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Sapphire Radeon HD 7950


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#1 ipickert55

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 04:07 PM

Just wondering if anybody has tried this graphics card with their mac yet? It was put out earlier last year I think, and I really want to put it in my mac to get something more powerful that my HD 5870, however I would like to hear from someone who has used it. Here is the link to the description:

http://shop.amd.com/...earchTerms=7***
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#2 macdude22

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 05:17 PM

I got the EVGA GTX 680 Mac Edition, sorry. I have to assume that will be significantly faster. They might have some benchmarks at xlr8yourmac. I didn't look very far.

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#3 ipickert55

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 06:45 PM

Will that work with an early 2009 mac pro though?
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#4 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 07:12 PM

This chart shows an extensive comparison between the two cards - numerous game benchmarks, productivity benchmarks, and synthetic benchmarks

Short Answer: Both cards work in the 2009 Mac Pro. 680 is the fastest option, by a decent amount over the 7950, but it is more expensive, and neither card will have much trouble pushing all games to ultra settings at 1080p. If you playing at 2560x1440 definitely get the 680.

Long Answer: I don't have experience with the actual Mac versions of the 680 and 7950, but I have used both cards in gaming PC's. Both cards are extremely fast. Much faster then your 5870. Price wise they are about $100 apart, with the 680 being around $600, and the 7950 being around $500 (here in Canada anyways). Both also work no problem in a 2009 Mac Pro. They even work in the 2008 Mac Pro.

Question: what sort of games are you playing?

If you're playing games like Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light, and Battlefield 4 then I would go with the 680. It is the most powerful gaming card available for Mac. If you are playing genre's that aren't really resembling the 'blockbuster' games, such as games like MMO's, RTS's, MOBA's (like DOTA2 or League), and indie style games, then the 7950 will serve you well, and the 680 won't really provide any added benefit over the 7950.

Both cards are very capable of pushing pretty much every game available to utlra settings, 16x AA, and 1080p. If you struggling to push games at 1080p on ultra, the problem wouldn't be with the 7950 or the 680, it would be that your CPU limited.
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#5 macdude22

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 06:31 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 23 March 2014 - 07:12 PM, said:



Both cards are very capable of pushing pretty much every game available to utlra settings, 16x AA, and 1080p. If you struggling to push games at 1080p on ultra, the problem wouldn't be with the 7950 or the 680, it would be that your CPU limited.

FYI, there are games that are terribly ported that are borderline unplayable on OS X yet scream under Windows. Initially I thought I was hitting some single core speed issues with my Mac Pro (2008). The Witcher 2 for example. I can drop it down to Low Graphics at 1200x800 and it still jerks around but boot to windows and I can crank that sucker up to 11 and still be smooth as butter at 1680x1050. Other games like Serious Sam 3 are very comparable booted to both environments.
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#6 mattw

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 06:50 AM

I ended up getting one for these recently for my 2009 8 Core (2.26) and would echo the above.

I did look at getting a PC GTX 680 and getting a friend to flash it for me (I don't have or want Windows myself) but the second hand prices these are going for was getting on towards what I could get a new Mac edition 7950 with a warranty.

Over here the EVGA GTX 680 Mac edition goes for around £450 and the Sapphire 7950 Mac I managed to pick up new for £270. Looking at what Apple 5870's  sell for it will work out a cheap upgrade if I sell that card on rather than keep it as a spare.

Personally I found the 5870 was really great at running just below 1080p but I moved to a 1440p display so needed a bit more performance and more VRAM for that.

So far the 7950 seems to be doing OK running games at 1440p, in fact better than I expected. I'm not someone who needs 60fps - as long as performance seems fluid I'm happy with it and that is what I'm finding. The OS X drivers do still need some work though as in the Windows based reviews I've read the 7950 performs a lot closer to the GTX 680 that the OS X benchmarks are showing. There is no doubt if you have the funds that the GTX 680 has the edge in most OS X games.

The extra VRAM helps in X-Plane and the Witcher 2 now seems stable at Ultra settings (Ubersampling off) where as I had crashes with the 5870 presumably having run out of VRAM.

If you use any pro apps the big plus for the 7950 is OpenCL performance. The main negative for me is that under heavy load (Heaven and Valley Bench Mark for example) the fan is loud compared to the 5870, fortunately when idling it is still nice and quiet and most games don't push the fan to the same levels.  

Overall I'm happy I should get a few more years out of this machine now but if gaming is why you are upgrading and you can get yourself a GTX 680 for a similar price then go for that first.
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#7 ipickert55

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 08:31 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 23 March 2014 - 07:12 PM, said:

This chart shows an extensive comparison between the two cards - numerous game benchmarks, productivity benchmarks, and synthetic benchmarks

Short Answer: Both cards work in the 2009 Mac Pro. 680 is the fastest option, by a decent amount over the 7950, but it is more expensive, and neither card will have much trouble pushing all games to ultra settings at 1080p. If you playing at 2560x1440 definitely get the 680.

Long Answer: I don't have experience with the actual Mac versions of the 680 and 7950, but I have used both cards in gaming PC's. Both cards are extremely fast. Much faster then your 5870. Price wise they are about $100 apart, with the 680 being around $600, and the 7950 being around $500 (here in Canada anyways). Both also work no problem in a 2009 Mac Pro. They even work in the 2008 Mac Pro.

Question: what sort of games are you playing?

If you're playing games like Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light, and Battlefield 4 then I would go with the 680. It is the most powerful gaming card available for Mac. If you are playing genre's that aren't really resembling the 'blockbuster' games, such as games like MMO's, RTS's, MOBA's (like DOTA2 or League), and indie style games, then the 7950 will serve you well, and the 680 won't really provide any added benefit over the 7950.

Both cards are very capable of pushing pretty much every game available to utlra settings, 16x AA, and 1080p. If you struggling to push games at 1080p on ultra, the problem wouldn't be with the 7950 or the 680, it would be that your CPU limited.

More often than not I will be playing graphics intensive games like Metro Last Light, so I may just go for the 680. In the benchmark chart that you showed however, it said that the 7950 had much increased performance with OpenCL, and since I do most of my gaming on mac, shouldn't I be going for a card with better opencl performance?

Also my processor is a quad core 2.26 GHz intel xeon, and Ive got two of them so ive got an 8-Core mac. My monitor is 1920x1200 which is 1080p I think. do you think that is good enough for ultra settings and 1080p?
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#8 Tetsuya

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:35 PM

1920x1200 would be 1200p, actually.  That being said, there will be very little difference between 1080p and 1200p - there arent THAT many more pixels.

#9 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:59 PM

View Postipickert55, on 26 March 2014 - 08:31 PM, said:

More often than not I will be playing graphics intensive games like Metro Last Light, so I may just go for the 680. In the benchmark chart that you showed however, it said that the 7950 had much increased performance with OpenCL, and since I do most of my gaming on mac, shouldn't I be going for a card with better opencl performance?

Also my processor is a quad core 2.26 GHz intel xeon, and Ive got two of them so ive got an 8-Core mac. My monitor is 1920x1200 which is 1080p I think. do you think that is good enough for ultra settings and 1080p?

OpenCL performance affects productivity apps, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, not gaming. The 7950 does have much higher compute performance then the 680, but the 680 is better for gaming

The GTX 680 should be able to run pretty much every game on ultra settings at 1080p. Maybe not Metro: Last Light (it's one of the most graphically demanding games on the market, if not the most demanding), but pretty much every other game. Once you upgrade to the 680, it'll be the CPU power of your machine potentially holding it back. Unfortunately not many games are coded to take advantage of 8 cores, so your computer is essentially a quad core 2.26 GHz in terms of gaming power. You still have a great CPU, but some of the most CPU demanding titles might be limited. You'll still be able to run them at high settings most likely though.
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#10 mattw

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:29 AM

I have the same machine and played through Metro last light in OS X at 1680x1050 comfortably with just the 5870 and everything I could see in the limited settings turned up.

It still seemed fine at 1440p with the 7950 now so I can't see you having a problem at 1200p with either card.
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#11 ipickert55

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:52 AM

In that case, I may go for the 7950 simply because it is cheaper. Thanks for all the info!
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#12 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 04:16 PM

The 7950 is still ridiculously powerful, and would be a great choice. I'm using the GTX 760 in my Mac Pro, and it's roughly on par with the 7950 performance wise.
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#13 ipickert55

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 11:26 AM

In the end i chose the 7950, and im getting 8 GB more RAM for a total of 16, im very excited to see how it runs!
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