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If After Effects and other Adobe products are your primary applications, go with the cheapest Video Card option. AE's OpenGL implementation is not very demanding on the card - any contemporary mid-range display card will be more than enough for any of Adobe's applications.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT (256 MB)
I have, works with AE CS4, basta.
no need for Photoshops' geeky eyedropping and GPU intense interface improvements.
anything else is pure hardware marketing insanity (not blaming Adobe directly, ok!?)
I think it's really time for a slowdown on new technology impacts and settle down to the key purposes and develop them. that would take a huge impact on operability, stability, exchange among other platforms.
this digital warfare must come to an end.
it kills creativity!
without creativity this planet will become dead...
As an additional point, I consider dual displays (or ultra-large displays like the Apple and Dell 30") an essential part of a good AE system.
So, if you're not using dual displays, and you're considering spending an extra few hundred bucks on the latest-and-greatest display card, I'd suggest those extra dollars would be far better spent on a more standard card with two heads (outputs) and a second monitor.
The base option on new Mac Pros, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, has two outputs and more than enough juice for any Adobe product.
As the others said - if you are merely using Adobe products, this is a no-brainer. I'd only get the better card, if using 3D-programs or something like that...
I think there's a plugin for Premiere (if you use that) for accelerating H264 encoding via CUDA. If you're interested in that, go Nvidia.
I have ATI 4850 on my home PC and it is a very fast card; a HUGE difference over my old ATI2600 (when playing Left4Dead).
Nvidia generally has better drivers for their cards.
Keep in mind that Apple controls the release of the Nvidia and ATI drivers, so ever through Nvidia may have better drivers for the PC end users, you don't have much (if any control) over your cards in Macs.
Either of those cards should be pretty much future proof for Snow Leopard also.
Forgot about that... One of the biggest things that I hate with PC laptops is they don't use regular video drivers. They require HP or Dell or whatever. Really blows...