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jayfaker

New Mac Pros... here we go.

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Someone on Macrumors was having a little fantasy about 'it' being an expansion on current systems and that got me thinking about both the limitations of Thunderbolt (even V2) and what the definition of a computer is.

 

Distributed computing & a GPU focused approached has been a hot topic with IT manufacturers and developers. In case of the Mac (Pro) there is this ongoing complaint of shit OpenGL performance on OSX. Speculation has been that new gear would use external Thunderbolt GPU's to up the 3D game. Arguments against this approach are valid: even a new version of Thunderbolt lacks the bandwidth of PCIe by a big margin but that's only relevant if you seperate GPU from the rest of the hardware (mainly CPU/RAM).

 

The bottleneck is not the chipset. It's not Thunderbolt. It's the rest of the computer, and it's you the user. Users can't even throw enough 'input' in real-time onto a computing device to saturate bandwidth, it's only the actual computing that needs the bandwidth and the resulting output for which Thunderbolt will more than suffice. All the rest is GPU/CPU interaction.

 

You can't expand the mainboard or CPU in current designs. Why not expand existing platforms with computing units that really arent standalone computers? It's a cost-effective & predictable way of scaling up performance, and it scales almost perfectly. It's cheap in manufacturing and it's relatively low-power because you don't have to run en entire computer like you do now.

 

It's basically a even more stripped down Mac Mini, a GPU/CPU and some RAM, that's it. If you look at computing power/volume of device it already beats anything on the market.

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Someone on Macrumors was having a little fantasy about 'it' being an expansion on current systems and that got me thinking about both the limitations of Thunderbolt (even V2) and what the definition of a computer is.

 

Distributed computing & a GPU focused approached has been a hot topic with IT manufacturers and developers. In case of the Mac (Pro) there is this ongoing complaint of shit OpenGL performance on OSX. Speculation has been that new gear would use external Thunderbolt GPU's to up the 3D game. Arguments against this approach are valid: even a new version of Thunderbolt lacks the bandwidth of PCIe by a big margin but that's only relevant if you seperate GPU from the rest of the hardware (mainly CPU/RAM).

 

The bottleneck is not the chipset. It's not Thunderbolt. It's the rest of the computer, and it's you the user. Users can't even throw enough 'input' in real-time onto a computing device to saturate bandwidth, it's only the actual computing that needs the bandwidth and the resulting output for which Thunderbolt will more than suffice. All the rest is GPU/CPU interaction.

 

You can't expand the mainboard or CPU in current designs. Why not expand existing platforms with computing units that really arent standalone computers? It's a cost-effective & predictable way of scaling up performance, and it scales almost perfectly. It's cheap in manufacturing and it's relatively low-power because you don't have to run en entire computer like you do now.

 

It's basically a even more stripped down Mac Mini, a GPU/CPU and some RAM, that's it. If you look at computing power/volume of device it already beats anything on the market.

 

I'm sold.

Some one make it happen.

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My obvious question is how CUDA can be used through TB2. I suppose in my dreams, CUDA wouldn't be in card form but "module" form and carry full speed over TB2. Looks like Apple is fully supporting OpenCL with no love for Cuda. However, DaVinci, Nuke, Smoke, etc are all accelerated by CUDA, so that's where my interest lies.

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My obvious question is how CUDA can be used through TB2. I suppose in my dreams, CUDA wouldn't be in card form but "module" form and carry full speed over TB2. Looks like Apple is fully supporting OpenCL with no love for Cuda. However, DaVinci, Nuke, Smoke, etc are all accelerated by CUDA, so that's where my interest lies.

I am interested in this as well. It's hard to get too excited about having an AMD card in there.

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My obvious question is how CUDA can be used through TB2. I suppose in my dreams, CUDA wouldn't be in card form but "module" form and carry full speed over TB2. Looks like Apple is fully supporting OpenCL with no love for Cuda. However, DaVinci, Nuke, Smoke, etc are all accelerated by CUDA, so that's where my interest lies.

 

Yes, the capabilities of TB2 are kind of a wild card here. Fast external storage and 4K video is nice, but being able to access more GPU and/ or CPU power over TB2 would be killer. Mac Pros have always had BTO graphics options so I suppose there still could be Nvidia BTO graphics in the mix.

 

The lack of a live demo probably means we're looking at late this year for a release though.

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Time for windows indeed! John swing by and demo a machine at the office. I love me some Apple products but even this new trash can tower get a big ole "yeah big deal from me".

 

12 cores = already have it

1.8 ram = already using 64 gigs of it (mind you the Ram GB/s) bandwidth they are claiming is super nice)

Flash drive = cool and really want to see where they take it but the SSD I have for main drive and cache, along with raided 10K is stupid fast

2 GPU = nice if you edit video (which you dont need this machine then) or if you are using Vray/Maxwell but for C4D and AE (or nuke or resolve) it might as well not be there.

 

No Cuda is a bummer and the thunderbolt thing would drive me crazy. I am tired enough of having to get new adapters for the iphone everything the change shit. Would drive me crazy if my productivity was based on that mess.

 

Wonder how much its going to be. My current PC build is slightly over the cost of last gen 6 core mac pro and WAY faster...nearly matching the release today minus the size :)

 

Windows 7 is stable and fine and IMO not that much different from OSX. In reality I am actually unbeliveably happy with Windows dont miss for a second the "pro" bells and whistles of OSX. Time Machine is the only thing that I miss

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I noticed a note on the apple site about a new FCPX coming along with the mac pro. Maybe they will try to make amends?

 

I don't really get this machine, with dual FirePro cards standard, the base price is going to be really high. They're locking you in to a ton of GPU power.

 

Will there be an option for a traditional hard drive/fusion drive, or is it SSD only?

 

It seems like they're making some big decisions that their customers ought to be able to make. What if you need a ton of storage? What if you want a ton of processing power but don't need so much GPU?

 

I guess I can see the new mac pro being a great machine for a select group of people...

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FWIW, here's a post by Grant Petty (don't know him) at Blackmagic, who seems very impressed with the new Mac Pro, at least with how it runs DaVinci Resolve.

 

http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8898

 

Thanks for that. That DOES make me feel more optimistic. What it's telling me is that Apple has already involved some of the power players and let them know it's an OpenCL world and you should play in it. So, it makes me think that Smoke and Nuke (Nuke may already support it) are also in the loop and set to use OpenCL in addition/or supplementing CUDA. I don't personally care which one as long as I can buy one machine and get wicked parallel processing.

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Time for windows indeed! John swing by and demo a machine at the office. I love me some Apple products but even this new trash can tower get a big ole "yeah big deal from me".

12 cores = already have it

1.8 ram = already using 64 gigs of it (mind you the Ram GB/s) bandwidth they are claiming is super nice)

Flash drive = cool and really want to see where they take it but the SSD I have for main drive and cache, along with raided 10K is stupid fast

2 GPU = nice if you edit video (which you dont need this machine then) or if you are using Vray/Maxwell but for C4D and AE (or nuke or resolve) it might as well not be there.

No Cuda is a bummer and the thunderbolt thing would drive me crazy. I am tired enough of having to get new adapters for the iphone everything the change shit. Would drive me crazy if my productivity was based on that mess.

 

 

Forgot new mac would be announced today, and ordered another PC workstation this morning. Totally don't regret it. It's already been three years and when this machine hits the shelves we are still going to have a further wait until all the third party TB2 peripherals roll out (there isn't really that much regular thunderbolt stuff out now), and probably more time to work out the kinks with how it works with all the various software.

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What it's telling me is that Apple has already involved some of the power players and let them know it's an OpenCL world and you should play in it.

 

Hey Chris. I've been hearing about OPENCL for a while now but I haven't seen it in the software I use the most (AE, C4D etc). Sounds like it's the solution to letting the applications get access to all the cores sitting on the GPU. Do you know why it's not being used as widely as OPENGL is?

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You know, Apple can tell me they are "revolutionizing the computer industry" only so many times before I start believing it. If they say it... it must be so. I guess its all speculation until we actually get to put one of these super coffee makers to the test.

 

signed... skeptically optimistic

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Hey Chris. I've been hearing about OPENCL for a while now but I haven't seen it in the software I use the most (AE, C4D etc). Sounds like it's the solution to letting the applications get access to all the cores sitting on the GPU. Do you know why it's not being used as widely as OPENGL is?

 

OpenGL is a Graphics Language / Graphics Library originally started by SGI, then became "Open". You will see it accelerating graphics in the programs you use. OpenCL is meant to run on Parallel Processors but instead of a graphics lib it's a programming lib. So it can do "traditional" computations more than Graphics computations. The big difference is that OpenCL is "Open" whereas CUDA is NVidia's.

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OpenGL is a Graphics Language / Graphics Library originally started by SGI, then became "Open". You will see it accelerating graphics in the programs you use. OpenCL is meant to run on Parallel Processors but instead of a graphics lib it's a programming lib. So it can do "traditional" computations more than Graphics computations. The big difference is that OpenCL is "Open" whereas CUDA is NVidia's.

Thanks for the info. I guess I'll just have to wait for Adobe and Maxon to use OPENCL.

 

I found from Nvidias site the current GPU drivers already let OPENCL run on the CUDA hardware.

https://developer.nvidia.com/opencl

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All hope might not be lost with the AMD FirePro cards:

http://www.fireprographics.com/adobe/

and

http://www.fireprographics.com/maxon/index.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intriguing. But I don't know why I'm even concerned about CUDA. Smoke For Mac, Resolve (which was converted to Mac b4 PC) are clearly putting a lot of dev into Mac and if the now obvious hardware choice to run them is using AMD cards, it is a GAURANTEE they will make sure their stuff is optimized for it.

 

I am willing to bet by time the Mac Pro hits the virtual shelves, Smoke, Nuke, Adobe, Resolve, etc, etc will be ready to go on those AMDs w/ OpenCL (if they aren't already).

Edited by C.Smith

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