Going from 5870 to 7950 HD Mac Edition? A waste of your money

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Garamond, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Garamond macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2004
    #1
    Got it today, tried and tested. Will be returning it and demanding a full refund.

    Screen anomalies on my second display (20") and a slower experience generally and more noisy. This is not worth it if you have a 5870.
     
  2. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #2
    Sorry to hear about your Radeon 7590. Could it be the card is defective? Because the card was tested by other users.
     
  3. Garamond thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Might be a defect card, I'll talk with the dealer and see what we can agree on.
     
  4. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #4
    Also keep in mind that the 5870 has had YEARS for drivers to get sorted and maxxed out.

    The 7950 drivers have been out about a week.

    Barefeats.com just finished tests and indeed some point to 5870 as faster, others the 7950, it stands to reason that with time it will be faster everywhere.

    Patience would pay off here, you are an early adopter and this is the price that is paid for that.
     
  5. Garamond thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Point taken. Any updates on this will be posted in this thread.
     
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #6
    Awaiting updates...


    That it's slower is slightly surprising but in the same breath I doubt anyone would be able to tell the difference in common use. It's usually not until a video card becomes a bottleneck that we can tell the difference between it and an "upgrade". And I guess the 5870 isn't the bottleneck in very many instances yet. Or were you noticing lots of lags and transient freezes?

    I guess (based on my own experiences) there won't be a 5870 upgrade that's "worth the money" for another 4 or 5 years yet. If you're buying new or as a replacement that's different tho.
     
  7. DanielCoffey, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    #7
    I know the horsepower difference between the 5870 an 7950 isn't as amazing as going form a 5770 but it is the 3Gb vram that is making me consider one.

    When looking at Skyrim at 1440p using the Skyrim Performance Monitor, the 5870's 1Gb of vram is used just with the HD DLC and one or two other mid-resolution texture mods such as Book of Silence and SMIM and the GPU is 85% utilised on average. I was forced to lower settings such as AA (0xAA 8xAF) in order to get a smooth framerate. I would like to see if the 7950 3Gb will alleviate this issue allowing me to turn on a few more of the graphical options.

    I am hoping that as more folks buy the 7950, one of them will be a Skyrim player and post an "apples-to-apples" comparison between the 5870 and the 7950 at exactly the same settings, particularly at 1440p. If I don't see a Skyrim test before the card is commonly available in the UK I will just have to take the plunge and try it myself.

    If anyone does have Skyrim and wants to test a 5870 vs 7950, I would be grateful to see how they both perform at 1440p, High settings, 0xAA 8xAF with a sensible texture load around Whiterun. You should find that the 5870 gives a fairly stable 60fps with occasional choppiness at around 100% VRAM and 85% GPU load. Skyrim Performance Monitor is the mod to instal and test with. It needs .Net Framework to be present in Windows. I would expect both cards to deliver 60fps but the 7950 to not use all its VRAM and to handle the work with a lower GPU load.
     
  8. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #8
    In Windows it's definitely faster than the 5870; in OS X, I can't really tell the difference.

    Is it a waste of money? No, but it's rather overpriced compared to the year-old PC counter-part. It does the job at least and I get the boot screen (and BootChamp doesn't work on my computer).
     
  9. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #9
    When all said and done, as much as you try to upgrade your GPU, what is slowing things down is the CPU and the architecture. Mac Pro is old, let's face it. Not that it's not usable, but trying to squeeze life out of it with a GPU upgrade is not the best solution.

    Apple needs to come out with a new one with the latest Intel tech.
     
  10. macgoblin7950 macrumors member

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    Mar 22, 2013
    #10
    I know the Pro hasnt been updated for 3 years almost but from what I recall its really only about one generation behind on the processor. So im not sure how its being treated like its ancient news.
     
  11. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

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    #11
    PCIe v2.0 and SATA 3Gb/s are the two biggest complaints I see. Lack of USB3.0 follows shortly after that. Those updates alone would hush a lot of people, but they'll always want MORE everything.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #12
    I think the SATA II vs. SATA III thing is mostly blown out of proportion. I can't think of any situation other than editing uncompressed in resolutions of 1080 to 2K (or even 4K), where the differences in SATA III could be even noticeable. And even then only in striped sets of multiple SSDs.

    Since I guess there's not too many people editing uncompressed high resolution streams directly (without proxy) then I guess the whole thing is mostly just benchmarking bragging rights.

    PCIe is slightly different and matters in more cases. And of course USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt is a godsend.
     
  13. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #13
    It still gets the job done, but it is actually 2 generations behind.

    And most people here don't have the 2010 Mac Pro, the majority (from when I scanned around the forums) they have the 2008 Mac Pro or older).

    People are hesitant to upgrade because it's "old".
     
  14. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #14
    One of the problems nowadays for Apple regarding the Mac Pro is that it doesn't get old fast enough.

    A Mac Pro 2008 still is a very capable machine and a Radeon 7950 will do it justice.
    This Mac is over 5 years old now. Back in the PPC days, but the same goes with the Pentium III / IV days, a computer that was 5 years old was in no way capable anymore, and no way in hell would you consider a new grfx card in a computer that was 5 years old!

    To be honest.... it looks like the Mac Pro has been a machine which was too upgradeable and too "still worth it" for Apple's own good.

    Getting a shiny new iMac 27" i7 with GTX 680MX is a great machine now. But, I assume that Mac will probably be replaced in 5 years time...
     
  15. kic macrumors newbie

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    Mar 28, 2008
    #15
    While I can't give a comparison with actual numbers, empirical testing says that the 7950 makes a noticeable difference. How noticeable? I guess that's what actual testing is for.

    Though I only play at 1980x1200, I was able to crank up all of the settings in Skyrim (with the HD texture pack, a small assortment of other texture packs, and SMIM) and it feels fine.

    Also, empiracally, I was able to crank the settings in Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army compared to with the 5870. Everything is higher, I turned on some things I had disabled, etc. Much better experience. And my particular card (see below) is quieter than the 5870 under load.

    If you want to shoot me a PM with more specifics regarding your test, I'll be happy to do what I can and post the numbers here if it'll help give other folks an idea of improvements they can expect with the 7950 (I really don't want to put the 5870 back in if I can avoid it).

    Also, as someone else noted in the thread, yes, the improvement is much more noticeable in Windows because of driver maturity. However, for those who do gaming with their MPs, this might be valuable information.

    (Also, I didn't actually get the Sapphire card--I picked up an HIS IceQ card (not IceQ2) because I was fine with the connections and lack of boot screen for the price.)
     
  16. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #16
    It is the user workloads and the lagging software that is more of an issue.
    A 2008 Mac Pro should be easily exposed for the throttled memory bandwidth it has, but typically isn't on some workloads because the software is equally as bottlenecked by design ( assuming memory is throttled it tries to tap dance around the issue. )

    In part, because a sizable fraction of the software and workloads that have moved forward have moved on via GPGPU. Same bottleneck just a different mechanism of getting around it. These solution still haven't exploited the PCI-e v3.0 increases which still are on incremental uptake by software. Again if running vintage 2010-2011 software there are uptakes.


    Depended upon user workloads. Very high end P4 options still could do mainstream user work 5 years later with a video card bump.

    It is lack of workload growth that is the primary problem. It appears that systems have gotten faster quicker than users workload can exhaust the resources. Contributing to that is the uncorking of other forms of I/O (affordable double digit GB RAM instances and high IOPs SSD solutions ). The CPU is the sole primary driver on system speed for a wider range of computers.

    There are folks whose workloads are increasing more rapidly than the hardware increases but a sizable fraction of those folks have been jumping ship from OS X ( or not considering OS X an option to "switch"). That is an issue that Apple is dropped the ball on.


    Downward slide across a computer line up is not a new issue. It impacts all new lower classes of computers over time. Mini-computers take share away from Mainframes , personal computers took share away from minis'. Latops from Desktops , and now tablets from all of the above. That is just normal. The process of "take some from above or create 'new' above class to take from" is always there.
     
  17. Garamond thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2004
    #17
    After some more testing, the artifacts on my second screen remained. That resulted in me getting an agreement for a return of the card. The 5870 is back in and all the problems are gone. I think I'll stick with this setup for the remaining part of my rigs life.
     
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #18
    The 'k' because it was cheap and it could be cranked high with special rigs. there would be no need for a 'k' version of CPU throughput was not an issue at all.

    Gaming is skewed because gaming computations are largely skewed to GPUs, but at some point keeping the GPU "feed" if it is fast enough will become an issue. It is more so the case that most users budgets run out in the last several years before the really bump up against any real constraints. (what is shiny and trendy keeps changing...... SSD , GPU , etc. etc. )
     
  19. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #19
    Isn't that why it was THE gaming chip? Isn't that what we all want them to be? Cheap and over performing.
    An extra 1GHz on that 'k' netted you a nice little 5 frames maybe. A new GPU, possibly 100+ frames if you spend enough. Surely when polarizing top end and low end there are going to be differences. But for the vast medium performing majority a quad core at 2.8GHz or higher is primarily served/upgraded only by GPU upgrades for game purposes. Which is the point. Upgrading a Mac Pro CPU in most cases will not get you better game results. It's all the other stuff but really only the GPU;)
     
  20. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #20
    But also one of the deep mismatches with the Mac Pro and some of these deep niche and/or skewed applications. If going to sink a highly skewed amount into any one subcomponent ( CPU , GPU , RAM , storage ) to extend have to hack your way out of the underspend in other areas , then the Mac Pro tends not do as well as other alternatives.

    Mac Pro tend to do better when it is a more well balanced, well rounded system trying to deploy. RAM but not absolute max available (i.e., 3 DIMM banks ). CPU but not max cores+GHz. GPU but not 280+ W mega card. etc.

    But yes a gamer looking for a xMac to trick out with the most expensive GPU card can find ... yeah probably better looking at a 3-4 model with some mods rather than anything new from Apple. Exactly why Apple doesn't particular bend over backwards catering to that market, because they largely aren't going to buy anything from them. It is nice they help put a floor under used market prices but don't particularly buy much if anything from Apple itself.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    [MOD NOTE]
    Stay on topic people, this thread is not about the age of the Mac Pro but rather the 7950.
     
  22. horacio adame macrumors newbie

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    Apr 4, 2013
    #22
    Hi!
    I just got the HD 7950 a week ago and test it Vs my HD 5870 in final cut pro X.

    I only did a small 8:00minutes video and share it to "1080p apple devices" and for my surprise the HD 5870 was 30 seconds faster!!!
    I don't know if converting videos from the project time line has more with GPU than CPU process but 30 seconds are 30 seconds!
    Also I played STAR CRAFT II and the frame rate went very low when the screen was loaded with a lot of units.
    I didn't install the drivers from the CD, OS X 10.8.3 didn't let me, it says the drivers were all ready installed.
    Do I need to do something else in my mac? or just plug in the new video card and that is all?

    I have the mac pro 2010, 5.1, 48Gb OWC Ram, main hard drive SSD OWC extreme 6G
     
  23. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #23
    I've ordered the 7950 and I expect it any day now (probably after the weekend, knowing my luck.. ;)) for in my Mac Pro '08.
    Got the 5870 in it now, and I wonder if simply swapping the 5870 for the 7950 will up my frame-rates for X-Plane 10 enough. That for me is my ultimate test.

    Reading some of the reviews and checking our Barefeats regularly the results seem mixed... to say the least.
    But most of the tests I've read about were done on a Mac Pro 5.1.

    I wonder what the effect will be on my older Mac (3.1).
     
  24. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816

    DanielCoffey

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    #24
    Once the drivers mature, I am sure we will see bigger increased in performance.
     

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