GPU dilemma

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Beno201, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Beno201 macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    thanks you to those that commented in my other thread.

    I'm trying to find a graphics card for my Mac Pro so I can use it for 1080p gaming.
    I also need one for use with unreal engine.

    While the RX 480 seems great, I'm not entirely sure weather I'd need it.
    I'm trying to balance cost, future proofing and performance, and it's proving to be quite difficult.

    The ultimate decision is weather to get the 480 or something lower.

    Pros for the 480:
    . New Architecture
    . Good at 1080p
    . better future proofing (dx12/Vulkan and the simple fact it's a new, more powerful card with plenty of ram)
    .Works out the box in OSX

    Cons for the 480:
    . It's more money
    . Is bottle necked a little bit by the W3680
    . Despite being future proof, no card really is, and non of them last a long time Dispite the amount of cash you spend on them (Even the 1080 struggles with 4K, which is to be the future)
    . Good for unreal engine

    Pros of an older, 950/960 type card:
    . Cheap price ( and so not much of a blow when you need to upgrade later£
    . Decent performance at 1080p
    . Works with all current games and would be enough for my needs at the moment

    . Older architecture, so not very future proof (not sure how long it'll last before I literally need to upgrade because the games won't run)
    . Wouldn't be as good with unreal engine

    I've been dead set on both several times, and then changed my mind because I'm really worried I'll make the wrong decision, because we don't exactly know what the future will bring for any card.
    I've also thought about the 470.

    I'm fairly new to PC gaming and have recently understood that whatever graphics card you buy, it becomes out dated fast.

    For that reason, I don't know weather it's worth investing in something like the 480 not knowing how underpowered it'll be in a couple of years, or weather it's better to get something cheaper like the above, and asses the situation when the new architecture has started to develop, and we proceed into the second generation.
    that said, I wouldn't want to buy an older card and then in a year come to the realisation that I can't run a damn thing.

    I'm new to PC gaming, and come from the unprivileged position of not knowing what any of the main resolutions of today and frame rates look like, because my last gaming platform was the Xbox 360.
    So it's difficult to actually decern what I want.


  2. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
  3. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Well for one thing the two cards you are considering don't even have OS X drivers. Is this a Windows-only Mac Pro? Are you keeping another card installed for OS X?

    Personally, for a Mac Pro, I'd get a card supported by both Windows and OS X.
  5. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    5.1, Six core W3680 at 3.3ghz, and 32gb of RAM

    --- Post Merged, Aug 22, 2016 ---
    But ongnoi here on the forum got the 480 working in OSX, and that was without the original card.
    As far as the 960/950, I didn't realise that. I thought it was supported.
    Does that mean there's no way around it? I thought you could flash them

    The idea was to run Windows through boot camp, and have the original Mac g-force card in there for OSX, and then play games and use unreal engine through windows with the new card.

  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    My apologies, I meant two AMD cards you mentioned, the 470 and 480.

    Yes, the 960 works and can be flashed. In fact I use a flashed 980 myself.

    ongnoi got the cards "sort of working", not working. There are no drivers for it in OS X.
  7. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    Oh right, sorry.

    As for the pascal cards, do they all work, then?

    Also, would the fact that a card wasn't supported in OS X really matter, if you just used the stock card in there for what you were doing in OS X, and the other for Windows?
    I mean, I wouldn't really have a use for the card within OS X. I bought my Mac Pro for music production.

  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Do you mean Maxwell? I'm not aware of any Pascal cards working in OS X.

    The Maxwell 960, 970, 980, 980ti, and Titan X work. I highly recommend you either get it flashed or keep a Mac card around as a spare.

    As for AMD, I think the R9 280x is the one to get and it can be flashed.

    I don't know much about combining cards. That used to be a go-to solution, but people have been having problems with it lately in Windows such as a 120GT + Kepler or newer cards.
  9. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    Yes, maxwell, sorry. Been discussing the pascal line up in another thread so I got confused.

    That's good to know about the maxwell cards.
    The R9 280x is still a capable card also.

    and yeah, well the 120GT is the card I have.
    Is flashing a complex process to do on your own?
    I'm going to have to do some more research on it, I'm not very familia with the concept.
  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    R9 280x is self-flashable. I don't know how to do it.
    GTX 680 is self-flashable. Extremely easy.
    Maxwell cards need to pay for a service.
  11. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016

    Is the 680 still a decent buy for today's games, would you say?

    Thanks for the link
  12. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    There are a lot of benchmarks out there that can answer that for you, but roughly speaking its going to be a lot slower than an RX480.

    Are you in a hurry? If you can wait, I'd wait a few months to see if drivers become available for the GTX 1060 or RX480. It kind of sucks to have to buy the older generation, if the current generation might be supported soon.
  13. koyoot macrumors 603


    Jun 5, 2012
    No, especially in 2 GB versions. Every 2 GB GPU currently tanks even in 1080p. Nature of progress, and new APIs. Absolute(!) minimum currently is 4 GB of VRAM, except for Fiji GPUs with HBM which have slightly different frame buffer in drivers, so they handle the data slightly different.
    6 GB is good, 8 GB is much preferred.

    IF Pascal GPUs would work in OS X I would recommend GTX 1060, but they don't. So you have either Maxwell, or AMD GPUs.

    Consider every buy you will pick, as a stop-gap solution, that you will really fast change anyway.
  14. Beno201, Aug 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016

    Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    I'm not necessarily in a hurry.
    And yeah, well hopefully they'll be supported.

    It's annoying about the 120GT as well, I pressumed you could just pop that in along with the 480 and away you went.
    I thought OSX didn't recognise the 480, but as soon as you went into Windows ten it was okay. So you could use one for OS X and the other for Windows.

    He seemed to suggest after that and you didn't even need the original card and it'd work in OS X on its own.
    Am I missing something, then?

    --- Post Merged, Aug 22, 2016 ---
    That sounds like it'd get really expensive, really fast.
    Can't you just lower the settings as the card gets older?

  15. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Well you could try that. The specific problem with the 120GT is that Nvidia doesn't make drivers that support both it and a modern Nvidia card at the same time, causing crashes. But you might be able to use a 120GT and an RX480 at the same time. No promises though. This thread does not inspire confidence:
  16. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016
    Oh right, I see.
    So the problem is with using the GT120 with another nvidea card, but not for definite with an AMD GPU?

    When I spoke ongnoi, he/she said that "Having a GT120 will make life so much easier. Install Windows 10 like you normally would with the GT120. Once Windows 10 is working, plug the RX 480 in and install drivers. After that, you can choose to run with or without the GT120."
    It was the AMD 5770 that was causing issues, so maybe it will indeed work.

    I suppose I can't just drop £250 on a card and go in with wishful thinking, though.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 22, 2016 ---
    The 280x actually seems like a pretty decent card.
    It's getting an average of 60-70 fps at 1080p on max settings with doom, from the bench marks I've seen.
  17. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    hay it depends what you want, is your focus music production, playing games or making games?
    what kind of games do you want to play?
    will you play games in osx or windows?
    if your focus is making games then it might be worth asking for advice on the unreal dev site.

    if you want just a stopgap till the new ati/nvidia cards work in osx then something like a gtx 670 is fairly cheep and will work with native osx drivers, it's not to much slower than the 680 and much cheaper.

    or just wait and see what happens the rx 480 4GB is already down to £209 on amazon if you give it some time it'll be cheaper by the time there is osx support and nvidia has a gtx 1060 3GB under £200 on amazon (but it is a slower card than the 1060 6gb (different chip or something).
    the rx 470 looks like it might be good too, for a budget 1080p

    the ati cards tend to have better native support in osx, nvidia cards past the gtx 770 tend to be harder to use in osx (the 9xx cards need the web driver installed to make them work

    and if your plaing to use say the gt120 in osx and 'new card with no osx suport' in windows then you will have to keep swapping display cable i think each time you boot
  18. Beno201 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2016

    Well the reason I bought my Mac was for music production.
    The aim with this is to use it also, through windows 10, to play games and use unreal engine with.
    I'd like to ideally play games at 1080p.

    I've heard good things about the 670 and the 680.
    When you say stop gap, how long would you say a card like that would last at 1080p gaming?
    Because it might be better to just buy one of those cheap so I can game now, and get the 480 when it's cheaper later on down the line.

    In terms of the gt120, I'd only use it if it was necessary.

    Thanks forge post.
  19. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    well as it's pc you can just drop the graphics down a tad and it will work (depending on the game, new games maybe on med to low).
    look at the requirements on steam to get an idea of what you need to run a game.

    when i say stop gap i just mean until there are drivers for the rx 480 or grtx10x0 cards.
    you can get a gtx9xx card if you want which in windows will work well but bit more of a pain in osx. (ps the GTX960 is just a tad faster than a gtx760 which is slower than a GTX670)

    if you can wait a bit do, looks like soon we will have drivers for rx 470/480 which are cheep and fast :D

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