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jim c

Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Graphics card for houdini

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I'm looking to upgrade my Nvidia Quadro 4000 (which I have never been that thrilled with). Since I have a 2011 Mac Pro, I'm trying to avoid a card that will require me to do things like adding a 2nd PSU (which appears to be a requirement for NVidia cards like the 780), so I'm looking at the ATI 7950. This seems to be a decent compromise, but I'm curious to know if any of you guys have used it with recent versions of Houdini, say H14 or H15 and how did it perform. I found a pretty positive review by someone on the sidefx site for H12, but nothing more recent.

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I don't know about that specific card.

However, there are other good cards that don't require an external PSU.

I run a Geforce 970 GTX in my 2008 Mac Pro. Check out http://www.macvidcards.com 

It works flawlessly here in OSX/Win/Linux.

Been running H14-H15.5 and it performs really well imo. 

Edited by Hamp

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I thought those MacPros came with 1,000watt power supplies. You should be able to put any card you want in those tall silver boxes.

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Hamp, thanks for tip. I did look there but it seemed the cards I kept looking at were over the power limit! But the one you mentioned seems to be fine (according to nvidia website it uses 145W). Will definitely look into this guy. How has it performed heatwise? One of the other reasons I want to ditch the Quadro is it's an absolute thermal pig and run's hot as hell.

Atom, yes I think the PSU does have that much, apparently (this is what I found online, so take it with a grain of salt) it's an issue with how the Motherboard/LogicBoard are designed by Apple such that the maximum power draw for PCI devices is 225W.

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You could probably get a Titan X to work as well, newer cards use less power, but I can only vouch for what I've got running.

I've run long OpenCL sims on it, with peak heat at 68-70 celsius. Also, it keeps surprisingly quiet. 

Never had an issue with it. (mostly been running Houdini on Centos 7 on this machine) Not the exact same machine though, mine is a 2008 Mac Pro.

Edited by Hamp

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I run a 970 GTX, the only "mod" is a converter for the second power cable (needs two of the same kind).

It only uses the internal PSU. 

If you get the card from macvidcards I believe they include that converter (they did in my case). Also the 970 is modded by macvidcards with a larger UEFI memory with custom ROM so that you get picture before boot.

 

If you purchase a stock Nvidia card it doesn't output until you have booted into OSX. And for it to work you need to install the latest Nvidia Web driver before installing the card as I understand it.

However, as far as I can tell, it should be possible to have a second, simpler card installed alongside the Nvidia card for pre-boot purpose.

 

For me the higher price for the macvidcards version has been worth it.

Edited by Hamp

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So I broke down and ordered a 970 from macvidcards - fingers crossed, hopefully this will be a nice improvement over the thermal disaster that is the Quadro 4000!

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