How well should a GTX 980 Ti work in a Mac Pro 2009?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by spainchaud, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. spainchaud macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #1
    I just upgraded my Mac Pro (8 core, 2.93 GHz) from a GTX 680 Mac Edition to a GTX 980 Ti from MacVidCards. I was expecting a big boost in video power, but I can't tell any difference. I tried to run some tests. With NovaBench the 680 got a score of 188 and the 980 scored 178. With Cinebench R15 the 680 scored 48.58 in the OpenGL test, while the 980 scored 43.11. I play ESO and I have not noticed any big improvement in the frame rate. I am using the latest NVIDIA driver.

    I seems I wasted almost $900. Is there some trick I am missing or is this typical?
     
  2. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #2
    Because the Nvidia drivers are only optimised for Kepler and earlier. Nvidia added some preliminary Maxwell architecture support in August but currently the drivers are far far far from what a Maxwell card can do in Windows.
     
  3. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Poking around in these forums, I found a Tessmark rating of 305 for this card. I downloaded GpuTest and ran the same Tessmark benchmark at 1920x1080 and got a rating of 294. So I guess it is running as good as can be expected. I am too lazy to put the 680 back in to test it. I think I will go back to playing games.
     
  4. Pending macrumors regular

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    #4
    For your gaming for instance, surely you are able to up the resolution and have higher settings than the 680?
    Have you tried running at 1440 res?
     
  5. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Cinebench is heavily CPU bound, you won't see any difference in the OpenGL card even with a TitanX. Not sure about the other benchmarks you used.

    When it comes to raw processing power (e.g. LuxMark or Octance), the GTX 980 will be massively faster than your previous card. For games it all depends if they're more CPU or GPU demanding. In general, you'll see greater improvements when going to bigger resolutions (e.g. 4K).
     
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #6
    Yes when it comes to compute the new cards will be faster, they have more units.

    For the OP,

    When it comes to things like gaming, with the current state of the web drivers the gains are poor compared to a native Maxwell driver, especially in the GTX980 model that has a 256 bit bus and desperately needs the colour compression algorithms in the driver for it to shine compared to Kepler. Without those optimisations sometimes the 980 shows gains because of a higher clock speed but half the time it loses to the older cards, especially the 780.

    The 780 bests the 980 in half of these gaming tests:

    http://barefeats.com/gtx980.html

    With the August driver optimisations, 680 is around as good as the 980 and 980Ti in gaming but loses in compute.

    http://barefeats.com/gtx980ti.html

    The 980Ti has a wider 384bit bus which means it has enough bandwidth at 4K/5K to play without the Maxwell optimisations, unlike the 980 which is more crippled. But even then, an overclocked version of the 980 Ti like this one should be a lot faster than this compared to AMD's mobile GPUs in the iMacs.

    http://barefeats.com/imac5k17.html

    At least Mac Pro users have the Boot Camp option.
     
  7. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #7
    Thanks guys for putting things in perspective with respect performance and benchmarks. I use a 30 inch monitor at a resolution of 2560x1600. I think this was the maximum resolution of the 680. I don't really have an interest in going to 4k as my 60 year old eyes don't do well with fine details.

    The problem I faced with the 680 was low fps in my mmo when the battles got crazy. Also there were very long screen loading times compared to other players as we ported around in the game. In selecting the 980 Ti I focused on benchmarks that showed it running twice as fast as the 680. I see that is unrealistic when I look at some of the links you provided.

    I rarely boot into Win 7 these days. Your last comment about the Boot Camp option leads me to think that I might get better performance with the PC version of the game?
     
  8. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #8
    I don't know what game it is but if it's a popular well developed game with heavy graphics demands it will always run much faster on Windows with a GPU like that. If you have a cross platform license (like Steam does) the that's even better.

    For example, I tested Tomb Raider on both operating systems and it is almost twice as fast on Windows with the same settings on a GTX980.
     
  9. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 25, 2008
    #9
    In general, Boot Camp delivers a massive performance improvement for games.

    It's gotten to the point where I'll still use Boot Camp for gaming even if there is a native Mac version of the game.
     
  10. benjaprud, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    benjaprud macrumors member

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    #10
    If you're serious about gaming (serious enough to put a 980ti in your mac) then Boot Camp is the way to go.
     
  11. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #11
    So the drivers on the PC side are much better than the drivers on the Mac side?

    I booted into Win 7, which I haven't done in weeks, and updated Win 7 and the NVIDIA drivers. So for I am not seeing any difference when playing Elder Scrolls Online, but I have not yet done any activities that stress the fps. That usually only happens with large groups of players and mass combat.

    I did notice that the PC side the NVIDIA Experience application lists a bunch of games that the drivers are optimized for. The NVIDIA app on the Mac side has no list like that.
     
  12. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #12
    Even the Linux drivers are better than Mac. To makes things worse Macs are limited to an older version of OpenGL that is dead slow compared to Direct X.
     
  13. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #13
    Another question. As I run around in this game my fps is about half what my friends are running with the same 980 Ti. The claim the the 60 Hz refresh rate on my monitor is too slow. They mention BENQ monitors running at 144 Hz are better. Any comments.
     
  14. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #14
    If you turn off vsync and have a high refresh rate then that's always better, if the game can use it or needs it.

    Remember this though, those old Xeons and that slower PCIE slot together gives 10-15% slower results than a new PC with the same clock speed.
     
  15. benjaprud, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    benjaprud macrumors member

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    #15
    Not only the drivers are tweaked for each game and have more features but the windows version of the games themselves are better optimized for windows and for different specific hardware combinations. Windows also provides newer OpenGL and DirectX which is the API most games are written for.
    If vsync is on and your monitor refreshes at 60Hz then you'll be limited to 60fps maximum. If that is the case then there's no point in disabling vsync as it will cause tearing (except if your main concern is latency for example in a fast paced online FPS as vsync increases latency). Sure your framerate will be higher but your monitor won't be able to display the extra frames anyway.

    However if your framerate is lower than 60fps then you might want to disable vsync. If vsync is on and your graphics card cannot match the refresh rate of your monitor, then the framerate will be limited to submultiples of your screen's refresh rate, often resulting in the framerate suddenly jumping between 60, 30, 15fps which is annoying.

    If you're caught between the two cases then you can try to enable adaptive v-sync which is supposed to activate only when your framerate exceeds your screen's frequency, thus avoiding tearing while not impacting lower framerates, but in my experience it's not perfect and does not work properly in many games.

    As for your friend's comments, I guess you are able to judge if the refresh rate is enough for you and if you're happy with it or if 60Hz looks choppy to you. I've found that most gaming oriented monitors tend to be very good on refresh rates and latency but very bad on contrast, colors and viewing angles (generally using TN panels). Also bear in mind that most of these 144Hz monitors have a resolution of 1920x1080, lower than yours, which is one reason why you'll never match your friends framerates playing at the native resolution of your screen.
     
  16. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #16
    I was a able to match my friends fps by using my wife's new 5k iMac (4.0 GHz, M295X). I got got up to 94 fps by setting the graphics quality to medium and reducing the resolution to 1920x1080. It looked like crap. A high graphics quality and 2560x1440 I got around 40 fps, and it looked beautiful. So there is the tradeoff. I think I prefer beautiful.

    Great info guys. Very informative.
     
  17. benjaprud macrumors member

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    Apr 9, 2015
    #17
    If you play this game regularly, you might want to take the time to dig into the advanced graphics settings rather than the presets. Some graphics options are more expensive than others. For example texture quality has a quite small impact on framerate (if you have enough VRAM but you have) while greatly improving graphics quality. Multi-sample-anti-aliasing (aka MSAA) is quite hard on the framerate while FXAA achieves something close with a much lower impact. Each options have a different expense vs reward and by tweaking them you can come to an acceptable framerate vs quality compromise.
     
  18. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    South of Heaven
    #18
    For what it's worth I was able to run ESO on high settings 1440p with my 2008 mac pro and ATI 6870. This was a much slower computer and much slower card than yours. Something is wrong.

    I was playing in windows, but there is no way you should be gaming on OS X if you care about the experience.
     
  19. spainchaud thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #19
    What fps do you typically get?

    One off the problems I was hoping the faster video card would solve was the extremely long load time when porting onto a dungeon or going to another area in the game. My friends would be sitting around waiting for me, or just run ahead without me. It turns out not to be a video card issue, but a bug in the game where your load time increased with the number of quests you had completed. Zenimax just fixed it on Monday, describing for the first time the cause of the problem.
     
  20. kennyman macrumors regular

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    May 4, 2011
    #20
    @spainchaud

    Did you check whether the card is throttling when you play games? 980 Ti is a powerful card however in some cases, like others over the gaming forums have noticed, it will throttle itself if it reaches its max temperature (down clock the GPU). Just run some benchmark apps to compare, or just run Luxmark, it will stress the GPU enough and you should be able to compare results. If it scores lower than other 980 Ti`s, it will mean that your card is throttling under stress, hence it is not running the GPU clock at its full speed.
     
  21. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    #21
    Well this is from memory because I stopped playing ESO a long time ago but, I was getting about 80-100 out in the normal world, and that sometimes slowed down to about 50 when in town or an area with lots of other players. Other than the bug you described I'd blame long loads in an MMO on either slow internet or slow hard drive.
     

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