part is spot on.

Secondly, what kind of inputs does your TV have? We can't recommend a card unless we know what it needs to output.
posted by JauntyFedora at 11:49 PM on May 6, 2009


Um, pretty much all of them. HDMI, S-video, regular old RCA.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:51 PM on May 6, 2009


Is there a card i can buy that will solve both these problems? Also, do I replace the current card, or just add a new one in an empty slot?

I'm happy with the ATI 3870 I got from Amazon. For $200 it's a nice step up from the 7300GT.
You can just pull out your old card, bin it, and put this one in its place.

(It is also possible to demote the old card to another slot but reconfiguring the PCIe lanes is a bit of a pain for not much gain unless you are running 3 or 4 monitors).

The 3870 can also run with a passive heatsink so my Mac Pro is silent when running. Very nice.

I don't know if this will solve your problem tho.
posted by mrt at 12:22 AM on May 7, 2009


If you're editing with Final Cut Pro (I'm assuming this, in lieu of better details about your setup), buy yourself a Blackmagic Intensity PCIe card. It's only $199, and will let you output your FCP sequences directly to an HDMI display.

You DON'T want to simply use a DVI to HDMI adapter. DVI to HDMI adapters are only good if you're turning your Mac into a media center box. It will not give you the best image quality out of FCP, nor will it be synchronized to your FCP timeline viewer & canvas properly. Hardware cards like the Intensity are able to be driven directly by your editing software, instead of just mirroring your computer desktop, which you most definitely do not want to be doing if you're actually performing "hardcore" video editing.
posted by melorama at 12:30 AM on May 7, 2009


You want the Black Magic card.
posted by Alterscape at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2009


I agree with Ryvar in all points except this: "You can buy a simple converter cable that will from the DVI out on your computer to the HDMI input on your screen for probably $20 at your local best buy/radioshack"

Those adapters are going to be more like $40 in a store (Radio Shack and Best Buy gouge for cables, adapters, etc.) but they can be had very cheaply online.
posted by camcgee at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2009


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