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AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB vs. ATI Radeon HD 5870

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Wolfgang | 2015/01/13 | 1 comment

After reading so much about the AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB I thought I give it a try in my Mac Pro 12-core (Mid 2010) (2 x 2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 64 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC,Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB). When you look on you will see that 2010 Mac Pros are still competing very well with new 2013 Mac Pros.

BUT… when you compare real life tasks like rendering a 5K video in FCPX you will notice that the 2013 model is much faster than the 2010 model with an old graphics card with only limited memory.

I thought the best thing would be to buy a new graphics card. Therefore I bought an AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB. This card has three times the GPU memory of my old card ATI Radeon HD 5870 wit 1024 MB.
When you read all the threads on BruceX you will assume that a new graphics card will make your baby from 2010 much faster.

So I’ve installed the AMD R9 and did the BruceX benchmark. I got the following results:

ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB: 75 seconds




AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB: 75 seconds

AMD Radeon R9 280X for Apple Mac


Unfortunately there is no speed difference between these two cards.

The only positive effect I’ve seen so far is that the new card with more memory is able to import a very large partition full of videos (4 TB) into Lightroom generating all video thumbnails easily while my old card always got stuck somewhere when performing this task.

So… yes, the new card has maybe some advantages but my Mac Pro 2010 is not rendering faster than before.

According to BruceX a Mac Pro 2010 12-core 3.46 GHz with a Radeon HD 7950 3 GB should fulfill the same task in only 38 seconds.

Now I’m thinking about doing the same test with a Radeon HD 7950 3 GB. Normally the graphics card should be the most important part when rendering complex timelines in FCPX.
Maybe the Radeon HD 7950 3 GB is a better fit for the Mac Pro 2010 than the AMD Radeon R9 280X despite the R9 is said to be the successor of the 7950.

What do you think? Just let me know!

Download link for BruceX benchmark test:

AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB

Tags: Compare AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB and ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB

1 comment

  • Darrell says:

    I am thinking of also installing an R9 280X
    However, your post makes me worried. Are you still having the same issues?

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Compare AMD Radeon R9 280X 3072 MB and ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB