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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Which is the Best Mac for running
X-Plane 11?

July 27th, 2017 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Is the new iMac 5K the best macOS platform for running of X-Plane 11? Or will a Mac Pro with more cores and high-end GPU do better?

GRAPH LEGEND
2017 iMac 5K 1080Ti - '2017' iMac 5K with 4.2GHz Quad-Core i7 (7700K Kaby Lake) connected via Thunderbolt 3 to Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB VRAM)
2017 iMac 5K Pro580 - '2017' iMac 5K with 4.2GHz Quad-Core i7 (7700K Kaby Lake) with AMD Radeon Pro 580 GPU (8GB VRAM)
2015 iMac 5K M395X - 'late 2015' iMac 5K with 4GHz Quad-Core i7 (6700K Skylake), with Radeon R9 M395X GPU (4GB VRAM)
2013 Mac Pro D700 - 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5-1680 with Dual FirePro D700s GPUs (6GB VRAM each)
2013 Mac Pro 1080Ti - 'late 2013' Mac Pro 3GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5-1680 with connected via Thunderbolt 3 to Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB VRAM)
2010 Mac Pro RX580 - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB VRAM) and running High Sierra beta 3
2010 Mac Pro 1080Ti - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB VRAM)

NOTES:
a) All Macs were running macOS Sierra 10.12.5 except the Mac Pro tower with RX 580 which was running macOS High Sierra beta which supports the RX 580 without driver patches; all boot drives were PCIe based flash storage.
b) The iMacs and 2013 Mac Pro had 64G of RAM, the 2010 Mac Pro had 96G of RAM.

X-Plane 11 at 1280x720 - Using Terminal commands, we 'relived' a 2 minute flight of the SR-71 taking off low over pine trees and making a slow turn though broken clouds before doing a barrel roll. Settings were high quality with anti-aliasing (fps_test=3) using CIRCLE view.
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

X-Plane 11 at 2560x1440
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

X-Plane 11 at 3200x1800
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

X-Plane 11 at 5120x2880
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
If you are running X-Plane at low resolution (1280x720), the 2017 iMac 5K will give you the best performance in FPS.

If you are running at or near 2560x1440, the 2017 iMac 5K will give you the best performance in FPS.

One reader indicated either 3K was a favorite resolution among X-Plane "pilots" so we included 3200x1800 since the iMac 5K 'likes' that. The Mac Pros were able to run at 3840x2160 when connected to the Dell UP2715K 5K display or LG UltraFine 5K display.

However, if you are running at very high resolutions (5120x2880), the 2017 iMac 5K will only keep up with the Mac Pros if you add an eGPU with a high-end GPU like the NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti.

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copyright 2017 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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