Graphics cards and the New MacPro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacGamver, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. MacGamver macrumors regular

    MacGamver

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #1
    Hey all!

    I couldn't seem to locate the answer to this question: The new MacPro will have dual PCI-e GPUs, but is this a custom, proprietary slot? What is the likelihood of being able to purchase a third party card that will work? (drivers aside) Is Apple shooting themselves in the foot again by trying to create their own "standards" for things?
     
  2. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
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    #2
    Yes.

    Your guess is as good as any.

    There are quite a few existing debates on this forum, please search.
     
  3. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
    #3
    crap....

    No; some of the folks here have much better, and solidly informed guesses than mine.

    I've read tons on this forum, but have not sufficiently found an answer, so thanks for the "yes"
     
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #4
    At the end of the day, they are still guesses.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1594117

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1615953

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1601034

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1593217

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1594407

    There are probably more, I didn't spend much time searching.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1593364
     
  5. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
  6. slughead, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

    slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    Apr 28, 2004
    #6
    The TL;DR is that the likelihood of 3rd party GPU upgrades for the Mac Pro is probably somewhere around 0%. If you are able to upgrade the GPU at all, it'll probably be because Apple has released a newer Model of iTube with a newer GPU and you might possibly be able to purchase a "replacement part" either used or new off e-Bay, or pay a ridiculous amount of money from Apple's spare parts store.

    There is no guarantee of this at all. Newer models of iTube could alter the slot or heat sink, making the cards not interchangeable between "generations" of iTube. This is the case with the PCIe SSD on the Macbook Pro Vs Macbook Air, they are incompatible and nobody knows why. It could also be the case that swapping the cards voids the warranty, requires reapplying the thermal paste, or is otherwise made very difficult.

    If you are really keen on having high-end graphics technology and want to be able to update your card(s), either be prepared to purchase a "disposable" machine or just buy a used 5,1 Mac Pro and put what you want in it. The nMP, at time of release, is probably going to max out with a FirePro W9000, which is effectively a card that was released in December 2011 (Radeon 7970), retails for $3500, is not CUDA compatible, lags far behind cheaper options that are MP compatible today, and probably wont even crossfire.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #7
    If there's anything new to add, let's keep it in existing threads.
     
  8. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

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    #8


    [​IMG]
     
  9. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
    #9
    That's pretty much what I'm assuming... :/ I just don't get why? After all the many years of finally getting in line with accepted standards, they're taking an about-face back to trying to create those standards. I just put a PC graphic card in my MP 3.1 and it worked perfectly out of the box, instead of paying 4x the normal price for something that's 4+ years behind technology.
     
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #10
    Thus you didn't give Apple any more money. They got close to standard implementation because it made the most financial sense. Now this makes more sense.
     
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #11
    Here we go... Another thread about lack of PCI-e slots in the New Mac Pro...
     
  12. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
    #12
    Well that's certainly a valid point... Then Apple should not mark things up so ridiculously just to have their "blessing" Or make it more attractive for third parties to license products.

    When you start a comment with "Here we go..." you lose all credibility. This is a civil discussion, please refrain from the drama. Thanks.
     
  13. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #13
    I pointed both of you to plenty of threads where complains about lack of PCI-e slots are. But instead of adding to it, you guys go and start another. How many of these complaints must we see?

    The "drama" is what slughead constantly tries to create and you just fed the troll.
     
  14. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
    #14
    I don't know slug head, but his/her point seemed constructive. You missed my point though; I am not complaining about the lack of PCI-e slots, it *has* them, but *DIFFERENT* ones than any other computer on the market. Maybe external PCI-e enclosures might be just fine through TB 2.0 for GPUS and other accessories, I just find it frustrating that Apple does this often, and for no compelling reason.
     
  15. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #15
    He's already started several polls/threads on this very topic and every time the threads begin to dies out, he starts a new one, regurgitating the same stuff over. Since being called out on this, he now just hijacks other people's threads.
     
  16. LorenK macrumors 6502

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    Illinois
    #16
    The compelling reason is that they made a design choice that needed to limit the internal modification of the machine. They have offered what they consider a reasonable alternative through the number of Thunderbolt ports, which you may not be thrilled about, but there are a number of Thunderbolt devices that might work to meet your needs.

    My disappointment is the lack of eSATA slots, because I have a ton of external storage, but I also understand that Apple has to make choices, there are just too many alternatives for Apple to accommodate them all, so it has made a decision. If it works for you great, if it doesn't, then how is that any different from what other manufacturers do all the time?

    Personally, while some of the choices made by Apple have inconvenienced me, Apple fits my needs over the alternatives, so despite some disappointment, I look forward to seeing what it's got under the hood and go from there.
     
  17. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    #17
    Apple's design choice does not equate to a compelling reason. How well did that work out for the G4 Cube? The machine was beautiful, but overpriced and carved in stone. This is a PRO-level machine that should offer pro-level options. They could have increased the dimensions a nominal amount for several reasons; the GPU or HD inclusive. Another concern is the flash-based HD. Don't these things have a very limited read/write capacity? Is that really the best choice as your entire storage solution?
     
  18. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #18
    AFAIK there is no read limit to worry about. Writing used to be a real worry, but basic flash write cycles have increased by magnitudes. There are also technological tricks like using wear-leveling techniques that wear all blocks evenly, and withholding a large chunk of blocks to be held in reserve in order to replace blocks that go bad.

    The bottom line is that SSD technology is increasing so quickly that they are obsolete years before they will ever wear out into uselessness.

    There are even people using SSDs as scratch drives, which is a scenario with very heavy and frequent writing.
     
  19. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    #19
    Good to know! Yes, well that's my primary concern as Photoshop is part of my daily professional workflow. Without added HDs for scratch, PS will use the primary. In addition, the system itself uses HD free space as Virtual memory, correct?
     
  20. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #20
    You may not agree they are compelling, but there are reasons...

    Thunderbolt requires integration of display port and PCIe. This can only be done by building custom GPU cards OR via some kind of cable kludge. You can guess which one of those Apple would consider a non-starter. Once you go custom GPU, you might as well make it fit your desired form factor.

    Why Thunderbolt? that's been discussed at length, but it opens the Mac Pro to peripherals that can be shared with the much larger mobile computing market and moves it away from the extremely niche and declining PCIe card market.

    As for flash-based HD, the computer will be in a landfill long before you reach the life expectancy of the NAND under even the harshest write conditions. Here's a test of a Samsung 840. By the way, the SSD in the new Mac Pro appears to be a socketed part, allowing for easy upgrades/replacement.
     
  21. chedda macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Integrated

    I am secretly hoping for an integrated card. Especially when the 8 core benchmarks have just surfaced. I am hoping that the new mac pro will make a cheap (ish) silent render node for my maxwell work. I of course know the odds are stacked against me but it does look likely there will be some configurations available. Without the dual fire pro's there is a chance to keep the price down, guys tell me i'm not dreaming !
     
  22. MacGamver thread starter macrumors regular

    MacGamver

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    Aug 16, 2013
    #22
    That's only if TB is on the GPU instead of a separate card, no? And choosing a custom GPU instead of a current and upgradeable one seems short-sighted.

    As far as the "computer will be in a landfill..." line, that would depend on how long you expect an average person should replace their computer. I have my desklamp iMac for 9 years before actually finally *needing* to replace it. It still runs like a charm for my kids to play on.
     
  23. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #23
    Regardless of where the TB controller resides (main board, add-in card, etc), it requires both GPU input and PCIe input. As I mentioned above, you have two options to get the output from the GPU to the input of the TB controller... (1) run a cable from the output of a standard PCIe video card back into the computer to your TB controller OR (2) create a custom GPU that has a special internal connection to the TB controller. Both have trade-offs... but it shouldn't be surprising which option Apple would choose.

    As for the landfill comment... You're absolutely right. However, that article on SSD life expectancy I linked to above gave the Samsung SSD a life span of somewhere between 75 and 200 years depending on usage... So if your great great grand children are still using your 2013 mac Pro around 2100, they can probably still be confident in their data integrity. :)
     
  24. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

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    Sep 8, 2003
    #24
    Or option 3) You run the display information over PCIe to the thunderbolt port. This is how the current crop of thunderbolt motherboards do it.

    If you do that, you don't really need external connectors for the PCIe GPU, which is what Apple has done. I'd bet that the connection to the mobo is still a standard PCIe pin-out, with a custom board layout to fit the case.
     
  25. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #25
    Which motherboards? I've never heard of passing Display Port over PCIe... The ones I've seen either use on-die GPU (option 1) or a cable (option 2).
     

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