Comparing AMD GPUs

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jerry7171, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. jerry7171 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    I’m looking to upgrade my ‘09 Mac Pro’s GPU and have been trying to compare different AMD GPUs.

    My Mac Pro has the following specs: Mac Pro (Early 2009), 3.33GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 32 GB 1333 MHz DDR3, AMD Radeon HD 7xxx (HD 7850) 2048 MB with a 120GB SSD for a startup disk. I’ve upgraded the Intel CPU, added two 16GB sticks of RAM although I’m considering adding a couple more, added the SSD in the empty lower SuperDrive bay for a startup disk and upgraded from a Nvidia GT-120 to the Radeon HD 7850. I also flashed the EFI so it reports back as a Mac Pro 5,1 instead of a 4,1.

    It runs High Sierra fairly well, although I am starting to think that a more powerful GPU might goose it a bit more. Knowing that many AMD GPUs are supported currently and using the list elsewhere from this site, I’ve been trying to figure out a good middle ground replacement for what I have now.

    Should I be using gaming metrics as done at Or is there a better way to compare AMD models to help me come to a better decision?

    I also want to be able to run the shiny, pretty MacOS 10.14 without compromising on performance too. My plan is to keep running my old, trusty Mac Pro for at least a couple more years before retiring it.
  2. applesaucePro macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2018
    if you are using any cad/cam software then you need to look at professional use benchmarks, otherwise yes you can use gaming benchmarks to decide.
  3. JayKay514 macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2014
    10.14 will not be officially supported on 2009 Mac Pros (MP 4,1 I believe?) Only on 5,1 models from 2010 and 2012. There is a significant firmware difference; I'm, not sure if 4,1 models that have been flashed are compatible, so maybe try out the beta on a spare HD first.

    Regarding the AMD cards, it depends on what you need - if it's for 2D graphics running at high resolution or simply good multi-monitor productivity support, the WX4100 (Polaris, 4 mini DisplayPorts, supports 4x 4K displays) works very well. I rather prefer the WX series as they are slimmer (single slot), run cooler, and tend to have 4 of the same kind of port on them. Great if you need to preserve internal slots for other things.

    The WX7100 gives you approximately 2x the power of the 4100 in a card that's still single-slot but physically larger.

    For 3D graphics power, the RX580 is the affordable gaming card, it's like the WX4100 in many respects but has more stream processors and transistors for about double the performance on gaming benchmarks. The trade-off is that all of AMD's gaming-oriented cards are double-slot to add ventilation, so you lose 1 PCIe slot. List price around 299-399 depending on memory and/or features.

    At the top of the gaming performance for AMD is the Radeon Vega series. As of this writing they have just leaked the latest versions of these, which will come in a gaming-enthusiast model, as well as a 'Radeon Pro' workstation-oriented model.

    The current Radeon Vegas are roughly 2-3x the price of the mid-level RX580, list price around $800.

    So it really depends on what's more important to you - 3D performance and speed, or 2D / multi-monitor performance, types of connectors, or having access to an extra PCIe slot for expansion or not.

    Keep in mind that the 4,1 and 5,1 cMPs are limited to PCIe 2.0 speeds. You will see much greater throughput from the card to system in a newer PCIe 3.0 computer.
  4. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    That is, in a Hackintosh. Apple has never made a system with PCIe 3.0 slots.
  5. JayKay514 macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2014
    Yes, a Hackintosh or a PC build. The nMP uses PCIe 3.0 internally for its SSD and graphics daughtercards but they're definitely not on standard connectors.
  6. h9826790 macrumors G5


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    There has nothing to do with the "years", as long as the cMP contain the 5,1 firmware (OP's does), it can run 10.14 (same as the current 10.13).

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5 June 19, 2018