X-Serve GPUs, anyone still care?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by MacVidCards, May 13, 2016.

  1. MacVidCards Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #1
    Hey all, we have created great cards for Mac Pros and I finally got ahold of a 3,1 X-Serve.

    I didn't really understand the noise about the noise until I fired it up.

    Man that thing is loud !

    Anyhow, I have been curious about which EFI these machines used and how the MXM slot works.

    Very interesting bunch of things I discovered. It is possible to use an EFI card and have boot screens CUDA, etc on 3,1. Can't speak for 2,1 and earlier. But I was very interested in the MXM slot. It turns out Apple did a crappy thing and only ran 2 PCIE lanes to it. I would be thrilled to find that the Dual CPU models got 4 as I only got a single CPU model, but I doubt they bothered.

    So even when I put a GTX980M in the MXM slot I got minimal CUDA/OpenCl out of it. I think the Nvidia cards will require some display remapping to output through the MDP connector, but the AMD 6970M did it just fine unflashed.

    I have to apologize, definitely came to the party after everyone went home. I imagine these things are getting shredded for the most part. The unimaginable noise makes them unthinkable for home use, except in a distant room. It is possible to use GPUs with CUDA and OpenCl support but not sure there is much need for that.

    Would love to hear differently. I am hoping to write a GT630 EFI/BIOS to enable basic display and CUDA functions, might help some folks. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.15.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.11.20 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 1.44.55 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 1.40.59 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 1.32.29 PM.png
     
  2. jamall macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #2
    Hi MacVidCards,
    I'd been curious to have a tinker with my Xserve's MXM slot but I don't own any other Macs or PCs that use MXM cards, so I was quite shocked when I saw the prices commanded by six and seven year old iMac pulls. There's an abundance of MXM cards from PC laptops available for about a quarter the price, but all the info that I could find here and at the netkas forums suggested that they couldn't be made to work. You'd certainly blow a hole in the used spare parts market for iMacs if you were able to reliably get PC cards working, not to mention drastically alter the repair/replace equation that many owners of older machines face when things inevitably go south. I'm running a single CPU Xserve3,1 with both PCI Express slots occupied, so anything would be a nice upgrade to the GT120 under El Capitan. I also just acquired another motherboard with dual sockets but haven't yet got a second CPU to go with it. It strikes me as odd that Apple would cut the PCIe lanes back to 2 for the GT120, as the 2008 Xserve I'm typing this on has 8 lanes dedicated to its X1300 mezzanine card.
     
  3. Surrat macrumors 6502

    Surrat

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    Maybe the reason the party is over is because people gave up. Nobody could make a better card work well, and there was nothing for the MXM slot that worked besides the crappy 1300.

    I say go for it, and make sure to post your results on the forums, you might really start something!
     
  4. MichaelAudet macrumors newbie

    MichaelAudet

    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    #4

    I have two late 2006 Xserve 3.0 dp and always thought about doing a video card upgrade. just never really got around to it.
     
  5. jamall macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #5
    Just to clarify, the only Xserve that shipped with an MXM slot was the Xserve3,1 from 2009, and it came with an Nvidia GT 120 in that slot. The 2008 and 2006 Xserves used a proprietary mezzanine connector and both shipped with a Radeon X1300 with 64MB of VRAM. I tried repurposing that mezzanine connector as an additional 8x PCIe slot but was unsuccessful, but I'm sure someone with proper testing equipment and better soldering skills would have no trouble. I've read about an upgrade that Apple offered for the '06 and '08 graphics - the same X1300 but with 256MB of VRAM - but I've never seen one in operation or for sale anywhere.
     
  6. MacVidCards thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #6
    From initial testing I am confident that I could make newer Nvidia cards work in that slot. My first test in next few days will be a GT630. It can probably live with existing cooling.

    If someone with a dual CPU 3,1 could look in system profiler and see if GT120 has 2 lanes or 4 would be helpful.

    Is there any sort of need for CUDA in these machines?
     
  7. Surrat macrumors 6502

    Surrat

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    United States
    #7
    Even if they are stuck with 2 or 4 lanes, I think a newer, cool running card, would be a worthy upgrade. Just to get current hardware features and better driver support.
     
  8. MacVidCards thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #8
    The most interesting featurer that might be added would be 4K support, I just don't know if the plumbing will support it.

    Should be able to find out by end of week.
     
  9. zebity macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    Hi MacVidCards,

    I have dual cpu Xserve3,1 (Early 2009).

    You are right about noise, I run mine in cellar under garbage and only then turn it on as needed for backups and storage. It is 100% a server.

    Ok so just fired it up and here is the bad news (cut / paste from "About This Mac" PCI slot report) ...

    Name: NVDA,Display-B

    Type: Display Controller

    Driver Installed: Yes

    MSI: Yes

    Bus: PCI

    Slot: MXM-Slot

    Vendor ID: 0x10de

    Device ID: 0x0656

    Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x106b

    Subsystem ID: 0x0010

    ROM Revision: 3397

    Revision ID: 0x00a1

    Link Width: x2

    Link Speed: 2.5 GT/s


    So it is reporting as x2 link width, however is this limit of PCI Slot or the actual NVIDIA MXM card ?

    Cheers,


    Zebity
    Owner of: XServe (Early 2009) with Dual 3.33 Intel W5590 CPUs + Areca ARC-1883x SAS RAID + SmallTree Dual 10Gbe
     
  10. reukiodo macrumors member

    reukiodo

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Location:
    Earth
    #10
    Has there been any progress on MXM cards for 2009 Xserves? If not, would a GT130 512MB from a 2009 24" iMac work as a smallish upgrade?
     
  11. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    Location:
    Houston, TX USA
    #11
    Might check over at netkas.org forums - MVC is active there. I have a bunch of Xserves in storage. I was considering installing single slot, no extra power required GTX 750Tis in them. Now that we have Pascal drivers, however, I'm waiting for some of the OEM partners to introduce single slot 1050s or 1060s.

    I had no idea the 2009 Xserve had an MXM slot.

    Hmmm... off to eBay to check MXM prices. Wonder if Pascal MXM has been released yet...
     
  12. reukiodo macrumors member

    reukiodo

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Location:
    Earth
    #12
    Actually, ELSA already makes a single-slot 1050Ti for sale only in Japan, but Amazon.jp ships worldwide:
    https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B06VVGDCF8/

    It doesn't require any extra power connectors for a normal PCI-E slot, but I thought the Xserve doesn't supply the normal 75W from its slots though? I vaguely remember reading somewhere that it only supports 50W cards or something. Also, I think this limits OS choice to 10.12.4 or higher, which requires some hacky workarounds to get the front-panel CPU lights to work properly, which might be acceptable for some, but not for me.

    I would still prefer MXM anyway, as that leaves the PCI-E slots available for USB-C and storage. I think the bigger problem is finding an MXM that can be cooled by the GT120's heatsink.
     
  13. reukiodo macrumors member

    reukiodo

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Location:
    Earth
    #13
    According to the block diagram on http://tim.id.au/laptops/apple/xserve/xserve_early2009.pdf#p20 the MXM slot isn't even connected to the I/O Hub, it's a second-class citizen hanging off the I/O Controller confirming @zebity 's post that it's a gen1 x2 link. I think the real bottleneck is that it's sharing a gen1 x4 link to the I/O Hub with basically all the rest of the I/O connectors to get to RAM.
     
  14. derohan, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017

    derohan macrumors member

    derohan

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Location:
    Nice, France
    #14
    ****! was getting so poised to search eBay for an Xserve... might do so anyway ^^
     

Share This Page