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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

3D GAME SHOOTOUT:
2010 Mac Pro versus others

Posted Monday, August 23rd, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated at 8:40PM PST with 6-core Westmere results.

With the help of remote mad scientists, we are collecting 3D Game test results for the 2010 Mac Pro versus the 2009 and 2008 Mac Pro. Much more is coming but consider this an appetizer.

NEWS FLASH: Radeon HD 5870 kit status became "Ships: Within 24hrs" on November 12th, 2010, on Apple Store USA.

First we tested Valve's "Steam Powered" Portal First Slice (demo) with these settings:
Full Screen, 1920x1080 (or 1920x1200 if unsupported)
Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = High, Shader Detail = High
Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = High, Color Correction = Enabled
Antialiasing Mode =
None, Filtering Mode = Anisotropic 4X
Vertical Sync = Disabled, Motion Blur = Enabled

Next we tested with these settings:
Full Screen, 1920x1080 (or 1920x1200 if unsupported)
Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = High, Shader Detail = High
Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = High, Color Correction = Enabled
Antialiasing Mode =
4X MSAA, Filtering Mode = Anisotropic 4X
Vertical Sync = Disabled, Motion Blur = Enabled

LEGEND
6c 3.33 R5870b = 6-core Westmere 3.33GHz Mac Pro (2010) with Radeon HD5870 (1920x1200)
4c 2.80 R5870b = 4-core Nehalem 2.8GHz Mac Pro (2010) with Radeon HD 5870 (1920x1200)
4c 2.80 R5870a = 4-core Nehalem 2.8GHz Mac Pro (2010) with Radeon HD 5870 (1920x1080
8c 2.93 G285 = 8-core Nehalem 2.93GHz Mac Pro (2009) with GeForce GTX285 (1920x1200)
8c 2.93 R4870 = 8-core Nehalem 2.93GHz Mac Pro (2009) with Radeon HD 4870 (1920x1200)
iMac i7 R5750 = 4-core Core i7 2.93GHz iMac (2010) with Radeon HD 5750 (1920x1080)
iMac i7 R4850 = 4-core Core i7 2.93GHz iMac (2010) with Radeon HD 4850 (1920x1080)
iMac i3 R5680 = 4-core Core i3 3.20GHz iMac (2010) with Radeon HD 5680 (1920x1080)

NOTE: Some of the test units can run at 1920x1080. Some had to run at 1920x1200.

INSIGHTS
Any Mac Pro with a Radeon HD 5870 will please the hard core gamer. I know Portal is just one example but it's a valid one. And there is much more to come.

You don't need an 8-core or 12-core Mac Pro to run games. I can count on one finger the number of games that use more than 2 CPU cores. The whole idea of a 3D accelerated game is to use the GPU as the co-processor. The high-end GPUs do highly sophisticated parallel processing.

The 2010 iMac Core i7 with the Radeon HD 5750 is a good gaming machine but can't compete with the "big dog." However, it does keep up with the Mac Pro running the Radeon HD 4870. And with the newest Snow Leopard Graphics Update, the 2009 iMac Core i7 with the Radeon HD 4850 is in the hunt.

MORE TO COME
We're working on collecting results for other 3D accelerated games including X-Plane, Team Fortress 2, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, ET:QW, CoD4, and more. Also we will soon have a Radeon 5770 in the lab to test against the 5870 in our 6-core Westmere.

NOTE: We plugged the Radeon HD 5870 into the 2008 Mac Pro. It works like a charm. We've also tried it on the 2009. See the "One Card, Three Macs."

Have comments? Suggestions? Want to volunteer to test? Contact me , mad scientist.

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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