MacPro D700 - 3D viewport issues

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by PIs, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. PIs, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014

    PIs macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2014
    Anyone has the nMP with D700?

    I got one a week ago, and at least in two 3D applications, the viewport is slow, choppy. The results are very mixed, in some cases it ok, sometimes not, in some cases it seems Mavericks issue, in others it seems that the D700 is just not fast in terms of viewport performance. In other apps, it seems everything is ok, even better than before. Confusing.


    In Modo (a 3D modeller, similar to Maya), I did experience viewport slow down, choppy performance, especially in top or side view. I emailed the company and I was told it is Mavericks issue and affecting everyone, so I decided to be patient with my conclusion and wait for update. And some suggestions helped, like switching off grid in viewport.

    HOWEVER, we have tested the same scene on an iMac 2013, GTX 780M running also on Mavericks, and it outperformed easily the nMP D700 in terms of frame per second in the same situation. Now, there you cannot say it is Mavericks issue, as the guy was running 10.9.1, too - and we both used Modo team's suggestions to switch off grid etc.

    The difference was more obvious in extra large scene, not so much at mid level.
    At 36 million polygon, the D700 produced a very low 8.25 frame per second, while iMac was still usable at around 20 frame per second. Ok, 36 million poly is a lot, but easily you can grow your scenes that big - and I genuinely thought it will outperform the iMac for viewport performance. I was very wrong.

    If I knew this, I would probably have gone for 2 iMacs for the same price.
    However, I have to admit, that once following Modo team's suggestion (grid off etc.), performance was ok at medium complexity, but still why iMac outperformed it?

    I also just tried a very simple texture previz app called "Substance Player" from Allegorithmic
    It displays a cube and the textures with specularity, diffuse, bump map etc. Plain simple.
    Shockingly, even the rotation of this simple cube is really choppy, while my 2008 Mac with a slow Radeon HD 4870 gives extra smooth performance. So it is not the complexity of the scene at all. It seems serious driver issues, but I was in the belief that I am paying so much extra because drivers are so optimised? Am I wrong??

    Anyway, QUESTIONs:
    1) Anyone else has experienced all these in 3D apps?
    2 )Any solution? Or we need to wait for drivers?
    3) How come iMac GTX 780M outperforms a system that is 3000pounds more expensive? Do you guys think that with driver update, I will gain "frame per second" boost, or that cannot be boosted?

  2. polygoo macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    3ds max on bootcamp was slower than a gtx 760 for me in viewport on d500's, although maya seemed to gain a few fps, I'm a little confused by performance on these cards as well. It must be drivers, but for the cost its kinda frustrating
  3. CouponPages macrumors regular


    Jan 16, 2014
    Staten Island, NY
    We've had lots of talk about sluggish reports using certain types of applications, especially when the drivers and other features are not specifically tuned for the GPUs. In the case of FCPX, we saw speeds as much as 20x slower than expected, which improved dramatically when the right software was used.

    Unlike video apps where some features are not GPU friendly, 3D certainly is, so it's only a matter of time before updates roll out. Maya in particular has had a huge amount of attention because of the way it taps the D700s.

    Hang in there.
  4. PIs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2014
    Can you direct me to any reviews that you know on Maya + D700?
    I am "reorganising" my workflow - the 8 core nMP is big part of it - so I am quite happy to switch if I have the right information. Cheers !
  5. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    Bleh not good, I'm a max user and ordered D700's
  6. motegi macrumors regular

    May 14, 2009
    Keep in mind driver choice seems to be paramount in how well these Dseries cars perform.
  7. chfilm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2012
    It's gotta be a driver/software optimization thing. Let's hope all those quirks get figured out rather soon! Otherwise it's just embarrassing for Apple. But looking at how the GTX 780m is just not as powerful as two d700s, it simply HAS to be an optimization issue.
  8. iBighouse macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2012

    I am hoping to buy my first Mac this year and want a nMP. I will need to run Windows on it to run Revit. I hope to hear better news in the future as, hopefully, better drivers or tweaks are found.
  9. polygoo, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014

    polygoo macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    This was with max 2013, the gtx had about 48fps on same scene, while the d500 had about 25-30. When I upgraded to max 2014 the d500 now gets around 55fps so. Unfortunately I sold the previous machine so I couldn't test max 2014 on the gtx 760, so either max 2014 runs better on the d500 only or nitrous was just improved all around on max 2014.

    The whole driver support thing seems kinda scary at this point, I mean does apple ever release updated GPU drivers for boot camp? And there isn't even a way to download real drivers from amd at this point. When I install any fire pro drivers from amd the card then gets listed as a 7800 series, an performance seems decreased in viewports even more.

    I'm pretty disappointed and am tempted to sell it and go with a custom or dell workstation for max, for close to the same amount of money you can get a quadro k5000 box, which has cuda which seems more widely adopted on the windows side..

    Another issue is certain apps that use open cl have Locked the entire system up, and vray rt won't work with open cl on these cards likely due to drivers. So unfortunately in boot camp I'm not sure a machine like this is worth the cost considering the driver mess. Such a shame.
  10. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    That's a huge overstatement. Maya hardly employs OpenCL at all and it certainly doesn't tap both cards. In fact, Autodesk is still only certifying NVIDIA cards on Macs.

    That's not to say it won't get better. But as of now, OpenCL has been relegated to some plugin acceleration and tech demos.
  11. handheldgames macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    Perhaps the lack of performance is a result of the nMP lower clock speed on the GPU's vs retail cards? The nMP chips have to be down clocked to work with the power supply and enclosure.

    nMP D500:
    (Boost 725 MHz @1075 mV), memory 1270 MHz (5080 effective), TDP 108W

    Vs SAPPHIRE HD 7970 3GB OC with Boost 1000 MHz on the engine with the memory clock at 5800 MHz effective.
  12. PIs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2014
    That does not explain why such simple thing as rotating a cube in a texture pre-visualisation application, like Substance Player is so choppy. Lower clock speed or not, that task should be super smooth, common..
    and it is perfect on my other, 7 year old MacPro

    My issue is that I just simply have no way of knowing - therefore I am left in darkness - if it is driver issue, or Mavericks-Application incompatibility or the specific application issues, or the D700 card is actually not that great? Which one of these? How to solve, how to know?
    Spending so much money and not knowing is uncomfortable at least.

    What I know that at least two widespread 3D apps are affected, but I did not test all, and iMac GTX780M outperformed D700 in viewport. These are facts, i have screen recordings.
    On the other hand, zbrush is better.

    If it is driver than how to report it so Apple management is aware?
    I feel any message is just lost in space.. Are they reading forums like this?
    I actually emailed and I called Apple, they told me on the phone that is not their fault because in other 3D apps like zbrush, the viewport is good, so it cannot be driver issue. But that was only one guy on the applecare phone line.

    So, great, fast machine, mixed GPU results - but a bit early to make final conclusions.

    By the way, actual benchmark numbers:
    Cinebench R15 resulted over 85-86 fps OpenGL, and 1230 CPU render points
    But as I said it does not say anything about real life OpenGL situations, as I am rotating that one single cube in Substance Player maybe with 12 frame per second, while my old ATI Radeon HD4870 is perfect in this app
  13. chfilm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2012
    My guess would be your best chances lie in contacting the software companies that make your tools. They should figure out the issue and where it comes from.

    If your 7 year old Mac Pro is faster than this machine it just HAS to be some sort of software related issue, be it the drivers, mavericks, or the software itself not being optimized.
    I'm afraid it might take while until they figure it out though.
  14. Derpage Suspended

    Mar 7, 2012
    I can see getting a favorable response out of a bigger name company, but I'm not seeing the dudes at Algorithmic putting this at the top of their list for such a small user base.
  15. chfilm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2012
    Unfortunately I think you're right. But still I guess the developers are more likely to reach some sort of progress with apple than the average user.
  16. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    As this is a pro based workstation we can hope that pro software, and apps like 3DSMax are right up there due to the four figure cost that something would happen. Niche market or not, that is the Mac Pro's market. The only caveat being that 3DSMax is windows only. Thankfully Autodesk do have Apple developers due to Maya so if they find something to enhance Maya viewport speed for the nMP then I would expect the tweaks to be available internally for other Autodesk products. It would only make sense to support the nMP.

    The only downside is that Autodesk don't release fixes/patches for 3DSMax, and my upgrade subscription ended a while ago so I would have to spend $$ to get it patched. It is looking more and more like I need to switch to Maya to fall under the Apple umbrella completely.

    Besides, I use Xcode so can't just switch to a Windows only solution.

    Here is hoping.
  17. spaz8 macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2007
    There are long standing issues with Mavericks opengl and Modo. Bunch of finger pointing between apple and modo.. though I am told C4D flies on OSX.

    The Allegorithmic (substance) products also seem have issues in with their shaders in OSX and seem quite buggy outside of windows.
  18. bcuzawd macrumors member


    Dec 25, 2013
  19. AppliedVisual macrumors 6502a

    Sep 28, 2006
    I do quite a bit of OpenGL programming and I don't see anything on Mavericks that is out of the ordinary or would cause the issues. I also use Maya and Modo and as pointed out, Modo has some Mavericks issues and Maya works just great. Sooo…

    Maya and Lightwave work rather well on my 8-core nMP w/ D700's. Modo seems to as well, other issues aside, which seem to be the same on my Macbook Pro running Mavericks with an nVidia GPU.

    Mavericks has made quite a few changes throughout the OS, as Apple often does with new releases. From a developer perspective this can be frustrating when these changes end up breaking something that worked before in your software. But pointing fingers and reacting slow doesn't help your customer base. Apple makes the beta seeds available *MONTHS* in advance of release in most cases. There isn't too much room for excuses or finger-pointing at Apple, IMO.
  20. PIs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2014
    ok, I understand there might some issues to solve for developers, I am ok waiting a bit

    However, any thoughts why iMac with GTX 780M outperformed D700 in viewport performance in modo, and min. double frame per second at ultra high poly count, and by a good 10-30percent at lower poly count. Both running the same OSX 10.9.1, same Modo, and deliberately avoiding situations during the test that may cause the Mavericks-Modo things (so avoiding grid, ortho view, wireframe opacity etc) so theoretically both GPUs were showing its best?

    Any thoughts on that? I would understand so much slower fps with the D300 or maybe D500, but D700 is supposed to be their "best" GPU, so I expected at least the same. Can someone clarify or give info?

    Does it mean that GTX780M is actually a way faster card and Apple didn't tell the full picture about D700, or I don't see the full story? (I am not talking about OpenCL performance, simply OpenGL display. I understand that in OpenCL, the D700 is great) Thanks!
  21. d-m-a-x macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    Dual Gpu

    I think part of the problem is the software does not know how to take advantage of two Gpu's, and in some cases it causes glitches and slow-downs
  22. handheldgames macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    While this message started as a great paraphrase what's happening in the Modo community forums.... This link should answer most questions about 3D Viewport performance on video cards as well as how to perform a google search.

    Why is Nvidia faster than AMD for Modo:
    • Nvidia is focused on OpenGL and AMD appears is fixated on OpenCL.
    • Modo has does not have any openCL Acceleration.
    • Apple has shipped mainly Nvidia based GPU's in MacBooks/iMacs for 2+ years, which means most of their development staff is running on Nvidia.
    • Pull the nMP out of the equation, why is Modo faster on Nvidia than AMD? Perhaps a google would answer the question, it's rather obvious.... DOH!!!


  23. PIs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2014

    • I think I have found answers to this issue.
      Look at this video, showing AMD D700 performing in Maya both in OSX 10.9.1 and bootcamp Windows 8,1:

      D700 is actually doing REALLY great under Windows, at 36million polygon, it is still silky smooth, and still greatly usable at 72million. While the same scene under OSX, cannot be used at 36million...

      So I think Apple's driver sucks a lot. Which makes me upset, as I thought the "FirePro" and the price they charged means PRO drivers.
      Luckily, you can use bootcamp, but that's not why you buy a Mac.
  24. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    Great article that, thanks for posting. In a way, driver issues are better than under powered hardware, it at least gives hope for those that already bought.
  25. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I agree, but it's definitely annoying to say the least. It's nice knowing the hardware is capable, but what's the point if it's just crippled with bad drivers? It would be nice if Apple would address the issue so as to not leave potential customers in the dark as to when or if the issues will be resolved.

    If I'm working in Maya and rendering with mental ray, it sounds like I'd be much better off modeling and rigging in Windows, then booting up OSX to render. That's stupid.

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