Will '14 Mac Pro get Nvidia graphic cards?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TweakOnline, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. TweakOnline macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2012
    Hey guys,

    Just a question, do you think the next generation Mac Pro will get Nvidia graphic cards? It seems the new Mac Pro isn't all about performance, because of the lack of OpenGL support in various type of programs. Do you think the next gen will get back to Nvidia again?
  2. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I doubt apple will release an update to the Mac Pro in '14...if so it will be a small spec bump in the fall
  3. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    will the more like 2016 mac pro get a nvidia update? well see if users truly adopt fcxp and or if nvidia steps up there opencl game
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I disagree. Intel is doing a major new Xeon CPU release this year (Haswell.) If that doesn't run late I could see Apple doing a major upgrade this year. There are already engineering samples of Haswell-EP floating around.

    As far as GPUs, it's tough to tell. I don't think Apple would do a switch out to Nvidia for CUDA or anything, it'll all be about power consumption and heat. Both AMD and Nvidia have GPUs that are more thermally tolerable for the nMP on their roadmaps, but I don't know of what their roadmap.

    I'd bet a new Mac Pro is announced anywhere from September-November 2014.
  5. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    If there are no stakes that whole sentence is pretty much worthless.
  6. Thessman macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2005
    Chances for Nvidia are getting slim, unless the new 800 series is a lot better with openCL.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    There is no such thing as a small spec bump for a line like the mac pro. They update when appropriate components are available. 2012 was an exception due to not having updated in over 2 years. They only skipped Sandy Bridge E so as not to implement the work to bring one of the old ones online, then scrap the design with the next cpu generation, which would otherwise use the same board. In this case there are no spec bumped cpus coming out until the chipset changes again. They would naturally use the first iteration this time, because it would mean the logic board could be used for 2 generations rather than one. It's possible that they could wait in some cases for specific gpus to be available, but it's unlikely. Once Haswell EP is actually shipping to oems in reasonable numbers, add 2-5 months to that. It varies with Apple. I doubt they would allow it to go longer than that, although that could be 2015.
  8. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    just want to say that ati cards use OpenGL, so dont see your problem TweakOnline :confused:

    if you need cuda look at 'Tutor's posts http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=18887464&highlight=old+mac+pro#post18887464
    if you need CUDA then he's just using older macpros with big GPU's

    ATI seems the one to look at for pro apps and GPU's right now, apart from a few small CUDA things which look like there moving to support openCL.

    if you relay need CUDA you can have your NVIDIA GPU's externally in a box.

    or if you just want to game you dont need a nMP, it's got to many cpu cores anyway for use in 99% of games (most if your lucky will use 2cores at most).

    ps id relay just like a software bump, to many apps use to few cpu's :(
  9. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    No stakes? Like... a bet?

    I'd put a million dollars on it but you can't track me down to collect anyway so it seems kind of silly.

    Regardless, the last Mac Pro was announced before Ivy Bridge EP was shipping, and started shipping a few months after, so I don't think it's such a stretch to say a new Mac Pro will likely show up about the same time as Haswell EP. Especially in since Haswell has AVX2 acceleration, which Apple has been promoting on the existing Haswell machines, and the Mac Pro doesn't have it. It's also DDR4 based. And the core count goes up.

    All in all it's a major jump Apple won't want to be late on.
  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    That opinion is rapidly becoming out of date. Already BF4 requires dual core minimum, and recommends 4-core Intel or 6-core AMD. If buying a computer now, you should be looking toward current and future games, not what most games of the past required.
  11. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    im not so big on games but if thats what you want my impression is that a fast 4 core PC will keep you safe for a long time if your talking 8+ i think your getting silly as it's going to cost a lot more.
    any way a nMP is a bit of over kill for a gaming box, i think it's more directed at openCL etc..

    ps did a google and just see people asking if any games use more than 4 cores but not much info on games that use more than 2+.
  12. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    Not a chance. No update in '14 either.

    Now for 2015, we may see one, and it could be another manufacturer, but it will be anyone's guess.
  13. vailr macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2009
    nVidia GPU

    Why couldn't they (Apple) simply revise their MacPro "build to order" offerings to include nVidia GPU's. The only obstacle being: finding a production source for nVidia GPU's conforming to the 2 new MacPro GPU (dissimilar) form factors.
  14. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Fixed that for you! Even Nvidia is releasing cards with better OpenCL support. Intel and AMD already support it. If you were a dev, do you write for a proprietory API like CUDA or an OPEN standard like OpenCL that two major players already fully support! Crazy fact, the Intel Iris Pro in the 15" Base Macbook Pro outclasses the Nvidia 750m in the high end MacBook Pro when it comes to OpenCL!
  15. Menge macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2008
    This is what I think will happen. Just silently offer BTO nVidia cards.
  16. deconstruct60, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Xeon E5 v3 ( Haswell-EP ) samples floating around Apple ( or Apple's design subcontractor) or just around? In the latter case, there were E5 v1 samples floating around in 2011 and E5 v2 samples in 2012 and Apple didn't do do a whole lot in those years either.

    Apple is relatively unlikely to be closely matched to Intel's timing since they were so far off on E5 v1/v2 timing. Having relatively recently just finished their v2 system it would have been somewhat of a heavy burden to be working on v3. Others probably were working on DDR4 , new IO chipset, other vendors were working on new GPU boards ( since effectively outsourced). Apple was probbly spending time getting the bugs worked out of this one. (e.g., update firmware one first day at lauch. Another firmware update. dubious GPU driver performance on Pro benchmarks, not finished 4K monitor support, etc. ) It shipped but "fully baked" ; not even close.

    Throw on top Apple's "do it with minimal sized teams" mentality and it is highly unlikely they had separate teams doing pipelined, overlapping development. No new Mac Pro has now been followed with no new Mini. There seems to always be at least one Mac model dragging all the time.

    When Apple was trying to finish off their v2 design most of their v3 competitors were already engaged on the next gen work. I don't see Apple catching up until Intel goes into an unsually tick/tock long cycle again.

    Cost, Power Consumption/Heat , performance, and OpenCL are probably the four.

    If Apple wants to make their own "Pro" board they've got to get Nvidia to let them break into Nvidia's exclusive Pro market. AMD is extremely likely to have offered better pricing deal given their position in that market than Nvidia did or will in this round also. If it costs too much Apple isn't going to buy.

    Power/Heat .. yeah that's in there.

    Performance ... they'll want to put a gap between the current cards and any new ones.

    OpenCL ... Nvidia stuck on v1.1 isn't going to help their cause.

    Given Apple still hasn't stabilized current Mac Pro production, most of that that range seems more than a little early. Until they get a better handle on the market there is little good reason to hit the restart button on the production learning curve again.
  17. deconstruct60, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Max gamer benchmark == GPU selection criteria at Apple ..... not even close. Hasn't been previously either.

    Over last 8-12 years when hasn't Apple not been behind the curve on OpenGL support?

    OpenCL is probably a far more critical nexus point as Nvidia is way behind AMD and Intel at this point. At least in released support for the current version. Nvidia may have some Mac only super duper support in some secret lab, but externally they are slacking.

    Nvidia would have to do several things they haven't done, but it is possible.

    There is probably a small factor in what happens with the iMac and MBP design bake-offs too. I suspect Apple is going to be a bit skittish to give everything to just one GPU vendor. Especially Nvidia since they have shown they are willing to throw OpenCL under the bus.

    I think Apple generally likes tossing Intel , AMD , and Nvidia into the design bake-offs for Mac designs. Squeezing AMD completely out, they may just drop out in participating in the next iteration. Doesn't mean Apple is going to give them the win but a 'tie breaker' can go to a more robust vendor ecosystem to choose from. Tossing max business to smallest number of vendors is how they got eyeball deep in with Foxconn and Samsung. Long term that wasn't a good strategy.

    P.S. If neither Nvidia or AMD have updated their Pro (high end) GPU lines by June that better fit the Mac Pro's new general thermal limits that what would see out of any '14 update would be a speed bumped (perhaps process shrinked speed bumped) AMD card that largely reuses the same design. The shorter the refresh cycle, the more likely Apple largely just reuses the same card designs with tweaks. As refresh cycle stretches into Dec and into '15 more options come to the table.

    Apple's driver support track record indicates they'll need many months (like 4-6+ months) to get anything decent up on a new architecture or major internal config change. Bptj GPU vendors sink the vast majority of their early effort into the much larger (and more profitable for them ) Windows market.
  18. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    How many iMacs and MBPs have alternative embedded GPUs ? One vendor wins the design bake off and that's it.

    The new Mac Pro effective uses embedded GPUs. They are on Apple custom daughtercards but they are largely embedded.

    Doing 3 AMD boards and another 3 Nvidia boards means doubling the design and R&D effort. Apple (or direct subcontractor) designs these boards. "Just hire another set of subscontractors" isn't necessarily going to work with Apple's processes. For the "Pro" market cards Nvidia doesn't let others do their own designs (so far).

    The GPU chip? Not particularly necessary and that is AMD/Nvidia's problem. Apple just buys those. The GPU daughtercard production. That probably isn't all that difficult. The issue probably more so is getting large enough runs to make that cost effective at Apple's margin target and flex production constraints.
  19. dalupus macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    It depends what you are doing. In the scientific and academic communities most people write in CUDA rather than OpenCL for various reasons. One of which being CUDA makes it easier to do hardware specific optimizations that are critical for getting every last ounce of performance out of the GPU's .

    Here is an interesting supercomputer built with Nvidia GPU's:

    Also on the refresh front, I expect we will see a refresh by the end of the year. It seems like Apple has realized that yearly refreshes lead to increased sales (albeit slight) for various reasons. Throw in an upgraded processor and GPU, call it the 2014 Mac Pro and you get a whole new round of media attention on the "New" Mac Pro.
  20. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    The answer is simple really.

    Until Nvidia gets their OpenCL performance better or equal to their AMD counterparts, they'll not make an appearance in the nMP as Apple clearly prefers OpenCL
  21. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't think stabilized Mac Pro production is going to be related to adopting Haswell for the Mac Pro. Sticking with Ivy Bridge doesn't get them closer to stabilizing production.

    If the line isn't able to stick a Haswell processor in a socket instead of a Ivy Bridge processor, Apple probably has really big problems. They're just parts, not production methods.

    There are Haswell samples floating around. I haven't heard anything specifically about Apple.

    Haswell is a major revision, which I think means Apple will have to be quicker in adopting it. They've already burned a lot of pro goodwill, and if they take 6-8 months to adopt Haswell, they might lose even more of the pro market. Especially if both Maxwell and 20nm Hawaii hit in that same time period.

    Apple likes smaller teams, but Apple's Mac Pro team isn't the same people sitting on the Mac Pro production line putting these things together. I'd bet Apple has Haswell prototype Mac Pros in the labs right now, along with possibly 20nm Hawaii GPUs. I don't think there are any samples of Maxwell on the desktop, but if Apple were still considering Nvidia they might have them.

    It's true that in 2011 and 2012 Apple was behind/didn't ship new revisions. But in 2008, 2009, and 2010 they shipped on or fairly close the Apple's schedule. I think with their new commitment to pros they're going to be back on their prior schedule.

    The other reasons I think a Haswell upgrade is coming sooner than later:
    - Haswell-EP is advertised by Intel as officially supporting Thunderbolt 2. Given that Sandy Bridge-EP doesn't officially support Thunderbolt 2, I'm not sure what Apple did to get Thunderbolt 2 working on Sandy Bridge Xeons, but I bet they'd like to get onto Intel's officially supported Thunderbolt 2 implementation.
    - Haswell is not electrically compatible, but it's physically compatible with the same socket already on the Mac Pros, so that means the amount of changes Apple has to do to the board is minimal.
    - Haswell runs much cooler, which is very much something Apple would like to enhance the Mac Pro.
    - Haswell also gains a higher core count, which is going to put Apple at a strategic disadvantage compared to other competitors.
    - If 20nm Hawaii is ready, that's definitely pin compatible with what Apple has now. It's basically a "for free" win. The GPUs are more powerful, and put out less heat.

    Haswell-EP would get Apple a lot of performance enhancements for not a lot of amount of work. I really don't see a reason why they would hold back on an upgrade at this point. Strategically, they aren't in the middle of a redesign like they were in 2011 and 2012, and the Mac Pro's place is more secure at this point.

    I think with the 2014 Mac Pro, you're looking at a machine that looks the same, has the same capabilities (single CPU, dual GPU) but with Haswell, DDR4, and the current generation of GPUs. That's not an extreme upgrade from an engineering perspective, but it's significant from a usage perspective.
  22. snouter, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014

    snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I'd like to see them stick to one video card and get it right.

    My 2008 MBP Nvidia 8600GT was made of faulty material.
    My 2011 MBP AMD 6750M has weak eco soldering.

    We are not seeing the benefits of refinement when they just jump ship like this.

    The CPUs come from Intel and now that the Xeon runs a full generation behind the consumer CPUs they are just not faster nor more powerful until you go 6 or more cores. Witness all the my "iMac is faster" stuff. Apple is betting that they can find speed in the GPU. I'd like to see them stick to one manufacturer and get the production right and get the drivers right for once.

    We should just be thrilled to get almost decent graphics for once instead of the stillborn GT120 and HD5770 type nonsense.

    Apple clearly marches to their own drum with the MacPro. These are also sold as workstation class computers, so, no matter what happens, it's not just a matter of slapping a Haswell and chipset in there and calling it a day. The testing is presumably a little more rigorous with the MacPro. Apple would also not likely announce a new product so soon after struggling to get the Ivy Bridge units out the door. We are already in Spring and supplies are tight to non-existent.

    On the other hand, an aggressive update would not bother me. It might signal that Apple is going to pay more attention to the MacPro going forward.

    Lastly, Apple has probably already shifted to school / xmas 2014. The MacPro is not a school / xmas machine.

    Spring 2015 is my guess.
  23. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    Early-mid 2015 for an update. GPU vendor depends mostly on cost -- so probably stick with AMD.
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Neither does moving to Haswell. It has to do with fixing the errors they have now that don't have to do with minute parts characteristics and have far more to do with correctly forecasting demand, sizing the factories and order flow to that accurate forecast. What Apple is exhibiting right now is clearly not a highly accurate forecast. Unless Apple has planned that the status quo ordering time for a Mac Pro be 4 weeks, what they are in currently is a screwed up situation.

    Exit out of the screwed up situation and find what the far more accurate forecast is for this product and then correctly size production for the next generation. That shouldn't take months to figure out but it also going to inhibit a shorter than normal cycle also. [ The jacked up iMac intro didn't get an abnormally fast refresh cycle from 2012->2013. ]

    If you haven't ordered enough parts and don't have enough production stations to insert the part you STILL have a problem. Socketed or soldered CPU doesn't particularly make a lick of difference.

    I didn't mean to suggest it would be 8 month time frame. If Apple merely goes 12.5 months on the revision it will slide into 2015. The overwhelming vast majority of Mac Pro 2013 customers did not receive a device in 2013.

    Apple can get back goodwill by just being consistent. Regular, largely predictable, 11-13 months cycles would be just fine. I don't think this "launch with large scarcity" is building large amounts of goodwill. A shortage at launch for weeks has litle impact, but if they are going to consistently roll out with 4-5 month shortages that is going to cause goodwill problems that "E5 v3" isn't magically going to correct.

    Are there going to be 20nm Hawaii in large enough roll out inventories?
    Nvidia is rolling out Maxwell at 28nm. AMD can't produce enough on a mature 28nm process to satisfy Hawaii demand.


    Apple, Qualcomm, and every other low power budget ARM CPU+GPU vendor is going to soak up as much 20nm capacity as they can get in the Q2-Q3 timeframe.

    I think Nvidia and AMD will rollout, there is just lots of doubts they are going early and early enough that the trailing edge OS X graphics driver updates are going to roll out early also.

    Never said they were. But the production line folks aren't fixing firmware problems with the current one. They weren't diagnosing/fixing bugs/defects that the beta testers turned up. They aren't fixing the bugs/defects that the large swarm of users are turning up now that the Mac Pro isn't coddled in some top secret research lab.

    If some of the same folks are fixing current bugs/defects s are tasked with working on future stuff, then the latter tends to slide. Even if it doesn't slide it extremely rarely speeds up.

    The smaller teams extend into the other parts of Apple. The driver updates that Mac Pro 2012 need for newer GPUs slid into early 2013 ( 10.8.3? ). IMHO, I don't see much utility at all at moving the release of a "pro machine" close to the transition point for OS X for its yearly update. The first release out is never highly critical production ready. It typically takes Apple almost 6-8 months to roll out a 10.x.3 version that fixes a significant number of blips/glitches/defects and have solid OS X.

    While Apple can ship out without all the Mac Pro bugs fixes on a general roll out the impact is spread out over more, much higher volume, Macs. If want higher quality software for Mac Pro, the prudent move would be to move it away from frantic activity of the rest of the Mac ecosystem.

    They can have them the missing element is how Apple can move faster than the other teams that don't have to cover current and future issues. Or t teams which have picked up the samples months earlier than Apple.

    2010 Apple shipped in August when the Intel CPUs launched in late Q1 '10. IHMO in part because the 3600 line up was woefully incomplete so Apple had to settle for 3500 CPUs for entry-mid standard configs.

    Launching a new Mac Pro on the same day Intel launches the workstation class updates isn't absolutely necessary. Several weeks or even a month gap isn't a big deal strategically.

    Where is either of this documented? I heard that Xeon E5 can't work with Thunderbolt several times before Mac Pro design was released. It didn't make sense then. It made even less sense when Apple introduced the new design and folks like HP started showing workstation TB card prototypes.

    Necessary connection to GPIO , PCIe yes. but the Xeon package isn't provisioning GPIO and the PCIe is standard (and in Mac Pro design goes through an intermediate switch anyway).

    TB v2 was long term targeted by Intel for 2014. So has been E5 v3. It isn't going to be uncommon that reference platforms that Intel has probably put together have both features onboard as they are targeted for the same timeframe.

    The chipset is changing as well as the socket. USB 3 is in the chipset. Apple keep the discrete (and pay for USB 3 for nothing, but keep open bandwith for the SSD ) or dump it (and route up to I/O connector board)?

    It isn't building a fusion reactor complicated but there is work to do, validate, and test.

    Pick one or the other.... Haswell doesn't do both. The lower single cores enabled higher core count at the same general TDP levels.

    This is the same spin that was throw out for waiting for E5 v2 versus going with E5 v1. It is going to be way cooler. It wasn't and probably is not on this generation either.

    The fine grained controls on turbo and the ability to go up/down dynamically will be better. But the top end tolerance that the Mac Pro will have to handle will largely be the same. the 8 core part will be way cheaper. (It probably won't be a flipped 10 core 2600 part ). Likewise 6 core probably will be cheaper ( E5 1620 v3 may start at 6 cores if Intel rains in the clock speed from over 4GHz base. )

    Hawaii would have to drop heat just to get back to normal Tahiti range.
    The die shrink variant probably will get another name but as noted before new hardware without drivers and software doesn't particularly buy much but bragging rights and new benchmark drag racing demos.

    This redesign isn't take 2010-2013 to do. Part of the reason the Mac Pro is so late into 2013 is because Apple didn't start earlier. Too many pieces out there:

    i. rumors Apple was not requesting access to E5 v1 parts in late 2011- early 2012. [ no rumbings that Apple has E5 v3 is not a confirming sign.]
    ii. the EU product drought. Yes that was weaved into the grand strategic plan; not.
    iii. TB v2 was long term tracked by Intel to be targeted at 2014 for volume production.

    Rolling out the 2012 model with ancient GPUs didn't dramatically enhance Apple's standing. The socket , I/O chipset , and TB v1 were all available in 2012 for this design. There is no radical CPU TDP difference either.

    That late start has a ripple effect that isn't magically disappear in one iteration.

    Engineering was not a huge bottleneck to getting the 2013's design out the door either. Apple's allocation of resources, the OCD aspects of their design process , protracted graphic driver development cycles, etc. all pushed it later. Few , if any, of those factors have shown huge evidence of being dramatically changed.
  25. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't think production bottlenecks will have anything to do with anything. Neither Sandy Bridge or Haswell make a difference. It may be that they release Haswell and it's just as bottlenecked as Sandy Bridge, but I don't think that would stop them from releasing Haswell.

    Again, neither here nor there for blocking a Haswell upgrade. Sticking with Sandy Bridge doesn't change anything here.

    I'm not trying to say Haswell will fix any production issues, I'm just saying that sticking with Sandy Bridge doesn't fix anything either.

    It's a good question. AMD seems to be having a lot of trouble right now. I hope it's not too big of an assumption to think they'll have 20nm ready in the second half of the year.

    Haswell could also get thrown off from it's date (which looks more unlikely now) which might shift the timeline as well.

    If AMD doesn't have decent yields on 20nm Hawaii by the end of the year, they'd be running very late, and they'd be having bigger problems than the Mac Pro. But yeah, if AMD doesn't upgrade Apple is probably going to look either towards Nvidia or launching a new Mac Pro with the current GPUs.

    And for the most part, Apple won't fix those issues on the rev. a. We've all seen it before. They'll take all that feedback and put it into a rev. b.

    The software people are going to be different people than the hardware people. And even then, they've got to prep new drivers for the same GPUs in machines like a new iMac. And even then, the GPU driver developers are external to Apple.

    I have no idea, but I heard from people on the Intel side before the new Mac Pro came out that Apple couldn't possibly be working on a new Mac Pro because the Sandy Bridge-E didn't work with Thunderbolt. I don't know what the logic is on that or how Apple made it work. But Intel is advertising Haswell-E as the first Xeon to support Thunderbolt 2.

    Which is critically important for the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro didn't adopt Hawaii because it was too hot, so instead they adopted Tahiti. If Hawaii went down to Tahiti heat levels, you could put Hawaii in a Mac Pro.

    I'd bet Hawaii drivers are already being written...

    I think allocation of resources and OCD have dropped off that list. The base Mac Pro design is set for the next few years. The Mac Pro isn't going to spend months in a lab with Ive trying to find the perfect paint finish at this point.

Share This Page