5870 louder than 4870

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wonderspark, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #1
    After having the 5870 installed for a couple days now, I have decided that it's a little louder than the 4870 was. I think I'm going to pop the side off and try the old "finger-on-the-fan" trick to verify it's the actual GPU fan that got louder, and not some dust bunny or something stuck in one of the other fans during the install.

    Also, the 5870 is definitely faster, but it doesn't blow my mind or anything. I probably should have replaced my brake pads and rotors before getting this card... or not. I suppose squeezing a little more life out of the brakes isn't a bad thing.

    I dunno. I guess I wasn't realistic in my expectations of a card that's "twice as fast / powerful." The 4870 is a pretty nice card, after all.

    Anyone else who switched from a 4870 feeling ho-hum like I am about it?
     
  2. Major Reeves macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Location:
    EUSSR
    #2
    If you're complaining about noise on a desktop, worse, a workstation, you should just pack it up, sell it and get a laptop or iMac.
     
  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #3
    This, of course, depends entirely on what you're doing, and if it's CPU/disk bound.
     
  4. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #4
    I was going to upgrade. The 4870 is a great card. I'll wait until 6 series is available next year or 2012 (when I'll probably upgrade to Sandy/Ivy bridge anyway).
     
  5. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    I suppose it is a bit of a complaint, but I'm not so bothered as to buy an iMac. I'm saying that I've seen a lot of people say the 5870 is quiet and silent, and in my case, it's not necessarily so.

    I should also clarify my definition of louder and quieter. It's louder at idle than the 4870 was, but quieter when the fans spin up under load. So, when it boots up, and when I'm working it harder, it's quieter than the 4870 was. However, when it's just sitting there (or not really working that hard), it's a little bit louder. It doesn't seem to work as hard as the 4870, so the fans don't spin up as fast or as often as the 4870 did, which I like. I just notice it now because most of the time I'm sitting beside it, it's not stressed. When I put it to work (rendering video or something), I usually walk away from it, and the fan noise is like a tree falling in the woods when nobody is around to hear it.

    As far as the boost in performance goes, I do see improvement, particularly in After Effects. I think this is telling of the fact that most of the things I work on were just as easily handled by the 4870 as by the 5870. I'm not faulting the card as much as my justification for upgrading it.

    The Mac Pro is far better than the PC I built several years ago which it replaced. That thing was loud as *$&% all the time, ran hotter, and crashed sometimes. I could not stand to set it on the desk beside me, whereas the Mac Pro has been quiet enough to sit here and have me wonder for a moment if there might be a problem with the fan control. With the 5870, it's just loud enough now that I notice it, and I might not have really needed the extra power that it offers. Those are the points I'm trying to make.
     
  6. Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    PA
    #6
    That's exactly my experience as well. (BTW, you should update your sig now that you have the 5870!)

    Regarding if it was worth it to upgrade, I think the value will largely depend on Apple giving us improved graphics drivers with future OS updates. Cinebench and XBench results certainly do not show much, if any, improvement over the 4870, however, I am getting dramatically better performance in Left4Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2 (yes, I do some gaming on my MP!). This tells me that there is a real advantage to the 5870 over the 4870 that OS X can make use of, and perhaps Cinebench and XBench aren't providing real-world-relevant results.

    Also, the 5870 has twice the VRAM as the 4870, so apps that make use of that (CAD, rendering, and probably to a lesser extent Aperture and Lightroom) should also see some improvement over the 4870.
     
  7. yoink macrumors member

    yoink

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #7
    Nonsense. There's a fairly big market for silent workstations - the Mac Pro with a passively-cooled graphics card is reasonably quiet even by "Silent PC" standards.

    But then there is also a market for products like the Sound Construction ISO Box and ISO Box Post with their Mac Pro/G5 rack trays for really critical listening environments.
     
  8. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    I do think it was worth the upgrade, and it's good to know that I'm not the only one that noticed a slight bump in idle fan volume. A funny thing about it is that my workstation is in the living room, and the kitchen is just around the corner. We have a pretty old refrigerator, and when it kicks on, I can't hear any fans unless they're really cranked up, like around 2000 RPM.

    The only game I play with this machine is Counter Strike: Source, and it seems the same, but I also raised some settings that I didn't notice before. With the 4870, I had all of the obvious things set to the maximum quality, but this time I found some more settings that I don't understand. Things that have options like something-something 4x, 8x, 16x... I bumped those all up as well, and now I noticed that the on-screen text is super sharp and fine. I only went into the settings because it looked a lot different than prior to installing the 5870, and I assumed the new card might have thrown them off. After fiddling around with them, the game looks better than ever.

    I set on-screen display of FPS, and no matter what is going on, it's always either 59 or 60 FPS, and the fans don't speed up like they did before. I also set the FPS display to the "smooth" setting (2 instead of 1), which I hadn't done before. I really don't know what all those different settings mean, to be honest... just the obvious ones.

    My main program usage goes to Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Soundbooth and Audition for Mac (beta), Photoshop, Illustrator, and Encore for the disc outputs. I have to say it seems to work faster with less effort with the 5870, but I'm often wondering if an nVidia card with CUDA would have been a better choice. My understanding of what I've read about CS5 and the Mercury Playback Engine's use of GPU acceleration is that it only makes a difference in Premiere. I've not had any issues playing two layers of HD footage (or one layer with effects on it) at real-time, and it's not a big deal to render out segments when it doesn't play back smooth, so it's even harder to justify buying a $1200 card like the nVidia Quadro 4000. I guess I could have bought the GTX285 when they were around, but I didn't, and I really don't know that I've missed anything.
     
  9. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #9
    If Adobe is smart, they'll move Mercury to OpenCL so it'll work on all cards. But NVidia has been throwing a lot of money at companies to do CUDA exclusives.

    Kind of lame, honestly.
     
  10. funkahdafi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Planet Earth, Old World
    #10
    I just replaced my 4870 with the 5870 as well and I can not confirm it's louder. It has a different pitch, but it's definitely not louder.

    What I have noticed though is that the card is vibrating/humming heavily, and that can go over to the Mac's case. You can clearly feel it when touching the Mac Pro case.

    Try re-adjusting the card and make sure you Mac case is not put directly against a desk or something, because that can surely make additional noise through the vibration travelling across components.

    As for performance: At least in gaming, the card is at least twice as fast as the 4870. I was able to bump up most games (also in Windows) to maximum quality settings and everything still flies (where the 4870 would choke badly).

    So from my end: Thumbs up for the 5870 (if it weren't for the ridiculous high price).
     
  11. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #11
    5870 vs. 4870: My method is cheating.

    I own a Mac Pro 2008, I didn't like the price of the Apple HD 4870 when it was released, so I bought a 2nd hand Sapphire HD4870 1 Gb Vapor-X card instead for half the money and then flashed the ROM. It rocked my WoW compared with the 8800GT 512mb I previously used.

    I pulled the same stunt with a Sapphire HD5870 1 GB Vapor-X back in September and paid £295 for a PC card when the £370 Apple one was still unavailable.

    Both Vapor-X cards come with fantastic coolers compared to standard ones and neither are anything more than whisper quiet, except on start up where they spin their fans up to max for about 3 seconds.

    Performance wise the 5870 is a serious upgrade, with v-synced high settings and x4 multisampling on in WoW, it glues the fps to 60 everywhere but the busiest parts of Dalaran or in 25 man raids when the AoE spell effects are going bananas. The 4870 gave roughly half the FPS in identical conditions despite having the same amount of memory.

    Apple won't support a 5870 in my "old" Pro so I have nothing to lose using a flashed PC card, I'm relying on the community to solve problems either way.

    Can't wait to see the next generation high end card in action. Bring on the 6970 and let the ROM writers see the rabbit! :D
     
  12. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    I'm annoyed that Adobe worked so closely with nVidia and didn't give AMD the same attention or respect. I've read their BS excuses on the subject, and they don't cut it in my opinion. I can only have faith in the fact that they'll see the light and get their act together soon.

    One of my good friends works in "the GPU industry" so to speak, and she is disgusted with nVidia. She describes the whole company as "sleazy, sneaky, and just plain deceitful." She loves the people at AMD, because they're up front and honest, whereas she is constantly frustrated by the way nVidia does business with her company, and she says it's the only reason they're doing better financially. She feels AMD makes a better product, but their ethics keep them at a disadvantage against shady nVidia. It's another reason I've avoided giving them any of my business.

    My noise is definitely not any kind of vibration. I have a glass sculpture and model cars sitting on top of the case, and they would make a ton of racket if there was a vibration.

    I seriously considered going the PC flashed card route, but at this time, I'm too busy editing to take the time to figure out all the steps, and would be in serious trouble if I broke this thing. I would like to give it a shot when things slow down for me over the holidays. Maybe a 6970 like you mentioned.
     

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