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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:22 AM   #1
Irishman
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Top Ten Performing graphics cards...Not Mac Compatible!

So, I was digging around on Futuremark's website, primarily to see how well the GPUs in the 2012 Mac Mini and iMacs will perform overall, and while the iMac's GT and GTX GPUs are certainly respectable, they're nowhere near the top of the heap in terms of overall performance of GPUs/cards on the market.

I went through their list of top ten performing GPUs/cards, and found that none of them have Mac versions - unless you're prepared to do some hacking, wiring, or giving up extra cores.

Here's the list, with their relative 3DMark scores, and you can take from it what you want:

GTX 690 - 17,410
GTX 580 - 12,020
Radeon HD 6990 - 10,500
GTX 680 - 10,490
GTX 590 - 9,720
GTX 670 - 9,330
Radeon HD 7970 - 8,960
GTX 660 Ti - 8,650
Radeon HD 7950 - 7,920
Radeon HD 5970 - 7,690


By way of comparison, here are the 3D Mark scores for the cards in the 2012 iMacs:

GTX 675M - 3,340
GTX 660M - 2,350
GT 640M - 1,720
GT 650M - 2,170


Now, we know that a large part of the reason for the lower scores is because Apple has always used mobile parts in iMacs, which is true, so this isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison.

A more fair comparison would be with the Mac Pros, with its Radeon HD 5770 card. This GPU/card scores a lowly 2630, being bested by the new GTX 675M available in the 27" iMac! My, times they are a changin'! So, the best Mac compatible card from the only Mac with upgradeable PCI Express graphics, is old and busted.

It's past time for some new hotness!

Check out the numbers I cited here: http://community.futuremark.com/hardware/gpu

What does everyone think of the state of affairs for high-end gaming on OS X and the Mac? Have you heard any news of new GPU/cards for Mac Pros that will bring us into 2012?
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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The GTX 675MX should be around a 560Ti. The GTX 680MX should be between a 670 and a 680. Its a downclocked (and probably undervolted) 680. The 650M is handicapped by the 512MB of VRAM Apple has given it. The 640M is your basic bottom line discrete GPU.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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The GTX 675MX should be around a 560Ti. The GTX 680MX should be between a 670 and a 680. Its a downclocked (and probably undervolted) 680. The 650M is handicapped by the 512MB of VRAM Apple has given it. The 640M is your basic bottom line discrete GPU.
On Apple's site, it describes the GTX 680MX part as being about 1.5X faster than the GT 650M, which comes in at 2170 (3DMark score), which would put it around 3255, still less than the GTX 675M part.

Has anyone seen scores of the 680MX part yet? Does it perform lower than the 680M, or higher? Higher would be awesome, because the 680M clocks in about 6730!
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:45 AM   #4
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On Apple's site, it describes the GTX 680MX part as being about 1.5X faster than the GT 650M, which comes in at 2170 (3DMark score), which would put it around 3255, still less than the GTX 675M part.

Has anyone seen scores of the 680MX part yet? Does it perform lower than the 680M, or higher? Higher would be awesome, because the 680M clocks in about 6730!
That's 1.5 X faster than the previous top iMac card, the 6970M. Given the specs, I would suspect the 680MX scores above 9000.

From the footnotes:

Quote:
Testing conducted by Apple in October 2012 using preproduction 27-inch 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7–based iMac units with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX and 2GB graphics memory, and shipping 27-inch 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-based iMac units with AMD Radeon HD 6970M and 2GB graphics memory, all configured with 8GB RAM.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:51 AM   #5
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That's 1.5 X faster than the previous top iMac card, the 6970M. Given the specs, I would suspect the 680MX scores above 9000.

From the footnotes:
The 6970M scored a 3140. 1.5X that is 4710. I think your estimate might be a little high.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:54 AM   #6
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Could be. Benchmarks aren't the best way to evaluate real world performance however. I still think it will preform at least close to a 670 in the real world. The 6970M was like a 6870, IIRC.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Could be. Benchmarks aren't the best way to evaluate real world performance however. I still think it will preform at least close to a 670 in the real world. The 6970M was like a 6870, IIRC.
What real-world measurements have given you reason to suspect that the 680MX will score above 9000 3D Mark?
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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GTX 580 - 12,020
GTX 680 - 10,490
GTX 670 - 9,330
GTX 660 Ti - 8,650
All of these cards should work pretty well in a Mac Pro running Mountain Lion, FWIW. For more details, check this thread.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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Which 3Dmark and what settings? Those matters..

This list is more accurate i guess:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ew,3107-7.html
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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Notebookcheck gives the 680M a 3Dmark 11 of around 6000.

Just by looking at what the 680MX is, i.e. a downclocked 680, you can guess the performance by simply scaling the clocks so about 71%. Maybe 9000 is a bit high but 7500 should be achievable.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cluthz View Post
Which 3Dmark and what settings? Those matters..

This list is more accurate i guess:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ew,3107-7.html
This list looks much better.

As for the 2012 iMac performance it is somewhere around that of a HD7870, GTX660 Ti for the 680MX unless Apple severely downclocks it from the Nvidia specs. 675MX is probably in the GTX650 territory.

btw that GTX580 up there is a ASUS MARS II which means GTX580 SLI on a single card.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 05:35 PM   #12
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All of these cards should work pretty well in a Mac Pro running Mountain Lion, FWIW. For more details, check this thread.
Hey, since you seem to know more than most, will installing extra power cords and these cards that need them void a Mac Pro's warranty??

Last edited by Irishman; Oct 25, 2012 at 05:48 PM.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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Hey, since you seem to know more than most, will installing extra power cords and these cards that need them void a Mac Pro's warranty??
Power cords certainly not, since there are many official Apple GPUs that require 2 PCIe power cables. Simply installing a non-standard card shouldn't void the warranty, either.

(Note that installing a new ROM chip and flashing an EFI on a card would most certainly void the warranty on the card itself, but not the Mac Pro).
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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So for a budget-minded Mac shopper (including pre-owned and refurb'ed Mac Pros), what model(s) would you recommend to allow one to run these new Kepler cards and Mountain Lion?, and yield great performance on demanding 3D Os X native games?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 07:25 AM   #15
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So for a budget-minded Mac shopper (including pre-owned and refurb'ed Mac Pros), what model(s) would you recommend to allow one to run these new Kepler cards and Mountain Lion?, and yield great performance on demanding 3D Os X native games?

Thanks in advance.
2008 Mac Pro or later, aiming for a 2009 or 2011 model. If a 2008 get an octocore model, or a quad/hexacore for the 2009-2011. Simply throw in a GTX 680 and you're good to go, and should be able to access future OS X updates for a good while as well.

The older Mac Pros, prior to 2007, used EFI32 rather than EFI64 which severely limits their access to the new OS. After that the main difference between Mac Pros is simply firmware, rather than massive hardware changes (bar Intel's socket changes).
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 08:09 AM   #16
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Right, I also heard that since Mountain Lion, all top GTX cards are now compatible out of the box with the Mac Pro.

I've never had a mac pro so I can't tell... Can someone confirm?
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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Right, I also heard that since Mountain Lion, all top GTX cards are now compatible out of the box with the Mac Pro.

I've never had a mac pro so I can't tell... Can someone confirm?
It's best to download the latest drivers for OS X from NVIDIA as those that ship with the OS are out of date, but yes, it's out of the box (the only thing not working is the EFI boot screen, so if you're dual-booting with Windows it is best to select OS and then restart).
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 01:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
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So for a budget-minded Mac shopper (including pre-owned and refurb'ed Mac Pros), what model(s) would you recommend to allow one to run these new Kepler cards and Mountain Lion?, and yield great performance on demanding 3D Os X native games?

Thanks in advance.
Quads (or higher clocked six cores at same generation) will give best performance in games. A 2.8Ghz quad will always be faster than a same generation 2.4GHz octo core, with a few exceptions.

Anyways, except for the six core 3.33GHz MacPro, a high end budget i5 build (i5-3570k) will be faster, even without over clock.

That to be said, there are very few games that push a 3GHz quad (sandy bridge or newer) noticeably.

The system reqs have stood still for quite a bit, due to the consoles lagging behind PC hardware, but this is about to change again, and expect a pretty decent bump in system reqs with the next generation of games.
(My 2009 model GTX285 have been more than enough to run games at very good settings for a long time, because it has been much faster than what current consoles has to offer, but the next gen will have much better hardware.)
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 03:53 PM   #19
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2008 Mac Pro or later, aiming for a 2009 or 2011 model. If a 2008 get an octocore model, or a quad/hexacore for the 2009-2011. Simply throw in a GTX 680 and you're good to go, and should be able to access future OS X updates for a good while as well.

The older Mac Pros, prior to 2007, used EFI32 rather than EFI64 which severely limits their access to the new OS. After that the main difference between Mac Pros is simply firmware, rather than massive hardware changes (bar Intel's socket changes).
How would this do?

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC...ore-intel-xeon
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 04:16 PM   #20
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In terms of specs, absolutely fine, although I would be looking at upping the RAM to 8GB. Regarding price I'm pretty sure you can get better deals off the Marketplace on these forums or elsewhere, Apple refurbs aren't cheap and the Mac Pros are seriously overpriced direct from Apple right now.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 06:17 PM   #21
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In terms of specs, absolutely fine, although I would be looking at upping the RAM to 8GB. Regarding price I'm pretty sure you can get better deals off the Marketplace on these forums or elsewhere, Apple refurbs aren't cheap and the Mac Pros are seriously overpriced direct from Apple right now.
Macrumors has a marketplace?

A seller on ebay is offering this for either auction or outright sale (for $1778)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Pr...item2c69474bfd
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 07:57 PM   #22
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Macrumors has a marketplace?

A seller on ebay is offering this for either auction or outright sale (for $1778)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Pr...item2c69474bfd
Thats only 50 less than apple, which will give you 1 year warranty.
The 5770 is an ok card, but not in the same league as the current GTX offerings.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 03:05 AM   #23
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Bearing the conversation in mind, I was ignoring the GPU as I was expecting it to be ditched.

Yes, Macrumors has a Marketplace. Check the rules to see if you can access it.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 05:56 PM   #24
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Thats only 50 less than apple, which will give you 1 year warranty.
The 5770 is an ok card, but not in the same league as the current GTX offerings.
Is anyone seeing better pre-owned pricing?

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Yes, Macrumors has a Marketplace. Check the rules to see if you can access it.
Where are these rules?
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 08:13 PM   #25
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[B]GTX 690 - 17,410
GTX 580 - 12,020
Radeon HD 6990 - 10,500
GTX 680 - 10,490
GTX 590 - 9,720
How does it make sense that a GTX 590, which is what, technically two GTX 580's strapped together scores less then ONE GTX 580?
How does 3Dmark calculate this performance? In gaming the 590 destroys the 580
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