Is there any noticeable or appreciable improvement in day-to-day use?

This may seem odd but I have yet to find a thread whereby someone is using their ATI Radeon HD 5870 as intended with lets' say; in a 27-inch display with a 2009-2010 MacPro in OS 10.6.6.

Ironically, it’s one of two products on the Apple store (graphics section) that doesn’t list customer feedback.

Anyway, I’m considering the card but want to know what real-world difference (if any) there is for everyday computing. Example: Does it produce ‘better’ image quality when going full-screen or does it result in less hesitation in cover-flow?

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or Early 2009)

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or Early 2009)

Product No Longer Available

2 Answers from the Community

  • Answer

    Lot of this answer depends on your current video card. If you have the 4870 then you will likely not see much of an improvement in everyday computing, ie browsing, movies, or document editing. There may be some visible improvement if you have the Nvidia 120 installed here, those are woefully underpowered.

    If you have something pushing your display a little harder like HD movies or games where the FPS (frames per second) is important and noticable then you will see nearly 2X the performance from this card from the 4870 and around 4X the 120's from Nvidia.

    My only issue is this card is already 1 generation behind current ATI cards, they are in the 6xxx range now. Also this card is ~$150-200 more expensive than the PC version with the only real difference is an EFI change which is a few dollars at most. In fact many people use the PC version and just reflash the PC video cards to work natively with the MacPro's, something I doubt you'll find advertised here.

  • My 2008 Mac Pro has almost instant Aperture library loads with RAW+JPEG from a couple years. The Unlimited RT in FCP is instantaneous and I rarely need to render. When I do render, it is much faster than with previous video card set ups. My day-to-day use is as a professional.

    As for slow downs in cover flow and image quality, the answer is simply no. You should buy more RAM if you are having problems with those.