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Old 08-12-2009, 11:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

Apokalypse,

How well do you think that works? Have you tried running Maya? I've heard of some serious lagging using this soft-mod in maya.

What about CAD programs? Solidworks by any chance?
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

Don't know, I haven't used CAD software.

But if it doesn't work properly, you could probably just modify the video card's BIOS to match the device ID of the FirePro 8700 (9456 instead of 9440)
It can be done using Radeon BIOS Editor.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

I thought they fixed the ability to modify gaming cards into workstation cards with driver tweaks.
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

If that's the case, they can't do anything about BIOS mods.

I've just now dumped my video card's BIOS using GPU-Z (4870's use a 128KB BIOS), and made a modified one using Radeon BIOS Editor's hex editor (in the BIOS, the device ID is reversed. So it's 40 94 -> 56 94 instead of 94 40 -> 94 56).

I think in this case, it's worth trying. I mean, you can buy six 4870 1GB cards for less than a FirePro v8700. And it's the same card. Only the drivers are different.

And with it running a a FirePro v8700, it'll give the same gaming performance anyway. But much better CAD performance.
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

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Originally Posted by Apokalipse View Post
If that's the case, they can't do anything about BIOS mods.

I've just now dumped my video card's BIOS using GPU-Z (4870's use a 128KB BIOS), and made a modified one using Radeon BIOS Editor's hex editor (in the BIOS, the device ID is reversed. So it's 40 94 -> 56 94 instead of 94 40 -> 94 56).

I think in this case, it's worth trying. I mean, you can buy six 4870 1GB cards for less than a FirePro v8700. And it's the same card. Only the drivers are different.

And with it running a a FirePro v8700, it'll give the same gaming performance anyway. But much better CAD performance.

Apokalipse,

Would you be interested in running some SPECapc benchmarks for me?
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

I have looked into this before, there are physical differences in the cards, not just software ones. I can't go into detail because i dont know what they are but i have read reports before that the mod produces little gain in 3D and high end CAD programs for which the professional cards are designed.

Professional cards are many times faster in 3D and CAD work compared to gaming cards, and from the tests I have seen the mod comes no where near the peformance gains that should be seen in these cards if they really were turned into pro cards.

There is obviously alot more going on in a pro card than just a different driver or bios. When you think about how much these cards go for it seems likely that ATI and Nvidia wouldnt allow it to be this easy...

In this case, it really is too good to be true.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:51 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

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Originally Posted by meat_helmet View Post
I have looked into this before, there are physical differences in the cards, not just software ones.
The GPU is exactly the same.
As long as the GPU is the same, they are logically exactly as capable hardware-wise (in terms of features, not necessarily clocks, shader count, memory speed).

If you use a card with a non-reference PCB, the PC doesn't know the difference between it and a reference PCB.
The only thing it really knows is what the GPU is capable of, what the BIOS says about it, and what the drivers say about it.

The GPU and BIOS is the hardware aspect. So if the GPU and BIOS match that of a FirePro v8700, the PC doesn't know the difference, hardware-wise.
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

I have heard about people doing this. How successful they were, I cannot say. But what Apok is saying is 100% correct. In theory you should be able to flash a 4870 to a fireGL and have all the CAD goodness you want.

Also, instead of getting raptors get an SSD.
Newegg.com - Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G1 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Solid State Disks
If you can fit it into your budget i would highly recommend this as your OS and program drive. Grab a western digital black or a samsung F1 for data (640 gigs and up will do). With the SSD you will have almost instant bootup time and everything will fly.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:42 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

Thanks for the advise guys.

I actually ordered everything already.
I stayed with the SSD for OS and apps and the raptors for storage, getting another SSD was quite expensive and it wasn't giving me a lot of space.

About the GPU I finally went for a 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX285. I'm actually using Maya for animation so, even if at some point I may need render power, I mainly live out of fast viewports so I think that'll do. Also, I understand that maya can only use one GPU, meaning that if you have 4 4870 on crossfire it will only use one of them, but I may be wrong.

About the quadro mod thing, I used it a long time ago and it didn't work out that well for me. It wasn't quite performing as a quadro on maya and it wasn't performing as a gaming card either. But maybe now that works better. I may try it and see how it works out. I just hope the GTX285 will do the job, and it was actually pretty good deal.

So the only thing left for me is wait and see how the computer performs and, who knows, maybe regret some of my decisions


Anyway, thanks a lot guys.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: High performance PC vs Mac Pro

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Originally Posted by Riddley View Post
Thanks for the advise guys.

I actually ordered everything already.
I stayed with the SSD for OS and apps and the raptors for storage, getting another SSD was quite expensive and it wasn't giving me a lot of space.

About the GPU I finally went for a 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX285. I'm actually using Maya for animation so, even if at some point I may need render power, I mainly live out of fast viewports so I think that'll do. Also, I understand that maya can only use one GPU, meaning that if you have 4 4870 on crossfire it will only use one of them, but I may be wrong.

About the quadro mod thing, I used it a long time ago and it didn't work out that well for me. It wasn't quite performing as a quadro on maya and it wasn't performing as a gaming card either. But maybe now that works better. I may try it and see how it works out. I just hope the GTX285 will do the job, and it was actually pretty good deal.

So the only thing left for me is wait and see how the computer performs and, who knows, maybe regret some of my decisions


Anyway, thanks a lot guys.

Thats odd, its almost as if...you came here without the intention of absorbing any help at all, and just ordered everything regardless of any suggestion made.
But who knows, could just be me.
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