Gaming on the new Mac Pro (Far Cry 4, BF H), drivers, over clocking ...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by agazoo, May 15, 2015.

  1. agazoo, May 15, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015

    agazoo macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #1
    Hello World!

    I want to share my experience with high end gaming on new Mac Pro (nMP D500 6 core);

    For the past few days i’ve been trying to make the game play of Far Cry 4 & Battlefield Hardline smoother on my new mac.
    In the absence of information on this matter i decided to post my expirience for additional input or to help other people who may be on the same issue.

    Update: I recently upgraded to D700's. I did some brief testing.
    Briefly, everything runs much smoother on basic setting then it did on D500; Valley Benchmark scored 2474 which is equal what I got OCking D500 to over 1000mhz, but visually everything was running a bit smoother.

    I can only OC D700 to ~900mhz core, anything above will cause a crash at init. With 900mhz Valley scores at 2639 but temps get 5-6deg higher.

    Games run smoother as well, especially BFH. With overclock I had a thermal crash at one occasion on BFH;


    So far I archived the following:

    Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain, On High runs smooth with light overclock at 50-60FPS; 2560x1600; Can't get Crossfire to work, just one card is used. On my old Mac Pro 5.1 with GTX 980 runs great on 4k;

    Battlefield Hardline
    , all ultra, light AA, 2560x1600, fullscreen: 75-85 FPS, smooth;

    Far Cry 4,all ultra, no AA, 2560x1600, fullscreen: 70-85 FPS, smooth; It seems disabling of HT (I'm doing it through task manager) and clocking cores to 4ghz helps with occasional FPS drops that appears to be a know issue with this game.

    GTAV, mostly on max, 2560x1600, fullscreen v-synced: 60+, its OK but it seems it needs more VRAM to max everything. It seems this game benefits from higher clock speeds more than the others do.

    Valley Benchmark Ultra Settings 2560x1600 fullscreen, PowerPlay and ULPS are off; PL+10%; 1000mhz core 1500mhz mem 3700mhz CPU
    Min FPS: 30.2; Max FPS: 110.7 (yay!); Average FPS: 60.4; Score: 2545

    These are considerably better numbers compared to what I had with last boot camp driver and is very playable but one can always do it better.

    4K Performance (3840x2160)

    Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain,
    Didn't try as Crossfire isn't working for me ATM.
    On my old Mac Pro 5.1 with GTX 980 runs (and looks) great on 4k;

    Valley Benchmark:

    without Overclock: 16.5low 48.3 high 1211 score; feels like 28-32 fps average, Ultra
    with light Overclock: 17.1low 56.1 high 1345 score; feels like 31-36 fps average, Ultra
    with light Overclock: 18.9low 78.6 high 1671 score; feels like 50 fps average, High

    GTA V:
    ran without issues everything maxed out, no AA; (I dropped some settings to High, had black screen initially every few seconds at 60 HZ); FPS 55-65; May go down to ~48 especially when driving

    Mix of normal/high/ultra results in 65-70 average;

    Very smooth;

    Battlefield Hardline:
    ran without issues everything maxed out, no AA; Did 60 person conquest on complex map, FPS 52-70; Around 60 mostly; Goes down when heavy particles are present.

    Very smooth; Feel much better then on 2560x for some reason; Picture is gorgeous;

    Far Cry 4: tried with light overclock, with everything maxed, no AA and that other hungry thing, FPS under 50; With everything on HIGH or higher 51-60 FPS with occasional drop to 40 area. Thermal Shutdown 10 minutes into the game.
    Texture on VERY HIGH or ULTRA: lag.

    Looks ok. More playable then 2560x. No sudden drops in FPS.


    Here is the configuration:

    (1) Catalyst Beta Driver 15.4 modded per instructions on this forum

    (2) MSI Afterburner for: over-clocking, core frequency (speed) drop fix, disable ULPS and PowerPlay; ( Running 940 core, 1440 memory speeds atm, no issues;

    Note: Overclocking is a dangerous business. Numbers posted here are my personal experience. Do at your own risk. If something breaks, you will be the one responsible :). Be sure you know what ya doing and pay attention to your temps. Changing clocks may reduce the life of the equipment or kill it instantly.

    (3) Win 8.1 9600

    (4) Macs Fan Control to throttle up fan speeds; It is going to get a very hot trash can unless you max fan speed.

    (5) Intel Extreme Tuning utility to clock CPU;

    It appears the PowerPlay and ULPS are behind performance issues with Cat 15.4, turning these down improve performance greatly and allow over clocking.

    Got it better? Please share how …. :)

    Other stuff I tried:

    Overclocking: over clocks well with MSI Afterburner, with ULPS & PowerPlay Disabled. Initially i thought there was a protection from OC but it seems PowerPlay was responsible for frequency drop. Pending more testing.

    Seems like over clocking limits for D500 systems are: 1000-1010mhz Core, 1500-1510 mhz Memory
    FAN ON MAX!!!


    CPU Speed: core speed jumps to 3599 and fluctuates between that and 3699, so it appears that turbo boost is working under the bootcamp. I didn’t not notice utilization of any core hitting cap during the game play, so it appears to be ok.

    Note on PowerPlay and Temperature: Running slight higher clocks, I'm getting sustained 69C temps with fan manually set to 85%; With fan on automatic, temps get over 80C and it really feels hot, system only cranks up fans to ~1200rpm; It also seems that if you down clock core speed to like 700, you will still get better output as long as PP is off.


    Any ideas what to try next?
     
  2. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #2
    That is a great thread, and what we needed, from gaming perspective.

    What I am curious is how well does different configs cope with Diablo 3 in 4K resolution in OS X.

    I know that there were benchmarks on Barefeats in that game in this resolution, but wanted to see the real world tests.

    Anyone?
     
  3. Avenger macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #3
    I have Witcher 3 pre-downloaded on my base nMP (with 16gb) already. I am hoping it will run alright at 1980x1200 or so. We may need an updated driver for crossfire though. The game will be released on the 19th.

    Edit: Seems Witcher 3 is a game works title which means a close relation with Nvidia. Maybe we won't see an Amd driver update for a while.
     
  4. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #4
    Bfh

    They got Far Cry 4 profile out fast, even though it is Nvidia titled too ...
     
  5. Avenger macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #5
    Let's hope so. About Powerplay. I wonder if not allowing the CPU to clock down can cause overheating issues.
     
  6. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #6
  7. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #7
    Choice

    Well, you have many choices available as far as graphics card goes!

    I decide to changed my 5.x system with same CPU's and MSI GC to nMP after a 10.10.3 upgrade black screen (happened exactly when I needed my system most shall I add).
     
  8. damezumari macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #8
    It is unusably slow unless you tune it down to lowest detail on D500 + 4k.

    OS X uses only one GPU, and single D500 core is perhaps equal to ~660 Ti or so => not great gaming experience at 4k. I was unable to find a 'new' single game my Mac Pro could play nicely at 4k above low detail.

    (WoW worked fine, but it is historic so I do not count it.)

    In Bootcamp due to crossfire it may be average game machine, but my Windows gaming machine outguns it by wide margin (while being perhaps 1/3 the cost). Sigh. Workstation GPUs indeed. (Perhaps they're nice for OpenCL but I do not have any apps that I need for my work that actually use it.)
     
  9. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #9
    Have you tried Star Craft 2?

    I was multi-boxing (2 accounts) Ashran yesterday on pair of 2560x1600, one account per screen, it did just fine. But for gaming in general, bootcamp is the way.

    It also seems this rig can take good deal of over clocking too; Temps are good so far.

    Too bad it takes forever for GTAV to install

    Would be cool to see WoW on Witcher 3 engine though :)
     
  10. Avenger macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #10
    Anybody try Mortal Kombat X with crossfire on the nMP?
     
  11. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #11
    Heat seems to be in order. 75C max so far for GPU cores. That is if you are controlling fan manually (I set it to around 1500)

    If you let OS control the fan, it will let core temp go up to 80-81deg. At that point fan will spin up to ~1250-1300

    I am a bit worried about PSU though, can't find much info about it. Some sources say it is 450watt only ...
     
  12. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #12
    Because it is 450W :). Actually 500, but that 10% must been cut off of the power output, as standard of all the PSU's in the world.

    That is not an issue. Cards draw at max 129W of power, each, and CPU should not exceed 150W in stress.

    Which is literally odd, because WoW has higher needs in terms of compute performance than Diablo 3. You'll see that D3 can achieve higher framerate at the same hardware than WoW.
     
  13. damezumari macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    #13
    I have not seen that. In my experience, D3 (given non-low settings) uses much more GPU power than WoW. By setting both for ~high, on typical fullHD laptop even integrated GPUs are fine with WoW, but D3 varies. Similarly, retina MBP struggles with D3 + native resolution while WoW is fine.
     
  14. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #14
    Well, every benchmark there is in the internet says that D3 has smaller needs in terms of computer power to run. Also, I've had MBP 15 from 2012 with GT650M and on that card D3 was running better than WoW.
     
  15. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #15
    I tried SC2 on my nMP 6 core with D500s a few days ago. Just picked up this unit as a refurb, loving it so far. On the Mac side at 2560x1600 I played 1v1 with every setting on as high ("ultra") as it would go and got 45-70 FPS the whole game. Very smooth.

    I didn't take note of the temps at that time but I have been running SETI@home constantly for the last 2 days and with all 6 cores going full throttle the CPU temps only went from 90F at idle to 135F at full load with no increase in fan speed (789 rpm baseline). It's quite efficient at keeping cool!
     
  16. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #16
    Seems so. Would be interesting to try SC on Bootcamp with Crossfire;

    Whats interesting about the temps, once GPU temp approaches 80C, GPU utilization start showing gaps in almost any game i tried, like if it would be skipping cycles. I wonder if this is a sort of a driver protection from excessive heat.

    If that sort of thing does not happen under OS X, it could be because the driver isn't made for this card specifically ...
     
  17. agazoo, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015

    agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #17
    Here is something interesting,

    I decided to do some over clocking and run a benchmark (valley benchmark) to see what numbers am i going to get (and temps):

    all tests on ultra, 2560x1600

    (1) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are on; Stock Speeds;
    Min FPS: 15.3; Max FPS: 47.9; Average FPS: 28; Score: 1211

    Pretty low, if you ask me ... gaming or not gaming, for a 4000Euro machine ... (core speed dropped to 450mhz on both cards, broken GPU load)

    (2) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are off; Stock Speeds;
    Min FPS: 22.4; Max FPS: 77.7; Average FPS: 45.1; Score: 1886

    Thats quite an increase just from disabling those two! Clock speed is now stable at 725mhz, utilization is a lot more solid

    (3) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are off; PL+10%; 820mhz core 1330mhz memo
    Min FPS: 24; Max FPS: 91.7; Average FPS: 50.3; Score: 2099; Temp Gets to 65C;

    Thats even better! Temp went over 70C this time. Overall it became a lot smoother.

    (4) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are off; PL+10%; 860mhz core 1360mhz mem
    Min FPS: 27.1; Max FPS: 93.5; Average FPS: 52.3; Score: 2188; Temp Gets to 67C;

    Not much of a gain and temp went considerably higher

    (5) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are off; PL+10%; 900mhz core 1400mhz mem
    Min FPS: 28.2; Max FPS: 100.8 (yay!); Average FPS: 55.1; Score: 2307

    Good increase here. Temp is good at 70-70C as well.

    (5) 15.4 Catalyst; PowerPlay and ULPS are off; PL+10%; 1000mhz core; 1500mhz mem; CPU 3700mhz
    Min FPS: 30.0; Max FPS: 110.2 (yay x 2!); Average FPS: 60.8; Score: 2545

    So thats a pretty good increase in output. Not going for more then that until I upgrade the cooling. Getting scary!

    It seems PL and voltage has no effect on this setup (it is limited by the hardware); Also cooling is going to be an issue as I was running full fan speed and it is already getting hot. Also, as far as low fps goes, it seems it drops for a split sec between the scene changes, not sure whats the cause
     
  18. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #18
    The OP OC'd his cards so there will be some extra draw and he doesn't have a whole bunch of wiggle room.
     
  19. agazoo, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015

    agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #19
    And now it turns out it is possible to enhance the CPU speeds as well!

    Fun!

    And it seems boosting to 3900mhz on CPU makes no difference in this particular benchmark :-(( (Other then improving min FPS by about 5 and Max FPS by 0.5 and score by 7 points, CPU utilization during the fest is around 12%)
     
  20. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #20
    Limits

    Seems like over clocking limits for D500 systems are:
    1000-1010mhz Core, 1500-1510 mhz Memory

    At around 1030-1040 video driver fails while running benchmark, over 1040 system locks up (only reboot helps)

    In the absence of voltage control, nothing that Im aware of could be done to clock any higher.

    At 1000mhz system runs stable at temp is sitting around 70-70C with fans at 85% speed.
     
  21. Avenger macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #21
    I started playing Witcher 3 on my D300 Mac Pro using the Witcher 2 crossfire profile. Seems to be a good amount a flickering in the background at places. I checked the boards and it seems to be widespread. Probably needs a driver update, Supposedly from an AMD tweet, one is coming this week.
     
  22. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #22
    As lowendlinux mentioned, OCing your nMP may not be the wisest or safest choice considering the PSU really is 450 watts, which doesn't give much overheard for OCing.

    Just saying for the sake for your nMP! Good thread though.
     
  23. Stacc macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #23
    Great work agazoo. Its interesting to see how the mac pro improves just by keeping the drivers up to date and removing the thermal constraints. Its great just to see some actual numbers for how the Mac Pro performs with some modern games in windows.

    You wouldn't happen to have Star Citizen on hand to really put it to the test?
     
  24. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #24
    thanks for doing all of this Agazoo. While I'm not much of a gamer, your results are interesting to read and i appreciate the effort!
     
  25. agazoo thread starter macrumors regular

    agazoo

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    #25
    You are probably right, it isn't safest thing to do.

    But I guess its a personal thing: i had number of hours with clocks put to max already, temps are in order, voltages are locked (so no overvolting), system is stable, to artefacts or glitches of any kind.

    Seems to me this trash can is fairly legit and can manage things better the machines I had before.

    Also from all my apple experience (G4, G5, 5.1, 6.1 ), it seems they use rather good quality components [with exceptions to RAM maybe]; I abused both my G5 and 5.1 macs in all possible way. They are still operational (G5 is a map server, 5.1 awaits for a reinstall and will probably server as video server )

    I did fry my Radeon 9800 12 years ago doing exact same thing on my Windows Gaming Rig though

    So yes, it is dangerous, non advisable, non recommendable, voids warranties and all that kind of stuff;

    ----------

    Do you like it?

    Waiting for a boxed version to show up in our stores ...
     

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