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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"

MAC GAME SHOOTOUT:
Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition
versus GeForce 8800 GT and others

Originally posted June 13th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

If you are a 3D gamer (or 3D OpenGL Pro App user), then you'll want to know how the new Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition stacks up against the GeForce 8800 GT and other GPUs when it comes to 3D OpenGL performance.

ASPYR ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS (ETQW)
This is the newest "shoot'em up" game for the Mac. It's very demanding compared to older games.

ASPYR PREY
We use a demo file in our benchmarking that we downloaded from Overclockers in Australia. High Quality was selected (including 8X anisotropy and dynamic shadows).

MACSOFT HALO
We ran the newest UB version (2.0.2). We set everything to the highest quality except lens flare. FSAA was set to OFF.

ASPYR QUAKE 4
In the spirit of Quake 3, it carries on the tradition of being Multi-Core (SMP) aware. The 1.42 patch comes with a nettimedemo file called "id_perftest."

BLIZZARD WORLD OF WARCRAFT
With the help of a Blizzard programmer, we devised a test that stresses the GPU and produces repeatable results. We placed our Warrior in the Firetree realm. He started at the totem pole at the entrance to Camp Narache, ran East to the two large trees on a nearby hill, turned around, and returned to the totem pole. By using an addon called "Titan Performance," we were able to capture average frame rate for the running sequence. (Test was run in Full Screen mode and Default settings.)

MACSOFT UNREAL TOURNAMENT 2004 FLYBY
We used the SantaDuck Toolkit to benchmark with UT2004. Though a Botmatch simulates actual game play, it is quite CPU intensive. However, the Flyby benchmark is primarily GPU -- especially at max settings and high resolution. We used the Inferno map.

LEGEND of GRAPHS
Harper = Mac Pro 3.2GHz "Harpertown" (early 2008)
Clover = Mac Pro 3.0GHz "Clovertown" (2007)
8800 = nVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (Apple CTO option or kit; different ROM code for "early 2008" versus "2006/2007" Mac Pro)
3870 = ATI Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition (Retail upgrade kit)
2600 = ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT (Standard card for "early 2008" Mac Pro)
1900 = ATI Radeon X1900 XT (Apple CTO 2006 Mac Pro)

Both systems booted from the identical model of 500G Seagate 7K SATA drive running Mac OS X 10.5.3.

CONCLUSION
Though the GeForce 8800 GT is faster (in most cases) than the Radeon HD 3870 for 3D gaming, the Radeon is much faster than the base Radeon HD 2600 XT. And don't forget the Radeon HD 3870 beats the GeForce 8800 GT in Core Image performance needed for Apple's Pro Apps. That's why we recommend the Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition as the best overall graphics card.

Many hard core gamers with Mac Pros run PC games under Windows XP or Vista in their Boot Camp partition. Notice the Radeon HD 38700 is called "Mac & PC Edition." That means it not only works nicely under Windows XP or Vista, but there is driver support for Crossfire mode. We tested this capability using two Radeon HD 3870s. Not only does it work but the Control Center app has an Overdrive features that lets you automatically test your Radeon HD 3870 to see how much it can be overclocked before overheating. Check out our Radeon HD 3870 versus GeForce 8800 GT page running various "PC only" 3D accelerated games.

RELATED LINKS

Bare Feats tests the Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition using Core Image intensive apps (Motion 3, iMovie HD, iMaginator 4).

Bare Feats tests the Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition using "PC only" 3D Games running under Vista 64 bit Ultimate (in a Boot Camp partition).

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY A MAC PRO
When ordering products from Apple Store USA, please click THIS TEXT LINK or any Apple display ad as your "portal" to the online store. In so doing, you help to support Bare Feats.

(DON'T LIVE in the USA? See links for Apple online stores in other countries.)

Also check with Small Dog Electronics and Power Max. (Power Max takes trade-ins.)

WHERE TO BUY GRAPHICS CARD UPGRADE KITS

The Radeon HD 3870 Mac & PC Edition ($219 MSRP) will be available "late June" direct from ATI's Online Store or from Other World Computing or from Small Dog Electronics. Unlike the GeForce 8800 GT, one card is compatible with ALL models of Mac Pro (2006 - 2008).

You can order the GeForce 8800 GT kit for whatever Mac Pro you own by going to the Apple Store USA and clicking on the "Displays" link in the left column. You'll see two versions of the GeForce 8800 GT listed: The "early 2008" and "1st Generation" models. The price for both is $279.

The Radeon HD 2600 XT kit will work on the older Mac Pros as well as the new one (thanks to having both a 32-bit and 64-bit EFI driver in the ROM). Search on "MB198Z/A" when you visit Apple Store USA ($129).

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY FOR YOUR MAC PRO
Apple charges and arm and a leg for CTO memory options. We suggested ordering your Mac Pro with minimal memory and getting 8GB or 16GB of matched FB-DIMMs that meet Apple's specs and use Apple approved heat sinks from ....

Other World Computing

Trans International

MaxUpgrades makes max_flow, a kit to keep your Mac Pro memory running even cooler.

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2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster