New Mac Pro GPU Overkill

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kirkbross, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. kirkbross macrumors 6502a

    kirkbross

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    #1
    Is there anyone in the world besides me who would be fine if the new Mac Pro came with a pair of $30 video cards as the base and offered the D500 & D700 as upgrades?

    I use my Mac Pro for music and pretty much any video controller would suit me fine. Why force everyone to buy roughly $1000 of GPU horsepower? I'd rather buy an 8 or 12 core model for $900 less.

    What am I missing? Final Cut and Maya folks are not the only people buying Mac Pros.
     
  2. jondunford macrumors 6502

    jondunford

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    #2
    this is what half the complaints are about already. music engineers (or whatever they are called, idk, people who cant make legit music) etc are being made to pay for $1k of graphics they will never use
     
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #3
    I think they're forcing you to buy more like $500 worth of GPU horsepower... Not $1000. The D300 is equivalent to a $200 desktop GPU. There's really no point in offering anything lower than the D300 (it's pretty low already). It might have made sense to only offer a single GPU, but that would only save you a few hundred bucks and cause all kinds of issues for Apple building different models as you'd likely have to lose a pair of TB ports along with it which means more parts and SKUs which translates to more cost which would either eat margin or negate the savings.

    Even if you don't need the GPU horsepower for video or rendering, at some point you may want one or more 4K displays, and you might be happy you have the GPU horsepower to drive them.

    The real problem with the nMP for workflows that need lots of CPU cores (e.g. beyond 6) is the cost of the 8 and 12 core CPUs... since this machine is single socket, you're forced to pay a premium for bleeding edge single-socket CPUs rather than lower-cost dual socket variants.
     
  4. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #4
    The question should be more like, will my music applications be able to utilise the GPU power via OpenCL....
     
  5. Cubemmal, Dec 5, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013

    Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Since you can't upgrade your GPU later this is future proofing the video card - so five years from now the GPU's you buy (D300 or whatever) will still be good performers. Maybe with a 4k display as was said.

    Secondly the point is for more OpenCL usage by developers and users. I think I understand the nMP now, it's targeted at professionals, including ...

    • Graphics
    • Music
    • Developers

    Since Intel is hitting a wall with performance people are relying more on computing on your graphics cards. Developers have been slow to enable this - partially because it's not always easy or possible to parallelize tasks, but more and more you should be relying on your GPU to get computing work done.

    However I agree more configurability on this axis would be appreciated.
     
  6. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #6
    We need to look at the bigger picture. AMD, Intel and IBM (and Apple) are starting to push OpenCL, so I think we're likely to see a lot of exciting things happening in this space.

    Especially when one considers things like this:

    and

    http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/wa-opencl/index.html

     
  7. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #7
    I'm not familiar with the D-series variants (D300, D500, D700 etc). Would you know how the D300 compares with Apple's previous Mac Pro GPUs (eg 5770, 5870 etc)? Thanks.
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #8
    It's faster and supports 4K monitors. That's all we know for sure. Everything else is guess work.
     
  9. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #9
    Here's a compilation of nMP GPUs compared with existing AMD products with data collected from Apple's website and Wikipedia respectively...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #10
    I have seen your chart before and I don't think there are any conclusive deductions we can make, apart from the fact that the D family is a bit of custom frankenstein from existing products.

    I found this quite interesting.

    http://www.luxrender.net/luxmark/se...HD - FirePro D700 Compute Engine_SEPARETOR_32

    Check out what devices these users are supposedly testing. The earlier benchmarks show a AMD Radeon HD Tahiti XT Prototype. There are also a few tests with multiple GPUs.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    The D300 is a close match to a 7870 and W7000.
    The D700 is a close match to a 7970 and W9000.
    The D500 appears to be a unique variant that has some 7950 and some 7870XT in it.

    I think it's pretty safe to look at benchmarks for those known cards to see how the Dxxx will perform in your apps of choice.

    I'm not sure what to make of the benchmarks you posted... can you help me digest what you're linking to?
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #12
    You're making a lot of assumptions. First Apple charged $250 retail for a 5770 when it wasn't included with the overall mac pro. That was your baseline option, and I don't think they altered it much with this generation. The D300s are probably in the $250-300 range as per their internal calculations. They have never used a gpu in that range over the history of the line, but neither has any other vendor. You rarely see $30 gpus anymore, because they're an entirely unprofitable segment that has been usurped by integrated graphics. Integrated graphics aren't included in anything that uses LGA2011 regardless of whether it is labeled Xeon or i7. It would also limit the number of displays quite a bit. I think people read too much into the price. It's $3000 because that is what Apple decided to charge. They always gravitate toward even amounts, and even if sold with no gpus, it's unlikely that the price would drop anywhere near $1000 if they stuck to the same formula.
     
  13. violst macrumors 6502

    violst

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    #13
    Its a workstation which is aimed at the Hi-end user. No workstations come with a $30 dollar GPU.

    For years people complained about the crummy GPUs that came with the mac pro, I guess Apple listened and put in two workstation GPUs.
     
  14. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #14
    It's the luxrender openCL benchmark with what appears to be D700 GPUs running on OS X from as far back as June.

    ----------

    And now the people are angry.
     
  15. violst macrumors 6502

    violst

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    #15
    It sure seems that way.
     
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #16
    I see... I guess it's hard to say if that's a real Mac Pro being tested or someone who's been running 7970s in Mavericks that get recognized as a D700.
     
  17. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #17
    True.
     
  18. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    That's true, the GPU Apple used to ship was always horrifically bad. Basically a waste, it was nearly a guarantee you'd toss it and buy another - a hidden system cost basically.
     
  19. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #19
    Base model options perhaps, but I feel the 4870 and 5870 were pretty good for their respective times.

    Even today 3-4 years later, I wouldn't call 5870 horrifically bad.
     
  20. ybz90 macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

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    #20
    Here's my opinion, so if you disagree or erroneously perceive me to be putting down your profession / professional needs, please remember this.

    The state of processor technology is at a point today where a certain subset of professionals no longer require workstation class computers. For instance, a group mentioned here that do not need workstation graphics are music producers. While everyone working with parallelized software would benefit from more threads and more power, producing music just really isn't that taxing anymore compared some other professional work. The same can be said to some degree for still photography as opposed to motion picture editing. Jobs may be larger and increasingly complex, but they haven't scaled in terms of processing power requirement with CPU advances.

    For these professionals and prosumers, they might be just as well served getting something like the iMac or the MacBook Pro (or even the Mac Mini, if it ever gets the Haswell treatment). This is especially true considering that the base Mac Pro still only comes with a single quad-core processor; even if it's Ivy Bridge E, it's really not that much better than a high-end i7. It's definitely not better than a "old" dual processor Westmere EP workstation as far as pure performance goes.

    There's really no true *need* to get a workstation like the nMP for those particular tasks anymore, though again, it's always nice to have. Contrast this instead with some of the other types of work heavily dependent on GPGPU, such as CUDA based software. I believe this growing disparity between actual requirements is what has segmented the so-called professional market into GPU-agnostic and GPU-dependent subsets. In recognition of this, that might be one of the reasons the nMP has such a heavy emphasis on the GPUs, as it's pushing its power users that do not actually need powerful graphics toward their consumer/prosumer lines.
     
  21. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #21
    I concur. IMO, I would even say the Mac Pro user base has splintered into 4 distinct groups:

    1) Music producers
    2) Still photographers
    3) Video editors
    4) Graphic design artists

    Some need CPU+RAM, others storage of large files without timing data, still others need either real-time, or rendering, graphics card capabilities etc.
     
  22. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #22
    It's worth remembering that with OpenCL the cards included in the Mac Pro aren't just GPUs anymore, they're highly parallel compute units. Now obviously the advantage of that is entirely dependent upon whether your applications will run work via OpenCL or not, and right now many simply don't (and many that do run on GPUs use CUDA), but in future that may change, particularly for the professional market, which I believe is what Apple are angling the new Mac Pro towards.

    Right now you're right of course, the new Mac Pro probably won't add much to audio professionals for a while, though you could just opt for D300s with a better CPU instead.


    I do kind of agree though, it would have made more sense (IMO) to have an even more modest entry level model, maybe just with consumer graphics cards that have decent OpenCL compute power. But since Apple need custom boards for the Mac Pro it probably makes more sense to stick with a range of very similar cards.
     
  23. DashNamdlog macrumors newbie

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    Dec 6, 2013
    #23
    I just had to register, to reply to this thread, after reading the many inane and profoundly selfish comments found within...

    I concur to an extent, however, the complainant posts in this thread, are from the 1st and 2nd categories, who have to realise (yes, with an 'S' - Queen's English and all) that the Mac Pro has always been about MULTIMEDIA - So, not one singular form of media...Apple are tailoring the nMP to the loudest and most common complaints.

    As a sound engineer, I can tell you that, even to this day, NO recording or DSP software, and no photography manipulation software (EVEN Adobe CS 6.5) utilises anything more than 6GB RAM, and ramps up more than 4 cores to anywhere NEAR 90% simultaneously, and as far as photography goes, even the best photography software still relies primarily on the CPU more than the GPU to the order of a 1:7.5 ratio.

    These complainants need to learn a bit about their computers, and the hardware/software link, before the complain any further.

    In my opinion, the fact that Apple have decided to provide not one, but two high-end GPU chips in the nMP is an absolute blessing.
     
  24. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #24
    Not to someone who didn't need a powerful GPU, which until recently was anyone not doing 3D or gaming. The workstation standard for years was small HD, minimal RAM, lowest GPU. You still see this with the PC vendors when using their full configuration options but Apple started to move away from it in 2010.
     
  25. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #25
    That's interesting. My understanding was that Logic Pro X could distribute load to 8 cores (16 threads)? Also, certain software instrument libraries (eg Omnisphere, Native Instruments etc) could take advantage of loading into > 6 Gb RAM when in 64-bit? Thanks for further guidance.
     

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