Posted Friday, July 25th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Though most of the attention is on the new 2013 Mac Pro. we continue to explore ways to 'pump up' the legacy Mac Pro towers. One of our favorite upgrade paths is the graphics processing unit aka GPU. We recently tested the GeForce GTX 780 with 6G of GDDR5 video memory (courtesy of MacVidCards). It just may be the 'sweet spot.' We'll explain after you peruse the graphs.
TITAN Black = GeForce GTX TITAN Black with 6G of VRAM
G780 Ti = GeForce GTX 780 Ti with 3G of VRAM
G780 6G = GeForce GTX 780 with 6G of VRAM
G680 = GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition with 2G of VRAM
R9_280X = Radeon R9 280X with 3G of VRAM
R7950 = Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition with 3G of VRAM
R5870 = Radeon HD 5870 with 1G of VRAM
Test 'mule' was a 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core.
(RED graph bar means fastest in FPS. The GREEN bar highlights the GeForce GTX 780 6G we are deeming the 'sweet spot.')
DaVinci Resolve 10
We imported a 289 frame 5K RED clip into an HD 1080PsF 25 project with Decode Quality set to 'Half Res. Good.' We performed a playback with 16 blur nodes being rendered on-the-fly.
One of the filters that uses OpenCL is Iris Blur.
This is another OpenCL test. We rendered the complex Room scene using GPU only.
Using OpenGL, it features advanced visual technologies (dynamic sky, volumetric clouds, sun shafts, DOF, ambient occlusion) while ‘flying’ over extremely detailed, seamless terrain. We selected the Extreme Preset which runs at 1600x900 with Ultra quality and 8x Anti-aliasing.
Feral Interactive conveniently includes a built-in benchmark. We ran it with the HIGH Quality preset, Fullscreen, 2560x1440, Vsync off.
Using the best settings with no vsync at 2560x1440, we entered the game at the same location and observed FPS.
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.
A 'GPU only' standalone renderer, it requires a CUDA capable GPU (spelled NVIDIA). Using RenderTarget PT (Path Tracing), we rendered the octane_benchmark.ocs scene.
After Effects CC
The Ray-traced 3D function renders with GPUs exclusively -- if they are CUDA capable. We used an animation simply known as robot' provided courtesy of Juan Salvo and Danny Princz. Danny has posted a compilation of render times.
To repeat, the RED graph bar means fastest. The GREEN bar highlights the GeForce GTX 780 6G we are deeming the 'sweet spot.'
SWEET? Yes, with one exception.
The GTX 780 with 6GB GDDR5 video memory is only slightly slower than the GTX 780 Ti and TITAN Black but costs much less.
The other factor in naming it the 'sweet spot' has to do with power. The GTX 780 6GB runs fine on the dual PCIe internal power cables -- as does the GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7950. The same can't be said of the GTX TITAN or GTX 780 Ti or Radeon R9 280X -- all of which require an auxiliary power feed to avoid a nasty power down of your tower at the worst moment when too much wattage is demanded of the Mac Pro's factory power supply.
Did I mention that the GTX 780 with 6GB of GDDR5 matches the 6GB of GDDR5 in the TITAN?
The one fallacy to my 'sweet spot' award has to do with OpenCL. In case you hadn't noticed, the AMD Radeon GPUs smoked the NVIDIA GeForce GPUs running Photoshop's OpenCL accelerated Iris Blur filter and rendering LuxMark's OpenCL accelerated Room scene.
Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me, Follow me on Twitter @barefeats
- The OS X compatible GeForce GTX Titan 6GB and GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB can be purchased from MacVidCards. They also offer a flashing and mod service for your existing TITAN or 780. MacVidCards recommends a supplemental power supply. We were able to run it in our 2010 Mac Pro 6-core without the aid of an auxiliary PS.
- The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 780 6GB can be purchased from MacVidCards. The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 780 3G is available from MacVidCards. They offer a flashing and mod service your existing 780 for $200.
- The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 770 4G is available from MacVidCards.
- For GPUs not linked here, visit the MacVidCards main eBay store page.
- The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition can be ordered from EVGA direct or from Other World Computing(MacSales.com), Trans International (TransIntl.com), and Amazon.
- The GeForce GTX 680 4G is available from MacVidCards.
- The OS X Compatible Radeon R9 280X 3GB is available from MacVidCards.
- A flashed Radeon HD 7970 3GB running at PCIe 2.0 is available from MacVidCards.
- The Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition is available from OWC , TransIntl, and Amazon
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 A MAC PRO or 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. Live outside the USA? No problem. We are affiliated with these Apple Stores: