Did you know your 2013 Mac Pro
has built-in CrossFire?
Posted Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Did you know that if you boot Windows on your 2013 Mac Pro, you can run the dual GPUs in CrossFire mode? The OWC Lab ran some tests for us on a two new Mac Pros running Windows 8.1. For perspective and encourgement to legacy Mac Tower owners, we included results for a matching pair of AMD GPUs in our 2010 Mac Pro tower.
nMP 6c D500*2 = 2013 Mac Pro 6-core with dual FirePro D500s "CrossFired"
nMP 4c D300*2 = 2013 Mac Pro 4-core with dual FirePro D300s "CrossFired"
MP 6c R9 270*2 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with dual ASUS R9 270s "CrossFired"
nMP 6c D500*1 = 2013 Mac Pro 6-core with dual FirePro D500s "UN-CrossFired"
nMP 4c D300*1 = 2013 Mac Pro 4-core with dual FirePro D300s "UN-CrossFired"
MP 6c R9 270*1 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with dual ASUS R9 270s "UN-CrossFired"
Diablo III -- "Evil is in its prime."
Our lonely traveler is on the path to adventure stopping occasionally to zap the undead. Settings are 2560x1440 Fullscreen, vSync OFF, High Quality, Anti Aliasing enabled. (LONGER bar indicates FASTEST in frames per second.)
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
"Narache Village Run" at 2560x1440, Ultra preset, 1X MSAA, Vsync Disabled. (LONGER bar indicates FASTER in Frames per Second.)
It should be clear from the graphs above that if you are a hard core gamer running Windows in your 2013 Mac Pro's Boot Camp partition, you can use the CrossFire mode to 'fuse' the dual FirePro GPUs so the game treats them as one really fast GPU.
The AMD FirePro pair that ships in each 2013 Mac Pro is already physically CrossFired. On the other hand, the AMD GPUs in the Mac Pro towers require the CrossFire cable connecting the matching pair. The Windows AMD Catalyst Manager lets to enable and disable CrossFire mode without having to reboot.
We chose a pair of AMD R9 270s for our tower experiment. They don't run under OS X -- yet -- but they were certainly 'pumped up' with CrossFire enabled.
Not all Windows apps benefit from CrossFire mode. We 'cherry picked' the two above to make our point. Also, in case you don't know it, CrossFire mode is not supported by OS X -- yet.
If you prefer to run your games under OS X, that's cool. But just be aware that only one GPU will be active -- unless the game developers decide to add the code to enable both of them.
As for legacy Mac Pro tower owners, if you have matching NVIDIA GPU, they don't support CrossFire. That's strictly an AMD thing. But they do support Scalable Link Interface (SLI) mode. Yet, the SLI jumper is not recognized on the Mac Pro tower even if you are running Windows. It does not support Virtualization Technology. Never fear. There is a utility called "HyperSLI" that can enable Software Mode. It's not as good as Hardware Mode but is worth a try to squeeze out more FPS.
Comments? Suggestions? Email
, mad scientist.
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WHERE TO BUY NVIDIA GPUs for your MAC PRO tower