The Mac Pro Review (Late 2013)by Anand Lal Shimpi on December 31, 2013 3:18 PM EST
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|
|GPU Clock (base)||850MHz||650MHz|
|GPU Clock (boost)||1000MHz||850MHz|
|Single Precision GFLOPS||4096 GFLOPS||3481 GFLOPS|
|Transistor Count||4.3 Billion||4.3 Billion|
|Memory Interface||384-bit GDDR5||384-bit GDDR5|
|Peak GPU Memory Bandwidth||288 GB/s||264 GB/s|
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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akdj - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - linkThis is what you gleaned from such an insightful review....of a revolutionized desktop computer from Apple? Seriously? He was running a GPU and CPU 'poison' in order to find the ceiling. NOTHING in his real world testing including editing, rendering and transcoding 4k video increased core temps dangerously, nor did they spin the fans up audibly (a quiet room is typically 40-45dB). Wow. Amazing comprehension. Guess it fits with your 'name'
Morawka - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - linkthe very next paragraph he reached the same power use and same thermal throtteling using a "normal 4k workload", he just didnt go back and correct his first paragraph about it not being able to hit that ceiling on normal workloads.
damianrobertjones - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link"of a revolutionized desktop "
Oh please stop. It's just a desktop with x or y and nothing amazingly special.
akdj - Friday, January 3, 2014 - link"It's just a desktop with x or y and nothing amazingly special."....lol. Are you 16? I'm 43....and THIS is a revolution in desktop technology, power, size, speed, aesthetics, storage, expandability and power efficiency. 'X' and 'Y' are pretty F'ing 'significant' IMHO. Oh....yeah....it's Rev A. A baby. As a user of ridiculously large boxes, servers and heavy monitors over the years----to call it anything BUT revolutionary is ignorant. Revolutionary doesn't always have to equal success immediately---but with the decline in desktop sales...but still the 'need' to have desktop power, it's pretty cool someone thought outside of the 'box'
tyaty1 - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - linkWhile the design is intuitive, any kind throttling is unforgivable in this price range. The old Mac Pro did not do that, even a skillfully home-built desktop computer wont to that either.
It is not desktop computer , but a workstation. It needs to serve its purpose without fault, no more no less.
Apple stepped into the consumer line too much, and it works them well, but it negatively impacts the business/professional customers.
Morawka - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - linkhell i dont think the cooler surface area is a problem, i think the Black Chassis, Black Cooler, Black PCB are all whats causing the high temps. they should have left the thermal core pure copper and not used any anodizing. Black keeps heat in!
name99 - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - linkI guess you're unfamiliar with the concept of black body radiation...
jasonelmore - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - linki am, but reading the wiki on "black body radiation" i fail to see how it applies to this Mac Pro.
wallysb01 - Friday, January 3, 2014 - linkThings colored black radiate (and absorb) heat faster than other colors. Black body radiation has nothing to do with things actually being black.
Ppietra - Friday, January 3, 2014 - linkblack body radiation refers to the kind of radiation that a body emits due to its temperature.
Most thermal radiation (at this kind of temperatures) is infrared, so it doesn’t matter what is the visible color of the objects surrounding the "hot" object.
But even if the "hot" body emitted significant visible light, the black color of the surrounding objects would actually help absorb that energy which would then be dissipated as infrared radiation or by heat transfer to the air or other objects