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craig_read

New Mac Pro Worth a Look?

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Hi,


 


Basically I am in the market for a new computer when the PMDG 777 is released.. I am using a Q6600 @3.6Ghz with 4GB Ram and a Nvidia 9800 GFX card at the moment.  It runs Windows 8 at the moment and to be honest does most things I need it to, but for games and FSX it does really struggle.


 


I don't just play FSX, I'm often playing things like Civilization V which my machine struggles with later on in the game and other strategy games that are similar.  Other than that it's word processing, e-mail, web browsing.


 


My plan is to retire the Q6600 and turn it into a NAS.. I'll probably under clock it to about 1.5GHz and literally have it sit on my LAN as NAS providing file storage for other machines on my network.  At the moment that's a big job it does with 9TB of storage available for my movies, TV programmes, programs, music, photos etc..


 


After watching some of the latest Apple Mac Pro, it seems like it's going to be an extremely powerful bit of kit.  I am torn as to whether or not I buy one of those and run a specific windows 7 install for FSX only on it.  As I understand it you can boot into a windows 7 setup on the Mac Pro and programs run natively on it without the overhead of OSX in the background, is that right?


 


I guess I am wondering what you guys think of that idea?  Civ etc.. already runs on Mac.. and MS Office again.. is already on Mac so very little other software would be needed...


 


The other option is go out and spend probably less on a PC.. I am thinking Haswell 4770K overclocked on air.. 780 nvidia...16GB RAM... SSDs for OS and FSX.. and again use the Q6600 as storage..


 


What do people think of the Mac Pros.. has it got the Ghz grunt for a program like FSX?  I guess they're likely to have Xeon CPUs.. ATI GFX cards.. and 16GB Ram.. that's what I'd expect a typical spec to look like.. thoughts?


 


Cheers


 


Craig


 


(I originally started this in Hanger Chat, and thought it might be best to re-post here)


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I am using a Macbook Pro and you can see my specs on my profile. It runs most of the addons in high detail and I get around 20 fps with PMDG. If you consider that its a laptop GPU I think its very good. Mac Pro is coming with a new design later this year and it will have a AMD FirePro graphics which is used for graphic processing and also has 12 core CPU. I wonder how well FSX will run in it.

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No, the new MacBook has got some pretty beefy hardware, but it's nowhere near worth that price.

I would build your own PC buying parts on the internet. For 1500 bucks you can build a decent Haswell + GTX 780 system that will run anything you'd throw at it.

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What do people think of the Mac Pros.. has it got the Ghz grunt for a program like FSX?

Hi,

 

I thought about going that route and decided the smarter approach for me is to buy best components for PC, however NOT design the platform for FSX primarily since I see it as a dead-end simulator, only kept alive by the robust 3rd party developers, but this too shall pass because it has substantial limitations that absolutely do not take advantage of modern hardware. So, went for something that will hopefully run next-gen simulators very well, including XPlane 64bit as it evolves or P3D version 2 which will hopefully at least support DX11, and yet run FSX good enough. I came from one stop past you, a Q9650@3.7Ghz, 4GB of DDR3@1600. As of this weekend, my new build after 5.5y on the Q9650, sports the following components:

 

1. ASUS P9X79 WS mainboard, server class, but supports SLIx4, 8 DIMM slots, and all of the o'clocking capabilities in all X79 boards, for the most part.

2. SB-E i7-3930K, fully unlocked Hexacore, 12 threads (disabled HT for FSX)

3. 32gb (4x8gb) DDR3-2400Mhz DIMMS

5. EVGA GTX Titan GPU w/ 6gb GDDR5 on a 384-bit bus

4. Samsung 500GB SATA III SSD

5. Corsair HX850W PSU

6. ASUS DVD-RW

7. Awesome Coolermaster HaF X Blue tower case

8. Noctua NH-D14

9. Win 7 64b Pro

 

Martin helped me pick a few of these parts--thanks again Martin!

 

Putting these parts together cost me just shy of $3000. But this is a platform that overclocks itself quite well if you're disinclined to play w/ this yourself. W/O a hassle, the machine runs stable w/ low temps, very quiet, at 4.3Ghz, 2377MHz DRAM, w/ vCore staying nicely under 1.32v speed-stepped down to .88v at idle. I'm comfortable w/ overvolting some, as in a VID of 1.33v or less. Core temps are in the high 50's to mid 60's tops. The machine is poised to run newer simulators that can exploit modern hardware quite well we hope, at least that was the strategy. I refused to dedicate the entire strategy to FSX as really, it's sadly crippled. I will be moving on to the two aforementioned simulators hopefully when P3D version 2 comes out, and maybe XPlane 64 once there is better global scenery, and I will not be looking back. I don't think Macs can be overclocked either, and since FSX poorly uses extra cores, I think it 's not a smart choice really, though would be totally fine for XPlane 64 I'm sure.

 

I'm a Mac fan and am typing this reply on a 2011 MBP. Since all games I would care about run natively in Windows my gaming/sim platform is dedicated to Win 7. Yes, I have Win 7 on my MBP for work-related function, but thru Bootcamp it's still not quite the same, though great for business work.

 

Here's the price for a comparable Mac Pro, though this is NOT the GTX Titan but is the closest I could get. Add another $130 for Win 7 Pro and voila, you're now at $5,000. Kind of a no-brainer for me. Love my MBP, but don't see it for Mac Pro.

 

 

 

 

Any questions?

 

ADDENDUM: VID is staying at or under 1.294 for my first test flight w/ the autooverclock at 4.3Ghz/2377Mhz Temps from Probe II are showing what I assume is tCase of 40C during this test flight which I find, and Core Temp is showing around 54C. What's got me puzzled is why CORE1 appears to be running the fiber threads (or whatever it's called) from looking at both temp & load on that one core. I am using AffinityMask of 62, but I understand FSX was to be hard coded to put the main job on CORE0 so I don't know how AM can affect this, but I have no other explanation so far.

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I am using AffinityMask of 62, but I understand FSX was to be hard coded to put the main job on CORE0 so I don't know how AM can affect this, but I have no other explanation so far.

 

Ahh, AffinityMask=63 did the trick ;o)

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With those $4.8K you can buy two nvidia PCs that will run FSX better than that MAC.

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Ahh, AffinityMask=63 did the trick ;o)

AffinityMask=63 is the default value for a hexcore so the same as having no affiinitymask entry at all in the cfg. The MainThread will end up on the first core assigned with the affinitymask, on core0 with AM=63, on Core1 with AM=62. 'fibers'=other threads, will end up wherever windows decide to run them, with AM=62 they'll most likely end up on core0.

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with AM=62 they'll most likely end up on core0.

 

When I used AM=62 core1 was performing at 100% and the others the remaining cores including core0 were hovering around 35-60% for each core.  I wonder if CPU-ID isn't identifying the cores correctly?  I did notice when I ran w/o AM core0 was at 100% as you point out.  Odd...


 

 


Core temps are in the high 50's to mid 60's tops.

 

Correction, low to high 50's...

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Here is what I say about the MacPro's:

 

I love apple and think that their products are wonderful, and if I could I would totally get a Mac, but they are very expensive and while the parts and specs are really good, they could be better. I can get a much better computer for the same price as the MacPro, and be able to run everything I want. If you aren't running many windows programs than its probably great for you. if you are someone like me who has a ton of programs that only run on windows, then dont bother. then you get into everything with the dual boot and it becomes a pain.

 

Just my 2-cents!

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Here's the price for a comparable Mac Pro, though this is NOT the GTX Titan but is the closest I could get. Add another $130 for Win 7 Pro and voila, you're now at $5,000. Kind of a no-brainer for me. Love my MBP, but don't see it for Mac Pro.

 

That is the current Mac Pro, not the new one coming later this year (though the new one isn't likely to be any cheaper).

 

http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/

 

This is aimed at professional graphics and video work, much like Xeon workstations from Dell, HP and the like are. A well equipped, and cheaper, Core i5 or i7 would run FSX much better.

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When I used AM=62 core1 was performing at 100% and the others the remaining cores including core0 were hovering around 35-60% for each core.  I wonder if CPU-ID isn't identifying the cores correctly?  I did notice when I ran w/o AM core0 was at 100% as you point out.  Odd...

 

 

 

Correction, low to high 50's...

 

AM=62 leaves core 0 for fibers and places the main scheduler in core 1. Cores 2 to 5 run texture loaders so 62 does more or less what 14 does for quads. That CPU usage pattern you see there is consistent with what 62 is supposed to do

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AM=62 leaves core 0 for fibers and places the main scheduler in core 1. Cores 2 to 5 run texture loaders so 62 does more or less what 14 does for quads. That CPU usage pattern you see there is consistent with what 62 is supposed to do

Thank you for clarifying that Dazz.  I guess no worries I can leave it at 62 and there is no downside it seems.

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When I used AM=62 core1 was performing at 100% and the others the remaining cores including core0 were hovering around 35-60% for each core. I wonder if CPU-ID isn't identifying the cores correctly? I did notice when I ran w/o AM core0 was at 100% as you point out. Odd...

 

That's absolutely normal. That core running 100% all the time is the Main Thread. That's the only thread producing FPS.

The threads that peak to 100% every minute are the texture&terrain loaders, also assigned by the affinitymask.

With AM=62 you can see the 'other threads', a total off around 50% core load, on core0. These threads can end up on any core and can also be spread between several cores, but by serving them a vacant core with the AM setting you can be almost sure they end up there and not on the core where the MainThread is and reducing FPS.

 

Getting a MacPro with nonoverclockable Xeons is not a great idea for FSX. Yes, it can use many cores for texture loading, but it will only use a single core for producing FPS, thus a highly clocked CPU is needed for FSX.

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