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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  • frelledstl - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    "I have to admit that I've been petting it regularly ever since. It's really awesomely smooth. It's actually the first desktop in a very long time that I want very close to me."

    You lost me here dude. Scary...
    Reply
  • lilo777 - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    It's jusr AT delivering main Apple talking points. After all small size is the only [questionable] benefit of MP. How else can they justify skimping on GPU power no expandability etc. Reply
  • darkcrayon - Wednesday, January 01, 2014 - link

    Ahh yes, a willfully ignorant troll on any forum. "No expandability"... Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, January 01, 2014 - link

    Lol...you're baaaack! To spew more bullshit? Expandability skimping? Developing thunderbolt hand in hand with Intel, decreasing the weight from 70 to 10 pounds yet blowing the doors off its predecessor with its 'skimpy' GPU offerings....hmmm, I'll take two. Sorry you've no need for the machine. Many that do will easily save time.....which in turn allows the computer to make more money....which allows it to pay for itself.
    Engineering art AND function AND the balls to pull it off
    Are you still missing your Soundblaster? Your serial and parallel connections?
    I'd like to think LILO has a life....but it's pretty much a given, ANY Apple story, review, even objective measurements Anand and team provide, LILO will be here....fast as he can. Quarterbacking from mom's basement with his Pentium 4 and Voodoo3DFX....feed the spider dude. Get out. Get some air. Then learn about computers. It wouldn't waste as much 'comment' space. You're obviously in need of an xbox...not a workstation with MORE Expandability than any other computer on the market and weighing a bit more than Dell and HP's 'workstation' laptops. Wow. Just. Wow. Hopefully some day anonymity will be taken away in these comment sections. Would make it nice to know some folks would just find a different place to troll
    Reply
  • bji - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    That's alot of hate for something so insignificant. Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    He probably uses an old Adlib card and not even a soundblaster! :D Grin it's been so long I actually had google to remember the name Adlib! Reply
  • KVFinn - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    People have been avoiding crossfire AMD chips for awhile because of frame pacing issues (high frame but with stutters and frames out of sequence so looks worse overall) AMD recently fixed this but only in the 290 model. Do the D700s suffer from this issue in windows gaming? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Yes. D700s are Tahiti based and as such have all the same limitations as the 7970/280x parts, where it has yet to be fixed for Eyefinity configurations (including tiled monitors). Reply
  • mesahusa - Thursday, January 09, 2014 - link

    why in hell would you even ask such a stupid question? its pretty obvious that this is for video editors and movie makers, not gamers -_- Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Where is the Single Threaded Performance for the first graph on page 2? Reply

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