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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Mac Pascal NVIDIA GPU Shootout

Posted May 12th, 2017 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

MacVidCards loaned us four 'enhanced' NVIDIA Pascal GPUs.

As you must know by now, NVIDIA has released Mac Web Drivers for Pascal 10 Series GPUs along with a new version of CUDA. So if you are serious thinking of buying a Pascal GPU for your Mac Pro or MacBook Pro (with eGPU), you must want an answer the question, "Which gives me the most performance for the price?"

GRAPH LEGEND
cMP>1080Ti*2 - DUAL NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1080 Ti GPUs in x16 Slots 1 and 2 of the 2010 Mac Pro (with power supplemented by lower optical bay)
cMP>1080*2 - DUAL NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1080 GPUs in x16 Slots 1 and 2 of the 2010 Mac Pro (with power supplemented by lower optical bay)
cMP>TITAN Xp - NVIDIA GTX GeForce TITAN Xp GPU in x16 Slot 1 of the 2010 Mac Pro
cMP>1080Ti - NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1080 Ti GPU in x16 Slot 1 of the 2010 Mac Pro
cMP>1080 - NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1080 GPU in x16 Slot 1 of the 2010 Mac Pro
cMP>1070 - NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1070 GPU in x16 Slot 1 of the 2010 Mac Pro

(The 2010 Mac Pro was equipped with a 12-core (3.33GHz) CPU tray, 96G of RAM, and booting Sierra 10.12.4 from an SM951 512GB AHCI flash blade mounted on a Lycom DT120 PCie M.2 board installed in slot 4.)

Blender - This is a free, open source 3D renderer. You can select either CPU or GPU. If you select GPU, you can choose either CUDA or OpenCL. You can also designate one or more GPUs. We rendered the BMW GPU Benchmark sample posted in their Demo File section.
(LOWER time in SECONDS = FASTER)

Octane Render - It only runs if there is one or more CUDA capable GPUs present. You can download the demo along with simple test scenes like the Benchmark Scene we used.
(LOWER time in SECONDS = FASTER)

DaVinci Resolve - Playback 1080p clip while rendering a single Noise Reduction node on the fly. We imported the popular Candle project.
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

LuxMark - Though an artificial OpenCL cross-platform benchmark, it allows you choose one or more GPUs to render a sample scene.
(HIGHER Samples per Second = FASTER)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
When it comes to running the apps featured above, the TITAN Xp and 1080 Ti are 'head and shoulders' above the 1080 and 1070 in performance.
Reality check: the performance gap can be much smaller when pro apps like Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro where the bottleneck is the CPU activity.

We were struck by the fact that the TITAN Xp costs 72% more than the 1080 Ti but 14% faster at best. That makes the 1080 Ti the 'best bang for the buck' winner.

In the case of the dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and 1080 GPUs, auxiliary power was essential to drive the second port. "LIGHT BULB": If your Mac Pro can handle two GTX 1080 GPUs, for $100 less than the price of a single TITAN Xp, you can have even better performance running multi-GPU aware pro apps like the ones featured above.

Under normal circumstances, the Mac Pro's factory power feeds are adequate for a single Pascal GPU including the TITAN Xp. However, it is possible to create artificial stress conditions that result in a Mac Pro panic power down. One way to avoid that is to feed one of the TITAN Xp's or 1080 Ti's power port from second power source such as the lower optical bay or an external ATX power supply.

There is no startup screen with un-modified Pascal series GPUs. That is provided by MacVidCards who modifies the firmware. They also make performance tweaks including insuring that the GPU runs at the full PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. Un-flashed GPUs will often run at PCIe 1.0 bandwidth -- especially if you are booting Windows in a Boot Camp partition.

Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to email me,
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WHERE TO BUY NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1080 Ti AND OTHER PASCAL 10 SERIES GPUS

B&H Photo Video has the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. (Search their site for other models of Pascal 10 Series GPUs.)

For 'enhanced' NVIDIA GPUs, visit MacVidCards.

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 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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