My Review of the Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macgoblin7950, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. macgoblin7950, Mar 28, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013

    macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    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. 7950&IsVirtualParent=1

    This article seemed to be closest to my Performance.

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2006
    Thanks for writing this up. I'm considering replacing an ATI 4870 in my 2009 Mac Pro. I'd run three screens off it....
  3. macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2007
    Ulladulla, NSW Australia
    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!
  4. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    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!
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    What are you wanting to use it for?
  6. macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    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.
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    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.
  8. macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2004
    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!
  9. macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    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....
  10. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    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).
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    Cool. unfortunately I dont use any of those apps. :(
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2007
    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?
  13. macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    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.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    Thanks a lot for your time writing this review. :apple:
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2007
    Sapphire 7950 and Bootcamp

    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?
  16. macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    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.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    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.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2013
    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
  19. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    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
  20. macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    I just ordered one for my 2009 mac pro for £400 (ouch!). Hope its worth it.
  21. macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2012
    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.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2013
    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.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Snow Leopard?

    Does this run under Snow Leopard 10.6.8?
  24. thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2013
    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.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    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?


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