Do you think there will ever be 3rd party GPUs for nMP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macines, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. macines macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2013
    i know no one can't say for sure,
    just hoping to share some thoughts on this, since there's a discussion for any other part of the new machine ongoing too.
  2. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    Unlikely. The most likely candidate would be OWC and the CEO soft panned the idea in a video interview.
  3. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    All depends on the total # of sales of the nMP, and how much help Apple gives them. But considering the total dearth of video card options for the cMP for many years, I would not expect it.

    To be frank, if the video card options in the nMP are not suitable for you, I would not buy a nMP.
  4. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    You will not see one
    nMP will be one time use like iMac or mac mini if you want newer technology you will have to buy new revision
    You can update drive and memory in both of them and thats the way nMP mini will be
    The only way we will ever see a true upgradable computer from apple if the nMP will fail in sales, and people will switch to PC and Aperture will become iPhoto FCPX.x will become iMovie, maybe at that point apple exec will realize what they did, and maybe do not care about Pro users as much as you most think :)
  5. Average Pro macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2013

    In the event you missed it...the expansion of the universe “will continue to accelerate and the universe will expand forever”. This means that everything is possible.
  6. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Seems really unlikely to me. I just can't come up with a situation where it makes economic sense for any of the possible suppliers that I can envision. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I just can't see it.
  7. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't think Apple will lock that down, but at the same time I don't see anyone making one.

    Previous Mac Pro GPUs were mostly just reference designs with a custom ROM, and we won't see that any more.
  8. peabo macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    3rd party? Unlikely, but not absolutely impossible.

    Apple are far more likely to offer their own GPU upgrades since they are proprietary cards, but given the need to remove & reapply thermal paste, it looks like it'l be something that they aren't going to be selling on the Apple Store.

    At the very least, unless firmware disallows it, if the 2nd revision of the Mac Pro has the same connectors, you can get new cards as service parts and attach them that way. It'll be pretty expensive, of course.
  9. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    I should add I've heard rumblings of Apple thinking about possibly, maybe, Thunderbolt GPUs. I could see third parties doing that. Dunno how popular that would be though.

    Emphasis on possibly and maybe though. Would be awesome for Macbook Pro owners though! Might grow the Mac GPU market a lot if Macbook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini owners could partake.
  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010

    I think upgrades will only come from Apple.

    If third party mfr's could barely be bothered to write Mac EFI for their existing PCIe reference cards, I just don't see them taking the even greater effort of making custom boards that are nMP compatible.
  11. MacSociology macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2006
    Battleground Europe?!
    I don't actually care about this. In 2-3 years we will just buy new workstations. Just as we already do.
  12. spaz8 macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2007
    Yes. Hand me downs from the mid-2015 nMP, just like the 8800gt, and 5770/5780 before.
  13. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    So we have about 10 votes for "no", 2 votes for "not impossible" (as in it's not impossible for you to flip a coin and it can land on its side), and 1 vote for "I don't care"
  14. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    Nobody does this anymore. Not businesses, not people who use computers for personal needs.
  15. MacSociology macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2006
    Battleground Europe?!
    Thanks for telling me what we do and don't do. I'll make a note of this and remember to not buy new workstations at a later stage.
  16. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I think you missed the "third party" part of the question.
  17. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    For this specific model, Mac Pro 2013 , I don't think you'll even get them Apple.

    Strongly suspect they haven't thought very deeply about how to do longitudinal upgrades, so there is no support for in this design.

    Seems as though they may have "just enough" to get these cards out the door so that only two identical pairs work together well. That's it.

    Longer term (and when "Crossfire" like feature is solely over PCI-e ) they may come up with a standard socket they can use over multiple generations, but that wouldn't show up until later Mac Pro designs.

    This. Not only the vendors though but issue even for Apple to engage in a upgrade service is whether there are enough folks who will actually pay for it. Lots of folks clamouring for 3rd party cards are primarily driven on cheaper than on paying for performance. They are anchored on "just as cheap as mainstream PC card" pricing and aren't going to move.

    it is a combination of lack of demand and lack of supply. They are coupled because in part nobody wants to pay for the work for has to be done. It is just " give me at same cost as other cards that don't need the extra work/support/services or I'll go Win PC / Hackintosh / etc. "

    As long as that is the dominate mindset there aren't going to be Apple or 3rd party cards.


    Again if run into the buzzsaw of folks wanting Thunderbolt aware drivers but then not willing to pay for the work ..... going to be waiting a long time.

    Over time I suspect someone will come up with a list of kludges and hacks to make this appear to work. That will be the "cheap" way and no supported market will surface because what is left over is too small.

    Demand from that foundation will be dependent upon "older" thunderbolt enabled models. Those models have another couple years before that large fraction of that base considers them "older and problematical"
  18. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    You buy every year?
  19. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Looking at the pics of the OWC tear down, it looks like the GPUs are attached with ribbon cables that are just a custom PCI-E connector. What is stopping someone from jiggering up a regular PCI-E connector on one end and one of the Apple customs on the other? If you take the brackets and cooling off of most video cards, you'd have something that would fit inside the nMP case. Mounting the card to the thermal core and routing the ribbon cable would be a challenge, but not impossible and not necessarily expensive.
  20. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    As you note, the technical barriers may be solvable but as always, it's the economics that make the plan seem less than promising. How many do you think a company could realistically sell? Enough to justify the investment and support costs? It's a heck of a lot more work than flashing a new BIOS onto regular PC cards, and that market is hardly thriving. Plus, I'm sure it's a smaller number of potential customers than the market for 3rd party old Mac Pro graphics cards, which was already a very small segment of the Mac Pro user base.
  21. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    If you consider external thunderbolt GPU's then there are several companies working on this already. I think one barrier is Intel who are not certifying eGPU's to use their TB tech so they get halted.

    A quick search brings up MSI and Silverstone.



    As for the actual cards in the nMP being replaced, why not? We can already change at BTO to D500/D700 so it would make it quite easy for Apple to offer dual D900's as an upgrade path in the future.

  22. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    3rd party GPUs ? Hardly. Why would anyone invest making a card on a proprietary connector, sold only in duals, and aiming on a machine with a super-tiny market share ? With the old Mac Pro it would be easier since the connector was common with PCs.

    If nMP wins the bet (e.g. survives and gets in a stable and regular upgrade path) we might see more options from Apple (although nVidia seems to be out of the game). But the options will be very limited and always targeting to the Pro market exclusively.
  23. crjackson2134 macrumors 68040


    Mar 6, 2013
    Charlotte, NC
    If the nMP PROVES popular enough, and their is a demand for continuously newer models v.2, v.3 etc.. And Apple smells the money, then yes. Improved cards for the newer nMP models MAY work and be an upgrade path for the v.1 machines (provided they offer a significant power boost).

    My crystal ball is a bit fuzzy on that subject right now, but my magic 8 ball says all signs are encouraging.
  24. superdx macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2009
    Upgrading the GPU on my 2009 Mac Pro has extended its shelf life for at least 1-2 more years. Before the Nvidia cards were plug & play on Macs, I would spend all kinds of money buying the Mac ATI cards from Apple. I think Apple will release them in the future, and hopefully more consumer oriented cards that aren't necessarily for video editing. Easy profit for them, since they're just PC cards with a slightly different BIOS.
  25. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    No apple want all new mac pro users to use the iMovie pro(FCPX) and OpenCL.

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