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Old Mar 28, 2013, 07:16 PM   #1
macgoblin7950
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My Review of the Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition.

UPDATE**** I just found out about the EVGA Nvidia GTX 680 Mac edition and am buying that card now. My 7950 is for sale on Ebay with free shipping if your interested in it.

Pros: Very fast relatively quiet. Amazing performance compared to the old mac 5870. A very worthy upgrade specially for starcraft 2 and diablo

Cons: Price. It is pricey but cheaper then the mac 5870 considering

Other Thoughts: I wish it was the 7970 ghz edition but oh well.
When you install this you need to reset your PRAM and your SMC. Or else it acts weird.
I think this card is nicer to install then the Mac 5870 since it does not have the bracket on it. Since thats not there you do not have to shoe horn it in like the 5870.

I have a Mac Pro 5,1 2.8ghz with an OWC accelsior SSD. I have had a 5870 pretty much since it first came out for the Mac. I have also had the 5770 as well so I know what im talking about with all 3 cards.

The 5770 is a good card but if you game you wanted the 5870 it was double the performance.

The 7950 while is not the same placeholder in the current lineup as the 5870 was in the 5XXX series of cards, it is a close contender.

I had read several articles about using the pc version and even using converter cables to use the more power hungry 7970's in a mac. While I do believe they work and probably wont cause an issue. This does not make me comfortable considering how much a new backplane board would be for my mac pro. In this case I felt it was better safe then sorry. I dont trust traces to provide enough power. While its cool, its not able to handle tons of power. I saw MacVidCards say someone had fried their Pro doing something like that with a more powerful card. Also his power hungry cards he recommends using an external power supply. So I could have dont that but I did not want that hassle and mess to look at. Plus 2 PS' for one computer seem weird.

Another thing I want to mention is that I really like having a boot screen. So that was another reason I chose the 7950 mac edition.

Now to performance.

Starcraft 2 HOTS and WOL
Before HOTS came out the 5870 was pretty much good enough to handle anything WOL did. It was good and constant at about 45 FPS in everything give or take certain instances.

However HOTS increased the graphics and required a more powerful card on Mac OS X. the 5870 ran ok at ultra settings but not the highest and at time would need v-sync enabled but that hurt perf at times. This made it very odd to play since at times I would have so much pert, I had screen tearing and then at other times lag.

The 7950 resolved this it has wicked performance. 50+ on average on my 27" cinema display. So much that I can have all the settings up with AA and Vsync on for great gameplay.

As for Diablo 3
I didnt really have any issue with performance with the 5870 however it is noticeably smoother and easier to play with the 7950.

I have yet to try with windows but honestly I dont care. I have Windows 7 on my Pro but I never go into it.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions about my experience please feel free to hit me up.

Other links about the 7950 along with newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...irtualParent=1

This article seemed to be closest to my Performance.
http://www.kitguru.net/components/gr...dition-review/

http://barefeats.com/gpu7950.html
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Last edited by macgoblin7950; Apr 17, 2013 at 09:04 AM.
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 07:32 PM   #2
k2director
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Thanks for writing this up. I'm considering replacing an ATI 4870 in my 2009 Mac Pro. I'd run three screens off it....
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 09:25 PM   #3
scottrichardson
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Had I not just got a 660 Ti, I would definitely grab one of these - which has roughly similar performance to the 660 Ti... but with boot screens!
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 10:16 PM   #4
Zerozal
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Thanks very much for your review. I've been mulling over replacing my 5870 with this. The early reviews, including Barefeats, didn't seem to give the 7950 much of an advantage, but some of the newer reviews are making me want one!
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 10:12 AM   #5
macgoblin7950
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerozal View Post
Thanks very much for your review. I've been mulling over replacing my 5870 with this. The early reviews, including Barefeats, didn't seem to give the 7950 much of an advantage, but some of the newer reviews are making me want one!
What are you wanting to use it for?
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 01:03 PM   #6
tnhansel
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Thank you for your review. I have also been checking every review of sapphire 7950 mac for fcpx use. Do you think replacing my 5870 with the 7950 will bumps up the performance of fcpx?

My computer specs is:
2.6ghz Mac Pro 5.1
16gb ram
256GB crucial m4
2TB hdd
Radeon 5870

Primary use are FCPX, Motion, CS6, and Livestream.
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 02:00 PM   #7
macgoblin7950
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Originally Posted by tnhansel View Post
Thank you for your review. I have also been checking every review of sapphire 7950 mac for fcpx use. Do you think replacing my 5870 with the 7950 will bumps up the performance of fcpx?

My computer specs is:
2.6ghz Mac Pro 5.1
16gb ram
256GB crucial m4
2TB hdd
Radeon 5870

Primary use are FCPX, Motion, CS6, and Livestream.
I couldnt say as I dont have any experience with those programs.
However looking at Barefeats tests it looks like its a major improvement for anything that uses OpenCL. So FCPX should see noticeable improvement along with motion I believe. But CS6 and livestream I dont know at all. Sorry I couldnt be more helpful.
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 03:49 PM   #8
Garamond
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Wicked performance? Give me a break, it's barely superior to the 5870. Gained maybe 10 fps. Other than that; screen anomalies when running more than one screen, colors goes haywire and it's noisier. Stay clear!
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 05:29 PM   #9
MacsRgr8
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Quite some different views on the 7950 vs 5870 then.

I have a '08 Mac Pro (3.1) 8 x 2.8 GHz, 16 GB RAM with Radeon 5870.
I'm looking for boosting X-Plane 10 with a lot of detailed add-ons scenery and planes.
Part of the problem with the 5870 is that it "only" has 1 GB of VRAM.
X-Plane 10 with a bit more than mediocre settings easily exceeds 1 GB of VRAM when loading heavy-duty scenery.

It really gets frustrating waiting for a new Mac Pro (chances seem to diminish by the day IMHO) or the fattest iMac....
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 10:36 PM   #10
Zerozal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgoblin7950 View Post
What are you wanting to use it for?
Heavy Adobe Lightroom use, although I'm not sure how much use Lightroom makes of OpenCL and the video card. I also do some gaming (Counter Strike G.O., Witcher 2, TF2, L4D2, etc).
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 08:56 PM   #11
macgoblin7950
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerozal View Post
Heavy Adobe Lightroom use, although I'm not sure how much use Lightroom makes of OpenCL and the video card. I also do some gaming (Counter Strike G.O., Witcher 2, TF2, L4D2, etc).
Cool. unfortunately I dont use any of those apps.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 09:14 AM   #12
billalex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgoblin7950 View Post
I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions about my experience please feel free to hit me up.
What happens when you boot into Windows via Bootcamp? I know the card has a switch for Windows mode. Do you have to manually switch the card when booting via Bootcamp?
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 09:47 AM   #13
DanielCoffey
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No - once you have set it to the Mac side, that's it. it is just to tell the card what type of computer it is in.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 06:52 PM   #14
tnhansel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgoblin7950 View Post
I couldnt say as I dont have any experience with those programs.
However looking at Barefeats tests it looks like its a major improvement for anything that uses OpenCL. So FCPX should see noticeable improvement along with motion I believe. But CS6 and livestream I dont know at all. Sorry I couldnt be more helpful.
Thanks a lot for your time writing this review.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 07:33 AM   #15
billalex
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Sapphire 7950 and Bootcamp

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielCoffey View Post
No - once you have set it to the Mac side, that's it. it is just to tell the card what type of computer it is in.
So to confirm, if you boot into Windows via Bootcamp, you do NOT need to flip the firmware switch to Windows mode, correct?

Also, does anyone know if Apple's latest update for Bootcamp include drivers for the 7950 for the Windows side?
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 08:07 AM   #16
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So to confirm, if you boot into Windows via Bootcamp, you do NOT need to flip the firmware switch to Windows mode, correct?

Also, does anyone know if Apple's latest update for Bootcamp include drivers for the 7950 for the Windows side?
You don't need bootcamp drivers for the 7950. You can allways get the latest catalyst drivers directly from AMD. They bring at least 1 driver per month.
Just Get the latest and get the best performance.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 10:13 AM   #17
fotomiami
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I just upgraded to this card on Friday. I have the same setup as macgoblin, except I was coming from a Radeon 5770.

My main app is Aperture, and it obviously runs a lot faster. The only game I have is Civ5, and it too runs better, but I havent run any tests so not sure exactly how much faster it is for gaming.

The issue I have encountered so far is that my secondary Apple Cinema Display wont sleep when Energy Saver is enabled. I opened a ticket with sapphire about this and waiting to hear back.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 11:22 AM   #18
mcaudell
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Mac Pro early 2009

First post. I have a early 2009 2.93 mac pro. Will the new Sapphire 7950 card be a plug and go situation for me or will I need to do some tweaking? I'm running 10.8.3. Thanks
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 11:43 AM   #19
macgoblin7950
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Originally Posted by mcaudell View Post
First post. I have a early 2009 2.93 mac pro. Will the new Sapphire 7950 card be a plug and go situation for me or will I need to do some tweaking? I'm running 10.8.3. Thanks
Sapphire says it works with the 09 Pro and my experience with 10.8.3 is its plug it in, reset the SMC and PRAM and your good to go
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 12:29 PM   #20
Kissaragi
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I just ordered one for my 2009 mac pro for 400 (ouch!). Hope its worth it.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 04:16 PM   #21
adww12321
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Originally Posted by Garamond View Post
Wicked performance? Give me a break, it's barely superior to the 5870. Gained maybe 10 fps. Other than that; screen anomalies when running more than one screen, colors goes haywire and it's noisier. Stay clear!
I just received & installed the sapphire 7950 today, replacing a 5770 in a 2012 MP.

I haven't experienced any graphical weirdness at all. At idle, it seems about as loud as the 5770 it replaced (a whisper of air). I haven't really abused it yet to know how the fan cranks up.

I'm running 3 monitors (2 cinema displays, and one 1920x1200) and using general business apps/browsing, scrolling is definitely faster and smoother -- I suspect with so many displays, I was routinely running out of VRAM.

If it blows up or eats itself, I will of course post about it...

I'm surprised more folks haven't reported their experiences yet.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 04:27 PM   #22
steph00
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Originally Posted by mcaudell View Post
First post. I have a early 2009 2.93 mac pro. Will the new Sapphire 7950 card be a plug and go situation for me or will I need to do some tweaking? I'm running 10.8.3. Thanks
I installed the saphire in the same setup 4.1 2,93ghz, see review here .
it is totally plug & play, same driver version on the cd than the one already included in 10.8.3 so you won't even need it.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 04:56 PM   #23
PowerPCMacMan
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Snow Leopard?

Does this run under Snow Leopard 10.6.8?
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 08:38 AM   #24
macgoblin7950
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Does this run under Snow Leopard 10.6.8?
Sort of. But not really. You will get video but certain things do not work like screen capture and you only have the native resolution of your display.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 11:43 AM   #25
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Good!!! Thats all I would need it for.. My native resolution is 1920x1200 - Its the 24 inch Apple LED Cinema display. I can just use "Grab" in utilities for screen capture, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by macgoblin7950 View Post
Sort of. But not really. You will get video but certain things do not work like screen capture and you only have the native resolution of your display.
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