Gaming with Windows
on Mac Pros
Posted February 5th, 2016 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
February 10th - corrections
As we mentioned in a recent article, the main justification for gaming on the 2013 Mac Pro cylinder is if you are running Windows in a Boot Camp partition. Why? Because the dual FirePro GPUs are CrossFired.
nMP 8c xFire = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon; Dual FirePro D700 GPUs; Windows 10 with CrossFire ENabled
nMP 8c W10 = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon; Dual FirePro D700 GPUs; Windows 10 with CrossFire DISabled
nMP 8c OSX = 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3.0GHz 8-Core Xeon; Dual FirePro D700 GPUs; Mac OS X El Capitan
cMP 6c W10 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked GPU; Windows 7 Ultimate
cMP 6c OSX = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Xeon; ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked GPU (requires NVIDIA web driver); Mac OS X El Capitan
Batman: Arkham City - Using the built-in fly-through benchmark, we stipulated 2560x1440, Detail Level: HIGH, V-Sync: OFF, FXAA: OFF, All Effects: ON. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)
Tomb Raider - The built-in benchmark was run at 2560x1440 using HIGH preset. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)
Diablo III - Our character in the Shattered Crown campaign searches for the Chancelor's Alther beneath the Cemetery of the Forsaken. Settings were 2560x1440, Quality: HIGH, V-Sync: OFF, Anti-Aliasing: OFF. (HIGHEST FPS means FASTEST)
Of the three GPU intensive games we chose, the 2013 Mac Pro with FirePro D700s ran them fastest when booting Windows 10 and enabling CrossFire mode in the AMD driver. That's comforting to know if you spent big bucks for your 2013 'turbo tube.'
However, in 2 out of 3 cases, a 2010 Mac Pro with a single NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti overclocked GPU beat the 2013 Mac Pro. And in the case of Diablo III, the 2010 Mac Pro ran Diablo III faster booting into OS X than the 2013 Mac Pro with two CrossFired FirePro D700s booting into Windows 10.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
If you own a 2013 Mac Pro with any flavor of FirePro GPUs and plan to run GPU intensive games, you should give serious thought to installing Windows in a Boot Camp partition.
And if you are a hard core gamer with a 2008-2010 Mac Pro and have a muscular NVIDIA GPU like the GTX 980 or 980 Ti, installing Windows in a Boot Camp partition can provide a boost to your GPU intensive games.
We mentioned in our previous gaming article that we have been toying with a Hackintosh in our lab. With the GTX 980 Ti installed, it was faster running Batman than the two Macs featured above under OS X. However, with Windows installed in a Boot Camp partition, both Macs beat the Hackinosh running Batman. Ditto for Tomb Raider. Moral: If you already own a Mac and want to boost game performance, you don't need to sell your Mac and buy a PC or build a Hackintosh. Just add Windows and stir.
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