Video Card question in this time of riches

usna92

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 16, 2011
99
11
Seattle
We are living in a time of riches for MacPro compatible video cards and I am looking for the most cost efficient result. I have a 12 core 3.3 x5680 machine, with 32GB RAM. Right now it has an R9-280X installed. I am not concerned about boot screens, etc. My use case is test and development work (for work), DVD ripping for backups, the occasional photo edit, and iMovie. I do play WoW and it seems I get GPU rather than CPU bound with this machine depending on settings. I have two monitors. 24" Apple Cinema Display (mini-display port version) and 24" Apple LCD Cinema Display (DVI). I would like to improve my WoW performance mostly, since the other uses seems to do just find with the R9-280x. I would also like to stay in the $200-$300 price point.

Option 1- Stay with what I have
Pro - Cheapest
Con - Doesn't Improve my WoW performance

Option 2- RX-460 x1
Pro - Fairly Cheap
- Plug and Play Support in Sierra
Con - Do not know if it has significantly more performance than what I am already running
- RX-560 supposedly on the way

Option 3- RX-460 x2
Pro - All those of option 2
Con - Same as option 2, except twice as expensive

Option 4- RX-480
Pro - More bang for the buck, though would love to know about anyone with WoW performance information
Con - Non-standard Apple support. I know people have had success with them, but would be something I would have to watch

Option 5- Nvidia 1060
Pro - Presumably better
 

HiroThreading

macrumors member
May 1, 2017
51
42
Where does this meme about Nvidia GPUs being better come from?

Certainly AMD has no response to anything faster than the GTX 1080, but across the price stack AMD is plenty competitive. The RX 480 is pretty much equal to the GTX 1060, sometimes even beating it in RAM limited situations.

Definitely do not go with the RX460 -- your 280X is faster than that.

Are you playing in Windows (boot camp?) or OS X?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,787
5,600
Hong Kong
Agree that's no point to go for 460 or 460x2. single 460 is slower than 280x, if spend money on dual 460, then why not buy a single better card?

Both RX480 and 1060 are not natively support in MacOS. Either need kext edit or web driver. Otherwise, may only shows black screen only.

If you want to go dual card. You may consider to buy another 280x to run crossfire. Just down clock / volt them a bit, then you can rum them with internal power only.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-pro-5-1-owner-make-it-your-king-of-mac-with-2-d700s.1732849/
 

BillyBobBongo

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2007
2,481
972
On The Interweb Thingy!
I've been trying to decide between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 for some time now. Up until Nvidia released the Mac drivers my preference was for the RX 480. However, now that the drivers are available I'm looking at the EVGA 1060 6GB SC version.

I plan to drop in my old GT 120 when/if I need to see the boot screens etc. Seems less hassle than the kext edits required to get the RX 480 up and running.

Only question I'm asking myself is do I really need to upgrade. I currently have an HD 7950 in my system, and it does the job. I game quite a lot so a more up to date card is appealing as is the lower energy consumption of the GTX 1060.
 

usna92

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 16, 2011
99
11
Seattle
Where does this meme about Nvidia GPUs being better come from?

Certainly AMD has no response to anything faster than the GTX 1080, but across the price stack AMD is plenty competitive. The RX 480 is pretty much equal to the GTX 1060, sometimes even beating it in RAM limited situations.

Definitely do not go with the RX460 -- your 280X is faster than that.

Are you playing in Windows (boot camp?) or OS X?
I am not saying that NVIDIA is across the board better than NVIDIA especially at equal dollar range. Which is why both options for cards are on the table. I am playing in MacOS because to be honest I don't want the hassle of booting back and forth between windows and mac. Its not difficult, I know I have done it before. Just not excited about it.

The RX-460 was in consideration because I know it is supported right now, out of the box for Mac. I agree the performance does not improve over the R9-280X, but it would have more RAM and be more power/thermal efficient.

There is the huge 60 page plus thread on the RX-480 that I have followed, but I am still not sure that with the kext modification that you get the performance out of the card as expected. What has been your experience with it?
[doublepost=1493651894][/doublepost]
I've been trying to decide between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 for some time now. Up until Nvidia released the Mac drivers my preference was for the RX 480. However, now that the drivers are available I'm looking at the EVGA 1060 6GB SC version.

I plan to drop in my old GT 120 when/if I need to see the boot screens etc. Seems less hassle than the kext edits required to get the RX 480 up and running.

Only question I'm asking myself is do I really need to upgrade. I currently have an HD 7950 in my system, and it does the job. I game quite a lot so a more up to date card is appealing as is the lower energy consumption of the GTX 1060.
The extra memory and power thermal efficiency is what is making me think a more modern card would be nice. The new web drivers drivers is also a big draw for me to NVIDIA right now.
[doublepost=1493652281][/doublepost]
Agree that's no point to go for 460 or 460x2. single 460 is slower than 280x, if spend money on dual 460, then why not buy a single better card?

Both RX480 and 1060 are not natively support in MacOS. Either need kext edit or web driver. Otherwise, may only shows black screen only.

If you want to go dual card. You may consider to buy another 280x to run crossfire. Just down clock / volt them a bit, then you can rum them with internal power only.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/mac-pro-5-1-owner-make-it-your-king-of-mac-with-2-d700s.1732849/
Dual card was really only a consideration for the RX-460 solutions. I considered another R9, but I really didn't want to put more money into an older video card, didn't seem to make much sense, plus the hassle of trying to down clock, and mange the power at hardware level seemed a little too difficult considering there were newer options out there. I am already running the machine at a different thermal level with the 130W TDP x5680s, so I would like to reduce the heat in the case if its an option.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,787
5,600
Hong Kong
Dual card was really only a consideration for the RX-460 solutions. I considered another R9, but I really didn't want to put more money into an older video card, didn't seem to make much sense, plus the hassle of trying to down clock, and mange the power at hardware level seemed a little too difficult considering there were newer options out there. I am already running the machine at a different thermal level with the 130W TDP x5680s, so I would like to reduce the heat in the case if its an option.
That's totally fine. However, just can't see why you want to spend more money to get less performance. A 2nd 280X is so cheap (compare to 2x RX460), and 280X CF is more powerful then RX460 CF.

Of course, that's a lot of work to do. However, if you want something cheaper and stronger. Usually that's not a easier solution.

Anyway, for gaming. Single 1060 is the way to go. Especially you have a 280X on hand which can provide you the boot screen when you really need it. (I mean swap the card back in only when you need it)
[doublepost=1493653780][/doublepost]
I've been trying to decide between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 for some time now. Up until Nvidia released the Mac drivers my preference was for the RX 480. However, now that the drivers are available I'm looking at the EVGA 1060 6GB SC version.

I plan to drop in my old GT 120 when/if I need to see the boot screens etc. Seems less hassle than the kext edits required to get the RX 480 up and running.

Only question I'm asking myself is do I really need to upgrade. I currently have an HD 7950 in my system, and it does the job. I game quite a lot so a more up to date card is appealing as is the lower energy consumption of the GTX 1060.
Agree that 1060 is better then RX480. No one knows will Apple block the RX480 on next OS update. On the other hand, you can clearly know if the web driver avail before you perform the OS update.
 

HiroThreading

macrumors member
May 1, 2017
51
42
I am not saying that NVIDIA is across the board better than NVIDIA especially at equal dollar range. Which is why both options for cards are on the table. I am playing in MacOS because to be honest I don't want the hassle of booting back and forth between windows and mac. Its not difficult, I know I have done it before. Just not excited about it.
Your biggest performance bottleneck is macOS. Switching to Windows so you can run your games with DX11/12/Vulkan will give you the biggest performance improvement.

The RX-460 was in consideration because I know it is supported right now, out of the box for Mac. I agree the performance does not improve over the R9-280X, but it would have more RAM and be more power/thermal efficient.
But performance would be worse, almost uniformly worse. Totally not worth it.

RAM is not an issue because the RX460 will hit a GPU performance wall before the 280X runs into a VRAM limitation.

There is the huge 60 page plus thread on the RX-480 that I have followed, but I am still not sure that with the kext modification that you get the performance out of the card as expected. What has been your experience with it?
[doublepost=1493651894][/doublepost]
I'm currently running an R9-290X on a hackintosh (El Capitan). I have no issues with El Cap, but I can't upgrade to Sierra due to the notorious "boot to black screen" issue. Performance is fine though, and the card is still very fast in modern games in Windows.

Performance on macOS with he Nvidia web drivers is far from perfect. Lots of issues, performance bugs and so on.
 

usna92

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 16, 2011
99
11
Seattle
That's totally fine. However, just can't see why you want to spend more money to get less performance. A 2nd 280X is so cheap (compare to 2x RX460), and 280X CF is more powerful then RX460 CF.

Of course, that's a lot of work to do. However, if you want something cheaper and stronger. Usually that's not a easier solution.

Anyway, for gaming. Single 1060 is the way to go. Especially you have a 280X on hand which can provide you the boot screen when you really need it. (I mean swap the card back in only when you need it)
[doublepost=1493653780][/doublepost]

Agree that 1060 is better then RX480. No one knows will Apple block the RX480 on next OS update. On the other hand, you can clearly know if the web driver avail before you perform the OS update.

I really appreciate all the answers here. To be honest I am in a really lucky position. I actually have two 5,1s that my office handed off for a song. I paid $400 for two dual CPU machines. One I have left pretty much stock to run the home server and the other is my experimentation/desktop/WoW box. I also have a PC, but I work and live in the Mac world, so getting the most out of this great machine is really my hobby since I can't fix cars. I can deal with a certain amount of disruption/tinkering with my desktop box, but I do want something that is reasonably stable. I also don't want to invest too heavily into components that can't be repurposed into a different machine when I have to retire one of these old warhorses into the great karma recycling bin. It looks like it might be the 1060 then since I don't need magical performance on FCPX.
[doublepost=1493663953][/doublepost]
Your biggest performance bottleneck is macOS. Switching to Windows so you can run your games with DX11/12/Vulkan will give you the biggest performance improvement.


But performance would be worse, almost uniformly worse. Totally not worth it.

RAM is not an issue because the RX460 will hit a GPU performance wall before the 280X runs into a VRAM limitation.



I'm currently running an R9-290X on a hackintosh (El Capitan). I have no issues with El Cap, but I can't upgrade to Sierra due to the notorious "boot to black screen" issue. Performance is fine though, and the card is still very fast in modern games in Windows.

Performance on macOS with he Nvidia web drivers is far from perfect. Lots of issues, performance bugs and so on.
Which boot to black issue? Is that different than the non-flashed video card thing?