Maximize 7950 Performance in FCP X

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
I have owned an 08 MacPro since it release, but I recently picked up another for my home office. I run a video/photo company on the side and wanted to be able to edit on the weekends without having to go into the office.

The home machine is an 08 MacPro, dual 3.0ghz quad core processors, 32GB ram, 2 x OCZ Vertex 2 SSD's in RAID 0 for the boot, 3 x 7200rpm 1TB drives in RAID 0 for scratch / media disk. I added two Sapphire 7950's after I purchased this MacPro.

My problem is that FCP X performance is TERRIBLE. I am running 10.8.4 12E55 and FCP X 10.0.8. I see a combined max of 5fps in Neat Video, where as Windows users are seeing nearly 10-12fps PER GPU. I realize the 7950 drivers a currently complete crap, but is there anything else I can do to eek performance out of this box without spending money? Since the cards have an EFI/BIOS selector switch, and I don't use Windows, I wondered if it would be possible to flash an overclocked EFI to the alternate selection position. Would I retain boot screen? Has anyone even though of or tried this yet? Can anything at all be done to boost RAM or CPU performance? I am not faint of heart and have been tinkering with (breaking) computers my whole life.

I need to be able to edit and render videos at an acceptable rate, but running out and buying a new machine isnt an option. Any boost in performance from any area of the machine would be welcomed.

(Please let me know if I left out necessary information)

UPDATE: For anyone new to this thread - the problem is not raw hardware but instead optimization. A thread on Netkas exists to track the issue as it has been flushed out.
 
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qbe

macrumors newbie
Jun 4, 2013
1
0
7950 in fcpx

hi

i have no info about flashing for you, but i can talk about my limited results with 7950 on hack.

my test show that while the card is supported and opencl working in osx (luxmark, unigine, ocean wave) in fcpx it seems as the acceleration is not working.

i did a small test when i was swapping 7950 in place of nvidia 560ti:
i took 15min clip 1080p25 Prores Proxy, put it on Pal timeline and put Timecode filter on. I also made second version with custom color filter (one of the stock ones).

On 560ti 1st bench took 4:47 and second 5:10. With 7950 i got almost 9 mins :/ and my CPU utilization was bigger than 560ti, so it seems there is no acceleration in place.

Maybe that is only my experience, i tried to search for any info on this matter but couldnt find anything. Many posts say 7950 works, but showing the GUI of FCPX shouldnt be considered as full acceleration, sadly. Only one post i found a guy comparing 5970 vs 7950 and he says it gave him no actual speedup (was on real mac though). That could mean there is problem on my end as 5970 should be working 100%. But my comparable results show otherwise.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
hi

i have no info about flashing for you, but i can talk about my limited results with 7950 on hack.

my test show that while the card is supported and opencl working in osx (luxmark, unigine, ocean wave) in fcpx it seems as the acceleration is not working.

i did a small test when i was swapping 7950 in place of nvidia 560ti:
i took 15min clip 1080p25 Prores Proxy, put it on Pal timeline and put Timecode filter on. I also made second version with custom color filter (one of the stock ones).

On 560ti 1st bench took 4:47 and second 5:10. With 7950 i got almost 9 mins :/ and my CPU utilization was bigger than 560ti, so it seems there is no acceleration in place.

Maybe that is only my experience, i tried to search for any info on this matter but couldnt find anything. Many posts say 7950 works, but showing the GUI of FCPX shouldnt be considered as full acceleration, sadly. Only one post i found a guy comparing 5970 vs 7950 and he says it gave him no actual speedup (was on real mac though). That could mean there is problem on my end as 5970 should be working 100%. But my comparable results show otherwise.
What model Mac Pro do you have? It seems the 08's are performing stunted, for some reason. Here is a thread at Netkas on the topic. - http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,8206.0.html
 

Fangio

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2011
323
244
I have owned an 08 MacPro since it release ... I added two Sapphire 7950's after I purchased this MacPro.

My problem is that FCP X performance is TERRIBLE. I am running 10.8.4 12E55 and FCP X 10.0.8.
Did you see this? http://barefeats.com/tube05.html

FCP X 10.1 rendering performance in Mavericks yields much better results with dual GPUs. And your 2008 MP 3,1 should be able to run that config too

Good news for those who are continuing with their 2009 - 2012 Mac Pro tower: You will benefit from the optimizations made in FCPX 10.1 and Motion 5.1 for the 2013 Mac Pro . And with high-end GPUs, you can get close to the render speeds of the 2013.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
FCP X 10.1 was a nice improvement with speed increases, but it doesn't address the 7950's still under delivering.
 

Tutor

macrumors 65816
I have owned an 08 MacPro since it release, but I recently picked up another for my home office. I run a video/photo company on the side and wanted to be able to edit on the weekends without having to go into the office.

The home machine is an 08 MacPro, dual 3.0ghz quad core processors, 32GB ram, 2 x OCZ Vertex 2 SSD's in RAID 0 for the boot, 3 x 7200rpm 1TB drives in RAID 0 for scratch / media disk. I added two Sapphire 7950's after I purchased this MacPro.

My problem is that FCP X performance is TERRIBLE. I am running 10.8.4 12E55 and FCP X 10.0.8. I see a combined max of 5fps in Neat Video, where as Windows users are seeing nearly 10-12fps PER GPU. I realize the 7950 drivers a currently complete crap, but is there anything else I can do to eek performance out of this box without spending money? Since the cards have an EFI/BIOS selector switch, and I don't use Windows, I wondered if it would be possible to flash an overclocked EFI to the alternate selection position. Would I retain boot screen? Has anyone even though of or tried this yet? Can anything at all be done to boost RAM or CPU performance? I am not faint of heart and have been tinkering with (breaking) computers my whole life.

I need to be able to edit and render videos at an acceptable rate, but running out and buying a new machine isnt an option. Any boost in performance from any area of the machine would be welcomed.

(Please let me know if I left out necessary information)
Why not also upgrade to the latest version of Final Cut Pro (10.1) after upgrading to the latest version of Mavericks (10.9.1) [then later to 10.9.2 immediately after it drops]. Visit App Store software update. Then, if that doesn't do what you want, consider a beefier OCL GPU or two (i.e., sell the two Sapphire 7950s [like on Ebay or elsewhere and get, at a minimum, two 7970s or go even higher]) and/or upgrading both of your CPUs for < $200 for a Matched Set - Intel Xeon X5482 3.2GHz Quad Core 12M 1600MHz Socket 771 SLANZ CPU [ http://www.ebay.com/itm/Matched-Set-Intel-Xeon-X5482-3-2GHz-Quad-Core-12M-1600MHz-Socket-771-SLANZ-CPU-/221339665074?pt=US_Server_CPUs_Processors&hash=item3388df42b2 ].
 
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crjackson2134

macrumors 601
Mar 6, 2013
4,600
1,713
Charlotte, NC
You can enable the missing support I believe. I ran across the information awhile back. I'm sure if you do some more searching you should find the info. I was googling searching 5870 vs. 7950 when I read about it. I ended up finding that tidbit (I think) in a 7950 vs 7970 review.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
Why not also upgrade to the latest version of Final Cut Pro (10.1) after upgrading to the latest version of Mavericks (10.9.1) [then later to 10.9.2 immediately after it drops]. Visit App Store software update. Then, if that doesn't do what you want, consider a beefier OCL GPU or two (i.e., sell the two Sapphire 7950s [like on Ebay or elsewhere and get, at a minimum, two 7970s or go even higher]) and/or upgrading both of your CPUs for < $200 for a Matched Set - Intel Xeon X5482 3.2GHz Quad Core 12M 1600MHz Socket 771 SLANZ CPU [ http://www.ebay.com/itm/Matched-Set-Intel-Xeon-X5482-3-2GHz-Quad-Core-12M-1600MHz-Socket-771-SLANZ-CPU-/221339665074?pt=US_Server_CPUs_Processors&hash=item3388df42b2 ].
I am using 10.9.2 beta and FCP X 10.1. I flipped around which machine was at home and which was at work, so this MP is a dual quad 3.2ghz. My 7950's OC'd smoke stock 7970's.

What needs to be enabled? The cards are all EFI, have boot screens, and show in system profiler. Is there something else not enabling correctly?
 

Tutor

macrumors 65816
You can enable the missing support I believe. I ran across the information awhile back. I'm sure if you do some more searching you should find the info. I was googling searching 5870 vs. 7950 when I read about it. I ended up finding that tidbit (I think) in a 7950 vs 7970 review.
As I recall, it's somewhere in this thread [ http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1505726 ] or this one [ http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1002692 ], but my memory of that is vague.

I am using 10.9.2 beta and FCP X 10.1. I flipped around which machine was at home and which was at work, so this MP is a dual quad 3.2ghz. My 7950's OC'd smoke stock 7970's.

What needs to be enabled? The cards are all EFI, have boot screens, and show in system profiler. Is there something else not enabling correctly?
I didn't know that you had already done the OS, App and CPU changes.

Do your 7950's OC'd smoke the 7970 GHz Edition (OC'd or not)? If so, then you should consider whether the R9 28(9)0X is an option.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
As I recall, it's somewhere in this thread [ http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1505726 ] or this one [ http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1002692 ], but my memory of that is vague.



I didn't know that you had already done the OS, App and CPU changes.

Do your 7950's OC'd smoke the 7970 GHz Edition (OC'd or not)? If so, then you should consider whether the R9 28(9)0X is an option.
Thank you for those links. I will read through them. My benchmarks can be seen on the netkas link I provided earlier.

AFAIK, no one has gotten the 290X to flash and work just yet. The 280X is a rebadged 7970 GHZ edition. The 7970 can hit around 8600 in 3DMark 11. I can pull right at 9000. The 7950's have tons of head room to OC.

Ultimately though, the problem isn't the 7950 not being powerful enough. The problem is OS X not using it to the fullest like in Windows 7. I am pretty sure that even a 7990 would be under utilized on the Mac Pro 3.1 as I tested a 270X as well. The entire 7xxx series has major driver issues. Let me read those threads to see if I am missing something.
 

Fangio

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2011
323
244
From another thread you contributed to:

I have two 7950 Mac Edition GPUs in an 08 MacPro. FCP X 10.1 resulted in vastly improved render times from better GPU optimization.
How did you get two 7950's to work.
Separate PSU
Does anyone else here have a 7xxx series card on an 08 MacPro? I am having major diminishment in their output in OS X vs what they are capable of.
Interesting! On a side note, I did post the barefeats test with FCP X 10.1 before but there is another test from December 28 that I was reading yesterday, before it was edited obviously (still had it in my cache). FYI, this, now removed part catched my attention, and it seems to confirm your point of the 7xxx cards not exploiting their full potential in ML and Mavericks:

barefeats.com said:
DON'T TWO 7970s REQUIRE 4 POWER FEEDS?
Yes, it did require some mad science. The Radeon 7970s, 7950s, and 5870s require two power feeds each. Out of curiosity, we ran the tests with dual Radeon HD 5770s and got render times only slightly slower than dual 7970s. The 5770s require only one power feed each so we used the two factory standard PCIe power feeds. A pair of them is definitely faster rendering in FCPX 10.1 than any single AMD GPU including the Radeon HD 7970.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
I have been beating my head against every wall possible, metaphorically and literally. In Win7, my power is (what I consider) amazing. I can blow the doors of any test. I am getting around 60% of that output in OS X. It is extremely frustrating. I am glad it makes my 5770 look good, but come on... I have a slightly faster clocked ROM that will put out over 5000 on the LuxMark Sala scene in Windows. Barefeats lists two 7970's at 4200. I Can't break 2900 in OS X. Something is screwy.

Unfortunately I didn't find anything in those old posts.
 

CrazyNurse

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2012
148
3
I have been beating my head against every wall possible, metaphorically and literally. In Win7, my power is (what I consider) amazing. I can blow the doors of any test. I am getting around 60% of that output in OS X. It is extremely frustrating. I am glad it makes my 5770 look good, but come on... I have a slightly faster clocked ROM that will put out over 5000 on the LuxMark Sala scene in Windows. Barefeats lists two 7970's at 4200. I Can't break 2900 in OS X. Something is screwy.

Unfortunately I didn't find anything in those old posts.
Try this one?

http://forum.netkas.org/index.php?topic=6864.0
 

CrazyNurse

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2012
148
3
Thank you, but notice the screen names in that thread and this one.
Ooops, my bad.

My card is a flashed PC version. I know there are some overclocking tools for it but I am not ready to try that yet.

I want to try FCP X soon for some basic family video editing and hope this card doesn't let me down.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
I have been beating my head against every wall possible, metaphorically and literally. In Win7, my power is (what I consider) amazing. I can blow the doors of any test. I am getting around 60% of that output in OS X. It is extremely frustrating. I am glad it makes my 5770 look good, but come on... I have a slightly faster clocked ROM that will put out over 5000 on the LuxMark Sala scene in Windows. Barefeats lists two 7970's at 4200. I Can't break 2900 in OS X. Something is screwy.

Unfortunately I didn't find anything in those old posts.
10.9.2 didn't fix the problem.
 

Surfheart

macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2010
117
17
I have an identical setup (Mac Pro 3,1 7950 Mac edition) and get identical benchmark scores as you.

It wasn't clear to me but are you saying that 1,1 and 2,1 Mac pros perform better with this card?

I wonder what's going on? as you say it can't be the hardware since the machine performs as it should under windows. It's not CPU power because in the Heaven benchmark my CPU only has about 40% utilisation.

Is the card not clocking up correctly when an OpenGL app is running? Are there utilities for OSX that allow you to see realtime card clocks?

Are the same kexts being loaded when the card is running in older Mac Pros?

What a strange problem.

Edit: I was wondering if the problem lies in the MacPro firmware... is it possible to flash the firmware from a 4,1 onto a 3,1?
 
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Surfheart

macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2010
117
17
I've approached Rob over at bare feats about this issue. He has offered to contact AMD about it if we can provide him details about the problem.

If you could contact him with your experiences that would be great.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
I've approached Rob over at bare feats about this issue. He has offered to contact AMD about it if we can provide him details about the problem.

If you could contact him with your experiences that would be great.
This is what I emailed to Rob.
Rob,
I was asked by a fellow forum member on MacRumors, Surfheart, to contact you regarding subpar performance when using AMD 7xxx / R9 GPU’s on early 2008 MacPro’s (3,1). I have attempted to chronicle everything on the following threads:

http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,8206.0.html
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1590316
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5755900

I have tested an XFX 270X, HIS 280X, and Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition. I have multiple copies of every one of those cards and I own multiple MacPro 3,1’s. I have tested the cards using both ROM switch settings, with EFI and non-EFI ROMS, and with OC’d and stock profiles. I have tested copies of the HIS cards with and without the R17 resistor, thus they have run at both 2.5 GT/s and 5 GT/s. I have performed clean installs, tested beta builds and GM builds, used various PCI-e slots, used internal and external PSU’s, tested single and multi-card configurations, tested with and without various kexts like APGM, etc. Benchmark tests are constant indicating the cards are not throttling due to TDP. I have also tested using raised TDP limits to avoid any AMD PowerPlay limits.

My benchmarks are on average 40% lower than the scores you publish at Barefeats for 4,1 and 5,1 models with the same GPU’s. Further, I can match the published benchmarks for 4,1’s and 5,1’s, if not exceed them, when I test in Windows 7 under BootCamp. Others have commented on the threads stating they experience similar problems. Please note that the 7950 referenced in these scores was clocked at 1200 mhz core, 1500 mhz memory compared to the stock 800 mhz core, 1250 mhz memory. My highly overclocked GPU can never come close to matching the stock results you published on 4,1 and 5,1 machines.

LuxMark Sala Scene (OpenCL):
XFX 270X: Stock OS X - 870; Stock Win 7 x64 - 1606. 54.2% OS X output vs Win7.
2 x 7950 OC: OS X - 2857; Win 7 x64 - 4732. 60.4% OS X output vs Win7.

Heaven Basic Preset Benchmark (OpenGL):
7950 OC: OS X - 62.8 fps, 1582 score; Win 7 x64 - 103 fps, 2595 score. 60.1% OS X output vs Win7.

Heaven Extreme Preset Benchmark (OpenGL):
7950 OC: OS X - 22.8 fps, 575 score; Win 7 x64 - 46 fps, 1159 score. 49.6% OS X output vs Win7.
Stock 7950 tested by Barefeats: 38.7 fps - http://www.barefeats.com/gpu7950.html. 58.9% vs Barefeats.

Valley Basic Preset Benchmark (OpenGL):
7950 OC: OS X - 41.3 fps, 1728 score; Win 7 x64 - 32 bit only

Valley Extreme Preset Benchmark (OpenGL):
7950 OC: OS X - 29 fps, 1213 score; Win 7 x64 - 32 bit only
Stock 7950 tested by Barefeats: 33.1 fps - http://www.barefeats.com/tube04.html

Valley Extreme HD Preset Benchmark (OpenGL):
7950 OC: OS X - 22.8 fps, 952 score; Win 7 x64 - 32 bit only

OceanWave (OpenCL):
7950 OC: OS X- 506.8 fps; Barefeats - 548 fps - http://www.barefeats.com/gpu7950.html
5770: OS X- 146.3 fps; Barefeats - 138 fps
270X: OS X- 353.9 fps; Barefeats - Not Tested


I believe my testing has eliminated the individual cards as being defective, any one machine or PCI-e slot as the problem, or power being a limiting factor. Hardware is not a limiting factor since the same working configuration can perform properly under Windows. The problem presents itself across multiple chipsets within a single family of GPU’s. Therefore I believe the drivers are to blame.

I understand that neither AMD nor Apple has ever officially supported the 7xxx series on the 3,1, so there is a good chance they won’t care to fix the problem, but it is worth a shot. Sapphire technical and customer support summarily dismissed me. We have seen zero improvement since the debut of the 7950 Mac Edition a year ago. If you can get AMD or Apple’s interest piqued even for a second, you will have done better than me. At a minimum, I think your readers would like to know that anyone with a Mac Pro 3,1 should stick to nVidia until AMD or Apple decides to fix this problem.

Thank you,


Jason Sansone


----------

I have an identical setup (Mac Pro 3,1 7950 Mac edition) and get identical benchmark scores as you.

It wasn't clear to me but are you saying that 1,1 and 2,1 Mac pros perform better with this card?

I wonder what's going on? as you say it can't be the hardware since the machine performs as it should under windows. It's not CPU power because in the Heaven benchmark my CPU only has about 40% utilisation.

Is the card not clocking up correctly when an OpenGL app is running? Are there utilities for OSX that allow you to see realtime card clocks?

Are the same kexts being loaded when the card is running in older Mac Pros?

What a strange problem.

Edit: I was wondering if the problem lies in the MacPro firmware... is it possible to flash the firmware from a 4,1 onto a 3,1?
You can flash a 1,1 to a 2,1 and a 4,1 to a 5,1. The 3,1 can't be flashed to anything else. Correct, the cards never run full out in OS X as they should. This applies to OpenGL and OpenCL. I am not familiar with a utility to see the actual states in OS X similar to what GPU-Z can do in Windows. Also yes, Rominator (aka MacVidCards) at Netkas.org demonstrated that the card will perform better on a 1,1 and 2,1 than on the 3,1.
 

jasonsansone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
16
0
Apple has modified its beta program so that it is now open to the public - https://appleseed.apple.com/sp/betaprogram. Until now, only developers could legally, officially download and install beta builds of OS X. That also meant that only registered developers could provide feedback on those builds. With the program being opened to the public, anyone can provide feedback on the builds. I strongly encourage everyone to provide feedback reports on this on going performance issue. They might actually take notice if enough complain (now that we can).