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axxe

Recommend graphics card for Mac Pro

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Can someone recommend a good/very good graphics card for playing CM on a Mac Pro (early 2009)?

I am right now playing CM on a late-2012 iMac, with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, and 512GB of VRAM. Graphics performance is ok, but not great.  I'd like to play using my 27" Dell display, but this is too much for the iMac - I have to dial the quality way down to pan smoothly and still the iMac graphics system crashes periodically.

Is it reasonable to think that a Mac Pro from 2009, running OSX 10.11 from an SSD, will have better overall performance if I get a good graphics card?

Can anyone give me any guidance here? I'm not a PC person, and it appears that there are about a bizzilion graphics card choices, but everyone's experience is with a Microsoft OS.

Can I get a maybe 2015-vintage graphics card that gives a good $/performance balance?

Thanks!!

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Any modern graphics card will be enough; it's more the CPU that matters. But do some searches on this forum, you will find many posts from people with powerful computers that are still getting poor performance in this game. So if you want to buy a new computer for CM, don't break the bank.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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Is the CPU really important? I ask because when I plug in a big external display my performance gets much worse...  Though maybe 2012 doesn't qualify as "modern"?

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43 minutes ago, axxe said:

Is the CPU really important? I ask because when I plug in a big external display my performance gets much worse...  Though maybe 2012 doesn't qualify as "modern"?

It's 2017 mate :)

The GPU is important if you want to play in large resolutions (4K), if not then something like a GTX 860M should be plenty to power the graphics.

But the game seems to be basically CPU limited, so if you get a more powerful graphics card than the 860M you will probably not see any big improvement to your performance.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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Hi axxe,

Own a an "old" Mac Pro early 2009. 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon. 18 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC.

Had a ATI Radeon HD 4870 for Mac. It works for CM but the 512MB ATI card is not powerful for brisk loading or Best / Best graphics at high resolutions. The 2.26 GHz CPU and CM is playable but not brisk in loading scenarios.

Regarding cards in general.

Before I built my current Hackintosh, installed a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 4096 MB in the old Mac Pro. With GTX 760 4096 MB in old Mac Pro, I could easily play all CM games on DELL U2713HM Display, QHD (2560×1440). Still notice the CPU impact but loading times went down a lot. Every graphics setting could be set to maximum w/o a problem. CM looked much better.

ATI Radeon HD 4870         TDP= 157 watts
Mac Pro can officially support TDP 225W
Mac Pro early 2009  Combined maximum power consumption for all four PCI Express slots should not exceed 300 watts (W).

The GTX 760 is an older modest card (Total Power Draw : 170 Watts you need an extra power cable). Not difficult to install.

GPU wise 4 GB of memory gives you plenty of power for multi monitor computing

On the Hackintosh, I can run DELL U2713HM Display, QHD (2560×1440) AND DELL P2715Q 27-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) with no  problem. On the PC side of the Hcakintosh I can even down sample CM games to from 4096x2160  with all setting at maximum.  CM in 4K is a real treat.:D

Look for my old post in 2013 <PC (non-EFI) Graphics Card in Mac Pro playing CM>

Summary:
If you want the no stuttering, fluid CM visual experience you can improve your Mac Pro by using a PC (non-EFI) Graphics Card in a Mac Pro playing CM. My older, slower dual CPUs are the bigger bottle neck so don’t expect a GPU update to make your mac Pro super fast but it will look much, much better.

Buzz

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Thank you Buzz for the detailed info!  I have a similar Mac Pro available (2009, 1 x 2.66GHz Xeon, running off an SSD) and would like to drive the same Dell U2713HM display as you are using. I care most about graphics quality and smooth pan and zoom. I don't care about load times, or time Computing Real-Time Action - I'm happy to just wait for those.

I'm looking at getting an AMD Radeon R9 280X with 3GB, flashed for Mac (so EFI works), because it's apparently the least fiddly not-officially-Mac-compatible card.  It looks like this card is not as good as your GTX 760, but at least it's in the same ballpark.

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You are welcome axxe?

Your Mac Pro available (2009, 1 x 2.66GHz Xeon, running off an SSD) with the "AMD Radeon R9 280X with 3GB, flashed for Mac (so EFI works)" should accomplish your mission. I have not used that card.

In my opinion NVIDIA graphics look better and have more frequent driver updates... but that is just an opinion. As long as you are in the same ballpark, a 3-4GB GPU card should make the CM graphics look better at best settings. Best improvement for me was the loss of stuttering with a better GPU. Worth a lot when playing CM.

Let us know how your GPU upgrade path develops.

☮️ Buzz

 

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New graphics card is in and is a huge improvement over the iMac.  The Mac Pro is a bit slower to load, but once loaded the graphics panning and zooming is much better!

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Excellent axxe? Faster panning and zooming should make any CM game easier to enjoy. I suspect you will notice this even more in huge maps.

Buzz

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