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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

FIRST GEN SHOOTOUT:
Radeon HD 5870 + 5770 in
the 2006 Mac Pro versus older GPUs

Posted Tue, August 31st, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Appended September 8th with info on multi-display support.
Corrections September 10th (2600 XT was reallly a 3870 XT)

We reported last Friday on the Radeon HD 5870 running in the 2006 Mac Pro. We went back to the PowerMax lab for another round of testing. We tested five GPUs (old and new). The one we could not find was the popular GeForce 8800 GT. But thanks to Remote Mad Scientists, we have partial results for it (with more to come).

NEWS FLASH: Radeon HD 5870 kit status became "Ships: Within 24hrs" on November 12th, 2010, on Apple Store USA.

Fastest average FPS is in RED.

INSIGHTS
The Radeon HD 5870 in a 2006 Mac Pro may be overkill for gamers. With the exception of Portal, it was only slightly faster than the Radeon HD 5770. But if you want to "be all you can be," then it's nice to know the 5870 is an option even for the first generation Mac Pro.

With non-games, there is mixed results as well. When we ran Motion previews and Color playback, the difference between the two cards was minute. At $249, the 5770 just seems to me the sensible choice if you wish to extend the life of your "First Generation" Mac Pro.

As I said before, adding the Radeon HD 5870 or 5770 to your 2006 Mac Pro won't cause it to "leap tall buildings in a single bound." But these new cards will help you "clear low buildings with a running start."

Big MAHALO to PowerMax providing the 2006 Mac Pro test unit.
Have any comments or questions? Send them to
, mad scientist.
Follow me on Twitter @barefeats

SPECIAL UPDATE ON MULTI-DISPLAY SUPPORT
The Radeon 5770 and 5870 support three displays on all models of Mac Pro from 2006-2010. Through experimentation and advice from "Pegasusrjf," I got three displays to work simultaneously with this setup:
1. 23" Cinema or 30" Cinema on the DVI port
2. 23" Cinema with MDP to dual-link DVI adapter* to first MDP port
3. 24" LED Cinema with direct MDP connection to second MDP port

On some occasions after power up, only one display would light up. But when I would pull out one of the Mini DisplayPort cables, then two would light up. Plug it back in and now three were lit. So there is still some "ooga booga" with multi-display support.

(* The "plain" DVI to MDP adapter is adequate if only two displays are connected. For more on this issue, see Apple Tech Note HT4279.)

WHERE TO BUY NEWEST MAC GPUs
Click on
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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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