Dropped a 7950 Mac edition into my 2008 Mac Pro

Surfheart

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2010
117
17
I replaced the 8800GT in my early 2008 3,1 Mac Pro yesterday with a 7950 Mac edition.

Cant say it was really worth it for the differences I experienced in games.
There were noticeable improvements in the games I tried and in the GUI but not enough that I think it justifies what I paid for this thing.

I assume things are mostly CPU bound because games such as Starcraft 2 showed enormous gains where as Dirt 2 the difference was fairly minimal.

It frustrates me so much that Apple seem disinclined to spend some time and money on improving the graphics subsystem in OS X, it really is quite poor.
 

Shaun39

macrumors newbie
May 20, 2013
11
0
I replaced the 8800GT in my early 2008 3,1 Mac Pro yesterday with a 7950 Mac edition.

Cant say it was really worth it for the differences I experienced in games.
There were noticeable improvements in the games I tried and in the GUI but not enough that I think it justifies what I paid for this thing.

I assume things are mostly CPU bound because games such as Starcraft 2 showed enormous gains where as Dirt 2 the difference was fairly minimal.

It frustrates me so much that Apple seem disinclined to spend some time and money on improving the graphics subsystem in OS X, it really is quite poor.
This is very interesting and I'm glad you posted your results because I was looking at this card before I purchased the GTX 680. I actually based my decision off Bear Feats benchmarks and I'm glad I did. I'm having very good results with the 680. Hopefully you can send back the card and try something else.
 

Surfheart

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2010
117
17
sigh you shoulda just spent the extra $150 then
I would have liked to, but the 680 is simply not available where I live.

Looking at benchmarks for windows between the 680 and the 7950 there is very little in it between the two. The delta on the mac side is much larger.

Edit: as you can see here: 7950 vs GTX 680

The mac driver for the 7950 must be extremely poor.
 
Last edited:

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
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I also have a 2008 Mac Pro.

Started out with the 8800 GT, then the Radeon 4870, Radeon 5870 and now the Radeon 7950.
Each update gave a significant performance gain!

The 7950 is by far the best grfx card. Tnx to the 3 GB VRAM my favourite game, X-Plane 10, does well.
The 680 should be a quicker card but..:
1. 2 GB VRAM is a handicap in X-Plane 10
2. The nVidia OpenGL drives for OS X suck for gaming. AMD cards perform almost the same on Mac as Windows, the nVidia cards perform far less on Macs than Windows.

It all depends what you expect from a grfx card. Most OS X-games run well enough on the 5870. X-Plane is the one which needs more horsepower.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,915
968
It sounds like Dirt is more CPU bound? I saw extreme gains moving from a 8800 GT to a 5870, and a 7950 should be faster than that. Never played Dirt though.

AMD writes the 7950 drivers, so it's not really Apple's thing...
 

phyber2004

macrumors newbie
Apr 6, 2011
3
0
Stereoscopic 3D support

According to the vendor's website, the HDMI port on this card has full 3D support. Has anyone actually tried this?
 

Asgorath

macrumors 68000
Mar 30, 2012
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2. The nVidia OpenGL drives for OS X suck for gaming. AMD cards perform almost the same on Mac as Windows, the nVidia cards perform far less on Macs than Windows.
The Barefeats results suggest otherwise, and in fact directly contradict what you're saying here. What games are you seeing this with?
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
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The Barefeats results suggest otherwise, and in fact directly contradict what you're saying here. What games are you seeing this with?
X-Plane 10.
It seems to be the "normal" experience: Reboot the Mac in Windows and with nVidia cards the FPS can be doubled sometimes.
AMD cards show far less difference. Close to none, actually.

But, again, I focus on X-Plane 10. Other games will show different outcomes, I'm sure.

I'm so happy with the 7950 in my 2008 Mac Pro. The perfect balance: 3 GB VRAM (yes... 2 GB is easily surpassed with lots of scenery) and "fast enough" to let the 5 year-old Xeon be the bottleneck. :eek:
 

Asgorath

macrumors 68000
Mar 30, 2012
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But, again, I focus on X-Plane 10. Other games will show different outcomes, I'm sure.
Right, so you probably should've said "the NVIDIA OpenGL drivers for OS X suck for X-Plane", not "gaming" in general. I tried running X-Plane 10 on my GTX 680 and it seems to run well, I haven't compared it to Windows yet though. There's a lot of talk about instancing support in X-Plane, but I ran some tests and instancing seems to work just fine on OS X with the latest NVIDIA drivers. Maybe this wasn't accelerated in older drivers and X-Plane is still disabling it today, even though it is accelerated now?
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
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Right, so you probably should've said "the NVIDIA OpenGL drivers for OS X suck for X-Plane", not "gaming" in general. I tried running X-Plane 10 on my GTX 680 and it seems to run well, I haven't compared it to Windows yet though. There's a lot of talk about instancing support in X-Plane, but I ran some tests and instancing seems to work just fine on OS X with the latest NVIDIA drivers. Maybe this wasn't accelerated in older drivers and X-Plane is still disabling it today, even though it is accelerated now?
I know of X-Plane, which leads me to assume that more games would suffer from worse OpenGL performance on nVidia cards than on Windows, while AMD performance seems more or less similar.

About instancing:
Take a look here:

Ok, OSX 10.8.2 vs OSX 10.8.3 Results are in:

Bad news: Instancing still Broken (for X-Plane - as it resulted in lower FPS).

Good News: Check out these results - Minimum 15% Improvement!

10.8.2 = Latest nVidia WebDrivers: 304.00.05f02
10.8.3 = New Apple-Shipping Drivers: 304.10.65b07
______________________________________________________
Test 10.8.2 10.8.3 Increase

1024x768

1 fps=39.20 fps=45.21 15.3%
2 fps=27.07 fps=31.29 15.5%
3 fps=21.65 fps=25.31 16.9%
4 fps=22.45 fps=26.81 19.4%
5 fps=46.13 fps=53.88 16.8%
______________________________________________________

1920x1200

1 fps=35.57 fps=42.71 20.0%
2 fps=20.50 fps=23.95 16.8%
3 fps=15.61 fps=18.28 17.1%
4 fps=16.32 fps=18.93 15.9%
5 fps=46.55 fps=54.27 16.5%
______________________________________________________

Yep - Definite Improvement - Not near Win7x64 yet on certain tests, but a significant showing nonetheless.