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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

iMac Pros versus Mac Pros running X-Plane 11 Flight Simulator

March 26th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

X-Plane 11 is a serious flight simulator. We wanted to see how well it performed on the iMac Pro compared to two Mac Pros and top spec iMac 5K. (Special thanks to Angelique van Campen, publisher of X-Plained, for her input and participation.)

GRAPH LEGEND
iMac Pro 10-core - 2017 iMac Pro 3.0GHz 10-Core Xeon W-2150B CPU, 64GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC SDRAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB) GPU
iMac Pro 8-core - 2017 iMac Pro 3.2GHz 8-Core Xeon W-2140B CPU, 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC SDRAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB) GPU
iMac 5K 4-core - 2017 iMac 5K 4.2GHz Quad Core i7 (7700K), 32GB of 2400MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM, AMD Radeon Pro 580 (8GB)
nMP 8-core - 2013 Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon E5-1680 v2 CP, 64GB of 1866MHz of DDR3 ECC SDRAM, dual AMD FirePro D700s (6GB each) GPUs (though only one used by X-Plane); display was the LG UltraFine 5K connected to a Thunderbolt 2 port
cMP 12-core - 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz 12-Core Xeon X5680, 96GB of 1333MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM, AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition (16GB) GPU with DisplayPort connected to a Dell 5K display.

X-Plane 11.11v2 running FPS test 1 (lowest quality) using 'test_flight_c4.fdr' replay (cockpit view). (HIGHER Frames Per Second = FASTER)

X-Plane 11.11v2 running FPS test 3 (high quality) using 'test_flight_c4.fdr' replay (cockpit view). (HIGHER Frames Per Second = FASTER)

X-Plane 11.11v2 running FPS test 5,4 (best quality with fog) using 'test_flight_c4.fdr' replay (cockpit view). (HIGHER Frames Per Second = FASTER)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The iMac Pros handily beat both Mac Pros in all three X-Plane 11 tests.

Surprisingly, the 2017 iMac 5K 4-core with Pro 580 GPU was faster than the iMac Pro 8-core with Pro Vega 64 GPU in two out of three "C4" flights. Though not shown on the graphs, both the 2017 Core i5 iMac 5K and 2017 Core i7 MacBook Pro (15-in) also beat the two Mac Pros running "c5_test_flight" in "fps_test=3" mode.

How can that be? For one thing, CPU load never rose above 314%. So having more than 4-cores was not an advantage. As for GPU load, a maximum of 6% was reported.

Speaking of GPU, replacing the Radeon Vega Frontier with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in the 2010 Mac Pro actually produced lower FPS.

When it comes to X-Plane, it is hard to justify the costlier iMac Pro when a high-end iMac 5K is stiff competition. But if you are using the iMac Pro to run demanding pro apps and other 'real work,' it is nice to know it runs X-Plane so well.

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WHERE TO BUY THE AMD VEGA GPUs
B&H Photo Video sells Radeon RX Vega 64 and Frontier Edition. Check also with NewEgg. They are in short supply. Sign-up for Notification of Availability. Both also sell the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, TITAN Xp, and other Pascal NVIDIA GPUs.

Check with MacVidCards if you want an NVIDIA GPU that is modified to provide startup screen, full bandwidth, and eGPU compatibility.

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.

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copyright 2018 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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