Installed 7970, confused about speed vs 5870

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jenzjen, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. jenzjen
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    macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I installed an MSI Lightning 7970 to replace my dual card - Apple 5870 and 5770 - setup, but I'm not seeing any noticeable speed improvement. Am I missing something, did I run the wrong test, or is there something else limiting the output?

    Most of my use is under Windows/Bootcamp, so for a quick test, I timed how long the 5870 and the 7970 took to thumbnail ~150 home movie files (720p/1080p AVC HD files) when opening the folder in Windows Explorer - both setups took the exact same time.

    On an older machine that went through an upgrade, this test produced a noticeable difference between the cards.

    I do not have an external PSU and am using two 6-8 pin connectors to power the card, deleted old drivers and installed new ones.

    I know there is a long thread about the possible damage after someone installed a 7970 in a heavy use environment but figured my usage does not come close to stressing the card.
     
  2. SDAVE
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    SDAVE

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    #2
    WHAT are you trying to do?

    Run a most recent game and compare the results. Or a 3d application which uses OpenGL, such as Cinema 4D.

    Who cares about Geekbench, etc.
     
  3. jenzjen
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    #3
    I don't care about benchmarks either, and I spend too much time working so it is worth it for me if I can significantly speed up time spent interacting with these movie files. I didn't know if it was just something inherent in Windows or Explorer that made my quick test fall on its face.
     
  4. SDAVE
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    SDAVE

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    #4
    GPU will not make any of your thumbnails show up faster.

    It will help you with 3D programs more than anything.
     
  5. monkeybagel
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    monkeybagel

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    #5
    An SSD and faster CPU may help generate the thumbnails faster, but a GPU would not. How much RAM do you have?
     
  6. jenzjen
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    #6
    Actually, it solved itself. As soon as I started doing normal work, the machine froze up twice so am back to the dual cards.

    Maybe the other poster that installed a 7970 had more luck since his card seemed to be less power hungry 6+8 pin (vs mine dual 8 pin), but then he mentions processing 4k video (vs me with open browsers, some office apps) so his workload is clearly > mine.

    Machine is the 6 core w/a SSD and 24Gb of ram driving 3 27" ACD - no other PCI or USB devices installed.
     
  7. All Taken
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    macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Did you do a SMC and PRAM reset after replacing the cards? I had to do this with my GTX 680.
     
  8. jenzjen
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    #8
    SMC yes, PRAM no.

    Card was stable last night (though only played around with photos, thumbnails) but started crashing this morning as started work, not terribly stressful but multiple browsers, Word, Excel and Access.
     
  9. All Taken
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  10. jenzjen
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    thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Yes, here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1505726) OP uses a XFX that has 1 6 pin and 1 8 pin (requires min 500w supply).

    I didn't realize this when I ordered it, but the MSI has 2 8 pin and requires a minimum of 650w hence why my machine stalled.

    I want a card that can drive 3-4 Apple 27" natively so ruled out the XFX since it has 2 mini DP vs MSI 4 mini DP.

    Thinking the best I could do is get the XFX plus some adapters to drive the 3rd 27" ACD off the DVI port or live with the dual card setup.
     
  11. brentsg
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    #11
    It doesn't sound like you do anything that can benefit from this upgrade. From your posts it seems like a waste of money, so you should probably stick with your corrent cards.
     
  12. ActionableMango
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    ActionableMango

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    #12
    I have to agree. 7970 is a 3D acceleration powerhouse. OP's use sounds like a huge waste of a 7970, which is actually causing problems and not helping at all.
     
  13. DanielCoffey
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    DanielCoffey

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    #13
    Can you temporarily run the card from an external PSU to see if it works when powered properly?
     
  14. jenzjen
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    thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Right, definitely not seeing much benefit for my uses was really hoping for something to just up the overall every day stuff.

    Unfortunately, don't have access to external power.
     
  15. goMac
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    #15
    A 7970 isn't going to show much improvement for every day stuff over the 5870. Stuff like an SSD would.
     
  16. handheldgames
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    handheldgames

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  17. All Taken
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    macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Would it change the operators question?
     
  18. MacVidCards
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    macrumors 604

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    #18
    It would likely fix the crashing.

    When Mac Pro senses too high a draw, it will shut down.

    7950 is Dual 6 pin, no need for those dicey 6 to 8s.
     
  19. All Taken
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    macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    The 50 watts difference in maximum power consumption isn't enough to cause system instability.
     
  20. MacVidCards
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    #20
    Take a moment and read the thread.

    The card he got uses 2 @ 8 pins.

    So power deficit is 150 Watts.

    I can get my 2009 to shut off by running Furmark and using a SINGLE 6 to 8 on a GTX580.

    He was using 2 of them.
     
  21. jenzjen
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    thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Admittedly, I'm a corner case since I'm running Windows over 3-4 27" ACDs (Atlona DP 400 only pushes 720p under Windows) so anything with DVI doesn't help.

    Nvidia doesn't have enough mDP on the newer GTX leaving ATI, but the power required for ATI cards with >2 mDPs require an external PSU.

    That leaves me with upgrading from my current 5870/5770 to likely the 7870/7770 if I want to stay within stable power use, but after all this, the improvement is probably negligible at best.
     
  22. ActionableMango
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    ActionableMango

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    #22
    7870 Eyefinity 6? It has 6 MDP ports and uses 2x6 power connectors in a single card. I have no idea if it works in OS X though.
     
  23. jenzjen
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    thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Question for those more knowledgeable w/drivers than me - since it looks like 10.8.3. will support 79xx drivers natively, any reason the suggested card 7870 Eyefinity 6 would not work?
     
  24. brentsg
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  25. derbothaus
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    derbothaus

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    #25
    OP: What cards had a noticeable impact on icon view creation? I ask because a 5870 and a 7970 are so far out there in performance for OS elements you can't really go faster (they would appear relatively the same and both are probably idling at like 100MHz to save power) with HD and CPU bottlenecks even if you were leveraging GPGPU on the action.
     

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