eGPU for 2013 Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by joe8232, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. joe8232 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    #1
    Hi all,

    Apologies if this has been asked before, but I'm new to the concept of adding an external GPU to my Mac Pro. My question is about the AkiTIO Node Pro which is a TB3 eGPU box. Since my Mac Pro is only TB2 I'm wondering if I can use this (with a GTX 1080i) and an Apple TB3 -> TB2 adapter. Does anyone have any experience of this?

    Any help would be really appreciated!
     
  2. beccas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    #2
    I am interested in this too. Seems like you have the right idea. See this website if you haven't already.

    https://egpu.io/setup-guide-external-graphics-card-mac/#tb-macs
     
  3. joe8232, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    joe8232 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2005
    #3
  4. beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #4
    This is something I was just going to bring up. It seems as though a recent macOS update broke T1 and T2 access to eGPU and there is no fix. I am really concerned because I just bought a nMP thinking I can use eGPU to keep it relevant for some years to come. If apple breaks this or doesn't support it, I'll be SOL.

    I already have a GTX980 from my cMP so I just need an enclosure. I have been eyeing the Mantiz Venus (MZ-02) but after his update, I may hold off on buying anything until this is more sorted out.

    What do you think? Also, how do you like your nMP? What do you use it for? What peripherals do you use with yours?
    Mine is in transit so I am playing the waiting game.
     
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #5
    Is Apple going to officially support TBv2 eGPU? Thunderbolt 3 only really had the nod to eGPU support being part of the standard's mix of options. That is mainly do to support from the host OS ( Windows , macOS , etc. ). But it is up to Apple to whether they want to enable the foundation on TBv2 hardware or not (not required by the standard. hence a contributing issue why not a priority issue for Apple while on TBv2).

    "...
    Goodbye to unofficial Thunderbolt 2 support
    One downside of the update, as noted by the enthusiasts over at eGPU.io, is the apparent disabling of unofficial Thunderbolt 2 eGPU support. We may see an unofficial workaround in the future, but only Thunderbolt 3-enabled eGPUs, like the Akitio Node, Akitio Node Pro, and Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Boxare officially supported in macOS.

    .... "
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/03/14/egpu-progress-report-macos-10-13-4-beta-5-stability/

    I'm sure folks will come up with hacks that "happen to work" around it, but if Apple is basing all of their certification testing on TBv3 speeds and latencies, then issues could creep up over time. Apple dropping the unofficial support is indicative there are issues that they don't want to put time and effort into. If it was inherently covered they'd just support it.
     
  6. beccas, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #6
    That article is slightly misleading since it gives the impression that it is T2 eGPUs that are no longer supported. It is eGPUs connected to anything lowered than T3 that is blocked. Am I understanding it correctly?
     
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #7
    If your host system is restricted to TBv2 what is the material difference? The host system with TBv2 is incapable of TBv3 speeds and latencies. A dongle between TBv2's mini-DisplayPort form factor sockets and the Type-C form factor of TBv3 sockets doesn't really solve that issue.
     
  8. beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #8
    If it were T2 eGPUs that were blocked, that would NOT be an issue because most people are using T3 eGPUs to connect to their thunderbolt equipped computers. Does that clear it up?
     
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #9
    A TBv3 box will present through a TBv3 to TBv2 conversion dongle as a TBv2 box. The article only doesn't presume some weird corner case where run through two TBv3 to TBv2 converters to put a TBv2 box between a TBv3 host system and a TBv3 external PCI-e slot enclosure box.

    If you need TBv3 then need both a host and external device that are at the same level. TBv3 externals naturally hook up to TBv3 hosts.
     
  10. beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #10
    I am not sure I am convinced that this is true. Apple could simply not support it so that they can focus on other efforts. The cMP 2009 was blocked from an OS update that the 2010 was allowed to run. We saw that a firmware hack solved this. It wouldn't be the first time.
     
  11. joe8232 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2005
    #11
    It's looking more and more like this isn't really a viable option for a nMP. Too bad.

    I'm an astronomer so I do a lot of modeling and data analysis. the nMP is pretty great for this since a lot of our software is UNIX based. I updated the CPU in my nMP a few months ago to an E5-2680 v2 10 core which gave me a huge speed boost. I was hoping to add the GPU for CUDA cores, not for gaming.
     
  12. beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #12
    I wanted the external GPU to push the two 4k monitors I use comfortably at 60Hz.

    By the way, that must be one cool job. :) Since you use the computer for work, are you be considering iMP or the next revision of the MP? And did you do the CPU upgrade yourself?
     
  13. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #13
    That boxes down stream on the TB2 end of the dongle don't present as TBv2? Good luck with theory.

    It doesn't say TBv2 eGPU enclosures are dead. It says TBv2 eGPU is dead.. It isn't the enclosure that is the property being outlined here. Once you loop in the TBv3-to-TBv2 dongle, you have looped in TBv2. So your eGPU is TBv2 also (immaterial of what is on the TBv3 side of the dongle).

    The cMP 2009 was vintage area macOS 10.13 release time so they stopped. The cMP 2010 is vintage now so it isn't getting anything new at this point either. The cMP 2012 is probably going on vintage this Fall too (if Apple is way behind schedule on a replacement they my hand wave it through, but I wouldn't count on that). The corner case there is the basic motherboard and boot chipset is the same. It isn't a difference in basic underlying raw abilities like TBv3 versus TBv2 is. The other major difference is that the 2009-2012 were officially supported at some point and aged into unsupported. The TBv2 hack was never officially supported in the first place. ( Back when Apple had no TBv3 systems for internal developers to work with there were kludges to get to the TBv2 systems they had to 'kind of / sort of' work. But it always was a stop-gap kludge to do experiments with. )

    Apple's graphics stack being a bit of a "bailing wire and duck tape" stack is one reason why the still incomplete eGPU support has taken far longer than it took Microsoft to get Windows' eGPU support up and running. The underlying kludges the early hacks depended on may not last past the graphics stack's reasonable evolution path. Hack make keep it working for a while, but longer term it is questionable as a stable, production work path.
     
  14. beccas, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    beccas macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    #14
    @deconstruct60

    You misread my post. See the part I quoted "I'm sure folks will come up with hacks that "happen to work" around it, but if Apple is basing all of their certification testing on TBv3 speeds and latencies, then issues could creep up over time. Apple dropping the unofficial support is indicative there are issues that they don't want to put time and effort into. If it was inherently covered they'd just support it."

    I was simply saying that I had doubts speeds and latencies was the sole reason. But you seem to be very knowledgeable on this type of stuff so I will take your word for it.

    Either way, this is disappointing to me as I had plans to make use of the eGPU to continually keep my nMP somewhat "up to date" so to speak, at least on the GPU side of things.

    Now it is as though I have traded a 980 for a D500. :-/ I did not want to keep relying on hacks to keep my 2009 cMP updated, and there is already software I need that require 10.12+. I thought the nMP would fix this. Oh well.
     
  15. diamornte macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2009
  16. iGobbleoff macrumors regular

    iGobbleoff

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    May 2, 2011
    #17
    I have a Mantiz eGPU with a Vega 56 card, and I'm using the TB2-TB3 adapter, on a 2010 17" MBP
     
  17. saulinpa macrumors 6502a

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    #18

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