Currently using a 12 core mid 2010 Mac Pro with AMD Radeon HD 5870 that has 1 GB VRAM. It looks like this can be upgraded to the newer HD 7950 which has 3GB VRAM and also offers HDMI output. Does anyone have any experience with this card and how it functions with FCPX?
I use a 7950 with my 2009 cMP and love it!
FCPX was a slug before, but the card made fcpx fly.
The machine feels like new with all sorts of apps that use OpenCL (like the os ui and PS,etc).
I also added an AngelBird 512 SSD and feel like I can wait another generation before considering a new mac.
I may be wrong, but those specs on the Radeon 7950 don't appear to be much different than that of the Radeon HD 5870 that I currently have. I am more interested in the additional VRAM that the Sapphire offers (3GB vs 1GB on the Radeon).
AMD Radeon HD 7950 has 3072 MB.
After reading a ton on the subject I believe that flashing a PC version really isn't worth the hassle and I guess the hdmi might not work. The 7950 Mac version just works fine, drivers in the OS.
dgwvideo wrote: I may be wrong, but those specs on the Radeon 7950 don't appear to be much different than that of the Radeon HD 5870 that I currently have. I am more interested in the additional VRAM that the Sapphire offers (3GB vs 1GB on the Radeon).
There is a substantial difference in the capabilities of your 5870 and the 7950 regardless of VRAM. The GPU (core) is more powerful at the same tasks while more efficient while doing so. This is the case even if the core and memory speeds were identical. It just so happens that it also has more VRAM which is yet an additional benefit, but not the main reason you'll see performance improvements.
The Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 works great on my 3.1 early Mac Pro. The biggest advantage over the 5870 is OpenCL and 3GB VRAM. It seems fully supported for MacOS (runnng 10.10.3) and FCPX, Motion5 and Compressor4 (all latest revisions). Also with Davinci Resolve 11 (and hopefully 12) the performance even on this old Mac Pro is great.
Just installed the 7950 this week and fairly impressed so far. No problems running 2 Apple LED displays and 1 Phillips 55 inch 1080 display. Runs Motion pretty good too. So far, so good. Thanks for everyone's input.
I feel obligated to update my previous post about the Sapphire 7950. After testing for two full days, I have noticed some issues which will likely cause me to return the GPU. The 7950 seems to perform well in some apps (Motion, Sony's Catalyst for example). Unfortunately, not in FCPX on our mid 2010 12 core. While some aspects of FCPX with this GPU seem to be snappier and the HDMI output seems decent, I have noticed a decrease in performance with certain templates. Further testing also reveals that when scrolling in the effects, titles and generators browsers with many components, the scroll bars begin to stick and there is intermittent hesitation before they move again. Thinking this might be an FCPX issue, I began looking at other items in our system. I removed every trace of CUDA drivers since there were reports that CUDA could interfere with AMD GPU's if no Nvidia products are installed. I made sure that the parameter in Compressor 4.2 preferences to use GPU from FCPX was deselected (as Apple suggests enabling might degrade FCP performance). I set rendering preferences in FX Factory to all 3 options one at a time, rebooted and tried each way. Cleaned fonts directory, eliminated old plugins, repaired permissions dozens of times between changes, shutdown more than once, ran all the daily, weekly, monthly scripts, etc., etc.
None of the above allowed the 7950 to run completely without issues in FCPX. I also noticed that some gradient images on screen looked less smooth and of a bit lower quality with the 7950 as opposed to the 5870. The next day was spent researching online any potential issues with this card in my specific computer.
Looking at some Apple documents, it seems that under Yosemite, the 5870 supports openCL. This is the original Apple supplied GPU with the mid 2010 tower. The same document shows the 7950 Mac Edition (the one I have been testing) as a third party alternative that has openCL support in Mavericks. The document was recently updated April 10, 2015 and makes no mention of Yosemite support.
Bottom line: I put the 5870 back in changing nothing since the 7950 was installed and FCPX runs better than it ever has (likely because of some of the other cleanup maintenance done). I had a small window to work with in upgrading the card and testing it, so I did this mainly for the value of getting HDMI out. Due to the problems that were immediately corrected by reinstalling the 5870, I will trade that performance easily for the HDMI out and intermittent issues seen with the 7950.
Here are two of the documents that reference openCL, supported GPU's, etc. from Apple.
I know some people have great success with this board, and it seems maybe on older Mac Pros (2009 and 2008) that it is a great choice. But for our 2010 version, I was not able to get broad satisfactory performance from it. I suppose it is possible the card could be bad, but now being totally satisfied with how well the 5870 is running, I think I'll return the 7950. We'll be upgrading some computers anyway by the end of the year, so for now we'll stay with the original Apple configuration.
I'd welcome any comments on this, and in particular any information if someone is using the Sapphire 7950 Mac Edition in a mid 2010 12 core dual 2.93 GHZ machine.