Mac Pro 5,1 GPU upgrade Photographer/Graphic Designer

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tomscott1988, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. tomscott1988, Jun 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017

    tomscott1988 macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi!

    I know there is loads of information on the site about 5,1 and graphics cards but the threads are so long I cant find the info I need for some of the newer GPUs for my needs (Non gaming but creative apps).

    The machine is a 2010 5,1 with a W3690 3.46 6 core, 48gb of ram, 2x 850 Samsung evos in raid on separate Apricorn sleds in raid O running around 800mb/s read and write and an ATI 5770. Im running an old 23" ACD as a secondary and a 27" ACD as my primarydisplay.

    I am a graphic designer and photographer. I use primarily (latest versions of CC) - Lightroom, indesign, illustrator, photoshop but I occasionally use after effects and final cut/premier.

    The problem I am having is Lightroom is taking forever to make adjustments. The 1-1 takes a fair amount of time to render which is fine, its the editing which is frustrating, zooming to 100%, local adjustments, sharpening, noise reduction and sharpening and general sliders are very sluggish. I have done all the usual lightroom tricks - larger cache never remove previews putting the cache and library in the same location etc etc

    I think the graphics card is my weakness as well as probably the older tech in the CMP but the CPU should be able to handle this, I know its not the fastest but neither is the newer Nmp.

    To test if it is the GPU I changed the main display from the 27" 2.5k to the 23" display with GPU acceleration turned on and it was night and day lightroom is so much more responsive. When you sit at the machine for 5-6 hours a day and the sliders are like snails its hard to be productive.

    I also opened system preferences and it seems lightroom is taking advantage of all 6 cores and hyper threading but it does slam when making adjustments and I get 3-600+% usage but less when the GPU acceleration is activated. With the GPU deactivated its slightly quicker but not across the board zooming and rendering is quicker but sharpening/noise reduction is slower to the point I will do this at the end of my lightroom workflow which takes a lot longer instead of integrating it into my presets to begin with.

    I also have issues with illustrator. Moving around the artboard is so painful.

    So I think im right in thinking the only direction is to get a new GPU as the rest of the machine is upgraded as far as I can take it and by adding more cores may not increase performance.

    The last GPU I bought was a EVGA GTX285 for my old 2008 octo mac pro and have completely let gpu tech pass me by. From looking around the new 10 series Nvidia cards have had recent support in OSX, but ive also seen the drivers are poor at best and the ati cards are running circles round them in creative application because of Open cl/gl? with CUDA sort of being left behind? I dont really want to spend £200-300 and get performance similar or worce than what I have.

    I was looking at getting an EVGA 1060 SC as it has a 6 pin connector and good value for money but then watched some reviews online of the 1080TI performance being awful in premier... so I assumed it would be the same across the board? Problems with drivers seemed to be the issue as on paper it should be quick.

    The other option was the ATI 480 or 580? Seems like these perform really well and in real world terms although not quite as well on paper compared to the 1060. Are these drivers better optimised? but arent natively supported?

    Can anyone help me out or push me in the right direction? I use the machine full time and want a reliable solution.

    I know I need to replace the machine but would like to extend its life until the new MP is launched.

    Thanks a lot in advance

    Tom
     
  2. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    #2
    Gday mate, slightly off topic, but your not the tomscott from the Z4 UK forum? Lol if so that would be quite a coincidence. ;D

    The gtx680 is pretty much the best bang for buck, and it's super easy to flash, the 2gb version more so than the 4gb version.

    Cheers.

    V.
     
  3. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I am indeed! haha small world!

    The thing that puts me off is the age of the card being 2012 its still a 5 year old card was hoping to get something a bit more beefy or does it compare well to some of the newer cards for a lot less hassle?
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    If that's your working computer, think twice before you go either 1060 / 580. None of them are OOTB card (yet). And may suffer from bugs at this moment.

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/graphic-glitches-with-10-12-5-and-gtx-1070.2047295/unread

    The most up to date OOTB card (no boot screen) I think is the reference RX460 (not 100% sure if the reference RX560 has same device ID).

    For self flashable GPU, most powerful Nvidia card is the 680 4G, or R9 280X on the AMD side (7950, 7970, R9 280 are also self flashable).

    If you further want everything within spec, you have to find a card that come with max 2x 6pin (or single 8pin). In this case, I think 280x or 7970 will be out of equation.

    If just want a card to extend the cMP's life for an extra year. I personally will go for the RX460. Painless plug and play, low power consumption. Reasonable performance for photo work.

    Anyway, did you try only connect the 27" monitor (totally disconnect the 23" one). If problem solve, then may be you are VRAM limiting, but not GPU speed limiting.
     
  5. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Thanks for your reply!

    I would be more than happy with the RX 480 reference. I read somewhere that to get it working you had to do the same as the RX580? For some reason the RX 580s are cheaper than the 480s preowned.

    I did a little reading on the 580s and they seems to be very similar to the 480s just more efficient. Same tech etc

    Hopefully with the new imacs using the 5 series we should get drivers...

    https://www.theitsage.com/install-radeon-rx-480-gpu-macos-sierra/
     
  6. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    A GTX 680 w/4GB of VRAM will be a night and day improvement over your Radeon 5770. Age has not much to do with it, just a far better GPU and far more VRAM than your current card.

    Lightroom is your primary application? Here is their list of GPU recommendations:

    https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/lightroom-gpu-faq.html

    The GTX 680 does fall below their minimum suggested specification for hardware acceleration.
     
  7. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #7
    At this moment, kext edit required for both 480 and 580 in Sierra (it seems High Sierra natively support these card, but not very sure).

    The only new card that do not required kext edit (or 3rd party driver) is the RX460. For this kind of the UI hardware acceleration, that should be fast enough. And also has 4GB option, which is good for you to drive 2 monitors.
     
  8. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Fantastic thank you!

    I have tried removing the secondary display and it does make the experience much more bearable but prefer having the 2 displays lol!

    Brill well I think I will buy a new 580 and see what happens!

    Cheers

    Tom
     
  9. whartung macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #9
    For what it's worth, I upgraded my similar cMP from the stock 5770 to a 4gb RX 460 - it works OOB, but I find that Lightroom now runs noticeably worse than it did before with the same functions that you mentioned - sharpening is garbage, turning on and off mask overlays takes ages, etc.
     
  10. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #10
    Hey this might be a bit off topic, but I do feel like the GPU acceleration needed to do proper Photo Adjustments is just currently not there. I noticed that Lightroom still uses OpenGL for processing and no other acceleration. I mean you get a bigger faster video card and every process will be accelerated, but OpenGL is garbage and surpassed by current OpenCL, Metal and Vulcan technologies.

    I think their has definitely been an abandonment of still photography acceleration. I don't do Photography professionally, but being a colorist I know what its like to color grade 4k video for tv and film. I recently went and tested all the still photo apps I could for photo editing, and they where all slow as molasses.

    I was looking to upgrade my still photography kit and I wanted to test out all the current software... It was very disappointing.. All the options for pro still Photography right now are all very slow.

    It is a bummer that Apple killed Aperture, because if they did half as much acceleration as they do with Final Cut Pro X, you would have a great pro photo app.
     
  11. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    This is what I'm worried about. Are you using apple drivers or ATI drivers?

    Its so frustrating. you pay the premium to own these machines they are modular and you can't upgrade them because apple doesn't support anything.

    No wonder they have left the pro crowd for so long. Lets be fair since 2008 how many cards have been officially useable? a Dozen? 10 years lol

    The only other option is to wait for the iMac pro which is a £5K sealed unit. Even when the new Mac Pro comes out in 2-3 years owners will be in the same boat.
     
  12. whartung macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #12
    Apple

    With recent announcements, I have no doubt that Apple's native support should improve over time, as should Adobe's interest in getting these types of cards running well with their software. But at the moment, yeah, figured I should let you know that even with the "native" support for my 460, Lightroom in particular took a hit.
     
  13. Mattww macrumors 6502

    Mattww

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #13
    I was expecting to see reports of RX 580 being used natively in Mac Pro 5.1 with the High Sierra Beta as soon as it was announced Apple were using them as OEM but it seems quiet so far.

    Given it is the top card in the iMac (non-pro) it would seem ideal for a few more years provided you no longer need to disable SIP and modify kexts.
     
  14. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I think its difficult because there are numerous factor involved. 1. the tech is 7-8 years old so is not as efficient as newer kit 2. The adobe software is only really starting to become optimised to take advantage of the power and 3. the graphics drivers for Mac don't seem to be the best.

    Fingers crossed with High Sierra they support the newer GPUs
     
  15. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    #15
    I find Lightroom runs rings around my ati 4890 using my gtx470. NVidia I feel is much better using some apps than ati. Then again, I am not doing anything proffesional with my box. Even using my old gtx285, light room was much much faster than with my ati card.
    And I have absolutely no idea why that is, as Lightroom doesn't use gpu Accel for pretty much anything.
    Probably the best upgrade for Lightroom would be CPU. ??
     
  16. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    Lightroom supports GPU acceleration now but only really makes a difference with higher resolution displays. The main issue with Nvidia cards is that they are much better when cuda is supported which is basically nvidias version of Open cl/gl although you can use nvidia cards they generally aren't as efficient as the anti cards because apple stopped OEM support a while back because of faulty cards.

    The nvidia cards are more powerful but on mac os for creative apps the anti cards work better.

    I bought the gtx285 evga version for mac for about £450 and it was totally useless at the time for anything but gaming in windows. if i swap it out for my 5770 performance is so much better in the creative suite but its still pretty poor.

    TBH the card works fine, but I use the machine 6-8hours a day and after shooting weddings with around 5-600 shots to edit the sliders being slow is such a drag and its really not much fun or efficient.

    Im sure your gtx470 runs rings because it is a newer card but its still not compatible I think the base like is the GTX770 and above or the R9 series ati which are about 5 years newer lol!

    TBH I will buy a 580 founders and try it if it makes no difference I will send it back and wait for the new mac pro or buy a new 27" iMac with the 5 series chips although it pains me to do so for the work I do with photography and the odd bit of video editing and after effects I don't really need the workstations anymore. Back in the day there was such a huge difference in power that it made sense now not so much the i7s seem to keep up with the xeons and in some cases are better.

    For example the new base 27" iMac with the i5 is posting over 5400 single core and 15,500 multicore. for an i5! I think my mac pros 6core chip is around 2900 single and about the same multi so will probably be twice as fast for using lightroom. So the i7 would be awesome and you get the nice display and its still half the price but I go through so much storage around 4TB per year that i hate not having internal storage.

    But I don't want to spend 10k on the new mac pro and be in the same situation where you pay so much more for the upgradability and then important areas such as the cpu you can't anyway. At least without headaches and reduced performance.

    :(
     
  17. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    #17
    Yeah amazing what the new performance is, but then considering this is an 8 year old box. Have you considered one of the newer MP trashcan models? hopefully a decent spec one wouldn't cost more than about 4K, leaving a bit of cash for a nice dual display setup.

    Cheers mate. I gotta admit, that iMac pro thingy does look pretty snazzy, and apparently Sierra High now has implementation within it for external GPU TB stuff, so that might make all the difference with the new iMac Pro.
    Maybe thats an option?
     
  18. tomscott1988 thread starter macrumors regular

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    Ye I have considered one of the nMP. I have always quite liked them but the price to performance is still not so great. Would have to be the 6 core version or the quad and upgrade the CPU. The problem with them is that the MacBook Pro and the iMac run circles round them again with the things I do.

    I sold my 2008 Mac Pro about 2 years ago and bought my current system because with the upgrades I have this system apart from graphics performs about the same as the 3.7 quad nMP and I was only about £1100 in investment the nMP was about 3 x that cost at the time and still is unfortunately albeit the baseline being a 6 core now.

    The thing with the 2017 standard iMac is for about £2500 it outruns the Mac Pro in every respect and you get the 5k display and the nMP there isn't a great deal you can do with upgrades and the TB2 is limited now that TB3 is out.

    I would need to buy a 4 bay thunderbolt caddy for the drives I have in my Mac Pro. They run about £500 on their own and they are TB2 not 3. But would have to do that with the iMac too.

    The spec of the nMP for what I need is about £3500 without a display. The iMac again in the spec I would like is about £2600 and then about £500 for the caddy so seems like a better deal.

    If you look at Geekbench it shows how bad the nMP is in comparison

    My Mac Pro - £1100 (January 2015)
    3078 14663

    nMP 6 core - £3500
    3774 17001

    2017 iMac i7 -£2600
    5692 19478

    Like you say the external GPU could be an incredible way to keep it up to date. The thing with the modular stuff like the Mac Pro is the likely hood of upgrading the CPU is small, I did mine because it cost around 1/3 the current Mac Pro. The graphics cards are definitely something nice to upgrade, the ram is a given.

    The 2017 iMac you can still upgrade the ram so thats good, you can get the external GPU and the cpu is not soldiered so technical you could do that too with difficulty.

    When you add £700+ for a 4k display and another 400-500 for the caddy the nMP is crazy money at £4700.

    The iMac Pro looks like a bargain in comparison but you can't upgrade anything is BTO or nothing. You won't even be able up upgrade the ram.... which is crazy as the base iMac you can...

    There spec is pro but the implementation isn't pro.

    Its hard work being an apple user atm.
     

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