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Author Topic: Advice on Mac Pro with AMD FirePro Graphics Card  (Read 4873 times)

Advice on Mac Pro with AMD FirePro Graphics Card
« on: September 10, 2015, 12:41:13 am »
September 10, 2015, 12:41:13 am
On behalf of an enquiry:

... we are considering purchase of a MAC PRO computer.

As requested allow me to share with you the specs of the CPU and graphic processor of the machine:

CPU: (there are 3 options)
A.       3.5 GHZ, 6-core Intel Xeon E5 (with 12MB of Cache and turbo boost up to 3.9GHZ – Apple’s words) OR:
B.       3.0 GHZ 8-core with 25MB L3 cache OR:
C.       2.7GHZ 12-core processor with 30 MB cache

Graphics card:
(there are tow options)
A.  Dual AMD FirePro D300 Graphics processors 9don’t have specifics about Ram on the processor – we were planning on upgrading to the processor below)
B.  Dual AMD FirePro D500 Graphics processors with 3GBGDDR5 VRAM each (total of 6GB)
When you have opportunity to consider and confirm these combinations as appropriate for the Lumion software please let me know ASAP.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.

Re: Advice on Mac Pro with AMD FirePro Graphics Card
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2015, 01:30:39 am »
September 10, 2015, 01:30:39 am

Lumion does about 90% of it's work on the GPU, so the GPU is the prime hardware device to consider.  CPU models and motherboards can affect performance if they are too slow for the graphics card, and cause bottlenecks.  Better performing CPU's and motherboards can assist in keeping frame rates when building scenes at a good level.

We do have users with Mac Pro's, however the majority are Windows based PC's.  Some of the CPU and graphics configurations for the Mac are similar to the PC (CPU type, graphics card etc).

re CPU:
There is a wide range of product with varying performance in the Xeon E5's, so you would need to find out the specific E5 product.  You can review specific performance benchmarks for CPU's here, to see where it falls within our CPU benchmark range (6000 to 10000) here.

re Graphics Cards:
In regard choices between D300 and D500.  The D300 is a lesser performing card (less processors, bandwidth, VRAM).  There is little comparative information or performance information about this card.  It is unlikely to meet minimum recommendations for Lumion. 

Note that Lumion only makes use of a single GPU, so any dual card arrangement will be of no use to Lumion  for either of the D300 or D500.

This also means the you get access to only 3GB of VRAM, which will also limit the scenes to Simple up to somewhat Moderate.

There are no performance indicators at Passmark, nor at Futuremark on either the D300 or D500. 

Comparison reports such as PC-Specs shows the FirePro does not have the same level of general graphics performance and rating as the GeForce series.

Comparative Review shows the D500 has a similar performance to:
1. AMD Radeon HD 6950 which has  a Passmark of 3180,
2. NVIDIA Quadro K2200, Passmark 3390.
3. AMD FirePro M6100, Passmark 2787.

For Lumion this means the card only fits the recommended range of Minimum with Simples Scenes, up to Moderate with some more Complexity in Scenes.  It does not reach the requirements for Moderately Complex scenes.  Refer: LUMION 5: Minimum hardware requirements.

You will need to consider the type of scenes you intend to create in Lumion, and whether there will be a need to change the graphics card to a better performing card.  There are a number of ways of doing that, one is to review some of the Finished Projects at the forum, and find comparable projects that you work on, and look at PC specifications used, or enquire further with us on this aspect.

There is a D700 with higher specifications that perhaps should be looked at.

As I understand, the D series is a Mac Pro card only.  There are other FirePro (or Radeon) cards available for the Mac Pro as well.  If options are still available, and the Mac is intended for majority Lumion work, then AMD Radeon or NVIDIA Quadro or GTX cards have a performance advantage over FirePro.

If the Mac is mainly for CAD based work, then I see your choice as; at absolute minimum the D500, possibly the D700, or some other FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro option.

Appreciate this is not a simple straightforward, yes/no it is going to work with Lumion  :-\.  We know it will work with Lumion  ;).  However, the question is how well and how well it does so later on to meet your continuing expectations and value for money when creating visualizations using Lumion as a key software.  :)

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the above does not mean that I or Act-3D endorse specific products. We are unable to offer any guarantees regarding the expected performance in Lumion with the above-mentioned hardware, and you cannot hold us liable for any costs or damages incurred if you purchase hardware based on our posts on this forum or via email.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.