Got my two 3870's in and testing now....

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kahine, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. kahine macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    For the others curious also as I was about the 3870's -

    Got both mine from the ATI store now and have them installed -

    No Crossfire in OS X of course but I do think I like the overall look/feel of the 3870 over the Nvidia 8800 I had with it orginally - not sure how to describe it just feels a little "crisper"

    Dual 24" Monitors run well enough on both - the 3870 did fix the Diablo2 problem though with Nvidia/256 colors

    Anyway the second 3870 fan seems to spin a bit louder/more than the first but nothing harsh (especially coming from a PC gaming rig)

    Installed fresh bootcamp Vista64 Business - updated directx and latest cat drivers (July ones) - couple quirks in Crossfire when I had ATI's "adaptive anti-aliasing" on when I ran 3dmark 2006 so I disabled it (turned it on at advice on one forum but turns out does better without it - regular AA works fine)

    3dmark 2006 with crossfire on I got 17355

    3dmark 2006 with crossfire off 12550

    About to try some games with it tonight and next few days will report back results in case anyone interested

    Mac Pro Dual 3.2 model btw
  2. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
  3. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
  4. imacdaddy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2006
    please update us as soon as you get the chance. Very curious to know! ;)
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    +1 :)
  6. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    That's because ATI video cards produce a better-quality image than Nvidia video cards.
  7. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I wish I couldn't tell any difference at all but it does seem that way in OS X especially even just on the desktop on both monitors

    My one issue atm with the two cards in OS X is the second one (which is detected but isnt doing anything ) fan stays spun up at a bit higher rate - possibly because its right on top of the other and the bottom card is blowing up on it so its temp is higher and thus keeps the fan running faster is what I can guess

    Both fans spin up a bit more in 3d games both in OS X and Windows - nothing obnoxious but definitely noticeable

    I had gotten used to almost not hearing anything with the 8800gt even in 3d games it rarely spun up

    I know its a minor thing but I really liked that - have read the 3870's fan spins up sooner than the 8800 in a couple places so maybe it's a good thing and trying to keep temps cooler than the 8800 ?
  8. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    Try to do this what wfehres did (with your HD 3870 and 8800 GT):
    Concerning the X1900 vs 8800GT. I have a good perspective on this.

    At home i have a 3GHz first generation Mac Pro with X1900.
    At work i have a 2.8Ghz 2nd generation Mac Pro with 8800GT.

    Both machines are running 30" monitors and I play a lot of World of Warcraft as well as use pro applications (Aperture and etc).

    Both machines run WoW flawless but the 8800GT does offer about a 10-30% gain in FPS depending on the scene you're in.

    What really surprised me is that the X1900 runs OSX UI interface MUCH smoother than the 8800GT. Dragging windows is smoother, and when the UI does transition and etc, the X1900 does it smoother. I also notice that the X1900 can do more than one graphic intensive thing at a time without stuttering, unlike the 8800GT.

    Here is an example..

    If you run your mouse over the Dock and select the Dashboard, if the dock is not done animating (magnifying), the Dashboard will stutter terribly or skip the transition all together on the 8800GT. If you have any other GPU activity going on it'll do the same thing. On the X1900 it's ALWAYS smooth. I notice this sort of behavior in several places.

    Even though i play WoW, i would buy the X1900 over the 8800GT because of how much better the X1900 runs OSX in general. I will be one of the first in line to get the ATI 3870.

  9. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    Thanks for the tips Kab - about to boot into Vista and reinstall AoC and patch it and test it out also -

    Do you think there's anything to be concerned with the 2nd 3870 fan staying higher all the time in OS X - (not full speed like when first boots up but definitely higher than normal speed )
  10. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
    Perhaps look at getting a third party cooler for your 3870s? Most of those are dead silent.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, :) (assuming there are no thermal design flaws).
    Your thoughts on rising heat would be accurate. If the noise is still bothering you and can't live with it, Ventro's suggestion will work nicely. :cool:
  12. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    Got AoC reloaded and tested under Vista64

    At 1920x1200 with 4xAA and draw distance all the way out and 3.0 shaders with crossfire enabled I got 90fps out in wilderness without others around and 40-50 fps in cities with dips into 30's

    Without crossfire enabled I got 60 fps out in wilderness with no one around and 30-40 fps in city with dips into low 20's

    Looks like I'm going to keep both 3870's and just deal with the upper card fan going bit louder in OS X as I do seem to like the overall image quality a bit better in OS X

    If the single 3870 didn't dip so much I'd yank the 2nd out and return it but I do enjoy Windows games at times and a 1920x1200 the oen 3870 might be stressed to keep up at 1920x1200 with details on high -
  13. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    Are you going to try Crysis?
  14. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    Don't have it but if there's a demo I can - between work (sys eng) and working on getting into new stuff what little gaming time I've had has been in the past in the AoC and WAR beta's for the past year or so and TF2 thrown in -
  15. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    Just a note to help others who go down this road - was just reinstalling OS X as I changed and added harddrive (new WD Caviar 1TB black series) and kept getting a grey screen saying restart at the beginning of the install

    After letting it boot back up to OS X on the original install I looked at the log and say the backtrack was pointing to something ending with radeon2000 in the crash log

    I removed the secondary radeon 3870 and its now installing fine -

    You get weird artifacts on boot with even one 3870 until you add the drivers from the CD it comes with so I imagine that the OS X install doesnt play quite right with two 3870's in - once drivers added back and then adding second card back in its fine
  16. sirnh macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2006
    I had installation problems that a fresh install fixed, but I am running fine in OS X with 2 ATI 3870s installed. I have 2 monitors plugged into just the first card.
  17. hms84 macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2007
    I just bought mine... it's in the WAY, I can't wait to play CRYSIS !!
  18. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I second that, I've always felt this way since even 10 years ago.

    Wait so 2x 3870 runs fine on osx, but just picks up one??
  19. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    It sees and functions fine with both but I only have two monitors so in OS X the second 3870 isnt doing anything on mine currently - may add a third monitor thought

    Main purpose of the additional one is for Crossfire mode in windows - makes high end graphic games run much better -
  20. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Why not have one monitor on each graphics card so that you don't over stress and reduce performance on the first card?
  21. kahine thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I'll eventually add a third so will need to have two on first one anyway

    And I asked around several places and almost everyone said to just put first two on initial card - that splitting one on card one and one on card two doesnt do anything to increase performance in OS X -

    Plus in Windows/Crossfire you want both on the first card as it disables the second in full screen anyway in games and works better for dual monitors when just in normal mode if you have both on first one

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