Gaming Performance

As I mentioned earlier, under OS X games have to specifically be written to use both GPUs in the new Mac Pro. Under Windows however it's just a matter of enabling CrossFire X. I ran the new Mac Pro with dual FirePro D700s through a few of Ryan's 2014 GPU test suite games. The key comparison here is AMD's Radeon R9 280X CF. I've put all of the relevent information about the differences between the GPUs in the table below:

Mac Pro (Late 2013) GPU Comparison
  AMD Radeon R9 280X AMD FirePro D700
SPs 2048 2048
GPU Clock (base) 850MHz 650MHz
GPU Clock (boost) 1000MHz 850MHz
Single Precision GFLOPS 4096 GFLOPS 3481 GFLOPS
Texture Units 128 128
ROPs 32 32
Transistor Count 4.3 Billion 4.3 Billion
Memory Interface 384-bit GDDR5 384-bit GDDR5
Memory Datarate 6000MHz 5480MHz
Peak GPU Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 264 GB/s
GPU Memory 3GB 6GB

Depending on thermal conditions the 280X can be as little as 17% faster than the D700 or as much as 30% faster, assuming it's not memory bandwidth limited. In the case of a memory bandwidth limited scenario the gap can shrink to 9%.

All of the results below are using the latest Radeon WHQL drivers at the time of publication (13-12_win7_win8_64_dd_ccc_whql.exe) running 64-bit Windows 8.1. Keep in mind that the comparison cards are all run on our 2014 GPU testbed, which is a 6-core Ivy Bridge E (i7-4960X) running at 4.2GHz. In other words, the other cards will have a definite CPU performance advantage (20 - 30% depending on the number of active cores).

You'll notice that I didn't run anything at 4K for these tests. Remember CrossFire at 4K is still broken on everything but the latest GCN 1.1 hardware from AMD.

Battlefield 3 - 2560x1440 - Ultra Quality + 4x MSAA

Battlefield 3 starts out telling the story I expected to see. A pair of 280Xes ends up being 16% faster than the dual FirePro D700 setup in the Mac Pro. You really start to get an idea of where the Mac Pro's high-end GPU configuration really lands.

Bioshock Infinite - 2560x1440 - Ultra Quality + DDoF

Bioshock ends up at the extreme end of what we'd expect to see between the 280X and D700. I tossed in a score from Bioshock under OS X, which obviously doesn't have CF working and ends up at less than half of the performance of the D700. If you're going to do any heavy 3D gaming, you'll want to do it under Windows still.

Company of Heroes 2 - 2560x1440 - Maximum Quality + Med. AA

Not all games will scale well across multiple GPUs: Company of Heroes 2 is one of them. There's no performance uplift from having two 280Xes and thus the D700 performs like a slower single GPU R9 280X.

Company of Heroes 2 - Min. Frame Rate - 2560x1440 - Maximum Quality + Med. AA

Metro: Last Light - 2560x1440 - High Quality

Metro is the one outlier in our test suite. Although CrossFire is clearly working under Windows, under Metro the D700 behaves as if it wasn't. I'm not sure what's going on here, but this does serve as a reminder that relying on multi-GPU setups to increase performance does come with a handful of these weird cases - particularly if you're using non-standard GPU configurations.

GPU Choices 4K Support & The 4K Experience
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  • instantchip - Monday, October 13, 2014 - link

    It's beautiful and this time the beauty is not at the expense of the performance and engineering. (Unlike with the G4 Cube—Form vs Function: Is the New Mac Pro Another G4 Cube? chipbrown.me/2013/06/14/form-vs-function-is-the-new-mac-another-g4-cube/)

    This is as it should be. Like Porsche does with a perfect 911—The perfect blend of performance, design and engineering.
    Reply
  • esse_bi - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    hallo,

    is the mac pro 30 bit or 24bit in windows8 [i.e. with photoshop CC]

    thanks a lot
    Reply
  • wolfman3k5 - Sunday, March 15, 2015 - link

    Lucky for us classic Mac Pro users, there are more up-to-date video cards available for our systems than for the new Mac Pro (late 2013). Check this out:

    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Reference Design: https://sqz.io/gtx980-1
    - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB ACX: https://sqz.io/gtx980-2
    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB Reference Design: https://sqz.io/gtx970-1
    - Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB AMP! Extreme: https://sqz.io/gtx970-2
    - Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB AMP! Omega: https://sqz.io/gtx970-3

    Now, when was the last time you could reliably install the latest and greatest video card in your Mac Pro? Never mind that the factory video cards in the new Mac Pro are obsolete from the factory.
    Reply
  • stefantoolstoday - Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - link

    wolfman3k5, how do you know the factory video cards in the new Mac Pro are obsolete from the factory? Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, June 04, 2015 - link

    Because the d700 is a r280x, which is a 7970, which came out in 2011. so, as of today, those gpu's are 3.5 years old. Reply
  • rodion15 - Saturday, September 12, 2015 - link

    Could I know which of the 2 graphics boards is artifacting (showing red spots or vertical lines?) while using 2 monitors.
    I'd welcome if you email answer to amsemail9@gmail.com
    Thank you
    Reply
  • Dwayne A. Beck - Wednesday, June 01, 2016 - link

    I would definitely recommend this product because of its powerful CPUs Ivy Bridge-EP Xeon and I am very impressed with its dual-GPU setup. http://www.pickmyrouter.com/best-modem-router-comb... Reply
  • nirbhay01 - Saturday, February 18, 2017 - link

    Check out the review of the xiaomi air laptop which is a tough competitor of macbook series - http://www.gadgetsdeck.com/2017/01/xiamoi-air-lapt... Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - link

    " I don't see much room for Apple to move to more powerful GPUs though. "

    Funny reading this now, it's exactly what Apple cited preventing upgrades.
    Reply

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