MP7,1. Power Enough For Big VR ?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by a2jack, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. a2jack macrumors regular

    a2jack

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    #1
    Out of the box, will the MP7,1 run the latest VR stuff ?

    Will it be able to expand to stay up with the state of the VR/aVR art ? a2
     
  2. th0masp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    germany
    #2
    VR being basically video games and the Radeon gaming cards Apple offers for the machine being at least on the level of the 1080 ti then you'll be fine. If by some miracle these cards can share the workload running a realtime engine like what Nvidia used to (?) call SLI then even better, being able to do that across four of them in those two MPX modules: awesome. Not sure that functionality is available right now in macOS though.

    Even with just a single card however it would be an expensive way to run VR apps for sure but it will be more then fine. If it stays that way going forward will depend on if either newer 3rd-party video cards can be plugged into the Mac (I was told it should be doable) or if Apple this time really keeps updating their offerings through the years and you're not still limited to just that model of Radeon - in 2025. ;)
    --- Post Merged, Jun 7, 2019 ---
    Just wanted to add: I think the experience so far has been that gaming on macOS shows less performance than on Windows. Having never played games on the Mac I'm not sure if that's still a thing and what kind of percentage of performance loss you'd be looking at.

    But lets assume worst case as a staggering 33% performance drop compared to running on Windows (assuming unoptimized drivers and lazy port of the realtime engine in the Mac version) then you should still come out on top of a GTX 1070 running that same application on Windows. Which as of right now is still good (but not great) for VR with the headsets we have available - and considering that VR apps will be a commercial product not targeted at the ultra high end.

    If however you intend to run bleeding edge VR tech demos or plan to develop them yourself then it may well be that soon you'll be looking at running Windows your Mac Pro to make full use of the hardware's potential.
     
  3. a2jack thread starter macrumors regular

    a2jack

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    #3
    Thanks for the prompt reply. Just the info I needed.

    Satisfied to start at 1080p but will need 4-5k+ in future. Do you think the MP7,1 will make it ?

    Ear marked funds for fall back to windows based VR, so will just apply these to MP,7,1 instead. Sounds like it will do my deed, and have some resale value left at the end of my 3-4 years use.

    Getting deep into VR, and learning to wrangle graphics with a big expandable non -Windows machine will be an interesting trip... If it works, LOL a2
     
  4. th0masp macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2015
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    germany
    #4
    Well my bad - I was assuming you wanted to run VR to blow off some steam after work(!).

    If your intention is to use the Mac Pro as a workstation dedicated to VR development work on macOS then I'd say don't do that: You don't need Xeon's, lots of cores, ECC memory and all that for realtime content development and working with engines. With this Mac Pro we don't even know the full extent of the pricing and upgradeability yet (what will these 32 GB RAM Radeon's go for, for example?). Also you are probably looking at development tools lacking on the Mac side compared to their Windows counterparts.

    For development a PC with high single core clock speeds like the highest end Intel I-9's, 64 - 128 GB of RAM a 2080ti and an NVMe drive will be superior to any Mac Pro configurations. Couple it with Windows and you can be sure that you'll get the best versions of any of the tools you'll need.
     
  5. a2jack thread starter macrumors regular

    a2jack

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    #5
    More good input. Yes I do believe I've had the wrong mind set on cores. I thought "The More The Merrier". So the big machine is not the answer, no quick fix. LOL.

    Yes, the long term end might point toward developing, but for now mostly just exploring and maybe modifying a "Ready Player One" cyber world. I am not a gamer, but love the si-fi concept of an alternate life.

    So it's back to the research, and the path back to windows. Thanks you for your clarity. a2
     
  6. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    The Peninsula
    #6
    And just about any post here that mentions EPYC is in the same wrong mindset.

    Most applications don't scale beyond a handful of cores - and often "farm" is in the app name for those that do scale.

    More cores is usually good, but for most workloads anything over 8 to 10 cores or so increases the price, but not the productivity.
     
  7. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #7
    What VR stuff? Install the Steam VR beta for Mac and check the catalog. *crickets*
     
  8. mattspace, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    mattspace macrumors 65816

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #8
    It will be a poor VR workstation for a number of reasons:
    • AMD GPUs are nowhere near competitive with Nvidia options for immersive 3D environment generation. Arguably they can be better for computation, but not for driving 3D viewports.
      • Look up 4K gaming specs for a comparison, because you're going to be wanting to drive 2 independent ~2160 x 2160 @ 90+ fps displays in the headset.
    • macOS only supports the original Vive. Since then, we've had the Vive Pro, Vive Pro Eye, and now the Valve Index (which does up to 144hz refresh), as well as Oculus' new headset (but that's not really cutting edge for anything).
    • There's basically no utility software:
      • Steam has Gravity Sketch (which has a number on Windows-only features), and that's basically it for mac-compatible non-game software.
      • Some of the apps Apple used to tout VR on Mac at the launch of the iMac Pro, still haven't had Mac Releases, and even Gravity Sketch was Vega 64-only for the first week, until I suspect someone at Apple had a word with them, and they dropped it to Vega 56, so all iMac Pros could run it.
    • There'll be no market for your products if you're developing for VR:
      • VR depends on a customer base with powerful 3D-Display cards, who can upgrade them regularly to stay cutting edge, because we're still very much in the early explosive growth days, where software and rendering demands will continually expand to exceed hardware capabilities.
      • There are no products in Apple's range which meet this need. eGPU suffers latency and bandwidth issues for realtime immersion, and AMD seems to only be able to use smaller, more efficient manufacturing processes, to make GPUs that offer lower performance, with greater power consumption. There's no reason to think that will change, or that AMD will ever offer VR-Viable GPUs.
    If you want to do VR, and you're Mac-based, buy a Windows PC, and set it up as more or less as a games console - have it auto-launch Steam on boot, and you're more or less never going to interact with Windows. Put your files on a NAS, so that anything made in your VR apps is available on your Mac, without having to enable filesharing on the windows machine.
     
  9. a2jack thread starter macrumors regular

    a2jack

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    #9
    Matt. Thanks for taking the time to look into this at higher tech level than I was able to muster.

    Wow, X 2- 2160 @ 90 is indeed a leap, and I was even thinking going beyond the headset. LOL.

    I shall keep and study your post and use it as a roadmap as I push forward on this project. Learning as I go.

    VR input here on Mac Forums is, understandable, almost non extant. I have formally suggested to powers that be, on this site, to open a VR Forum.

    I have little interest in competitive gaming, but realize they are driving the state of the art in VR.
    Thanks again. a2
     
  10. mattspace, Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019

    mattspace macrumors 65816

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    2160x2160 is HP's Steam-compatible HMD, and from memory the Index is 2160 x (something less) checked, the Index is 1600x1440, but the Index will push to 144fps

    I spend my VR time primarily in Tilt Brush and Kodon, though I've also played with an interesting SketchUP plugin that converts the entire program into VR. Realistically the limiter on the regular Vive as a VR toolset, is UI elements with text just aren't that easy to read, everything has to be big and clumsy to be readable. High resolution will fix that, and higher frame rates will make longer sessions more comfortable.
     

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9 June 7, 2019