Coming to a nMP near you - CUDA !

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacVidCards, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #1
    For awhile now people have been asking us about TB EGPU cards. And I always said I wasn't interested AND that I didn't think it would work.

    And I also said that we had nothing to offer, as the accounts I read spoke of hacking some kexts. And our specialty has been re-writing EFIs to make cards work in Mac Pros. I had read accounts from people who used Mac EFI cards and they got same results that people using PC Bios (and UEFI) cards got. They had same success, and same issues. So it was 100% my belief that EFI had nothing to offer, therefore we had nothing to offer.

    But then I did some digging. And I bought a TB enclosure. And realized that cMP was referencing some older tables in it's EFI. (40 vs 41, if you must know). So I updated the tables, and made a few minor other changes...and guess what?

    Turns out having EFI on a TB enclosure card is actually QUITE beneficial, the trick being it had to be an EFI that hasn't existed before. A newly modded form that takes into account the changes in Macs. Cupertino has once again eschewed the UEFI that is industry standard and used one a little different, a little off. Not the Mac Pro EFI, but their own.

    So, by writing a new DIFFERENT custom EFI I have been able to make a GTX680 not only run CUDA in a 2014 Mini (or 2012 rMBP), but also SHOW BOOT SCREENS. This is the "new" thing EFI brings to table. Past eGPU efforts relied on self-init feature of newer drivers. So if you had driver issues or wanted to switch boot disks you had to unplug the eGPU and plug in the Mini. Now with this capability you can just plug the Mini into another box that can sit anywhere and you have a Mini that is now sporting a GTX680. It also solves a dreaded issue with "Code 12" running bootcamp. Basically Windows didn't know the card was there since it wasn't introduced during EFI boot and wouldn't set aside any RAM for it.

    I see the Mini and the nMP being the principle beneficiaries of this tech, though laptops and iMacs can also use them.

    Why bother you ask? Well, what if I told you that I was able to use a GTX780 6GB in my bottom-of-the-barrel Mini and score a higher OpenGl Valley score than any currently shipping Mac tested by Barefeats.com? So, if you want high powered OpenGl, skip the nMP and get the $500 bobby-soxer Mini and wait for a TB enclosure & 780 combo? Obviously, there are other considerations, but seeing the stumbling and stuttering Mini burst into a high-powered OpenGl machine made me realize that this was more than flash in the pan.

    One thing I can tell already is that there is a tremendous amount of testing to be done. (Hence this post, i'll get to it). My 2012 rMBP and 2014 Mini show different behavior. Most notably the Mini is limited to running just the screen that boot screen shows up on, and that one alone. Something tells me this is Apple's doing, the Mini is already full of artificial limitations, I feel this is yet another. And while the 2012 rMBP will work with unflashed cards (minus boot screen & with Code 12 error in Windows) and can run as many displays as the card is capable of running, the Mini will ONLY work with EFI flashed cards. This may be something Apple has added for the reason noted above, Mini with GTX780 leaves all other Macs for dead in OpenGl.

    I have posted in Mini section trying to see if anyone else has gotten eGPU working in 2014 Mini as it is the obvious choice being first with TB2. The best forum for this stuff is "DIY eGPU" at Tech Inferno. Can't find any there either, but I have trouble navigating that site.

    So this finally gets me to why I began this post. I have every reason to believe that this same modded EFI will work in nMP. Sadly, I don't have one. Here is my little fantasy, somewhere in LA is a Production Office that bought one to try out. The lack of CUDA was a deal breaker and now the pretty little creature at the front desk is suing it primarily for FaceBook Puppy Pictures and sending in the afternoon Latte order.

    I would love to borrow one for a few hours. Failing that I would like to at least drive over with my little creation and see if boot screens work, test would take 2 minutes, provided you have a non TB monitor.

    The kind soul who does this will get word to Mac world faster than my bidding on various units on Ebay is going too. I will have one here, but would love to get first answer soon.

    Oddly, that DIY eGPU site doesn't seem to have any reports from nMP that I could find. It would be interesting if Apple modded the nMP to behave like Mini, i.e., only way to see anything is with an EFI card.

    Either way, we will have the answer soon enough, I just have lost like 3 bids on nMP so far.

    Yes, bandwidth is constrained by TB, but the Mini's Valley score with internal GPU is 3.4 FPS on Valley. With the GTX680 it becomes 34.6, LITERALLY TEN TIMES FASTER. With the 780 it gets up into 50s. Completely transforms the thing.

    And a quick "Happy Birthday" to the GPUs in nMP, they just turned 3 years old. Here is a chance to sidestep them, add CUDA, or just enjoy thumbing your nose at Apple and their artificial rules and limits.

    Fact of the matter is that Apple and Intel have done nothing since Day 1 but throw roadblocks in the way of eGPUs. TB stuff is great for them as long as it sells things they want to sell. Neither of them wants to sell GPUs so they have simply refused to ratify anything for eGPU except a couple of $1,000 enclosures. (and you still have to hack the drivers)

    So keep an eye on this space, I look forward to announcing that nMP can be upgraded to newer Nvidia GPUs and some screen shots. Hoping to have someone in LA help me make that happen sooner than later, but either way the info will come out.
     
  2. lemonade-maker, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2014

    lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    #2
    TMI. Will you please boil it down.
     
  3. MacVidCards thread starter Suspended

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    #3
    If it concerned you I think you would be able to understand.

    I'll try some pretty pictures.

    Now go to barefeats.com and compare the numbers in the pictures to any currently shipping Mac.
     

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  4. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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  5. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #5
    Truly awesome info. MVC. Makes me reconsider the nMP for down the line. Oh, and definitely not TMI for me.
     
  6. Gav Mack, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #6
    :D

    Some friends of mine wanted a nMP as a testbed for a future project to be stripped down. We tried to hire one out for a short term loan but the prices were extortionate, ridiculous.

    Ended up one of the staff buying a 4 core nMP on their credit card, some Shin-etsu paste and under the 14 days money back deal it went back only the other day for a full refund :D
     
  7. nox-uk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    #7
    and there she is...

    I have been waiting for eGPU's to kick up a step, but had thought i'd be waiting for skylake before there was a reliably good solution. Then came along some eGPU's for laptops a month ago (MSI & Alienware) and now this.

    thank you MVC for confusing me, and making me wonder if i'm now better off with a MBP over a desktop. But you have somewhat laid my fears to rest for the future of the nMP.

    Nox
     
  8. poisoneduser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    #8
    eGPU might be a good solution, but seems to be an extensive one. Now, in other forums, somebody said eGPU (sonnet Echo express 3) will work only if you already have a dedicated gpu inside, because it has pcie to.
     
  9. roobarb! macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #9
    I have three nMP machines sat next to me, not doing anything at the moment.

    I'd be happy to help, but I'm in the UK. :(
     
  10. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #10
    I should have sounded out other UK users - but it was a teardown and not telling Apple kind of thing which was best all round. I bet it ran cooler than stock because I applied the factory thermal paste myself :D
     
  11. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #11
    So MVC, am I hearing you correct; I will be able to put a GTX680/780 card in my TB connected Sonnet Echo Express III-D box and utilise the CUDA engine in it? I have an nMP and currently run an Accelsior and a Tempo Pro card in the Echo Express...
     
  12. Korican100 macrumors 6502a

    Korican100

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    #12
    finally a shining light on the nMP!

    FUTURE PROOF HERE WE COME!

    ThanksMVC!
     
  13. Synchro3, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

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    #13
    Experimented some time ago with eGPU Nvidia GTX 570 (with MVC-EFI) connected to my Mac Mini 2012 via Thunderbolt, but was not successful. OS X was not stable because of my kext manipulations.
    My adapter: http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/PE4L V2.1.html and http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html

    Good to know MacVidCards is working on it. Thanks! :D

    However, could double OpenCL performance with eGPU GTX 570 via Express-Card adapter on my cMP, without hacking any kexts: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1695547

    Sources:
    http://www.journaldulapin.com/2013/08/24/a-thunderbolt-gpu-on-a-mac-how-to/
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/pci-express-graphics-thunderbolt,review-32525-8.html
    http://www.computerbase.de/forum/showthread.php?t=924865
     
  14. Sedor macrumors member

    Sedor

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    Germany
    #14
    Okay, this sounds very interesting - I would like to help, but I guess... Germany is to far away.

    Definite interested in how/if/when/.../.../... it works, how/where/when to get my own hands on it :p
     
  15. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    #15
    You have no idea what concerns I have. Great way to earn a customer.
     
  16. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #16
    You didn't even bother to read what he originally wrote.
     
  17. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    #17
    How do you know?
     
  18. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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    SoCal
    #18
    you know how a valley girl says T-M-I and stops the other person from talking because there to dumb to understand what they were saying. thats what you did.
     
  19. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
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    #19
    Right. I did that.

    ----------

    MVC burns the nMP for months until he "finds" a way to make some cash. He uses this forum to bolster his business and insults those that don't agree with his tactics. Seriously cheapens this forum. He should run a real business - market and advertise.
     
  20. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    DMV Area
    #20
    Back on topic....

    Incredible work as always, MVC. I don't even own a Thunderbolt Capable Apple Device, but as a hardware and OS X aficionado, I eagerly await your testing results. It's incredible what untapped potential lies in some of these machines, and I'm glad to hear you'll once again be extending the life of Macs everywhere.

    -N
     
  21. Tutor, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #21
    MVC,

    Are you saying that it might be possible to get a < $1k mini + a ~ $1.3 to $1.5k Titan Z + a TB enclosure, of course, adequately powered and have a relatively low priced CUDA monster? The MP 2007 that I'm using to compose this query supports, at least one GTX 590 + one or two GTX 480s (if you can afford losing some HD drive bays and use an extra power source); therefore the Mac does support, at least, some dual GPU graphics cards (mine has no mods what so ever) under Mavericks.
     
  22. MacVidCards thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #22
    Yes, writing a New titan Black rom now for boot screen support in Mini.

    Hope to have results up by morning.

    I don't think people realize how impressive those numbers are, considering it has 1/4 of bandwidth of a 16 lane PCIE 2.0 slot.

    Anyone with a 1,1-3,1 Mac Pro should try that "Valley" test with Extreme HD preset, I'll be willing to bet nobody breaks 40fps. Only 4,1 and later can break through that level. And remember this is on a 1.4 Ghz cheapie throwaway Mini with a 5400 rpm HD.
     
  23. Tutor, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #23
    MVC, I'd bet on your innovativeness coming thru every time.

    So could the crafty among us be possibly looking forward to having a Mac mini with a large enough external TB enclosure capable of holding two double wide $1.4K Titan Z Hydros water-cooled with the aid of this $129 mini freezer (that includes what I paid including shipping): http://www.provantage.com/avanti-vfr14ps~7AVNI031.htm , thus running the equivalent of 4 Titan Black GPUs full out under OSX? The system that I'm composing this query on is one of my MP2,1s running Mavericks w/video sometimes being driven by a dual GPU GTX 590 CUDA card; therefore the OS can certainly handle dual GPU cards, especially for CUDA functions. Small content creation studios would gush and then rush.


    BTW - Will be using that freezer to be the heart of the water cooling system for my 10 PCIe slotted (8 double wide + 2 single wide) Tyan Server - 6th Titan Z Hydro should be here within a few days.
     

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  24. sirio76, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

    sirio76 macrumors regular

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    #24
    Fair point. Can't remember how many times he bashed nMP(because it can not fits his overpriced GPUs), and how many times he stated eGPU will not work and how bad the performance would be because of the thunderbolt bandwidth limits.. My guess is that if he can find a way to sell something to the owners, nMP become suddenly a dream machine. People on this forum seems blind not seeing he is using this board mainly for promoting his business, while other people use it just for genuinely help other users without any financial interest.
    BTW I've reported about working GPU enclosure on Mac about two months ago: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1785308
    Funny thing is that nobody seems interested, until somebody find a way to make money out of this:D
    Happy business;)
     
  25. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    #25
    From a lab PoV, boosting the 3D capabilities of Mac Mini at these levels is indeed impressive. However, this would not make a "CUDA monster" as it was mentioned above, since Mac Mini lacks all the other features that could make it such thing. Investing in real life scenario on a $1.5k extension for such an underpowered machine (dual core only, soldered ram, super slow hd) in real life would be hopelessly dumb.

    This extension (if it finally works, with stable reliable results) can be a great deal for nMP, though. Now, that would be something great, since it makes much sense for these machines to have such upgrades.
     

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