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vel0city

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 23, 2017
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I thought a thread would be useful for those of us here who are into GPU renderers like Redshift and Octane. Here we can post news/updates and any general chat about the incoming Metal/AMD GPU render ports on the new Mac Pro.

The latest scraps of information that I know (just from forums etc, I don't have any contacts) are that Redshift development for Metal is being handled by Apple, leaving the Redshift devs to focus on version 3.0 which is currently in beta and has been for nearly all of 2019.

Regarding Octane, the CEO of OTOY posted to the Octane for C4D Facebook group in response to someone asking about news about the Mac port of Octane X, which will be free to anyone purchasing the 7,1.

“development is good, we will have some updates soon”


“latest AMD GPUs will be needed for first release, but working backwards from there to support older ones too once Metal Driver support is solid”


Asked about using eGPUs with Octane X he replied with " yes already working fine with R7 on iMac with eGPU"

I know there are some other holdouts on here still working with 5,1 and 4,1 Mac Pros with CUDA cards and still stuck on High Sierra, as I am. This thread is our lifeline and hope for a better rendering platform with the 7,1.
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2014
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At least we now know it's official that Nvidia has dropped MacOS support:

  • CUDA 10.2 (Toolkit and NVIDIA driver) is the last release to support macOS for developing and running CUDA applications. Support for macOS will not be available starting with the next release of CUDA.

Options are always better than no options, but let's hope more and more renderers get on the Metal wagon.
 
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Macintosh IIcx

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Very interesting that that Redshift development for Metal is being handled by Apple. Might not be a bad thing that Apple has to make a genuine commitment. ?
 
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vel0city

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 23, 2017
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At least we now know it's official that Nvidia has dropped MacOS support:

Options are always better than no options, but let's hope more and more renderers get on the Metal wagon.

It really is time to move on. We've been on borrowed time for so long. I'm grateful to Nvidia that I was able to get involved in GPU renderers on the Mac as it has transformed my workflow and output, but yeah, really ready for a new machine and something current and powerful. I even have dreams about owning a 7, 1.

@MarkC426 - I don't think any tech specs or details have been made public yet. Here's the Facebook thread where I've been following the Octane CEO's (Jules Urbach) posts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OctaneRender/permalink/1422883074555433/

@Macintosh IIcx - yes, Apple handling the Redshift development is definitely interesting. Maybe the tech will be used for other applications and not just for 3D artists. Redshift have been working on a realtime renderer (like Unreal Engine) which has yet to be officially revealed, but could potentially have a wider market than something as niche as a GPU renderer. Games, product visualisations, AR, VR etc.
 
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goMac

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Apr 15, 2004
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Very interesting that that Redshift development for Metal is being handled by Apple. Might not be a bad thing that Apple has to make a genuine commitment. ?

Apple is looking to fill in any gaps with Metal right now to make it more attractive for customers. Handling the port themselves gives them hands on experience with an application out in the wild, and provides a quick path to making any necessary enhancements to Metal.
 
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shuto

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2016
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Thanks for this thread.

That is crazy that Apple is going to do the development work to get Redshift working with Metal.

How did you hear about that? All that I have heard from reading redshift forum is that “progress is coming along fine” sort of updates, with redshift not wanting to share more details until it’s more ready.

I heard Octane CEO saying they were finding Radeon VII rendered about same speed as a nvidia 2080. And people are expecting Vega II to be about same as Radeon VII, so not amazing, not rubbish performance. Benchmarks can’t come soon enough to find out for real!

I’m also very excited for redshift and octane on Mac Pro. If it wasn’t for this I think I’d be pushed to PC, but this is just enough to keep me on Mac.

Imagine a Mac Pro with 2 x Vega II Duo and four Radeon VII eGPUs rendering away...
 
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vel0city

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Dec 23, 2017
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@shuto I'm glad you posted, I was thinking about you being one of the GPU render guys here when I started the thread.

I heard about Apple taking over the Redshift development on their official forums - not an official announcement but posted by someone close to the development.

I'm not even that concerned if Metal ends up being a bit slower than CUDA. Just having an officially supported, stable, and maintained GPU render platform on the Mac is enough for me. I already subscribe to Octane and Redshift as well as Cycles and Arnold, I'm getting into Houdini as well as C4D and just want the Mac platform to be stable for everything 3D. For anything big I always chuck it on PixelPlow anyway, I'm all about the Live viewer/Render view performance.

But yes, 2 x Vega II Duo and four Radeon VII eGPUs is a serious personal render farm, I would gladly blow all of my budget and savings on that!
 
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AidenShaw

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Feb 8, 2003
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Very interesting that that Redshift development for Metal is being handled by Apple. Might not be a bad thing that Apple has to make a genuine commitment. ?
Until next week, when Apple decides that Metal is dead and tries to move everything to yet another API. (remember when Apple said that OpenCL was the future - for a few months before Apple said that it was dead?)
 
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Flint Ironstag

macrumors 65816
Dec 1, 2013
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Here is some news:

https://gizmodo.com/apple-and-nvidia-are-over-1840015246
[automerge]1574572470[/automerge]
Until next week, when Apple decides that Metal is dead and tries to move everything to yet another API. (remember when Apple said that OpenCL was the future - for a few months before Apple said that it was dead?)
I remember that. But now they've painted themselves into a corner where they have to support Metal.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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Until next week, when Apple decides that Metal is dead and tries to move everything to yet another API. (remember when Apple said that OpenCL was the future - for a few months before Apple said that it was dead?)

The bulk of the strategic app stack on iOS/iPadOS is layered on Metal. The notion that Apple is going to walk away for a major pillar of iOS "next week" is delusional. 10-15 years from now? Who knows, but far into the intermediate future there is just major foundational stuff on Metal. The Mac is looped into orbit around that deep gravity well. It isn't some short term 'fad'.

Apple is even stacking bigger money with the $500M they are dropping on Apple Arcade, which is you look at the key foundational elements you'll find Metal there too. Folks may have portable game engines but they are they are "Metal base" first ones where Apple is paying most of the up front freight. Apple isn't going to casually walk away from $500M.

Apple never made anything close to a $500M bet on OpenCL. If they had earlier in the process it probably would have run into less problems. ( "embrace, extend, extinguish" like games from Nvidia , Microsoft, and to some extent Google (Android) ) ) . So Apple got on the more proprietary API path and push a big pile of chips (money) onto the table to back it up. [ They may have needed to move a bigger pile sooner to be effective long term but time will tell. ]

Finally, Apple has done a bit of Julius Caesar playbook of "burn the bridges behind the troops after telling them to cross ". OpenGL/OpenCL deprecated. Nvidia in the penalty box. At this point the 'flakey" path for a macOS software developer who wants to be on future versions of the OS, would be to ignore Metal as if it didn't matter much. ( even of ignore the computational subset, the graphics subset is it or a library that provides an abstraction to it. )
[automerge]1574572687[/automerge]


"... At least until AMD gets its own hardware-accelerated ray tracing support off the ground. ..."
It probably isn't just AMD. Intel is ramping that also. Apple probably is too ( hence jumping into the fray on porting engine work themselves. Not just for Metal but there is probably trickle down to hardware too on some other timeline. )

[automerge]1574572470[/automerge]

I remember that. But now they've painted themselves into a corner where they have to support Metal.

It is a double digit Billion dollar corner. It isn't not that small.
 
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th0masp

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2015
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germany
Apple is looking to fill in any gaps with Metal right now to make it more attractive for customers. Handling the port themselves gives them hands on experience with an application out in the wild, and provides a quick path to making any necessary enhancements to Metal.

Most likely it'll also mean that they'll make some initial version work but then the developer goes and updates their product in ways that would force Apple to commit more time to keep their implementation in sync which is when it will be largely abandoned. You just know it...

Which is to say GPU rendering with multiplatform software that has their main userbase elsewhere and its developers primarily working on another platform will only ever be the ugly stepchild once the initial excitement settles.

For ideal implementation you'll need to find software that is primarily being developed on the Mac, not rely on Apple to magically keep focus.

My 0.02 (euro) cents.
 
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goMac

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Apr 15, 2004
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Until next week, when Apple decides that Metal is dead and tries to move everything to yet another API. (remember when Apple said that OpenCL was the future - for a few months before Apple said that it was dead?)

About the only thing OpenCL had going for it was that it was a standard. Other than that, it was fairly awful and quickly taken an Apple unfriendly direction by the other members after initial release. Remember, Google also had OpenCL support and also dropped it pretty quickly.

Metal will stick around because Metal and Apple's A series CPUs are a team. It's made Metal a bit of an odd fit on the Mac, but:
- Metal is a perfect companion API for an A series or Zen based Mac, even though it's a little awkward on Intel
- It's much faster to work in than OpenCL
- They've been adding features year after year in a way they didn't for OpenCL

Metal will not last forever. But there are a lot of indications it's going to be sticking around for a long while.

Apple just rewrote their whole window server on top of Metal, which is a pretty big deal.

[automerge]1574581119[/automerge]
Most likely it'll also mean that they'll make some initial version work but then the developer goes and updates their product in ways that would force Apple to commit more time to keep their implementation in sync which is when it will be largely abandoned. You just know it...

The way these things typically work is the finished Metal version is handed back to the developer for maintenance on completion. Like I said, Apple's end of the deal is making sure that the drivers are properly optimized, which is easier if they control the initial development too.

Metal team has to eat their own dog food to build better drivers.
 
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MarkC426

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2008
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Just read the wwdc news article on Otoy website..... ?
They have been promising for years Amd support, hopefully soon (end of the year is mentioned, presumably to tie in with macpro release).
I see Octane X will support ios also.
 
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vel0city

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 23, 2017
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I see Octane X will support ios also.

How do we interpret this? Will Octane X be used as a render engine like Unreal for games and apps? Or does it mean that iOS will support 3D rendering applications? I find the latter doubtful and am curious about how and why Octane will be supported on iOS.
 
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MarkC426

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2008
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  • Octane X for iPad Pro features 100% parity with desktop Octane X for macOS and complements it with new and unique features that will prove indispensable to macOS Octane artists, especially Octane Unity and Unreal Engine users.
  • On the latest iPad Pro, Octane X supports 100:1 hardware ASTC texture compression – a first for production rendering. This enables massive production scenes created on Octane X for macOS to be rendered on the iPad Pro without issue.
  • Octane X for iOS is fully interoperable as a render slave or host with Octane X for macOS.
  • Octane X on iOS securely renders in the cloud when connected to OTOY’s decentralized GPU-rendering network, RNDR.
https://home.otoy.com/octane-x-wwdc2019/
 
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skippermonkey

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
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Great thread - thanks for setting it up.

Mac Pro buyers have some interesting decisions coming up, like which is the best GPU for Octane/Redhsift in terms of price/performance. The Vega II Duo looks great on paper, but it sounds like the tech will be superseded by AMD's Navi 23 due in the middle of 2020. The Radeon VII is already end-of-lifed, although the RX 5700 XT is very comparable in compute tests (and Vega 64 still holds its own!) Be interesting to see what GPU BTO options there are when Apple finally decides to release them.
 
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vel0city

macrumors regular
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Dec 23, 2017
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@MarkC426 Very cool, thanks Mark. I do like the idea of using my iPad Pro as an additional external display with the 7,1 and Sidecar, and also as a render slave with Octane. Having options like that starts to free you up creatively and expands the scope of what you're able to achieve. I hope this functionality extends to the C4D plugin and not just Octane standalone. The iPad Pro is really getting into its stride as a creative tool now and makes a great companion to a desktop machine.

It will be interesting to see if Octane's stability improves on the Mac with the Metal version. As much as I love Octane's output (it has a certain something which I prefer over Redshift) it can be unreliable and prone to crashing, whereas Redshift is completely rock solid for me, even the current beta 3.11 version.

@skippermonkey - the choice might also be between CPU renderers as well. Maybe the Metal renderers won't offer the benefits of their CUDA counterparts (for me the Live Viewer/Render View) and a CPU renderer like Corona, Cycles4D (which supports both CPU and GPU) or Arnold will be a more viable route.

Lots of exciting times ahead.
 
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shuto

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2016
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Which is to say GPU rendering with multiplatform software that has their main userbase elsewhere and its developers primarily working on another platform will only ever be the ugly stepchild once the initial excitement settles.
I think @th0masp makes some good points.

Mac Redshift and Octane X will only be successful if they are 100% feature comparable with PC, and also that a redshift / octane scene made on a PC would open and render the same on Mac (not that I can imagine this is easy to achieve!)

Maxon the owners of Cinema4D and Redshift seem to be very much into Macs...
“The new Mac Pro graphics architecture is incredibly powerful and is the best system to run Cinema 4D.” — David McGavran, CEO, Maxon

This and Apple doing lots of development to get redshift working on metal is a great sign to me that the Apple care about the new Mac Pro being good for 3D animation.
 
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deconstruct60

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....The Vega II Duo looks great on paper, but it sounds like the tech will be superseded by AMD's Navi 23 due in the middle of 2020.

There is little to indicate so far that Navi 23 is really the successor to the Vega 20 in the Vega II. Arcturus is probably the successor to Vega 20.

https://www.tweaktown.com/news/68074/amds-next-gen-arcturus-gpu-teased-here-1h-2020/index.html

It is basically a Vega 20 moved down to a 7nm+ fab. ( It is a shrink of the 7nm design. *** ) . Apple driver rollout will probably be behind the Linux one for the Instinct roll out so around October 2020 plus or minus 2-3 months for an Apple version.

Navi 23 isn't aimed at the same market according to most of the rumor info I've seen. It sacrifices some general computation compute area to chase after having "real time" ray tracking compute. That is why it is being labeled an "Nvidia Killer" ( likely more so a Nvidia feature list matching check box than killer. ).

A proprietary "real time ray trace" feature that Apple doesn't have in their own GPU implementation probably isn't going to be top priority for Metal. I wouldn't "bet the farm" that Apple is going to do that in 2020. Apple will need to do something. Intel is going to have one too. Apple may put one in also ( in chase to AR headset and AR capable phones at lower power draws. ). This write rendering driver work will increase their skill set so can make a better solution that spans hardware implementations.

But the more solid foundation that Apple will have would be an Arcturus update that could just computationally grunt through current ( composed 2018- early 2020 workloads ) Metal workloads faster.

Look at Nvidia RTX rolling out into other apps. It has taken Nvidia substantive time to expand to apps. Metal roll out would probably be longer as Nvidia hooked the software/hardware R&D together from the get go. And Apple software and AMD hardware would be a split owner situation. ( that is just not likely to move quite as fast. ).

I'd expect Apple to work with AMD to do some drivers that are related to Navi 2x family, but I would not expect that those drivers would cover the "ray tracing unit" in a 2020 time frame. So it wouldn't be particularly useful as a MPX module. But folks may be able to buy a card that isn't really a "Vega 20" killer. in terms of computation. ( viewport raster speed , some gaming , yes. But the bulk of what Apple is aiming the Vega II Duo at....... I doubt it. A decent chunk of silicon is going to be assigned to something else than general compute.)

The Radeon VII is already end-of-lifed,

It isn't really "end of lifed" . It is just end of production. Which when you take into account that the Vega II models use exactly the same base die. means it is really no where near literally "end of life". AMD can only make so many of these dies. If Apple is buying a bucket load of them there be any left after those dies have been allocated to Vega II and MI Instinct 50/60 products. So AMD stopped making what they don't have a supply for. ( all the more becaue the VII was probably being sold about at-cost or relatively very low margins. In part, it was a filler because the Vega II hadn't rolled out in volume. Plus Navi was stumbled on timeline. )


although the RX 5700 XT is very comparable in compute tests (and Vega 64 still holds its own!) Be interesting to see what GPU BTO options there are when Apple finally decides to release them.

Navi's design was somewhat skewed toward gaming. ( as the major 'sponsors' were game consoles and AMD wanted to attack the "affordable gaming" range of the add in card market. ). If Apple does an trade of an Navi for the 580X, I highly doubt it will be a 5700 XT variant. It is an entry card which means cost effectiveness is a parameter. The XT is clocked up out of the thermal spot and has a higher prices... neither of those is a winner for a half-height, more affordable, MPX module.



*** P.S. since the Vega 20 was first implemented on 7nm it does make some sense to do shrink for the design (with some clean ups and a narrow set of feature updates. maybe a CU count bump.). It is way more cost effective than trying to do a new ground up design in terms of money and personnel resources ( both of which AMD doesn't have an over supply of). Nvidia's high end computational die that take up maximum reticule size have issues getting to 7nm which shrinks max reticules as bit. If AMD can do a 7nm+ that competes better on $/performance in the higher end space they can probably sell more than just a few of these. ( Apple is likely pushing them on pricing also. )
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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“latest AMD GPUs will be needed for first release, but working backwards from there to support older ones too once Metal Driver support is solid”
would latest include an RX580?

Unless they have substantively stretched the definition of latest, it is not suggestive. The Polaris base of the RX580 is a GCN 4 foundation ( but probably a variant of a 12nm 590 so not quite back to origins of line). The Vegas are GCN5 . What is technically the latest, bleeding edge from AMD in an Apple product is Navi ( RDNA in the MBP 16").

It is pretty unlikely they are leaving out the MBP 16" (and likely more Navi to follow in 1H 2020). Also the Vega II's in the Mac Pro are extremely likely to have made that cut.

The 580X is on a slippery slope. If performance optimizing the other two took up all the time than it is probably left out of the initial set. If there was time then they could have made the cut. But covering Polaris would cover stuff that Apple has been shipping since circa 2017. 2017 on the eve of rolling into 2020 isn't particularly "latest". More like systems still on the first half of the Vintage/Obsolete lifecycle timeline.

A partial upside of the Mac Pro 2019 release dragging on so long is that if the Polaris wasn't done earlier in the Fall, then there is a better chance it is done now. ( and perhaps narrowed by putting a minimal VRAM parameter on that architecture like > 4GB. which mostly subsets it to the upper range of the more newer models. ).

Apple isn't going to cry tears either if folks who want to transition to this in first 3 months "have to" buy a Vega II to get early access. I wouldn't be shocked if there was a "Coming Soon" footnote attached to the 580X at launch.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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So what GPU options do you think Apple will offer?

Extremely likely to offer exactly what is on this page they have already put up.


https://www.apple.com/mac-pro/specs/

And what GPUs could we potentially buy that would work in the Mac Pro?

It is also doubtful that Apple is going to get into the selling loose mainstream GPU add-in-cards that are in the "we tried them and they appear to work good enough" to get a mention on the eGPU ( and probably Mac Pro) 3rd party list. But Apple probably won't sell them directly. (any more than they do now for eGPUs. )

Apple does sell an integrated eGPU that Blackmagic produces. The cards those are based on have a very good chance of being approved. That eGPU itself even more so.

GPUs that are used in an embedded fashion in other Macs ( e.g., 5500M in MBP 16" ) will also probably easily make the cut.

Cards that would "only work" in a Mac Pro and not in an external Thunderbolt PCI-e enclosure? I wouldn't bet a substantive sum on that.

Recent reports of the RX 5700 says it doesn't work smoothly with Bootcamp and Windows https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/amd-radeon-rx-5700.2189066/page-5 , so not a firm foundation Apple is going to add that to the "officially approved" list any time soon.
 
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shuto

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Oct 5, 2016
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@Velocity could you link to the redshift thread that talks about apple doing development on redshift? I had a look but couldn't find anything.

In one way I wanna get a Mac Pro day one so I have it sooner, but keep flip flopping decisions because its such an expensive machine. Maybe the only sensible thing to do is wait until redshift or octane are out on Mac and see what benchmarks are. But then if Maxon + Redshift + Octane + Apple are all throwing their weight behind GPU on Mac then maybe it will all be fine.

I guess there will always be things on PC that aren't on Mac. Recently I've been looking into Oculus Medium where you can 3D sculpt in VR. Looks amazing. PC only. And Arnold render GPU is only PC because it uses nvidia RTX. I just love working on Mac compared to PC and think that is worth the extra cash.

I think the eGPU thing is something apple has over on the PC . You could build a PC with 4 GPUs in it, but expanding more than that you'd have to go tricky unreliable water cooled. Where on the modular Mac you can keep adding eGPUs and not pay more software costs for a second machine licence. And yeah iPads too I guess?

Octane X being released for free sounds too good to be true really. I wonder if they will limit the number of GPUs being able to be used on the free version like they did when they upgraded my licence from v3 to v4 (only allowed to render on 2 GPUs now, unless I pay more)
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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....
Recent reports of the RX 5700 says it doesn't work smoothly with Bootcamp and Windows https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/amd-radeon-rx-5700.2189066/page-5 , so not a firm foundation Apple is going to add that to the "officially approved" list any time soon.

Those are probably more so due to the older Mac Pro than the card. I hand't seen the update to the eGPU list that puts them on that list . Perhaps flakey boot support is the new (or continued ) "normal feature " for non Apple cards.

But it isn't just primarily the Mac Pro that is being enabled by expanding the card coverage. It should be just a more affordable (after sunk costs of the core system) to an additional card for some.
 
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