I received and installed my new Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX 512MB video card from rubytuesday. For those of you who have not been following the saga, the stock Nvidia 6600 video card that most Dual-Core G5 PowerMac owners have purchased is dog slow when performing any Core Image tasks. CoreImage is used throughout Mac OS X but especially in apps such as Motion or Aperture. The 6600 was in fact removed from Apple’s list of recommended cards for Aperture a few months ago.
Since Apple isn’t offering any aftermarket video cards, people have had to purchase reflashed PC video cards. The 7800GTX has been reviewed and given a stellar review on the Mac performance website BareFeats. At $750, it’s not cheap. Given the speed increase over the 6600, however, the 7800GTX will pay itself off with my next photo job.
I’ve posted a couple of videos on YouTube that demonstrate the speed differences between the 6600 and the 7800GTX below the fold.
I ran my tests using the recently released Aperture 1.1.2. This version has some noticeable speed improvements over the previous updates, but as you can see, it’s still slow. The first movie shows Aperture running on my Quad with the stock 6600 video card. Notice how long it takes for the image to update after I have moved the sliders. The performance of the straightening tool is especially slow with the 6600.
The second movie shows Aperture running on my Quad with the 7800GTX. Notice how much more quickly the image is update when operating the sliders. The straightening tool, for instance, updates in pretty much real-time.
All in all, this is looking to be a good upgrade. If you are a photographer using Aperture with a Dual-Core PowerMac and the stock 6600 video card, do yourself a favor and purchase a 7800GT or a 7800GTX today! rubytuesday has four cards for sale:
- 7800GTX 512MB RAM
- 7800GTX 256MB RAM with Quadro Cooler
- 7800GTX 256MB RAM
- 7800GT: Equivalent to the OEM 7800GT
Update 6/28/2006: Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.7 update, which some people say improves Aperture performance even more. Will test out in the next few days with my observations.
Some photos from the installation.