Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

jmcube

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 6, 2013
59
10
So I think that I will get a nMP for scientific computing. I do have access to clusters, but it is nice to have something fully controlled (And where I have priority) and where I have exactly the same environment as my development.

I use GPUs pretty heavily.

It is a lot easier for me to get a base model. But I could consider something else if I make the purchase in October.

Also, it has been out a while. When is the next version available for purchase? For scientific computing, how much of an advantage is the 6C base model? Are the 500s really better than the 300s for OpenCL work?
 

Celedral

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2008
332
14
Los Angeles
The base nMP is a joke to me in terms of computing power. Minimum setup for you would be the 6core model with D500s. You can choose to opt for the D700s since you mainly deal GPU computing.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G5
Mar 10, 2009
12,252
3,852
So I think that I will get a nMP for scientific computing. I do have access to clusters, but it is nice to have something fully controlled (And where I have priority) and where I have exactly the same environment as my development.

If doing 'rough draft' work, then the Dx00 series lacking ECC won't matter much. If have extended, iterative computations and need repeatable, accurate numbers, then Apple isn't in the game.

Similarly on accuracy if just primarily doing rough draft, single precision work then the D300 -> D500 computational gap probably isn't a big deal. If you data working sets don't fit in 2GB that is probably a bigger issue.

These graphics cards are more so aimed at video and graphics where periodic bit errors don't particularly matter much.

It is a lot easier for me to get a base model. But I could consider something else if I make the purchase in October.

Probably not coming in October. I'd be quite surprised if Apple does something in less than 12 months. Apple lags on GPU driver releases and the "Pro" AMD/NVidia line ups just finished refreshing. Those vendors' work on base drivers probably were focused on Windows/Linux most of this year up until that release.

Similarly if Mac Pro sales are healthy Apple will be in no panic to shutdown production to do a ramp up for the next version. Their run up to off building standard configs before the last release was waaaaaaaaay too small.

For scientific computing, how much of an advantage is the 6C base model?

Depends upon where do work: on x86 cores or on GPU cores. Or are going to do multiple things at a time ( run computation batch job while still use Mac Pro for "other stuff").

Are the 500s really better than the 300s for OpenCL work?

double precision and/or large data working sets, yes.

If just tweaking algorithms for a development edit/compile/test sequences perhaps not so much.
 

jmcube

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 6, 2013
59
10
I had forgotten that the GPUs were not ECC.

I got the cheaper one, if it turns out that an ECC upgrade is released, then I can upgrade.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G5
Mar 10, 2009
12,252
3,852
I had forgotten that the GPUs were not ECC.

I got the cheaper one, if it turns out that an ECC upgrade is released, then I can upgrade.

The D300 will never get ECC. The GCN 1.0 variant it is based on doesn't have it at all. The functionality is present in the circuits of the D500/D700 GPUs but turned off similar to how some of the core bundles are turned off in the D500. It is part of GPU product segmentation so I doubt it will be turned on later with an upgrade. Depends upon whether Apple or AMD (or both ) threw ECC functionality under-the-bus.


Eventually their will be "bone yard" Dx00 GPU cards, but short term the new Mac Pros don't move GPU wise once buy it.


The next iteration of GPU cards may have ECC enabled. It wouldn't bet heavily on that though. It especially doesn't seem likely at the new lower lower end of the GPU options ( an AMD imposed raw circuits level limitation). ( and curiously AMD's W9100 web page leaves ECC off. More bragging on 16GB than anything else VRAM. The spec sheets have it listed though. )
 

jmcube

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 6, 2013
59
10
I was thinking of upgrading the video card, it is theoretically possible (but not extremely likely, just like finding out that they can enable ECC on the cards).

Basically I made the purchase with the assumption that no upgrade would be available.

It also fits better in my budget for this year.
 

jmcube

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 6, 2013
59
10
Part of the reason I got a nMP instead of some linux box (with ECC GPUs) is that for it to be useful as a computer I have direct access to, then it needs to be able to fly with me when I change continents for a month or 3.

Any advice on packing? I assume carryon (it is small enough to fit).
 

glenthompson

macrumors demi-god
Apr 27, 2011
2,982
842
Virginia
Part of the reason I got a nMP instead of some linux box (with ECC GPUs) is that for it to be useful as a computer I have direct access to, then it needs to be able to fly with me when I change continents for a month or 3.

Any advice on packing? I assume carryon (it is small enough to fit).

See this thread about using a camera backpack for transporting a nMP.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.