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Mac Pro Tower Upgrade:
GeForce GTX 980 GPU versus others
running OpenGL apps

Posted Friday, November 14th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated February 6th, 2015, with more OpenGL tests

Many of you have decided to stick with your Mac Pro tower and are 'hungry' for ways to 'pump it up.' One of our favorite upgrades is a faster GPU. We are excited about the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 because it requires less power than the other top GPU options yet promises equal or better performance. Below are four OpenGL tests to ponder.

GRAPH LEGEND
GTX 980 = modified NVDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPU (4GB, 1215MHz)
R9 290X = modified AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU (4GB, 1000MHz)
GTX 780 = modified NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 GPU (3GB, 900MHz)
GTX 680 = NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 GPU Mac Edition (2GB, 1058MHz)
HD 7970 = modified AMD Radeon HD 7950 GPU (3GB, 925MHz)
HD 7950 = AMD Radeon HD 7950 GPU Mac Edition (3GB, 800MHz)
GTX 570 = modified NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 GPU (2.5GB, 1464MHz)
HD 5870 = AMD Radeon HD 5870 GPU Mac Edition (1GB, 850MHz)
HD 4870 = AMD Radeon HD 4870 GPU Mac Edition (512MB, 750MHz)
The 'test mule' was a 'Mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon Tower running OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite.

Left 4 Dead 2(on Steam)
We use the console command 'timedemo' to playback a short game session. Settings were 2560x1440, Fullscreen, 4X AA, Anisotropic 8X, Vsync Disabled, Shader Detail Very High, Effect Detail and Model/Texture Detail both High, Multicore Rendering Enabled.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

Tomb Raider
Using the HIGH preset at 2560x1440, we ran the built-in benchmark.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in FRAMES per SECOND.)

Diablo III
We ran at 2560x1440, Vsync Disabled, Highest Quality with Anti-Aliasing Disabled.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

Batman Arkham City GOTY
Using the built-in benchmark, we checked all the boxes on the startup dialog but V-Sync and FXAA. Detail Level was set to High.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

GPUtest- FurMark
This is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms to measure the performance of the graphics card. Fur rendering is especially adapted to overheat the GPU and that's why FurMark is also a perfect stability and stress test tool for the graphics card. We ran the test at 2560x1440 Windowed with anti-aliasing disabled.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

Valley
This OpenGL benchmark by Unigine 'flies' through forest-covered valley surrounded by vast mountains. It amazes with its scale from a birdÕs-eye view of 64 million meters of extremely detailed terrain down to every leaf and flower petal. It features advanced visual technologies: dynamic sky, volumetric clouds, sun shafts, DOF, ambient occlusion. (It is cross platform. For Windows users it is a test of DirectX.)

Valley provides three presets to help standardize comparison testing: Basic, Extreme, and Extreme HD. We used Extreme preset: 1600x900 windowed resolution with 8x Anti-aliasing, Ultra Quality for Shaders and Textures, and with Occlusion, Refraction, and Volumetric Shadows enabled. (LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

GFXBench 3
This is a cross-platform graphics benchmark. We used the 'T-Rex chasing the Motocross rider' test. The off-screen test runs at 1920x1080.
(LONGER graph bar means FASTEST in Frames per Second.)

INSIGHTS
TheNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980was fast but not the fastest in all tests. It is certainly faster than the 'blessed' Mac Editions of the GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7950.

Just as important is power draw. At 165 watts, the GeForce GTX 980 has no need for auxiliary power no matter how hard it was stressed. On the other hand, the GeForce GTX 780 and Radeon R9 290X can draw so much power when stressed that the Mac Pro tower shuts down. (This happened when running FurMark OpenGL benchmark.) The only way to guard against shutdowns with those two GPUs is to employ an auxiliary power source for at least one of the GPU's power connectors.

CAVEATS
The GeForce GTX 980 was modified by MacVidCards to present a normal startup screen. We used NVIDIA's web driver for the Quadro K5000 for Mac. An unmodified GTX 980 will boot under OS X Yosemite if you don't care about a boot screen.

The Radeon R9 290X was modified by MacVidCards to run in PCIe 2.0 mode. It boots with Apple's factory AMD drivers but there is no startup screen.

The GeForce GTX 780 was modified by MacVidCards to present a normal boot startup screen. We used NVIDIA's web driver for the Quadro K5000 for Mac.

PREDICTION
The GeForce GTX 980 will likely become a top choice by Mac Pro tower owners who want a fast, power efficient GPU.

Check out our second GTX 980 page with test results for DaVinci Resolve, LuxMark, and Octane Render. It includes results for 9 other Mac Pro tower GPUs.

Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me,
Follow me on Twitter @barefeats

WHERE TO BUY APPLE products:
USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. Live outside the USA? No problem. We are affiliated with these Apple Stores:

OTHER SOURCES FOR APPLE PRODUCTS

  • PowerMax not only sells new and used Macs, but will give you a generous trade-in offer on your old Mac.
  • The Sapphire Radeon R9 7950 Mac Edition is available from OWC and TransIntl.
  • The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition is sold by Other World Computing (MacSales.com), Trans International (TransIntl.com), and Amazon.
  • The flashed GeForce GTX 780 and Radeon R9 290X are available from MacVidCards
  • The un-flashed GeForce GTX 980 is available from Amazon.
  • Visit EditBuilder's eBay Store. Or you can email them or call them (1-855-EDIT-BAY). They are offering both tray replacements as well as complete setups with 1-3 year warranties. They also offer up 128GB 1333MHZ RAM and graphics card upgrades for Mac Pro towers.
  • Also, check out Other World Computing's Processor Tray Upgrade Program.

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY UPGRADES FOR MAC PRO TOWERS

WHERE TO BUY FACTORY REFURBISHED MACS
Apple Store USA has refurbished Macs with 12 month warranty that can be extended to 36 months with AppleCare. Pay attention to the GPU it comes with.

PowerMax not only sells used Macs, but will give you a generous trade-in offer on your current Mac

Other World Computing has a Used Mac Store.

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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
'BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS'
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  1. Gtx 680 Mac Rom

Download free limewire music basic. Feb 22, 2019  EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition Academy Get to the next level with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition. This card delivers truly game-changing performance that taps into the powerful new GeForce architecture to redefine smooth, seamless, lifelike gaming. It offers brand new, never before seen features that will redefine the way you think. Aug 04, 2013  EVGA announces a GTX 680 Mac Edition 2. Flashable GTX 680s being sold in the UK, super cheap! Flashing the GTX680 2GB Added on 08/04/13: Dr. Stealth has an excellent thread on how to flash the GTX 680 4GB models at this link, and what 4GB models were successfully flashed. Jun 02, 2013  -Once flashed it will behave like an EVGA Mac Edition GTX 680, everything the 'official' card can do, the flashed card can do.-It will work in windowsboot camp without issue, just install the latest Windows Drivers from Nvidia.-To flash the card in windowsbootcamp: download EVGA Mac Bios.

Sep 02, 2015  Re: Flashing a PC Nvidia Geforce GT 640 for Mac « Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 03:33:46 PM » Besides the fact, that the publicly available information on Nvidia flashing is rather limited: There is no EFI32 for Kepler cards, so it's not possible to flash that card for your MacPro1,1. May 30, 2015  hi guys first things first:) this card wasnt mine before. I've made a cheap deal on ebay. Im looking around for a few days till now but i wasnt able to find any working answers. Looks like the prevous owner flashed the bios of a gtx 680 on it. Im trying to repair this little bitch.

TAP INTO FASTER, SMOOTHER,
RICHER GAMING.

Get to the next level with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition. This card delivers truly game-changing performance that taps into the powerful new GeForce architecture to redefine smooth, seamless, lifelike gaming. It offers brand new, never before seen features that will redefine the way you think about performance graphics cards. Expect more from your graphics card than just state-of-the-art features and technology; get faster, smoother and a richer gaming experience with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition.

GTX 680
Mac Edition

EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition 2GB

Core Specs

How to flash nvidia geforce gtx 680 for mac
  • CUDA Cores: 1536
  • Base Clock: 1006 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1058 MHz
  • Bus: PCIe 2.0

Memory Specs

  • Memory Detail: 2048 MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width: 256 Bit
  • Memory Clock: 6008 MHz
  • Memory Speed: 0.33 ns
  • Memory Bandwidth: 192.26 GB/s

Key Features

  • NVIDIA GPU Boost
  • Supports four concurrent displays; two dual-link DVI connectors, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.1
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • PCI Express 2.0 Support
  • OpenGL 3.2 Support
  • OpenCL Support

Academy

Get to the next level with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition. This card delivers truly game-changing performance that taps into the powerful new GeForce architecture to redefine smooth, seamless, lifelike gaming. It offers brand new, never before seen features that will redefine the way you think about performance graphics cards. Expect more from your graphics card than just state-of-the-art features and technology; get faster, smoother and a richer gaming experience with the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition.

Gtx 680 Mac Rom

  • NVIDIA GPU Boost Technology
  • Dynamically maximizes clock speeds to push performance to new levels and bring out the best in every game. This technology is based on the temperature and power draw of your card, as well as what application you're running. The card will tailor its clock speeds for maximum performance & longevity.
  • PCI Express 2.0
  • PCI Express 2.0 offers high data transfer speeds to allow for maximum performance in bandwidth-hungry games and 3D applications.
  • Attention to Quality
  • EVGA's attention to quality is worth noting, from performance to appearance, even down to the package contents and protection. EVGA cards ship with cover caps over the critical components, eliminating worries about any dust build-up or damage that could occur.
  • EVGA High Flow Bracket
  • On select EVGA graphics cards, this brand new bracket design lowers operating temperatures by as much as 3 degrees Celsius.
  • EVGA Warranty
  • Brand new EVGA warranty that covers the graphics card, not the user. This means the only requirement for warranty coverage is ownership of the card during its warranty period. Learn more here.