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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Tomb Raider, Dirt 2, and more
on 2013 Mac Pro versus other Macs

Posted Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated February 12th, 2014, with additional Tomb Raider results

We have never used Tomb Raider's built-in benchmark. So we tried it on a 4-core 2013 Mac Pro with dual FirePro D300 GPUs. And we ran it on the 2013 iMac with GeForce GTX 750M, and several GPUs on the 2010 Mac Pro. Then we added results for Dirt 2, Borderlands, and Diablo III to this mix of GPUs. Enjoy.

RED graph bar means fastest; BLACK is 2013 Mac Pro; GREY bar is all others

12c MP'13 D700s = 2013 Mac Pro 12-core with dual FirePro D700s
6c MP'13 D500s = 2013 Mac Pro 6-core with dual FirePro D500s
4c MP'13 D300s = 2013 Mac Pro 4-core with dual FirePro D300s

6c MP'10 G780 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 780
6c MP'10 R7970 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single Radeon HD 7970
6c MP'10 R7950 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single Radeon HD 7950
6c MP'10 G680 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 680
6c MP'10 G760 = 2010 Mac Pro 6-core with single GeForce GTX 760
4c iM'13 780M = 2013 iMac 4-core i7 with single GeForce GTX 780M

Feral Interactive Tomb Raider
It conveniently includes a built-in benchmark. This first graph is labeled "NORMAL+" which is NORMAL preset with Texture Quality and Shadow Resolution set to HIGH instead of NORMAL. (HIGHER number means FASTER in Frames per Second.)

Feral Interactive Dirt 2
Resolution at2560x1440; Fullscreen; Vsync Disabled; MSAA Disabled; Graphics Detail Level Ultra; Shadows, Particles, Wind, Crowd, Tessellation, and Cloth Enabled; Ground Cover Blended; Clutter Enabled; Water Update Enabled; Skidmarks Enabled; Dynamic Ambient Occlusion Enabled; Environmental and Vehicle Damage Enabled. (LARGER number means FASTER in Frames per Second.)

Blizzard 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. (HIGHER number means FASTER in Frames per Second.)

If you play games under OS X Mavericks, the new 2013 Mac Pro base model (4-Core, dual FirePro D300s) isn't going to light your fire. But a 2013 Mac Pro with the FirePro D700s will compete with the fastest Mac Pro tower GPUs -- at least in the case of Tomb Raider and Dirt2.

As one reader pointed out, $1000 for the dual D700 upgrade is a stiff price to pay to go 22% faster than the dual D300s running Tomb Raider or 5% faster running Dirt 2. Another way to look at it: for the base 4-core model with D300s, it's a 33% price increase but for the 6-core model with dual D500s, upgrading to the dual D700s is only a 15% price increase.

Keep in mind that only one of the two FirePro GPUs is active when gaming under OS X. If you are a hard-core gamer with a new Mac Pro, you can get even more FPS if you run your games under Windows in a Boot Camp partition and enable CrossFire mode.

For those of you with an 'old' Mac Pro tower you can gain gaming speed with a flashed, faster GPU. And if it is an AMD GPU, you can gain even more speed under Windows in a Boot Camp partition (and enable CrossFire mode).

Comments? Suggestions? Email , mad scientist.
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  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX Titan can be purchased from MacVidCards. They also offer a flashing and mod service for your existing GTX Titan for $200. MacVidCards recommends a supplemental power supply. We were able to run it in our 2010 Mac Pro without the aid of an auxiliary PS.
  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 780 is available from MacVidCards. They offer a flashing and mod service your existing GTX 780 for $200.
  • The OS X compatible GeForce GTX 770 (2G and 4G) is available from MacVidCards.
  • The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition can be ordered from EVGA direct or from Other World Computing (MacSales.com), Trans International (TransIntl.com), NewEgg, and Amazon.
  • The GeForce GTX 680 Classified 4G is available* from MacVidCards. (*out of stock as of this writing but watch for more to appear)
  • The GeForce GTX 680 4G is available from Mac*Pro.



  • Visit EditBuilder.com's eBay Store. Or you can email them or call them (1-855-EDIT-BAY). They are offering both tray replacements as well as complete setups with 1-3 year warranties. They also offer up 128GB 1333MHZ RAM and graphics card upgrades for Mac Pro towers.
  • Also, check out Other World Computing's Processor Tray Upgrade Program.
  • Live in the UK? Visit ScrumpyMacs for 'fire breathing' Mac Pro options.

USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. For GPUs, click the left side bar option for "For Mac > Displays & Graphics" to find the GPU kits available. Or if you are buying a new Mac Pro, you can choose GPU options when you configure your order.

Apple Store USA has refurbished Macs with 12 month warranty that can be extended to 36 months with AppleCare. Pay attention to the GPU it comes with.

PowerMax not only sells new and used Macs, but will give you a generous trade-in offer on your old Mac.

Twelve Core Mac Pro towers are still being sold by various parties on Amazon, too. For other models of Mac Pro tower, search on "Mac Pro desktop" on Amazon.


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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"