My Review of the EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macgoblin7950, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. macgoblin7950, Apr 19, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013

    macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    This is after just a day of usage.

    Pros: Very fast and very quiet. Amazing performance compared to the old mac 5870 and the 7950 for gaming. A very worthy upgrade specially for starcraft 2 and diablo

    Cons: Price. It is pricey but cheaper then the mac 5870 considering performance. Unless you need OpenCL

    Other thoughts, I havent noticed any stutter like I did with the AMD cards.
    Also it shows video in 10.6 but no drivers so you cant switch resolutions and screen capture does not work just like the 7950.

    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 single quad, 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 4 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.

    The 680 is the top end single GPU card from nvidia unless you want to the titan.

    Another thing I want to mention is that I really like having a boot screen. So that was another reason I chose the GTX 680 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 performance, I had screen tearing and then at other times lag.

    The 680 runs with the highest settings w/o v-sync enable from anywhere from 85ish to 63ish on average. On the domination level with 350 supply of units it stayed at 7 to 11 FPS.

    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 680. Also does not seem to slow down ever which I noticed on other cards.

    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.

    Barefeats benchmarks.

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2010
    Thanks for posting a thoughtful review! I'm considering it. I do really wish it was loaded w/4GB.
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    Why do you want 4GB?
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 9, 2008
    London (Ealing) UK
    For gaming on his quad-monitor configuration? :D
  5. macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Might be using X-Plane 10?

    Seriously, X-Plane 10 makes you regret you only have 2 GB VRAM....
  6. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Serious Promblem

    I have a really serious problem. I have the Mac Pro 4, 1 2.6Ghz, 16GB memory, the works. I got the GTX 680, and it sucks. I get like 18fps on Heaven 4.0 and at best 24fps on StarCraft 2 (high settings, not ultra). At first I thought it was the card, so I did an RMA, but the new one still doesn't work. So what is it? I have almost the same machine as macgoblin7950, but this card barely works for me. It's like it's not getting enough power or something. I've double checked everything and it's installed correctly. But I just am not getting any performance. It performs almost exactly 4fps better than my custom cooled 5870.

    Anyone know anything about this? Could the Nehalem Intels REALLY be that much worse? I can't figure it out... Thanks for your help
  7. macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2013
    that seems odd, have you tried it in Windows\Bootcamp? see how it performs there. If not maybe try a fresh install of OSX
  8. macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    If thats max something is for sure wrong..
  9. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Yeah I think I figured out what is going on. macgoblin7950 used atMonitor to rate is FPS, which MASSIVELY overstates the actual FPS. Plus I am running a 30' 2560x1600, which cuts down on the quality a lot. I just did some more tests and I'm getting about 23FPS in StarCraft 2 when I'm just building, and about 7 to 11 in battle. Which is frankly pathetic. I'm returning the card, it isn't worth $640 for the quality, plus it's only PCI 2.0, and with the rumors of Apple releasing the Mac Pro replacement this year, it's just better to wait.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    San Diego
    Can you hook up two 27-inch LED Cinema Displays with mini display-port to the Nvidia 680 GTX Mac Edition? I know you can hook up one with display-port to mini display-port adaptor but how can I hook up my second 27-inch?
  11. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    It can support up to 4 displays according to EVGA. But I wouldn't use it that way. I use a GT 120 for two displays, and then my high def 30' I hook up to my GTX 680. But as I mentioned before, I just don't see this card being worth the asking price. It's not forward compatible, and it just doesn't have the power to back up the price tag.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2012
    Try the 313.01.01 driver that was just released. I'm not sure what's wrong on your side, but I've been consistently getting 40-60 FPS in StarCraft 2 on a 30" display with all settings cranked up. I'm on a 2010 Mac Pro (MacPro5,1) for reference.
  13. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    1, How the hell do you update the driver on OSX?
    2, After alot of study, I have come to believe that some short coming in the 2009 model is my problem. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do.

    Although I will try to find a driver update...
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2012
    Download the driver from here:

    Install the .pkg file and reboot. FWIW there's a list of NVIDIA driver releases in the sticky FAQ thread.
  15. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
  16. macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    PCI 2.0 vs. 3.0 barely matters if at all (see marketing) right now and 3.0 will be 2.0 backward compatible. You can use the card in a 3.0 slot down the road. Only starts to matter with SLI which Mac users can't use anyway. It is not worth the asking price solely because it is OS X compatible. Always more expensive. It is worth what you would pay for a PC version. It's like the 3rd fastest single card you can buy right now. Mac users have never had it this good. We are always 2+ years back and stuck with 10th place cards or "has-been/ re-bins".
    Sucks you are having these issues but my GXT 680 is easily 2x as fast as 5870 where it matters, in Windows games. The rest of the speed disparity has more to do with Apple API's and drivers than a HW deficiency. OS X is so software bound it is getting embarrassing. With few notable exceptions.
  17. macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Actually Mac's can use SLI, remember the 5770's, the only problem is power limitations off the board. Tons of people have used external power sources to do SLI with these cards. I just spoke with EVGA, and apparently the GTX 680's DO HAVE 3.0, not that it matters, apparently they marketed them as 2.0 because there aren't any 3.0 macs out so... yeah. But basically these are just normal 680's with an EFI chip, that's it.

    And the problem I have been having isn't software, or driver related, it's hardware. The reason my 680 can't perform has to do with my CPU, which is just too old. If you have a 2010 or newer, you're fine, low end 2009's not so much. I know this is a huge step forward, but I saved up everything I had to get the 680, and it didn't work out for me. You can understand how upsetting it might be. I either have to buy a new processor, ($1000) or a new computer, which isn't worth it due to the eminent release of the updated 2013's.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2012
    In what app?
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2007
    Northern VA
    He meant in OS X, I suspect. And he's right: OS X doesn't support SLI. If you want to make use of it, you need to be running Windows. But at that point, why bother having a Mac Pro? ...

  20. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2012
    Yeah, I was going to say, if you're running StarCraft 2 on a 2009 Mac Pro, you're going to be limited by the slow CPU -- it just can't feed the GPU enough work, even at 25x16 with everything cranked up to maximum. Hell, there are plenty of cases where my 2010 Mac Pro's Nehalem CPUs can't keep up with the GTX 680 as well, but I'm getting solid framerates while playing SC2 in any case.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2006
    Great review !! Thanks

    Outstanding review! Exactly what I was looking for.

    Now one questions remains. In the review, the EVGA 680 is the best card for gamers. Well in my case I soon will have a MacPro 2009 with a single quad cord available, that comes with a nvidia GT 120.
    I dont game very much but occasional. Since I have a 27 Cinema Display already, I lean to the less expensive ATI 7950 with the mini display port.
    For the old MP 2009, the EVGA card might be too much anyways.

    Do you think the ATI 7950 is still a great upgrade for a MP 09` or would you choose the EVGA 680 in any case over the ATI ?

    Thanks for the great review!
  22. macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2013
    I would get the 7950, since it's still a very fast card, and very powerful. You might as well save some money getting the 7950 vs the GTX 680, since you only game occasionally, and the 7950 is still a nice upgrade!
  23. macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    I've had my GTX 680 for a few days as well, I'm stunned by the performance increase in everything from pro apps to gaming.

    HIGHLY recommended.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2004

    I'm running dual GTX 680 4GB and have NEVER been so happy with my Mac Pro's graphics performance. I'm good for the next 5 years.

    Primarily CADD & Rendering apps, OS X & Windows.
  25. macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Yes. I meant OS X. I find it hard to believe that a Quad Nehalem at 2.66GHz is too slow to feed the GTX 680 when we have not been CPU bound in games for years thanks to console ports. Tons of people still run Nehalem albeit at 3GHz+ and don't have complaints of CPU bound. Some site testbeds are X58 and Nehalem still. I have seen variations of a few FPS based on 2.66GHz vs. 3.6GHz and Dual vs Quad-core vs. HT or no HT. Not impossible just hard to believe. That is why I assumed we are talking OS X and all it's graphic limitations.
    But I would still use a Mac Pro with SLI in Windows if I needed it. I am a strange case where I need OS X for work and Windows for fun. So not much choice unless I want 2 big boxes under my desk. Which I don't.

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