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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

2013 8-core Mac Pro with D700s
'playing games' with
a 2010 Mac Pro tower

Posted Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Now that we have the 8-core 2013 Mac Pro with dual FirePro D700 GPUs in the lab, we can revisit the game shootout. In this round, the competitor is the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core tower sporting various high-end GPUs. (The 2009 Mac Pro 8-core was slower, so we 'sat it on the bench.')

GRAPH LEGEND
RED graph bar means fastest under OS X;
BLUE bar indicates result under Windows 8.1 with CrossFire mode enabled

nMP 8c D700s (W) = 2013 Mac Pro 8-core with dual FirePro D700s (Windows; Crossfire)
nMP 8c D700s = 2013 Mac Pro 8-core with dual FirePro D700s (OS X Mavericks)

MPt 6c G780 Ti = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 780 Ti
MPt 6c G780 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 780
MPt 6c 280X = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single Radeon R9 280X
MPt 6c R7970 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single Radeon HD 7970
MPt 6c R7950 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single Radeon HD 7950
MPt 6c G680 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 680
iMac 4c G780M = 2013 iMac 4-core i7 with single GeForce GTX 780M

Feral Interactive Tomb Raider
It conveniently includes a built-in benchmark. We ran with the High Quality preset, Fullscreen, 2560x1440, Vsync off. The
BLUE bar indicates the result running under Windows 8.1 with CrossFire mode enabled. The RED bar indicates the fastest under OS X Mavericks in Frames per Second.

Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam
We ran the TIMEDEMO of a recorded game sequence we call 'BF5.' The Advanced Settings were 2560x1440 Rez, Fullscreen, 4x MSAA, Anisotropic 8X, Vsync Disabled, Shader Detail Very High, Effect Detail High, Model/Texture Detail High, Multicore Rendering Enabled.
The BLUE bar indicates the result running under Windows 8.1 with CrossFire mode enabled. The RED bar indicates the fastest under OS X Mavericks in Frames per Second.

Feral Interactive Dirt 2
Resolution at 2560x1440; Fullscreen; Vsync Disabled; MSAA Disabled; Graphics Detail Level Ultra; Shadows, Particles, Wind, Crowd, Tessellation, and Cloth Enabled; Ground Cover Blended; Clutter Enabled; Water Update Enabled; Skidmarks Enabled; Dynamic Ambient Occlusion Enabled; Environmental and Vehicle Damage Enabled. The
RED bar indicates the fastest under OS X Mavericks in Frames per Second.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
The results are from our Narache Village run between the totem and large tree to the East. Settings are 2560x1440 Fullscreen, Vsync OFF, 1x MSAA, Ultra Preset. The RED bar indicates the fastest under OS X Mavericks in Frames per Second.

INSIGHTS
The FirePro D700s in the 2013 Mac Pro can be considered 'competitive' as a gaming platform but under OS X Mavericks. But if your gaming is done under Windows 8.1 (Boot Camp) in CrossFire mode, you will see a dramatic increase in the performance of some games.

Those of you 'retaining' your Mac Pro tower can rest assured that high-end GPUs keep it competitive when it comes to gaming. The same boost is available on the Mac Pro towers under Windows 7 and 8 if you have a pair of AMD GPUs jumped and CrossFire mode enabled.

We chose the 2010 6-core Mac Pro for this comparison. Why? Because it produced faster game performance than the 2009 8-core Mac Pro featured in our "Pro App" article about the 8-core 2013 Mac Pro.

The Radeon R9 280X we used was 'un-flashed.' It booted OS X fine but there was no startup screen. Also, when we checked the speed of CPU-to-PCIe-to-CPU communication, it appeared to be running in PCIe 1.0 mode instead of PCIe 2.0. However, unless the GPU intensive app saturates the PCIe 1.0 bandwidth, it will not run any faster in PCIe 2.0 mode.

Lastly, we slipped in the results for the newest, fastest iMac for inquiring minds.

Comments? Suggestions? Email , mad scientist.
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WHERE TO BUY THE MAC PRO and other APPLE products:
USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. For UK readers, visit Apple Store UK.

OTHER SOURCES FOR Mac Pros

  • PowerMax takes trade-ins when you buy a new Mac Pro.
  • MacMall's prices for the new Mac Pro start at $2994.
  • B&H Photo will take your order for a new Mac Pro.

WHERE TO BUY NVIDIA GPUs for your MAC PRO tower

  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX Titan can be purchased from MacVidCards. They also offer a flashing and mod service for your existing GTX Titan for $200. MacVidCards recommends a supplemental power supply. We were able to run it in our 2010 Mac Pro without the aid of an auxiliary PS.
  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 780 is available from MacVidCards. They offer a flashing and mod service your existing GTX 780 for $200.
  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 770 (2G and 4G) is available from MacVidCards.
  • The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition can be ordered from EVGA direct or from Other World Computing (MacSales.com), Trans International (TransIntl.com), NewEgg, and Amazon.
  • The GeForce GTX 680 Classified 4G is available* from MacVidCards. (*out of stock as of this writing but watch for more to appear)
  • The GeForce GTX 680 4G is available from Mac*Pro.

WHERE TO BUY AMD GPUS for your MAC PRO tower

  • The Radeon HD 5770 and 5870 is available from OWC and Apple Store USA.
  • The Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition is available from OWC , TransIntl, and Amazon
  • A flashed Radeon HD 7970 running at PCIe 2.0 is available from MacVidCards. Also asked them about the Radeon R9 280X.

WHERE TO BUY AN UP-CLOCKED 12-CORE MAC PRO TOWER

  • Visit EditBuilder.com's eBay Store. Or you can email them or call them (1-855-EDIT-BAY). They are offering both tray replacements as well as complete setups with 1-3 year warranties. They also offer up 128GB 1333MHZ RAM and graphics card upgrades for Mac Pro towers.
  • Also, check out Other World Computing's Processor Tray Upgrade Program.
  • Live in the UK? Visit ScrumpyMacs for 'fire breathing' Mac Pro options.

WHERE TO BUY NEW APPLE PRODUCTS
USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. For GPUs, click the left side bar option for "For Mac > Displays & Graphics" to find the GPU kits available. Or if you are buying a new Mac Pro, you can choose GPU options when you configure your order. For UK readers, visit Apple Store UK.

WHERE TO BUY FACTORY REFURBISHED MACS
Apple Store USA has refurbished Macs with 12 month warranty that can be extended to 36 months with AppleCare. Pay attention to the GPU it comes with.

Twelve Core Mac Pro towers are still being sold by various parties on Amazon, too. For other models of Mac Pro tower, search on "Mac Pro desktop" on Amazon.

 

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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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