Thunderbolt PC motherboards incoming

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by initialsBB, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    #1 MSI Z77A-GD80

    What really caught my eye was this :
    "Lucid VirtuMVP lets you harness the pixel-crunching power of your favourite discrete graphics card over this port, as well."

    If right, the Mac Pro is coming and it will have Thunderbolt over a dedicated port (or 2) on top of the GFX card.
  2. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    Not really sure what you mean with "Thunderbolt over a dedicated port (or 2) on top of the GFX card". Having a dedicated Thunderbolt port for just data isn't a problem. Also, no graphic card has Thunderbolt ports. They have displayport.

    I'm going to assume you meant "relaying GFX card power to a Thunderbolt port".

    Ok, so it seems Lucid VirtuMVP is some software that makes the discrete GPU work together with the integrated GPU. And when you do that on a board with TB you can output from the TB since it's connected to the integrated GPU.

    Some problems:
    It's not developed by Intel, but Lucid
    Xeons don't have integrated graphics, right?

    anyway, I think Apple will solve it will Intel somehow, the Mac Pro motherboard is custom built after all. If they want graphics through TB, that is.
  3. 24Frames macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    Thanks for the link. Looks interesting.

    Having said that we already knew, almost for certain, that new Mac Pros will feature Thunderbolt and that it is very likely that Apple will implement this in a similar way to the other Macs so that you can connect it to a display.

    It would be good news if other workstation (or PC) vendors implemented Thunderbolt on their workstations.
  4. initialsBB, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

    initialsBB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    Yes, and I should have been more clear.

    One of the investors in Lucid is Giza Venture Capital, which had several other companies it sold to... Intel !
  5. r00tb33r macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    Supposedly Z77 power management works out of the box with OS X...
  6. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I'm interested in how this will be solved for the PC market rather than for the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro, if it is coming, will obviously have some sort of solution worked out for it by Apple and Intel. But the PC-market however is another thing. Will we have to wait until graphic cards comes with a TB-port in order for us to use a Thunderbolt display harnessing the power from discrete graphics card? Or will the motherboard somehow take care of it?
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Rosetta was made by Transitive. It is not unprecedented that Apple would/could sign a lucrative long term contract with a smaller player. (Transitive:Rosetta, ImagineTech:Graphics , ARM:cores , etc. )

    The much larger pressing problem is that Apple would need custom drivers. If look at lucidlogix's virtual graphics technology page:

    you will see that this "solution" involves writting a virtual driver that splits the work and copies elements out of the discrete solutions framebuffer back to the IGU display space (or vice versa). This is similar to Nvidia's Optimus technology which Apple also didn't adopt. To get significant 3D performance you have to hook to the discrete card's output which renders TB moot (unless have some clunky PCI-e switch on the graphics card).

    Xeon E3's do.

    E5's don't for this generation.

    Apple could fork the Mac Pro market into those who place a high priority on TB and those that really don't need it.

    Also if they want TB on a Mac Pro.... TB primarily solves a problem the Mac Pro doesn't have: PCI-e expansion and multiple display connectors.
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    For the vast majority of the PC "box with slots" market it is trivial to solve. Most of the new modern design have CPU+GPU solutions in them. Core i generation 2 packages and AMD CPU+GPU combos. The simple, cost efficient solution is just to hook the iGPU display port output to a TB controller. (instead of the VGA or DVI outputs that are attached to some of the current motherboards. )

    For the laptop PCs the percentage is even higher. Practically all have emebbeded (either IGU or non-user-replacable) GPUs in them. Most PCs sold are laptops and that percentage is only growing larger.

    It is only the Core i7 models that are tweaked Xeon E5 class models that don't have GPUs. That's is a relatively small subset of the market.

    Putting TB on graphics cards is highly dubious. First, neither AMD nor Nvidia are going to have much interest in guaranteeing Intel even more more profits. Second, routing the display port output off the card and back onto the motherboard eliminates layered PCI-e switching, but also quite doubtful. Far more mid-to-high end mainstream PC graphics cards folks are going to be more interested in SLI/Crossfire than in TB.

    The simplest solution just involves hooking an motherboard embedded GPU (IGU or mobile "card") to TB. It is only when try to combine "High end 3D graphics" with TB that fall into these Rube Goldberg, convoluted solutions to implement TB.
  9. deconstruct60, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    You can say it. It just wouldn't be highly relevant. The vast majority of E5 motherboards shipping on the market now were designed last year. SuperMicro had boards that were pragamtically design complete last August. All of the E5 boards Intel "introduced" at CeBit early March '12 were on websites in November '11 . Designs were done. It was parts and validation that was left.

    That anyone is squatting on a design targeted toward Q3/Q4 '11 on parts that were not scheduled to ship until April '12 is a bit loopy. Even more so in light of the fact there were viable TB controllers last year that were "good enough" for the rest of the Mac line up. Not sure what is "new" about these that a Mac Pro would have to squat and wait on.... ( marginally perhaps a "data only" variant of TB, but that's doubtful since there is not suppose to be any TB standards updates for a while. )

    P.S. Port Ridge is even more crippling than previously outlined with just 2x PCI-e lanes. Even if Intel would let PCs be classified as "end points" ( I think that is the other end of the chain ), the Mac Pro being held up for a 2x PCI-e expansion port is perplexing. That half the bandwidth of the smallest 4x slots in the previous Mac Pros. You have this monster, v3.0 PCI-e, I/O bandwidth E5 (or worse two E5s ) and sucking data through a relatively narrow 2x v2.0 PCI-e lanes.

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