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ATI Radeon HD 5870 v.s. ATI Radeon HD 6970M - render performance

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 12, 2011 6:50:44 PM

Hi!

There is hard choise to be made - only one reason to buy system is the 3D accelerator into - one system is equipped with ATI Radeon HD 5870, the other - with ATI Radeon HD 6970M. This system will run only rendering software - Maya. And the question is: which graphic card will be with better performance in Viеwpоrt 2.0 Еnhаncеmеnts?

As can be seen in vendor' specifications, 6970M is better only in support of OpenGl 4.1. Can 5870 beat in performance with it's more stream processors, shaders, etc., but with support of OpenGL 3.2?
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 7:00:30 PM

I don't know the specifics of the program you are running, but I'm pretty certain that the latest drivers for the 5870 includes OpenGL 4.1 as well (I may have read directcompute 4.1, but both should have the same support). It just wasn't available at release. You are comparing a desktop GPU to a mobile GPU unless you are leaving out the M at the end of the 5870 that I'm not aware of, or both are in laptops. A desktop 5870 should crush a 6970M.
May 12, 2011 7:09:01 PM

So quick answer! :)  :) 
Both systems are desktop - one is Mac Pro, second one is iMac

Thanks a lot!
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a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:11:41 PM

Is that 6970M one of those computers built into a monitor? I wouldn't doubt if that actually is a mobile card. If it is a mobile card, it's going to be far behind. If it's an HD 6970 (no M), then the 6970 is better.
May 12, 2011 9:16:57 PM

You are quite right - newest iMac is with 6970M into. And my doubt is about OpenGL support - 6970M supports OpenGL v4.2, while 5870 supports version 3.2.
And I can't value that support - so I don't know how OpenGL is used in Maya's Viеwpоrt 2.0 Еnhаncеmеnts?
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:23:29 PM

I did a little checking for comparisons, and I noticed something odd, which is going to require you to possibly call Apple for help on this.

The 6970M is definitely a mobile GPU. Even if it's on a desktop, it's one of those desktops that more closely resembles a laptop than a desktop (everything is crammed into a small space using SSD and mobile graphics card).

Now here is the weird part. The mobile 5870 does not have an M at the end, at least not always. This means you need to check to see if the 5870 is a mobile card or not. If it's not a mobile card, I'd definitely go that route for more power.
May 12, 2011 9:27:59 PM

:) 
As part ot Mac Pro, 5870 is not mobile version, as 6970M in iMac.
So, I can bet on massive hardware power of 5870 instead of 6970M's higher OpenGL support and Mac Pro with 5870 shall be the "winner"? :)  :) 
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:31:08 PM

It should, but I'm trying to find a real comparison. I have a good feeling that they both support the same OpenCL version, but I'm looking for evidence.
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:42:38 PM

The best I could find was some forum threads comparing the two (iMac with 6970m vs Mac Pro 6870). It would seem the 5870 is definitely faster. However, the 6970m does have 2gb of ram, which they suspect could have some help in openCL.

I'd find someone else to talk about it.
May 12, 2011 9:42:55 PM

Well, is there any chance Mac Pro to be forced to use latest drivers (or hacked BIOS), so 5870 can support higher OpenGL version?
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:44:44 PM

If it will support 4.1, you will be able to download it. The only problem I have when checking, is it doesn't tell me what version of OpenCL is being downloaded. It just downloads the latest version and calls it OpenCL.
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 9:55:56 PM

Alright, my bad on the OpenCL. You wanted OpenGL. It does appear that the 6800 and 6900 cards have 4.1 support that the 5870 doesn't. However, the 5870 is still a far more powerful card.

You still should look for some benchmark comparisons, or at least find someone with comparisons using your software.
May 12, 2011 10:08:02 PM

Autodesk, perhaps.... :)  Wow, to post question on their site - this is an idea , isn't it? :) 
May 13, 2011 6:38:00 AM

@bystander, the new iMac line indeed uses mobile graphics, for what reason, only Apple can tell. Also, 6900M line is built using the same architecture as barts, those found on 6850, 6870 and 6790.

6970M is a newer architecture compared to a 5870 but its performance is on par with 6790. So 5870 definitely crushes the M version.
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 13, 2011 6:41:58 AM

alikum said:
@bystander, the new iMac line indeed uses mobile graphics, for what reason, only Apple can tell. Also, 6900M line is built using the same architecture as barts, those found on 6850, 6870 and 6790.

6970M is a newer architecture compared to a 5870 but its performance is on par with 6790. So 5870 definitely crushes the M version.


I actually find it pretty clear why. They wanted to make a small computer that was stylish without a tower. They essentially made a laptop that sits on a desktop.
May 13, 2011 6:59:50 AM

bystander said:
I actually find it pretty clear why. They wanted to make a small computer that was stylish without a tower. They essentially made a laptop that sits on a desktop.

Well, you may be right, about not having a tower at all, but at the cost of performance and upgradeability? Then again, you can't really upgrade anything about Apple. So I guess Apple users are pretty much screwed which is why I'm not one of their customers.
May 13, 2011 8:10:26 PM

alikum said:
Well, you may be right, about not having a tower at all, but at the cost of performance and upgradeability? Then again, you can't really upgrade anything about Apple. So I guess Apple users are pretty much screwed which is why I'm not one of their customers.


"Upgrade" in applespeak, means you give them another 1500+ dollars for a new system.

Even if all you want is the next generation of video card, or, god forbid, a new CPU.

Where all that's required in the PC universe is a firmware update.

Seriously, I've got an AM2+ mobo that's seen Athlon 2s, early Phenoms, and lastly a Phenom II 940. I could go with a six core, now, if I was so inclined, but it's finally--after years of continuous small upgrades--reached a point where I don't really want to put any more money it (waiting for bulldozer vs. Sandy Bridge numbers). It's also seen an 8600 gt, Radeon 4870 (crossfired for a short time), and currently a Radeon 6870 (crossfired). So for years I've been able to keep my machine reasonably close to the upper end of performance for far less then it would have cost to buy a new system every year.

Oh, and if I want apple--there's always hackintosh.
October 15, 2011 6:49:26 AM

Imac CPUs, HDs (7200RPM 3.5 inch and SSD) and RAM are reasonably easily upgraded.

Only the GPU is a problem.
!