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Macs suck in graphics, WHY ?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 10, 2007 3:44:15 PM

My brother owns a iBook and likes it (for what it does).
What I can't understand is the graphics cards for the Mac really suck. Such as the high-end desktop only uses a Nv 7300 or ATI X1600!
There are also no new games out. Want to play Ghost Recon, Oblivion, FEAR, Crysis? forget it. Bootcamp is the only way POSSIBLE.

The point is, Apple owns Pixar! I would think Apple will want Pixar to use Macs with high-end graphics for 3-D rendering, games, other media.
The high-end Quadro-Plex isn't available for the Mac, so all the Pixar rendering must take months on those 7300s!
Why does Apple hate gamers so much? That is where the innovation is.

Can someone explain this? I must me missing something.
Thanks!

More about : macs suck graphics

April 10, 2007 3:48:34 PM

The x1900 was the highest I saw. But I thought this was a mute point now, don't new macs use pci-e? So its just a matter of drivers.
April 10, 2007 4:10:41 PM

Quote:
The x1900 was the highest I saw. But I thought this was a mute point now, don't new macs use pci-e? So its just a matter of drivers.

Apple won't make the drivers. I highly doubt Pixar will use x1900s for the final rendering (the x1900 is NOT a professional card designed for high-speed wireframe rendering)
Then who will port the games to the Mac?
I still think something strange is going on.

My only guess is Jobs hates all gamers and Pixar uses special video cards/w drivers you can not buy. Perhaps Apple doesn't want normal home users to start making Pixar quality 3D clips (this has happend 15-20 years before)?
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April 10, 2007 4:20:05 PM

Quote:
hey having a x1600 in a mac is a big leap forward for apple.

Yes, I believe the x1600/x1900 is a big leap. So what does Pixar use for their 3D rendering? Can't be Macs with x1600s.
a c 171 U Graphics card
April 10, 2007 4:21:37 PM

Its no surprise really. This is the difference between open and closed systems. Anyone can clone things for the IBM/clones, but only apple can make products for the MAC. Add in the fact that Apple seems to be moving on from the PC market, iPod/iPhone etc, it makes sense to me that their "PCs" aren't the best.

What bothers me is that several years ago Apple was in trouble $$$ wise. I was hearing rumors of their demise. Then they came out with the iMac. The computer practically saved the company. At the time Apple was still known as a graphics company, but the iMac could only be equipt with a very lowend video card. I don't remember the details, but the best upgraded video card was a 6 or 8MB card. 32MB cards were the norm for IBMs, while 64MB cards were an option. I couldn't understand how an 8MB video card was going to give me a better picture then a 32MB one. (Don't worry, I've learned since then, MHz/ram amount isn't everything.)
April 10, 2007 4:55:10 PM

Quote:
hey having a x1600 in a mac is a big leap forward for apple.

Yes, I believe the x1600/x1900 is a big leap. So what does Pixar use for their 3D rendering? Can't be Macs with x1600s.
You do realize that an X1600 is considerably better than the video system in a VAST majority of Windows based PCs? Just go to your local Wal-Mart/Best Buy if you want to see for yourself... or go to Dell.com and see what the default configuration is.
April 10, 2007 5:07:47 PM

Quote:
Its no surprise really. This is the difference between open and closed systems. Anyone can clone things for the IBM/clones, but only apple can make products for the MAC. Add in the fact that Apple seems to be moving on from the PC market, iPod/iPhone etc, it makes sense to me that their "PCs" aren't the best.

What bothers me is that several years ago Apple was in trouble $$$ wise. I was hearing rumors of their demise. Then they came out with the iMac. The computer practically saved the company. At the time Apple was still known as a graphics company, but the iMac could only be equipt with a very lowend video card. I don't remember the details, but the best upgraded video card was a 6 or 8MB card. 32MB cards were the norm for IBMs, while 64MB cards were an option. I couldn't understand how an 8MB video card was going to give me a better picture then a 32MB one. (Don't worry, I've learned since then, MHz/ram amount isn't everything.)


At the expense of many a school computer tech. Those imacs were nightmares, but some how they struck a deal to stick schools everywhere with them.... didn't take long for the administration to start cursing that decision. Damn boat anchors.
April 10, 2007 5:17:47 PM

Quote:
hey having a x1600 in a mac is a big leap forward for apple.

Yes, I believe the x1600/x1900 is a big leap. So what does Pixar use for their 3D rendering? Can't be Macs with x1600s.
You do realize that an X1600 is considerably better than the video system in a VAST majority of Windows based PCs? Just go to your local Wal-Mart/Best Buy if you want to see for yourself... or go to Dell.com and see what the default configuration is.
Most Macs Pros use Nv 7300s. (only special order Macs have anything better)
http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleS...

But what I was trying to understand is why there are no Macs made for Pixar quality work?
These Macs are not much better than the Dells, Walmart, BestBuy, etc PCs. (as you describe), for Pixar quality work.
April 10, 2007 5:25:23 PM

Quote:
hey having a x1600 in a mac is a big leap forward for apple.

Yes, I believe the x1600/x1900 is a big leap. So what does Pixar use for their 3D rendering? Can't be Macs with x1600s.
You do realize that an X1600 is considerably better than the video system in a VAST majority of Windows based PCs? Just go to your local Wal-Mart/Best Buy if you want to see for yourself... or go to Dell.com and see what the default configuration is.
Most Macs Pros use Nv 7300s. (only special order Macs have anything better)
http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleS...

But what I was trying to understand is why there are no Macs made for Pixar quality work?
These Macs are not much better than the Dells, Walmart, BestBuy, etc PCs. (as you describe), for Pixar quality work.
Ok, point taken.

No clue as to the answer... graphic designers/artists do swear by Macs... I even had one (many years ago) swear that the Mac mouse was more precise that a PC one (although this claim was based on no formal testing or specifications) I guess it is interesting that a computer company so focused on all things visual lack uber-quality video subsystems.
April 10, 2007 5:26:46 PM

I did think of something... most Macs (at the consumer level) are very small form-factor computers... heat (or noise) would quickly become a factor if you just dropped an 8800 GTX into a Mac Mini enclosure.

*edit*

Btw, I'm NOT implying an 8800 GTX would fit into a Mac Mini enclosure... just trying to make a point.
April 10, 2007 5:30:06 PM

If you have ever taken a visit to the apple store you would know that they also idk if they do now, but you could get the quadro FX 4500 in your macpro, which is a High End card, and its different since apple doesn't use Direct X you dont really have anything to compair it to, since its all OpenGL and windows is DX.

QuadroFX 4500 is about = 7900GTX but good for OpenGL
April 10, 2007 5:37:11 PM

Quote:
My brother owns a iBook and likes it (for what it does).
What I can't understand is the graphics cards for the Mac really suck. Such as the high-end desktop only uses a Nv 7300 or ATI X1600!


The MacPro can be ordered with a Quadro FX 4500, but it is quite expensive. You can also put up to 4 7300GT in one MacPro, which is quite useful to run media to multiple display.

Quote:
There are also no new games out. Want to play Ghost Recon, Oblivion, FEAR, Crysis? forget it. Bootcamp is the only way POSSIBLE.


Yes. Games aren't the strong side of Apple. With their share market, studios are probably a bit scare to invest what it takes to port their games to OSX.

However, as you mentioned, Bootcamp now allow to run a lot of games on Intel based Mac.

Quote:
The point is, Apple owns Pixar! I would think Apple will want Pixar to use Macs with high-end graphics for 3-D rendering, games, other media.


AFAIK, Disney own Pixar, not Apple. And Pixar mostly use Intel based server running Linux for the final rendering. I'm not sure about their workstation though.

Quote:
The high-end Quadro-Plex isn't available for the Mac, so all the Pixar rendering must take months on those 7300s!
Why does Apple hate gamers so much? That is where the innovation is.


Final rendering have very little to do, if nothing at all, with the video card. Video card only matter for the real-time feedback on the workstation where artist create the stuff. Once it is done, they feed it all to server farm that crunch all the numbers and output the frames.

However, yes video card are important for the creation process, but I don't know what kind of worstation they use at Pixar.
April 10, 2007 5:52:38 PM

Quote:
hey having a x1600 in a mac is a big leap forward for apple.

Yes, I believe the x1600/x1900 is a big leap. So what does Pixar use for their 3D rendering? Can't be Macs with x1600s.

The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.
April 10, 2007 6:09:41 PM

Quote:
The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.


Not true at all. Explain why AutoDesk lists certain devices as recommendations for rendering in AutoCad. Or why the FireGL series from ATI has a totally different market than their consumer counterparts.
April 10, 2007 6:20:49 PM

Quote:
The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.


Not true at all. Explain why AutoDesk lists certain devices as recommendations for rendering in AutoCad. Or why the FireGL series from ATI has a totally different market than their consumer counterparts.

At my work, we're suppost to change to quadro cards the next time we get new comps, right now i'm using a fx5200, woohoo, runs quake 3 like a dream, almost as good as autocad in 2d wireframe :p  .
April 10, 2007 6:22:08 PM

Quote:
Its no surprise really. This is the difference between open and closed systems. Anyone can clone things for the IBM/clones, but only apple can make products for the MAC. Add in the fact that Apple seems to be moving on from the PC market, iPod/iPhone etc, it makes sense to me that their "PCs" aren't the best.

What bothers me is that several years ago Apple was in trouble $$$ wise. I was hearing rumors of their demise. Then they came out with the iMac. The computer practically saved the company. At the time Apple was still known as a graphics company, but the iMac could only be equipt with a very lowend video card. I don't remember the details, but the best upgraded video card was a 6 or 8MB card. 32MB cards were the norm for IBMs, while 64MB cards were an option. I couldn't understand how an 8MB video card was going to give me a better picture then a 32MB one. (Don't worry, I've learned since then, MHz/ram amount isn't everything.)


At the expense of many a school computer tech. Those imacs were nightmares, but some how they struck a deal to stick schools everywhere with them.... didn't take long for the administration to start cursing that decision. Damn boat anchors.

I'm definately in agreement with 47...

LAN... a lot of those school systems are now switching back over to PCs. Their iCraps are out of date and need upgrading. The ones I've seen done lately are not staying with macs.
April 10, 2007 6:27:48 PM

Pixar use AMD opteron chips to render the movies, check the credits for the films
a b U Graphics card
April 10, 2007 6:32:28 PM

Quote:

The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.


Depends on the app, some use VPU assisted rendering.
I'm not sure about Apple's software, but I do rememebr MOTION as being included in the VPU assisted category, and it benefits from both more power and more VRAM.
April 10, 2007 7:04:57 PM

Clearly I meant at the time of their release.
April 10, 2007 7:09:14 PM

Quote:
My brother owns a iBook and likes it (for what it does).
What I can't understand is the graphics cards for the Mac really suck. Such as the high-end desktop only uses a Nv 7300 or ATI X1600!
There are also no new games out. Want to play Ghost Recon, Oblivion, FEAR, Crysis? forget it. Bootcamp is the only way POSSIBLE.

The point is, Apple owns Pixar! I would think Apple will want Pixar to use Macs with high-end graphics for 3-D rendering, games, other media.
The high-end Quadro-Plex isn't available for the Mac, so all the Pixar rendering must take months on those 7300s!
Why does Apple hate gamers so much? That is where the innovation is.

Can someone explain this? I must me missing something.
Thanks!


Apples are the step children regarding high end graphics for standalone computers. Pixar uses render farms running AMD opterons as someone else pointed out. The design computers wouldn't need anything more intense than X1900 level, FireGL's or Quadros to design their animations. Those then get sent out to the farms for final production.

I have played with similar using Studio Max which lets you create a render farm on extra stations via their screamer net connection. You design your animation on your station and when it comes time to render it goes out and splits the load to all networked available workstations running screamer net. Pretty neat stuff but expensive. In which case the power and number of your networked workstations determines the overall performance and not the video card.

Its only when gaming and such that a high performance single or dual video card would most benefit a Mac user. For some reason, likely driver support and game porting costs this does not happen.
April 10, 2007 7:23:10 PM

Quote:
The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.


Not true at all. Explain why AutoDesk lists certain devices as recommendations for rendering in AutoCad. Or why the FireGL series from ATI has a totally different market than their consumer counterparts.

The preview rendering utilizes the GPU but the actual rendering doesn't, at my company here we have a division that does 3D rendering and in the computers that do the rendering (not the ones used by the designers to design the scenes, the ones that the finished scenes get sent to to be rendered) they use crappy onboard video because it doesn't make any difference. We use 3D Studio Max 8.

There are 3D programs that can utilize the GPU but most of them require the high-end Quadro-FireGL style cards to do so, the main reason for the Quadro-FireGL stly cards is that they have certain features that are used in the design (but not necessarily rendering) of 3D scenes that are beneficial, like line anti-aliasing. These make no sense for consumer cards but are valuable for designing 3D scenes.
April 10, 2007 7:35:19 PM

I can't imagine why you are getting so worked up over this. Apples were the business machines. In the early years businesses used computers for number crunching, data bases, letters, memo's and the such. They did not need a lot of graphics power, that was done with SUN stations. Today Apples are using Intel chips so maybe in the near future you will see a greater selection of video cards.
April 10, 2007 8:42:01 PM

Quote:
The video card makes no difference in commercial 3D rendering, the CPU is infinitely more important.


Not true at all. Explain why AutoDesk lists certain devices as recommendations for rendering in AutoCad. Or why the FireGL series from ATI has a totally different market than their consumer counterparts.

At my work, we're suppost to change to quadro cards the next time we get new comps, right now i'm using a fx5200, woohoo, runs quake 3 like a dream, almost as good as autocad in 2d wireframe :p  .
Cool, maybe you can play GL Quake4 in wireframe? :D 
April 10, 2007 8:53:57 PM

Quote:
I can't imagine why you are getting so worked up over this. Apples were the business machines. In the early years businesses used computers for number crunching, data bases, letters, memo's and the such. They did not need a lot of graphics power, that was done with SUN stations. Today Apples are using Intel chips so maybe in the near future you will see a greater selection of video cards.

I'm actually not so "worked up" over this. I just remember the Mac as a serious graphics machine (Still is marketed that way), now it can't even play high-end games without bootcamp.
I also thought it was strange the Macs lag when I thought Apple wanted Macs used a lot in Pixar creations. Makes sense since Apple doesn't own Pixar anymore and the final rendering is done by "serious" high-end UNIX/LINUX render-farms.
I hope you're right about the Mac hardware being more Intel/PC like and it will be easier to make drivers for the Mac. (so it's easier to get high-end cards for the Mac). Maybe it will be easier to port games as well! :D 
April 10, 2007 9:41:54 PM

Quote:
I just remember the Mac as a serious graphics machine (Still is marketed that way), now it can't even play high-end games without bootcamp.


"Graphics" does not necessarily mean games, it can mean image manipulation video editing and 3D rendering. Historically the software for image manipulation has been more highly developed for Mac, I can't really comment on the other two though. At various times in the past Macs have been faster than Wintel computers (though usually (if not always) more expensive), and in that sense they would be much better than Wintel machines for "graphics".
April 10, 2007 10:18:47 PM

I thought Disney was the main owner/supporter of Pixar and Apple just had stock?

But onto the topic, a computer doesn't need a mega graphics card for everything, Macs are notorious for being graphic design systems, having my mom work in advertising and with Macs since the early 90's, and growing up with photoshop I can say that you don't need high end cards for graphic design work. What your ranting on about is a seperate market area, 3D graphics, digital content creation and Animation, all of which do need a strong and higher end graphics solution. But you need to rememer FireGL and Quadro cards are just your basic GPU's with a different driver set.

Not a big enough market for Mac Gaming :wink:

And yes in my moms ad agency they do have a few uber high end Apple's they just got a fully featured Apple, rocking two Quad-Cores, 16gb, and the Quadro 4500 for there lead animator. Haven't go to see it yet, but i can't wait till I do.
a c 107 U Graphics card
April 10, 2007 10:31:40 PM

Is it just me or does that kind of rendering not get done in software?

As far as i know most rendering farms run tons on CPU power and send full or partial images to a main machine that puts then in oder and in order?

Maya 3D has a software rendering agent and it looks allot better then the OpenGL one. its slow, but it will look the same on all computers. Video cards tend to render a little different from card to card and even driver to driver. In software you can get any old pile of machines and have them render quarter(or full) frames and then the main server can put the parts together into a final image. do this 29.7**** time a second and you get video :) 
Bryce also has a software called Bryce Lighting that lets you have many computer compose the one image(all in software as far as i know).

Off topic, has anyone noticed that all the new video card drivers tend to cause more texture corruption(flashing and textures one over the other) at the expense of extra performance. I tend to see this allot in old games on a full range of cards.
April 10, 2007 10:49:24 PM

It just seemed like you were devastated over it. Only time will tell, also remember the Apple has used a 64 bit OS for years now and PC architecture is still trying to catch up, well, I guess you could say it has since the C2D has dominated the market. I think once most of the programs switch to true 64 bit, things will get interesting in the Apple / PC fight for dominance.
April 10, 2007 11:45:57 PM

The only real difference between the QuadroFX and its Geforce counter part is that the QuadroFX has drivers that are optimised for OpenGL Apps like auto cad, Maya and other Pro apps.

The thing about macs is the only real reason they even have a halfway decent video card is to computer the eye candy they have. If you look at the mac mini, it is using intels GMA950 which isnt much but they are not noticeably slower than their counterparts doing normal task, so your mac really wasnt designed to play games, but more things like the Pro apps, final cut, soundtrack, DVD Studio Pro, all of which are not graphically intense as they are CPU. While programs like aperture recommends a video card like a 7800GT or something high end because it can use the videocard to help with the vast amount of pixels on the screen, since pictures will use far more memory than an image will.

This is why most macs do not have insane videocards like their windows based counterparts. Because for the most part they will never need that much GPU power. So im sorry your mac did not come equipt with a higher end videocard but you should just go out and buy a 7800GT for it, at that point you will have a better windows vista score than like 99% of all macs...
April 10, 2007 11:46:37 PM

Quote:
Is it just me or does that kind of rendering not get done in software?

As far as i know most rendering farms run tons on CPU power and send full or partial images to a main machine that puts then in oder and in order?

Maya 3D has a software rendering agent and it looks allot better then the OpenGL one. its slow, but it will look the same on all computers. Video cards tend to render a little different from card to card and even driver to driver. In software you can get any old pile of machines and have them render quarter(or full) frames and then the main server can put the parts together into a final image. do this 29.7**** time a second and you get video :) 
Bryce also has a software called Bryce Lighting that lets you have many computer compose the one image(all in software as far as i know).

Off topic, has anyone noticed that all the new video card drivers tend to cause more texture corruption(flashing and textures one over the other) at the expense of extra performance. I tend to see this allot in old games on a full range of cards.



thats where all the fun begins, most rendering software is CPU centric as we haven't quite had this level of GPU's before. But as with everything its always application specific.
April 11, 2007 12:08:23 AM

My 24" iMac has a 7600 GT 256mb card..not top not by far, but runs games like Splinter Cell on max res, and most setting to high pretty well. I would love to swap it out for someting bigger and better though..perhaps next Mac refresh they will come.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2007 12:15:23 AM

Quote:

thats where all the fun begins, most rendering software is CPU centric as we haven't quite had this level of GPU's before. But as with everything its always application specific.


Yeah, and really more and more NLE suites are now incorporating VPU acceleration for more than just preview or real-time effects, but using them to help with final renders. Motion/Motion2, is the only Apple-centric app I know of that does incorporate VPU acceleration, and the render times are noticeably better with stronger VPUs and larger memory.

I've only seen a few examples (don't work with Apple, my dad does though) and the difference between a GF6600-256 and X1900GT-256 was about 30%; 24mins vs 19 mins for the example shown.
April 11, 2007 12:45:45 AM

Quote:

thats where all the fun begins, most rendering software is CPU centric as we haven't quite had this level of GPU's before. But as with everything its always application specific.


Yeah, and really more and more NLE suites are now incorporating VPU acceleration for more than just preview or real-time effects, but using them to help with final renders. Motion/Motion2, is the only Apple-centric app I know of that does incorporate VPU acceleration, and the render times are noticeably better with stronger VPUs and larger memory.

I've only seen a few examples (don't work with Apple, my dad does though) and the difference between a GF6600-256 and X1900GT-256 was about 30%; 24mins vs 19 mins for the example shown.


I almost built an NLE system using some Canopus hardware, but it was about $1,000 over my budget and my skills aren't to that level yet, so i just use the lovely Mpeg-2 encoder ATI likes to provide
!