The 2017 iMac 5K vs 2010 Mac Pro
running a Metal game
Posted August 9th, 2017, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Feral Interactive has published multiple games that use Metal instead of OpenGL. We feature Total War: WARHAMMER in this shootout between the newest, fastest iMac 5K and the 2010 Mac Pro tower -- both sporting both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
cMP W7 1080Ti - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (running Windows 7 Ultimate, DirectX)
Hack 1080Ti - Hackintosh with Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H main logic board, 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7-4770 CPU with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
iMac5K e1080Ti - '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
cMP 1080Ti - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
iMac5K Pro580 - '2017' iMac 5K with 4.2GHz Quad-Core i7 (7700K Kaby Lake) with AMD Radeon Pro 580 GPU (8GB VRAM)
cMP RX580 - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with AMD Radeon RX 580 (running macOS High Sierra 10.13 beta with native support of RX 580)
cMP W7 680 - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition (running Windows 7 Ultimate, DirectX)
cMP 680 - 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower with 3.33GHz 12-core X5680 Xeon with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition
a) Unless otherwise noted, Macs were running macOS Sierra 10.12.6
b) The iMac had 64G of RAM, the Mac Pro had 96G, the Hackintosh had 32G.
Total War: WARHAMMER - Using the built-in benchmark, we tested using the "High" preset at four different resolutions.
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The Mac Pro running Windows (DirectX 11) and the Hackintosh running macOS beat the 'normal' Macs running macOS.
Of the 'pure' Macs, the 2017 iMac 5K was strongest at the lower resolution (1920x1080) and medium resolution (2560x1440) -- even when using the eGPU box.
At higher resolution (3820x2160), the GTX 1080 Ti flexed its muscle whether installed in the 2010 Mac Pro or connected t the iMac 5K via Thunderbolt 3 eGPU.
Only 5 of the 8 configurations would run at 5120x2880. In that case, the 2010 Mac Pro with the 1080 Ti running Windows 7 Ultimate (DirectX 11) was king of the hill.
Though Total War: WARHAMMER performance was affected by model and make of GPU, it is also CPU intensive. We observed CPU loads of as high as 650%. We also did some testing with other Metal games from Feral Interactive including F1 2016 and Hitman which reported 500% and 600% respective CPU loads. Those are much higher CPU loads that OpenGL games report. Apple's notes on Metal might give us a hint as to why: "...the CPU encodes commands and the GPU executes commands..."
It will be interesting to see how Metal game performance (and use of system resources) changes when Metal 2 is fully implemented. After all, "Building upon an efficient low-overhead architecture with precompiled shaders, fine-grained resource control, and multithreading support, Metal 2 further boosts performance by enabling the GPU to take more control of the rendering pipeline."
WHERE TO BUY GPUS FOR MAC TOWERS AND EGPUS
MacVidCards sells the GTX 1080 Ti that includes Boot Screen support from all ports at Startup.
NewEgg sells the latest, fastest AMD and NVIDIA GPUs from various makers.
B&H Photo Video sells the GTX 1080Ti and other GPUs.
WHERE TO BUY Thunderbolt 3 GPU EXPANDER BOXES
Order the eGFX Breakaway Box direct from Sonnet Technologies. Pricing starts at $299.
The AKiTiO Node eGFX Box can be ordered from B&H Photo Video ($269).
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