MacPro 6,1 — video performance fail?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Drexus, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Drexus macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    When I considered the new jet-engine style MacPro, it was to replace my old tower of power MacPro 1,1.

    The main reason I did so, was due in part to the dual GPU configuration. From what I knew of the graphics card industry, bridging both cards to drive a single display is not a new thing. Most here are well aware of AMDs CrossFire™ technology, and given the MacPro had two identical AMD cards, it was reasonable to expect this solution was integrated into Apple’s new King-Kong workstation.

    With specs that described an ability to drive multiple 4K displays simultaneously, I was confident this new investment would take me to a new level with ease — given I only used a single monitor at a humble 1080P resolution.

    To my surprise, I found that loading this new MacPro with typical GPU tasks wasn’t so effortless. Running Rhino 3D required me to hide most of the objects in my small project, just so I could reasonably navigate my 3D workspace. Work aside, playing was just as limited — The remastered versions of Homeword 2 exhibited similar issues, cutting back rendering features to allow smooth gameplay.

    At first I attributed this failing as a teething issue, waiting for the next instalment of OS X to enable the last critical pieces of the puzzle and unlock the brutal power of this system. Unfortunately, neither El Capitan nor Sierra resolved this issue.

    I began reading about how some video cards didn't turn on the ‘supercharger’ unless it detected a retina display. Things like this made me wonder about my system: Why is it that no matter what work I do, the machine doesn't seem to generate any heat. The massive fan inside turns at a leisurely rate — almost inaudible. The same is true of any graphics task I throw at it, as though it was waiting for real work to come along.

    The questions I have are as follows:
    • Is there something I’ve completely missed about owning one of these machines?
    • Is there a kext or mod everyone is using that I’ve somehow missed?
    • Is the MacPro 6,1 without CrossFire™, and I’ve been using only one video card all this time?
    • And lastly, is it to be my realization that a 5K iMac (being a cheaper alternative) with only one video card, is far more powerful than two video cards from the more expensive MacPro?
    Please help me out here.
     
  2. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #2
    I'm suspecting its the software application itself. I would do extensive research before buying a new Mac Pro as some software applications are not designed to work optimally with the new Mac Pro.
     
  3. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #3
    This is depressing. How is it this feature is not enabled outright? What of the retina mode? Were I to get a 4K/5K monitor, would my 3D cad work become absolutely unusable?
     
  4. h9826790, Dec 12, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    CrossFire only works in Windows, there is no equivalent software / function in OSX.

    Also, AFAIK, in the 6,1 all displays only connect to a single GPU. The other GPU is for calculation only, nothing more than that.

    It's purely depends on the software to decide if use the 2nd GPU or not. Indeed, apart from few software that can utilise the 2nd GPU, it simply sits at there idle most of the time.

    And even though you get the maxed out 6,1, the D700 is nothing more than a downclocked 7970. Don't expect too much from it.

    And the 6,1 can drive 4k / 5k monitor, it's not a problem, if you get the correct monitor, and connect them properly. However, don't expect that you can see the boot screen.

    Since the thermal core is designed to handle all CPU + 2 GPUs at the same time. And most likely you are now only use part of the CPU and only 1 GPU. So, I won't be surprised that the fan basically stay at idle.

    If you want to know how the thermal core react to full load. You can download Luxmark 3 and run the stress test (make sure you choose all CPU and GPU).
     
  5. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #5

    Interesting. Thanks for the info. So what your saying is the poor performance I’m seeing on a 1080P monitor will only get worse if I connect more monitors. This seems counter intuitive to me — as the specs for the machine clearly state 4K video editing is possible with multiple monitors.

    Given my MacPro 1,1 had 16GB of ram and an MSI GeForce GTX 670 (twice the 3D power of the D300). This is an old card, and on an old Mac — but it completely killed the D300 (W7000). Why did I upgrade? Because the MacPro 1,1 architecture was no longer supported by Apple. I’m not even sure Yosemite could be installed, so I had little choice.
     
  6. Draeconis, Dec 12, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016

    Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    Great game :) classic Homeworld will always have a special place in my heart though.

    Driving multiple 4K monitors and being good at games are not the same thing.

    Even some Intel integrated GPUs can drive loads of 4 and 5K displays, but they can't do much more than running the OS on them.

    To get any sort of decent gaming performance from the MacPro6,1; install Windows, add proper Crossfire drivers and test. Crossfire is meh though sometimes; some games support multiple GPUs well, in others you'll get only a minor/no improvement and in some it may even be worse.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 12, 2016 ---
    Technically you can install up to El Capitan using various methods; 1,1 and 2,1 owners have hit a brick wall with Sierra over a requirement for SSE4.1 if I recall. It depends if you have the time to dedicate to setting all that up, and don't mind the occasional issue.

    As far as a comparison to the iMac is concerned; the rule of thumb is, if you have a choice, then a faster single GPU is a better choice than two GPUs in Crossfire or SLI. For reasons of driver support, game compatibility etc. Unfortunately in this case, your choices are;
    • Underclocked desktop GPUs in Crossfire (only under Windows) (MacPro6,1)
    • Bespoke single laptop GPU (current iMac).
    Not much of a choice, is it.

    There's the possibility of using an eGPU with the Mac Pro, but that's even more work and expense over an already expensive machine..
     
  7. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #7
    D300's are not strong graphics cards. One generally bought that configuration for the CPU performance, not graphics. Still, I would have expected them (one of them, anyway - no cross-fire) to run a single 1080P display quite well.

    If you tried running a 4k display at 4k resolution, things will get much slower. But, to be fair, very few systems run games, etc., on 4k displays well - even the most massive graphics card (say, 1000-series Titan) will struggle with that.

    The main point of a nMP is that it can run whatever you throw at it non-stop without thermal issues (as you have found). A high-end iMac (or even a top-end MacBook Pro) may actually be faster in some applications, but the fans will kick into high and you just wouldn't want to run it that way for very long.
     
  8. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    #8
    Not necessarily. Even if the application does not support dual GPU's, you might still get the benefit of one GPU running the monitors, the other GPU doing the acceleration. A single GPU would have to do both, using up more resources on the single card.

    You probably should not expect miracles using the base GPU option for the Mac Pro. Going to the D500/D700 would be a better option for 4K. I'm using the D700 and have no problem editing 4K.

    Looking up more info for Rino 3D seems to indicate to use dual GPU's is only supported in SLI/Crossfire mode?

    Like I said before, I would do plenty of research on what is supported for your primary application.
     
  9. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #9
    I’m a bit past the decision step... I’ll have to live with it until something else comes along.

    As for a multi processor machine, the same argument could be said of the video: Not everything in OS X takes advantage of all the cores — much less any application you use. I’ve been using an MP machine for years and found few applications took advantage of the extra power.

    I was hoping this machine did split it’s work across Thunderbolt ports — similar to how the USB ports are split between buses. If that was the case, I’d be looking for a monitor with dual inputs for a split screen mode (top half driven by one card, bottom half driven by the other).

    Why this isn’t “a thing” in our world (as it would bypass CrossFire/SLI altogether), one never knows.
     
  10. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    #10
    Wildly offtopic but did you know they released a re-mastered version of Homeworld pretty recently?
     
  11. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #11
    Are you kidding? I was first in line when that came out. I just wish I could create/load new maps.
     
  12. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    #12
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/244160/

    Have at it. macOS version available too :)
     
  13. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #13
    It's a port though, the Mac version so (to keep things on topic) the performance will always be worse. Is it another one of those Aspyr jobs? Terrible. Call of Duty 4 was unplayable. Boot into Windows on the same hardware, fine.
     
  14. orph macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    might be worth contacting support to check you have your app settings set up correctly or check the manual, if the app supports using 2 GPU's then there will be a speed up.

    the D300 is the lowest GPU, if needed for work an external GPU might be a valid option but do research first to see if it's valid for your workflow.
     
  15. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #15
    External GPU? What trickery is this?
     
  16. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #16
    eGPU
     
  17. orph macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    but you will have to research and check the cost, you may be better of replacing your macpro with a macpro with D700 relay depends on cost to gain etc..
    and i dont know your app.

    CPU upgrade may also be an option
     
  18. Daniel Reed macrumors regular

    Daniel Reed

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #18
    Look into bizonbox 2S,
    Put a 980ti or maxwell based Titan-x in it,
    And witness magic!

    Its a dramatic speed increase over D500s AND can connect at least 2 eGPUs to the trashcan!

    The D300s are complete rubbish.

    The D700s are decent though.

    You may also consider selling your nMP and buying another nMP w/ D700s. Also, the newer made nMP got a stealth SSD upgrade making the 1TB 30-40% faster at R/W then when it was first released.
     
  19. Drexus thread starter macrumors regular

    Drexus

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #19
    That’s great information. Thanks!
     

Share This Page