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Old Apr 4, 2013, 07:42 AM   #1
MacsRgr8
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Mac editions: Radeon 7950 vs GeForce GTX 680

Well, so both are now suddenly available!

Radeon 7950

GeForce GTX 680

I suppose I'm not the only one who has just bought the Radeon 7950 and would probably have chosen for the GeForce GTX 680 if I knew about it before...
I haven't received my Radeon yet, but I wonder which be the best deal.

So, just a few comparisons:

- First off, I have a Mac Pro 2008. Both cards seem to work, but the GeForce is actually supported.

- The Radeon has mini-DisplayPort. The GeForce doesn't. Not such a big issue but I do prefer having the mini-DisplayPort built-in.

- The Radeon is slower (how much..?), but has more VRAM (3 GB vs. 2 GB in the GeForce).

- The Radeon is cheaper.

Maybe I'll keep my Radeon 7950. X-Plane 10 will be my benchmark. Maybe X-Plane 10 is more CPU bound than GPU bound in my ageing Mac Pro, but with a 7950...
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 10:03 AM   #2
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I'm curious as to which card is better for gaming at high resolutions. I have a 30" Dell U3011 (2650x1600) and my current 5870 struggles with certain games at high/max settings.

Would the 7950 with 3GB memory be better than the 680 in my case?
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by odinsride View Post
I'm curious as to which card is better for gaming at high resolutions. I have a 30" Dell U3011 (2650x1600) and my current 5870 struggles with certain games at high/max settings.

Would the 7950 with 3GB memory be better than the 680 in my case?
I'm using a GTX 680 with my 30" display, and it's great at high-resolution gaming in my experience. Don't forget that the 680 is NVIDIA's high-end card, while the 7950 is one step down for AMD. Would certainly recommend the 680 if you have a 30" display.
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 03:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asgorath View Post
I'm using a GTX 680 with my 30" display, and it's great at high-resolution gaming in my experience.
On my Win7 gaming rig, I'm using a GTX680 with 3 1920x1200 LCD panels in Battlefield 3. Yeah. It's actually just that good...

jas
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 03:19 PM   #5
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So weird... a few weeks ago we were cursing the fact that the latest and greatest supported Mac Pro grfx card was the Radeon 5870, and now we're in the debate zone which card is better for which Mac Pro.

Time will tell which grfx card is the best "bang for buck" card for which Mac Pro.

- Is the GTX 680 overkill for older Mac Pro's?
- Is the 2 GB VRAM limit killing in some cases?
- Is the Radeon 7950 the best "overall" card?
- Which card has better driver support?
- Which card does better in OpenCL?
- Which card is better in which games?

I have a feeling that Barefeats has a lot to do....
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 06:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jasonvp View Post
On my Win7 gaming rig, I'm using a GTX680 with 3 1920x1200 LCD panels in Battlefield 3. Yeah. It's actually just that good...

jas
is that a 2 GB model?
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 07:36 PM   #7
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is that a 2 GB model?
No. It's the 4GB up-clocked version by EVGA. Not the same thing as what will be available for the Mac, but it's still a damned good card.

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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post
So weird... a few weeks ago we were cursing the fact that the latest and greatest supported Mac Pro grfx card was the Radeon 5870, and now we're in the debate zone which card is better for which Mac Pro.

Time will tell which grfx card is the best "bang for buck" card for which Mac Pro.
  1. - Is the GTX 680 overkill for older Mac Pro's?
  2. - Is the 2 GB VRAM limit killing in some cases?
  3. - Is the Radeon 7950 the best "overall" card?
  4. - Which card has better driver support?
  5. - Which card does better in OpenCL?
  6. - Which card is better in which games?
  1. - I'm guessing no. I think it's basically the same issue as the SATAII vs SATAIII conundrum. I bet 95% to 98% of the I/O takes place at PCIe 1.0-ish speeds. If I understand the graphics I/O hardware and software stack correctly most of the accelerations takes place on the card between it's local memory and the GPU. Again, with most of the data I/O across the PCIe bus taking place at much lower speeds - and speeds which are typically very PCIe 1.0-ish or less.

  2. - For normal users (video editing+play, CG artists, Gamers, etc.) this probably won't be a concern at all. I can't think of anything other than XPlane that consumes or requires more than 1GB myself. Someone feel free to list any others.

  3. - Is the Radeon 7950 the best "overall" card?
    No!

  4. - Which card has better driver support?
    Time will tell...

  5. - Which card does better in OpenCL?
    NVidia.

  6. - Which card is better in which games?
    That as well as the pro-app scene, usually depends on the development environment. If the developers are pro-ATI and/or spend more time tuning to ATI cards performances then ATI... and if pro-NVidia then NVidia. I was involved with some pro-app development semi-recently and everyone including me came to the conclusion that ATI cards were substandard and missing quite a few features. To get the same application feature options running on an ATI card required a lot of extra work! Soooo, I guess the only developers who would tune for ATI exclusively are either those connected somehow (financially) with ATI or those who think the Radeon customer base is significantly larger.

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Old Apr 4, 2013, 09:44 PM   #9
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The GTX 680 can run 4 displays concurrently, can the 7950 do this?
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 10:42 PM   #10
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i'm still going to wait it some more and see what Apple is planning to put in the next Mac Pro but I sure like to know which is the better Card Sapphire's 7950 or EVGA 680GTX? If you guys are going to buy the card right know which one will it be? can't wait for barefeats to do some test between the two
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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I feel that EVGA lost out on a lot of sales by not announcing this before the 7950 went up for sale.

I'd have bought the 680 over the 7950 had they both been announced.


Oh well, i'll be happy with the 7950 eventually when the drivers stop sucking.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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I feel that EVGA lost out on a lot of sales by not announcing this before the 7950 went up for sale.

I'd have bought the 680 over the 7950 had they both been announced.


Oh well, i'll be happy with the 7950 eventually when the drivers stop sucking.
You could always just return the 7950, right? I agree that it's a shame the official 680 card wasn't announced sooner.
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Old Apr 5, 2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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So, I got my 7950 today!

Installed it (as it replaced the 5870, no extra cables were necessary, so that was very easy), and reset NVRAM.

Mac Pro '08 booted without boot screen....

First, I thought maybe I used the wrong mini DisplayPort (ACD 24"), but that wasn't it. Then I found out about the "dipswitch" on the side of the Radeon. According to the manual it should have default been set to the OS X "EFI" mode, but it wasn't. Simply setting the switch to the right enabled Mac boot mode!

Next strange thing:
The Apple LED 24" Display suddenly was set to the higher resolution of 2560 x 1600 (!). The display has a default setting of 1920 x 1200.....

Opening the display system prefs and set it to "scaled", I could choose the "default" 1920 x 1200 again.
@ 2560 x 1200 resolution it has smaller icons etc, but they did not look sharp.

Next up:
X-Plane 10.
Fired it up and loaded the payware highly detailed EHAM airport. Immediately it was clear the 7950 has far more horsepower than the 5870!!! YES!!!

Cranked up the settings quite a lot, and still it was very, very playable! Loading KLGA with KJFK and Manhattan scenery at very, very high settings let the game use 2.4 GB of VRAM .... see screenshot.

In short: for X-Plane 10 the 7950 is a huge upgrade from the 5870. Having > 2 GB VRAM in this game isn't a luxury!
This posts a question: the GTX 680 Mac edition has 2 GB of VRAM. That could be an issue with X-Plane 10.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post

First, I thought maybe I used the wrong mini DisplayPort (ACD 24"), but that wasn't it. Then I found out about the "dipswitch" on the side of the Radeon. According to the manual it should have default been set to the OS X "EFI" mode, but it wasn't. Simply setting the switch to the right enabled Mac boot mode!

Next strange thing:
The Apple LED 24" Display suddenly was set to the higher resolution of 2560 x 1600 (!). The display has a default setting of 1920 x 1200.....
FWIW: Mine also arrived with the dip-switch in the wrong position ("Mac" version card delivered with switch in "PC" mode??).

My Apple LED 24" Display also came up in the 2560 x 1600 mode, and I had to reset it back to the native resolution.


-howard
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Old Apr 8, 2013, 03:53 AM   #15
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More people have posted the same.

I assume most of the time "default" is set wrong: i.e. non-EFI mode.
Trouble is that the card does work fine. Although, in the "about this Mac" window the card shows up as an AMD Radeon HD 7XXX card, not specifically as the 7950.

Also, only when de dip-switch is set to "EFI" mode, do you get the strange issue that the 24" Apple LED display sets to 2560 x 1600 res.

So, I had to do two things after installing the 7950:
1. Set dip-swicth tot "EFI" (Mac)
2. Set the display pres via "scaled" () to the real default of 1920 x 1200.

After that: gr8!!

As stated above: the 3 GB RAM is in X-Plane 10 very welcome!
I'm happy I got this. I would have been frustrated with the 680 when X-Plane 10 exceeds 2 GB VRAM usage....
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