Redshift (CUDA GPU render) devs - we are not leaving the Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by vel0city, May 24, 2019.

  1. vel0city macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2017
    I'm a customer of Redshift Render, it's a GPU render engine that works as a plugin for popular 3D programs. It only runs on Nvidia/CUDA GPUs. Redshift were recently bought by Maxon, makers of Cinema 4D, the biggest 3D application on the Mac.

    Redshift have just released a beta of version 3.0 of their software, on their customer forum this week someone asked if Redshift had a future on the Mac - a lot of us have been worried that Redshift would abandon the Mac because of the CUDA/Nvidia situation. Their reply:

    "Finally, regarding macOS, there are a few developments (and on multiple fronts!) but we can’t say anything due to the NDAs in place. We might be able to talk more in the coming months. One thing we can say without breaching any NDAs is that we’re not abandoning the platform! So please stay tuned! "

    I'm taking that as extremely positive news about the future of 3D on the Mac. Maybe things have been worked out with Nvidia, or maybe Redshift has been ported to Metal, or possibly even both?

    Whatever happens it's encouraging that something is going on in the background with regard to pro 3D on the Mac. Roll on WWDC.
  2. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    Several video companies missed NAB 2019 announcement targets for macOS due to changes implemented by Apple, which many outside of the NDA's assume was for changes to GPU/eGPU. Some were able to tweak rather quickly (like Adobe for multiple eGPU optimization), but others are still optimizing software for RX580 and newer hardware, and/or embracing Metal. There were apparently issues with the Metal API that were addressed to help with this in some capacity.

    I'd expect a shift to Metal and/or cloud-based via subscription in 2019/2020/2021 announcements for the video companies sticking with macOS. C4D is not going to leave macOS and they have a fairly tight integration with Adobe AE. Would assume the Maxon teams have to embrace Metal in some capacity to stick with macOS moving forward. Would not assume this has anything to do with NVIDIA on macOS at the moment.
  3. shuto macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2016
    Fingers crossed for Nvidia option on the Modular Mac Pro!

    Even if redshift does make their software work on AMD cards, I have a feeling it is always going to be slower than Nvidia. What with Nvidia RTX hardware improving render speeds in Octane and Redshift even further.

    I'd love to buy a new Modular Mac Pro if it supports Nvidia, but sadly I've decided if I can't use Redshift / Octane GPU render engines on it I'm moving to PC, which I really don't want to do.

    Good news though, thanks for sharing!
  4. vel0city thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Exactly the same here, want to stay on the Mac, but not as much as I need Redshift and Octane in my workflow. GPU rendering changed everything for me, as it does everyone who touches it. Imagine going back to Physical or Standard render now. I'd sooner give up 3D.
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Microsoft has added a Raytracing API on top of DirectX.

    which brings to two things.

    1. The DirectX for the XBox isn't going to be dependent upon Nvidia GPU. The notion that ray tracing acceleration hardware is only going to exist in one brand of GPUs over the next 1-3 years is slim.

    2. Mtetal is a bit like DirectX (not a clone but its Apple's proprietary graphics API ). Apple is likely to "copy" this move if it is pervasive. ( they are dropping out of OpenCL/GL so some part of the Mac graphics stack is going to have to 'track' this move by Microsoft in some way. ). There are a couple of indicators that but Intel and AMD are covering this move with some hardware.

    In short, their statement doesn't necessarily mean Apple has 100% capitulated to NVIDIA. 6-7 years ago Intel had a substantial lead over AMD, but that lead never was in the "will always" status.

    Some new(er) version of Redshift may be required. The PC is probably better option for the current (and very near term ) status quo.
  6. IanK MacPro macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2018
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    That all sounds promising, fingers crossed!!

  7. shuto macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2016
    I've been thinking about this great news of Redshift not abandoning the Mac platform. Thanks for posting it on here vel0city.

    "we can’t say anything due to the NDAs in place"...
    They have NDAs between Redshift and Apple. So something is definitely happening between the two companies.

    "there are a few developments (and on multiple fronts!)"
    Surely this can only mean Nvidia will be supported on Mac, and secondly Redshift are trying to port to Metal. What else could multiple fronts mean?

    Maybe I can't see clearly as I really want nvidia Mac support, but can't wait to here more about this.
  8. vel0city thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2017
    I agree, @shuto, this is potentially very positive and exciting news. As soon as Redshift announced their acquisition by Maxon I breathed a sigh of relief as there was no way in hell that Maxon would purchase a major, popular render engine and drop Mac support. And, as you said, it looks like we may even have multiple options with Metal and Nvidia support. Maybe even something else that Apple have been working on behind the scenes with developers that we haven't guessed at yet.

    For anyone who doesn't use Redshift, I'd say that the developers are extremely responsive to customer feedback and requests, they squash bugs almost as soon as they're reported and encourage direct feedback on new versions of their software. I've enjoyed using Redshift and dealing with them as a customer.

    I'll make sure to post any more news from the Redshift devs in this thread.
  9. shuto macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2016
    As soon as Redshift announced their acquisition by Maxon I thought that was yet another sign the future of 3D was dead on the Mac. Haha. So this is why I'm really happy about their comment.

    OTOY have been working for years trying to get Octane to work on Mac. So it doesn't seem to be an easy thing to do - to port CUDA apps to Mac. I think they have it working as a demo for iOS now, but still the GPU renderer needs Nvidia cards currently. That is why I think it is a lot more likely that Apple is allowing Nvidia cards rather than Redshift have managed to make it work on AMD cards.
  10. Alex Sanders74 macrumors regular

    Alex Sanders74

    Nov 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    As Maxon have ProRender working on the Mac side, perhaps they intend to integrate that tech into Redshift for AMD GPU support down the road? Hard to say, but could be possible.
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Moving to Metal is probably not a "secondly" if their are referring to next generation closely working with Apple. Apple is going to prioritize Metal first (or at least co-primary targets); not second ( or "when you have copious spare time." ). Apple probably isn't demanding that CUDA be blocked just to 'win', but Metal being back-burner and/or blocked probably isn't going to fit well with overall Mac product line up.

    "only mean Nvidia" is closer to "maybe mean Nvidia". AMD's Navi will be rolling out and if Nvidia doesn't repair its relationship with Apple that is probably what is coming to newer Macs over the next 12 months. Navi changes the cache structure and a few other things so it would require some new optimizations to get working optimally as a compute engine.

    Apple is also a GPU implementer. Some Mac products could be picking up an Apple GPU over the next couple of years. ( Not in the Mac Pro space). If as serious Mac software vendor, they ignore that move if Apple makes it is highly dubious strategic planning. Swimming upstream from where Apple is throwing lots of money probably won't expand your mac software base over the long term.

    Nvidia support may come, but it probably isn't coming as a 100% capitulation by Apple. Apple is moving deeper in the GPU space. Intel is trying to jump in. The notion that Apple "has to" loop in Nvidia isn't well motivated ( it wouldn't be without consequences, but the "has to" stance by Nvidia has consequences also). With more GPU implementers what apple needs is a better kernel graphics stack system that can 'plug in' more implementers more easily. That would be the different dimension I would suspect. Nvidia could come in but as a broader move.
  12. Earl Urley macrumors 6502

    Earl Urley

    Nov 10, 2014
  13. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    It's basically the same line they have been stating previously through feedback responses.

    Apparently this is the stalemate: Apple is not approving NVIDIA's drivers because they allow/offer/enable CUDA (which is not Metal) and OpenCL/GL (which Apple depreciated). Apple wants everything to be Metal-based with Mojave moving forward. That is the "compatibility for our software" portion. NVIDIA basically says to allow/offer/enable Metal the way Apple wants, it needs higher end OS access.

    As mentioned above, this API for 10.15 MAY solve this stalemate. A lot also depends on the MP7,1 and if it's an eGPU only device or if there are PCIe available for GPU in some fashion. Maybe we'll have a glimmer of what to expect in a few weeks.
  14. AndreeOnline macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2014
    The best solution, by a very large margin, would be if the coming support was Metal3 based.

    WWDC is all about software and the next OS and I'm sure Metal has been developed further. It has been a huge pain that Nvidia got their monopoly with so many devs only looking to CUDA.

    The solution is not to get CUDA drivers (even if that's a band aid), it's to turn Metal into the best API, period.
  15. AidenShaw, May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019

    AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    That's not the solution.

    The ML/DL/AI community is profoundly CUDA based. Replacing the proprietary CUDA APIs with proprietary Metal APIs won't help.

    CUDA isn't just an API - it's the basis used by hundreds of solution-specific libraries, so that the users never touch the CUDA APIs - they use the abstractions that the libraries layer on top of CUDA.

    Why is Apple so hell-bent on defining a new proprietary low level compute API and blocking existing compute APIs? (you know ;) )
  16. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    CUDA doesn’t run on their own GPUs.

    Apple is now a GPU vendor. That’s why this is happening. Nvidia is a competitor, not a partner.

    Even if they don’t (yet) ship their GPUs on their top end Macs that doesn’t change they don’t want a second compute API muddying the waters.

    And Apple would say they have just as much of a right to define a first party compute API for their GPUs as Nvidia does on theirs.
  17. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan, May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Just clean installed Windows 1903. It's such an amazing piece of crap I'm laughing. The Settings app is a hoot. Missing settings for even the most obvious things and you are forced to read each settings panel like they are a fricking Word document. OMFG.

    During the set up I removed most of hardware so I had a bare bones system. It detected the Intel 630 graphics but then after the driver auto install the support disappeared. I had to manually download the driver from Intel and then Windows said it was not a supported driver when it was. So I had to force it with Admin privelages.

    Logitech mouse detected and Windows was auto installing the options app for it. Because Windows Settings app doesn't have options for assigning more than two mouse buttons LOL. But again after the installer completed the Logitech Options app disappeared and I have to manually download it from Logitech.

    Windows version of Expose (I'm typing with Windows right now so forgive me I can't do accents on letters) was good when Windows 10 came out. Now when you activate it the windows all go into the top left corner for god knows what reasons.

    Forget about using File Explorer for anything multi media. It still doesn't have thumbnail support for some common image and video file types. Still nothing like Quick Look. Still no built in calibrator to make ICC profiles. Still nothing like Labels if you are working in a team and need to know the status of folders/files. No native support for ProRes of course and Quicktime will no longer be released.

    You have to enable HDR to get HDR playback support. But if you do that the color profile of your desktop isn't the one you should be using. So you have to then disable HDR to get back the profile your apps use. In macOS HDR content will playback without messing up your desktop profile.

    So yeah.....anyone seriously using Macs isn't going to move to Windows if they need an OS that just works. Windows 10 started off with a good release but there's no progress in terms of ease of use and it is just getting messy again.
  18. deconstruct60, May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    It isn't so much that CUDA was early to race and has built a large software base. It is more that they have used some anticompetitive monopolistic tactics to build a bigger "moat" around their software base. (e.g., some "embrace, extend, extinguish" moves on OpenCL ).

    CUDA drives for Nvidia cards does make sense. The real core issue is that it can't be a context where "Metal has to loose for CUDA to win". If Apple is blocked from having a tier-1 API on the Nvidia GPU so that CUDA constantly has an "inside track" to performance then Apple will just pass on the Nvidia GPUs. It isn't that Metal be "best". Rather it is so that Metal isn't being kneecapped.
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2019 ---
    Like all ML/AI activity would disappear without Nvidia GPUs. Not.

    Stuff like TensorFlow runs on top of other "ML engines" like Google's Tensor Processor Unit. It is a "nice to have" in some contexts but it is in no way necessary. Some folks have put customizations into tighly coupled their models to CUDA but most of them are not going to be happy unelss Apple shipped a 3-4 GPU container box ( which Apple likely won't do anyway).

    Because the iOS market is about an order magnitude ( or two ) bigger than selling some Nvidia GPU container box would bring in. CUDA is just as proprietary, if not more, than Apple's solution. Apple's solution works on multiple GPUs from different vendors in different sizes. There a tons more inference contexts on Apple devices than systems in the learning phase. What counts is folks being about to use what go learned. Nvidia GPUs isn't going to be a huge there ( with Apple's focus on privacy and local inference on local data ).

    this too really isn't the core of the issue/problem. Apple isn't going to put Nvidia GPUs into most of its systems. Nvidia has no x86 integrated solution. Nor do that have any ARM integrated solution that is in any way competitive with Apple's. In the Apple ecosystem context, CUDA is not a multiple platform solution that spans the ecosystem.
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2019 ---
    It isn't just GPU. Apple has their own Tensor ("AI" ) engine too. Both Apple and Nvidia probably need to act like better partners here. Big companies can compete and partner where it makes sense in different areas.

    Apple needs a way for CUDA to 'fit in' along side Metal. Nvidia needs to commit to seriously enabling Metal (and not attacking it. Indirectly picking a fight with iOS is doom for Nvidia as a minor component supplier. They are not that essential to the ecosystem. ).

    Metal doesn't really cover all that CUDA does. Apple not wanting to be a 2nd place alternative (due to lack of efficient access to the hardware) is one thing. Apple just pruning off the choices just some Metal can 'win' is just about as bad as Nvidia kneecapping Metal for CUDA to win.

    But Apple's GPUs probably are not going to be universally pervasive. Some folks will use hardware out of Apple's standard configurations. Apple shouldn't be taking Metal to a "designed into a corner" context where it is only most effective with Apple's specification direction of GPU implementation. That isn't a good across the platform foundational solution either.

    Right now the two are in finger pointing mode. Nvidia:" It's Apple's fault. Apple: It's Nvidia's fault. Frankly, it has the appearances that they are using "fan clubs" on each respective side to further escalate. What is probably needed is for both sides to work together more tightly than they have done in the past. ( if they have blown up the trust there ... that's a core issue. )
  19. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009

    Sounds like you should stick to OSX. Maybe some day Apple will fix the Activity Monitor, which hasn't worked correctly since 10.6. Maybe.
  20. AndreeOnline, May 29, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

    AndreeOnline macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2014
    I don't agree with you. I think it would help. I find Metal more appropriately proprietary, if there is such a thing, as it's exclusive to Apple's plattform and MacOS, but it doesn't cater to one individual manufacturer thereby stifling healthy competition. Both Nvidia and AMD cards run Metal.

    No, I can't say that I know. I have no reason to believe that Apple's reasons for developing Metal aren't just. I think they want to have the most efficient, modern code base going forward. I believe quite a bit of work went into developing Metal and then Metal 2 (soon Metal 3?). I have too little real insight as to the motivations on their firm stance against specific vendor hacks that run parallel, or circumvent, Apple's own APIs.

    I know that CUDA is working well. Nvidia had a product ready at the right time and now everyone is locked in.

    I'm not saying CUDA on the Mac is bad, but it maintains the single player situation. I would prefer something that's useful for both Nvidia and AMD.
  21. beaker7, May 29, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

    beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009

    One issue is that Apple's got a pretty short attention span when it comes to these types of things. OpenCL was supposed to be the second coming and we know how that turned out.

    It really isn't enough for Metal to just be as good as CUDA, at a particular version launch, for a moment. It needs to be substantially better for a long period of time. Otherwise why would devs switch? What is the upside? Adobe is the only major pro-ish software dev i can think of that has substantial user bases on both Windows and OSX and who could afford to maintain dual support for CUDA and Metal in order to humor Apple's hobby. Maybe Maxon but they are not a very large dev team. Apple is in this awkward place where their primary platform is consumer focused (iOS) and their legacty MacOS platform has been basically ignored for a decade. They aren't really in a position to lead on something like this unless the world starts running ML on iPhones.
  22. Jack Burton, May 29, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

    Jack Burton macrumors 6502a

    Jack Burton

    Feb 27, 2015
    I can't imagine Maxon, makers of Cinema 4D and who has a HUGE Mac user base, would buy Redshift without a future plan for their Mac customers.

    That plan has to be one of several options:
    1. AMD support for redshift
    2. nVidia support for Mac
    3. or telling Mac users to buy a PC if they want redshift. Otherwise wait for ProRender to get better.
    Maxon and the redshift team must know something if they are saying NDAs are limiting what they can say. It's so tantalizing!

    WWDC is the big one for me. Depending on what is going on there (and I hope it involves Redshift), I'm going back to windows or trading my iMac in for the new Mac Pro.
  23. teagls macrumors regular

    May 16, 2013
    To add to this – honestly Apple has a terrible track record of writing good graphics drivers for MacOS. Metal is subpar because of this reason. Nvidia has had decades developing CUDA and graphics drivers. Their software works and has longevity! Unfortunately, Metal will never be as good as CUDA.
  24. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    Adobe is also/already supporting Metal for iOS. Apparently makes porting apps like Photoshop to iPad easier? Regardless, they are not further developing CUDA on Mac and have been shifting away from CUDA for awhile. Most of AE CC 2019 is Metal-based. All CUDA-based ray tracing has been depreciated and MIGHT be fully removed by CC 2020. Almost the same with Premiere Pro and Media Encoder but they still offer the option to change between Metal, CUDA, and OpenCL (depending on GPU).

    Adobe's way around everything is to use THEIR render engine (Mercury) and then tie everything into that. Mercury can be software only or hardware accelerated. There were rumors of a cloud acceleration at some point, but we'll see where that goes.

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