2006 Mac Pro Video Card Choices.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tucom, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #1
    I currently have a 1,1 2006 Mac Pro that is frustratingly underperforming in gaming under OS X.

    I have a Radeon HD 4870 that should blow away everything I throw at it, but it falls short under Team Fortress 2 and COD 4, it's just absurd.


    I'm thinking there's some incompatibility with my card and the 2006 Mac Pro, so what choices do I have from the likes of nVida to upgrade or hell even downgrade to that will most likely get me better performance?


    And what card vendor does Lion tend to favor, ATI or Nvidia?
     
  2. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #2
    I've always preferred NVIDIA cards. I don't know if Lion necessarily favors one or the other.

    Couldn't you just look at an NVIDIA equivalent to your AMD?
     
  3. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #3
    The Radeon HD 5770 in my Mac Pro 1,1 played Doom 3 at 30fps average with all settings maxed out at 2560x1600.

    It doesn't let you play HD content in iTunes though. I'm back with my X1900XT now.. as I don't really game.
     
  4. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #4
    Sadly, for reasons I don't fully understand Nvidia writes their EFI in a 64bit version only since the 8800GT. ATI/AMD has written their EFI in what is known as "EBC" which can function in either 32 bit or 64 bit worlds. So you can use AMD cards up through 5870 in a 1,1 but the 8800GT is last official EFI card for 1,1.

    So, you have 3 options.

    1. Use any Nvidia card you like and accept that there will be no boot screens. (see thread started by Asgorath) Use a 2600XT or an EFI32 GT120 for these. I do not think that having no boot screens EVER is a good idea. At the very least, keep an old 7300GT on hand. When you have system or OS issues, not having a bootscreen is a deal breaker.

    2. The most powerful ATI card with boot screens is the Apple OEM 5870. Flashed 5870s offer boot screen via VGA only. 6870 is supported in OS but there is no way to see a bootscreen in a 1,1. Flashed 4870s offer DVI boot screen. The 1GB cards are the ones to have. Apple OEM 4870 is 512 Megs, kind of a drag. Apple 5770 is almost as fast and has boot screens. Apple 5770 and 5870 can run 3 displays at once, including 2 @ Apple LED.

    3. We offer an 8800GT 1GB card that is significantly faster and more useful than the original Apple one. It can enable MPE in Adobe software whereas Apple's can't. It is in fact based on a later version of G92 and is thus quieter, cooler and faster than original. It is still no match for any of the newer cards in option #1 but it offers boot screens via DVI .
     
  5. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    Sweden
    #5
    that's ATY_Init.kext. however, not sure if needed after Mountain Lion
     
  6. Fangio, Sep 15, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

    Fangio macrumors 6502

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    #6
    So true. OTOH, to defend Apples OEM 4870, it does show a bootscreen also via MDP, is as fast as a 5770 but considerably less expensive nowadays. ;)
     
  7. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #7
    So it will be possible to use say a GTX 570 in my 1,1 2006 Mac Pro with Lion 10.7.4 and not need to use any additional drivers or anything, and get considerably faster performance than a 4870??



    If so, I may just head down that route.
     
  8. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #8
    Alright so just played Portal 2, and guess what?


    It runs like a dream! Constant 60FPS+, generally around 110-140 FPS, sometimes "dips" down to 80.


    I don't get it, finally a Valve game is running as efficiently as a Source game should, but Team Fortress 2 doesn't...


    CoD4 is running better, at least 3/4 of the maps were near constant 60FPS. Someone in another thread I made similar to this one told me that the CoD 4 port wasn't the best port out there, it's not bad though.

    Anyone else out there have CoD 4 for Mac, and what FPS are you getting with what graphics card?
     
  9. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #9
    TF2 is the most CPU limited of all the Valve games. It generally runs a lot slower than all the others.

    I still don't get more than 60-70 FPS with my 3.2 GHz MacPro5,1 (2010) with a GTX 680 in COD4. As far as I can tell, it's not even an OpenGL framework or driver problem, the app just can't go any faster than that.
     
  10. Tucom, Sep 15, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

    Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #10
    Is this possible? Or a GTX 560 without any additional power supplies, cables, or drivers? And get much faster performance than my current 4870?

    And Asgorath, what's the minimum FPS you get in TF2 and what settings?
     
  11. derbothaus, Sep 15, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #11
    I get over 120FPS in Windows with 5870 everything maxed. Probably more. And around 70FPS in OS X.
    http://www.barefeats.com/imac11e.html
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3759/...lf-life-2-episode-2-still-slower-than-windows
    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2510427
    Steam engine is the steam engine.
     
  12. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #12


    So is it possible to pop in a GTX 560 without any extra drivers and be good to go? How much of a performance increase would I notice and get?
     
  13. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #13
  14. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #14
    I think the TF2 case has more to do with the poor performance of the driver multithreading in the Apple OpenGL framework. Basically, from what I've seen, there is no benefit from enabling this on the Mac side, while the Windows side gets a 2x performance increase as expected. That's why Windows is nearly twice as fast as Mac for this game.

    Since you're on a MacPro1,1 you will need 10.7.4 plus the 270.00.00f06 driver, as described in the FAQ thread I posted earlier in the week:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1440150

    When 10.7.5 comes out, you won't need any extra drivers. I was running a GTX 560 Ti for a long time (since February I think) and it performed very well. I only recently upgraded to a GTX 680.

    ----------

    FWIW I agree with keeping an EFI card on hand, but I've been using stock PC cards since the 10.7.3 web driver came out and have only ever needed the boot screen once in that entire time (going on 6-7 months). This includes switching too and from Boot Camp regularly, and upgrading to Mountain Lion.

    I definitely think it's worth keeping an EFI card as a backup, but I don't think you necessarily need to have it installed in your system the whole time.
     
  15. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #15
    How do you know you won't need any extra drivers when 10.7.5 comes out? Have you run the Developer Preview version of it and can verify the drivers are there?


    Finally, does the 560Ti need anything extra in terms of cables or power than what my 1,1 Mac Pro already has in the PCIe slot lanes bay?


    Thanks!
     
  16. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    Jul 17, 2010
    #16
    Both. Yes official Apple 5870. In Win 7 x64 Pro.
    Here is some people on You Tube claiming 60-120FPS in CoD4 and your 4870 in Windows. Unfortunately they don't have a frame counter viewable.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd7mAnE3yfk&feature=related

    Here is a 5870 OC'd and frame locked at 91FPS user claimed it would be over 120 if frame lock was removed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6tJnteYrfM

    As I have said you don't need to spend more on a better card for these games. You just need to use the other OS.
    If you have zero intention of ever gaming in Windows then you need to spend for a better card yes but you'll hit a diminishing return very quickly and never reach these numbers even with a GTX680. A 5870 has also shown to not be not much faster in a Mac Pro 1,1 than a 5770 (which is cooler running but performance on par with your 4870).

    Also here is an official review of 4870 and what to possibly expect in performance in CoD4.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870,1964-7.html
     
  17. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #17
    Yes, many people have run the 10.7.5 developer seed (including myself) and confirmed that it works out of the box. This is covered in the FAQ thread.

    The 560 Ti needs 2 6-pin power cables. If you don't have these, check the FAQ thread.
     
  18. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #18
    Well I'm back to my Windows PC I built, and I may just end up getting rid of the Mac Pro. It's not quite what I thought it would be. It's a beautiful work of engineering, don't get me wrong, but I think OS X needs to mature a little bit more in the OpenGL department before I ever make the ultimate switch.


    Thanks all for the input :) And who knows I may end up keeping it afterall :)
     
  19. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #19
    Well, to be honest, I think this is more the fact that the Mac Pro you bought is just too old. If you have the MacPro3,1 - MacPro5,1 (i.e. 2008-2010 model) then you'd be able to install Mountain Lion and run a GTX 680 or some other modern GPU. The OpenGL implementation is mature, if perhaps a little behind in terms of overall feature set (i.e. no DX11 equivalent yet), but if you're willing to throw a third-party card into a more recent model you can actually end up with a pretty solid system.
     
  20. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #20
    How is it mature when a 4870 under OS X struggles to get what a 6570 can get under Windows easily?


    I love OS X for everything else, but this gaming stuff man...I was expecting at least a little bit more.


    I will give it another go and see how I feel about it. Also, my mouse feels 'floaty' and 'off' for gaming vs. my Windows rig that I built. Why is this? Does Snow Leopard feel better than Lion in this department?
     
  21. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    Jul 29, 2006
    #21
    As per it being "just too old" -


    I ran a stress test of sorts and was able to fully play 2 to 3 1080P videos, one of them being in Flash Player on YouTube, a 720P video, Spotify, Steam, and run CoD 4 at 30-40FPS and sometimes it even shot up to 60-90FPS, and I played a few other 480P videos at the same time while all this was going on. Ofcourse it finally maxed out the processors, but that's damn impressive I think. So it still has plenty of power left, it's just the gaming that could be improved.


    I think I'll stick with it for now, and just use my gaming PC for just gaming :)


    IDK if it was you Asgorath in my other thread, but my Safari window and GarageBand don't resize all that smoothly. Safari's not too bad but GarageBand is a slideshow. Is this due to some incompatibility with my 4870 and 1,1 2006 Mac Pro?
     
  22. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    #22
    That's almost like asking "why is my 8800GT slow when a GTX 660 is fast?" Those AMD cards are 2 major generations apart, so it's no surprise that the 6570 is faster (even if it's not the highest-end card in that generation).

    Playing back video is not stressful on the GPU at all, in general.

    I'm not sure what you're complaining about exactly. As discussed before, COD4 is just not a great Mac port. Many other newer games like Portal 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Diablo 3 or WoW:MoP all run really well under Mac OS X, even with slightly older hardware.

    COD4 is going to be completely CPU limited. That means, the main thread of the game is going to peg one CPU core at 100%, and be unable to feed the GPU enough work for the GPU to matter. Your GPU could be infinitely fast and your FPS wouldn't budge. That's just a side effect of COD4 being an inefficient port to Mac OS X. So, if you really care about COD4 performance, you basically need to get as fast a CPU as possible (and I wouldn't have put the 2006 Mac Pro in that category).

    At the end of the day, if you really really care about game performance, then sure go and run a Windows PC. That way you'll have access to DirectX 11 and be able to run games like Battlefield 3 and so on. I get the impression you went and bought a MacPro1,1 expecting it to be a gaming powerhouse, when that was simply never going to be the case.
     
  23. Tucom thread starter macrumors 65816

    Tucom

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    #23
    I think your wrong about CoD 4; I Command+Tab'd out of it and it wasn't pegging one core 100%, more like 45-60%...

    And I'm just getting poor performance from my Radeon HD 4870, I should be able to at least get 120FPS+ solid in Nexuiz (OpenGL only game, even Windows version), where as I'm getting everywhere from 55-223, but the fact that it dips is what's bothering me. I should be getting more than that all around.


    And I've gotten as high as the framerate cap in CoD 4 on my Mac Pro, 91FPS, but it goes down to as low as 34 sometimes, it's just not consistent on all maps, though some it's always above 60 FPS.

    Portal 2 is constant 100+ FPS usually.


    So, CoD 4, TF2, and Nexuiz are underperforming.

    Finally, this 1,1 Mac Pro has all the capability to be a gaming powerhouse under Windows, but I'm just looking to get these games running well under OS X and maybe just going back to Xbox for other gaming.



    So I ask you, what 1,1 Mac Pro video card choices do I have that will potentially yield me better results than what I'm getting now, and do you know why my windows have laggy resizing to them? Particularly Safari and GarageBand.

    I'm all with sticking with Lion, just want to get proper GPU performance out of it.

    ----------

    According to this: http://www.hwcompare.com/10465/radeon-hd-4870-1gb-vs-radeon-hd-6570-oem-1gb/



    THe Radeon HD 4870 should beat the 6570 hands down, but maybe given it's newer generation and Windows 7 drivers it's gonna be faster than what I've got?


    Intriguing, no?
     
  24. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    #24
    The Radeon HD 5870 doesn't work in the Mac Pro 1,1... correct?
     
  25. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #25
    Or just run windows on the Mac Pro. Why is this so hard? Seriously guys. CoD4 is not CPU challenged in Windows. It's GPU challenged.
    OP will never get "these games" running well in OS X. OS X is great for so many things but gaming is not one of them. Bad ports from Aspyr and crap OpenGL. So what? Boot to Win and forget about it. I have a great gaming life with my Mac Pro. I boot into windows and enjoy the play at the full speed my HW can muster. When work needs to be done I reboot into OS X. Rattling on about why is sucks does not change the fact it still sucks. Unless you want to start your own gaming company it changes nothing. Work around the suck and enjoy your life.
     

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