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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

DIRT Rally Metal 2 Shootout

November 29th, 2017, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
November 30th, 2017, added Apple laptop shootout.

Feral Interactive has released a version of DIRT Rally for macOS that uses the full power of Metal 2. It requires macOS High Sierra (10.13.1 recommended). We conducted a "test drive" on various Macs with various GPUs to see which is the best Mac to run on.


The MINI Cooper made a splash in 1964 by being the overall winner of the Monte Carlo Rallye.

GRAPH LEGEND
iMac 5K Vega 64 - AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB) GPU installed in Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box connected to the 2017 iMac 5K TB3 port; Dell 5K was set to primary display and connected directly to the Vega 64's DP port.
iMac 5K Pro 580 - AMD Radeon Pro 580 GPU (8GB) internal discrete GPU in 2017 iMac 5K (4.2GHz Core i7) and using built-in display
Mac Pro 2013 Vega 64 - AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB) GPU installed in Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box connected to the 2013 Mac Pro's TB2 port; Dell 5K was set to primary display and connected directly to the Vega 64's DP port.
Mac Pro 2013 D700 - Single AMD FirePro D700 GPU (6GB) in 2013 Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon and connected to LG UltraFine 5K display via TB2 port
Mac Pro 2010 1080Ti - GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB) GPU installed in x16 Slot 1 of 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon with DP port of GPU connected to a Dell 5K display.
Mac Pro 2010 Vega 64 - AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB) GPU installed in 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon with DP port of GPU connected to a Dell 5K display.
rMBP 13in Vega 64 - AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB) GPU installed in Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box connected to the 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch's TB3 port; Dell 5K display was set to primary and connected directly to the Vega 64's DP port.
rMBP 13in Intel 550 - Integrated Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU of the 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch with 3.3GHz Dual Core i7 processor; external LG UltraFine 5K display was connected to a TB3 port enabling benchmark runs at 2560x1440 (lid was shut)

NOTE: While running the built-in benchmark, we used the MEDIUM preset with vsync OFF and multisampling OFF.

MINIMUM FPS - When the built-in benchmark completes, a pop-up windows reveals the Minimum, Maximum, and Average frame rate. Minimum is important to note since if it drops too low, you have jerky performance. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

AVERAGE FPS - We like to use average FPS as a measure of overall performance potential of a Mac/GPU combo for gaming. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The 2017 iMac 5K with Pro 580 appears to be the best Mac platform to run DIRT Rally. Connecting the RX Vega 64 via eGPU did not boost the performance over the factory setup.

The venerable 2010 Mac Pro tower was disappointing. Even with the fastest GPUs and 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon processor, it seemed to hit a wall in the mid 60s FPS. The 2013 Mac Pro with factory FirePro D700 was faster than the 2010 on average but not by much.

If you have a MacBook Pro with Intel's Integrated GPU, the FPS is pathetic by comparison. But there is hope. Adding an eGPU box with the RX Vega 64 GPU tripled the average framerate. However, you must be prepared to cough up a chunk of change (for eGPU box and hi-end GPU) to reap this reward.

Because the MacBook Pro 13-inch internal display could not be set to 2560x1440, when testing the internal GPU, we connected the LG UltraFine 5K display to one of the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and ran with closed lid.

BONUS SHOOTOUT
We had a chance to benchmark two 2017 MacBook Pros so we decided to add a DIRT Rally addendum using internal displays running at 2304x1440 with Medium preset (vsync OFF, multisampling OFF). As you can see, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is twice as fast as the two 13-nch MacBook Pros.

GRAPH LEGEND
2017 rMBP 15-inch -
2017 MacBook Pro 15-inch, 2.9GHz Quad Core i7 processor, Radeon Pro 560 discrete GPU
2017 rMBP 13-inch -
2017 MacBook Pro 13-inch, 3.1GHz Dual Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 integrated GPU
2016 rMBP 13-inch -
2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch, 3.3GHz Dual Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Graphics 550 integrated GPU

NOTE: Feral Interactive has done extensive testing with various settings. They recommend you start off with the automatic settings including having VSYNC enabled. We turned off the automatic settings in order to compare multiple Mac configurations running at 2560x1440 Fullscreen, NO vsync, NO multisampling, and MEDIUM preset.

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WHERE TO BUY DIRT RALLY for macOS
Order direct from Feral Interactive, or purchase on the Mac App Store, or on Steam.
It requires macOS High Sierra (10.13.1 or later recommended) Mac App Store currently has the lowest price although Steam offers discounts from time to time -- as they did on Black Friday.

WHERE TO BUY THE AMD RADEON RX VEGA 64 GPU
B&H Photo Video sells various brand of Radeon RX Vega 64. Check also with NewEgg. Both also sell the various Pascal NVIDIA GPUs.

WHERE TO BUY Thunderbolt 3 GPU expander boxes
Order the eGFX Breakaway Box direct from Sonnet Technologies or from B&H Photo Video.

The AKiTiO Node eGFX Box can be ordered from B&H Photo Video.

WHERE TO BUY MACS and OTHER 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 MACS

WHERE TO BUY APPLE FACTORY REFURBISHED MACS
Apple Store USA has refurbished Macs with 12 month warranty.

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copyright 2017 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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