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Thunderbolt expansion chassis

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Tristan La Fontaine
Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 4, 2015 at 11:20:04 pm

Hi all,

I know I'm asking pretty much the impossible here, but..... has anyone successfully used one of the thunderbolt expansion chassis on either a MacBook Pro, MacPro or iMac recently to beef up GPU acceleration?

At the moment I'm running latest iMac i7, GTX 708M, 32 bit etc, and while I havent really had any real problems running with the render cache etc, I still would like to supercharge the machine somewhat.

I understand that with Yosemite, the OS restricts what is compatible GPU-wise but has anyone used a PCIe chassis with, say a GTX 980 on Mavericks? OR, is there anyone out there thats used Bootcamp and installed windows 7 or 8 to use with the expansion and extra GPU, and I'm not talking about or interested in rocket cards but something that can increase overall performance.

Thanks guys.

Tristan.


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Bill Ravens
Re: Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:57:05 pm

Thunderbolt expansion chassis work great with PCI cards, but, as far as I know, there's still not enough bandwidth for video cards to work.



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Andy Winter
Re: Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 6, 2015 at 5:31:08 pm

as far as i know it is no bandwith problem, but osx
will not allow it :(. but i've read from people that were
able to achieve it in some forums. would love to hear
if in this forum someone could share some insights!


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Tristan La Fontaine
Re: Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:33:41 pm

From my limited understanding it's Yosemite that restricts the protocol of using an external GPU in a thunderbolt expansion. I was told that winding the OS back to Mavericks might help (with some extra engineering) this but I don't want to cough up the cash for the chassis and a card for it not to work. I'd also love to hear from anyone thats been able to do this.


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Buddy Brett Ramker
Re: Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 21, 2015 at 12:49:18 am

That technology is coming. The only fully supported GPU in an external chassis comes in the form of the RED Rocket. They supply instructions for using the card in a Sonnet Chassis. The issue with getting reliable performance to and from a Thunderbolt chassis comes from Drivers. The GPU drivers have to have specific language for "hot swapping" for them to work via TB. I can't speak to throughput because PCI is measured in GTs, not GBs.

But it is coming. With Apple pushing TB tech so hard it is only a matter of time before vendors are creating standalone GPUs, which will be awesome!


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Robert Lindqvist
Re: Thunderbolt expansion chassis
on Feb 24, 2015 at 10:06:14 am

Depending on how far you will want to push your system. I read somewhere that TB2 is only 4x, where as a PCI slot can be 4x, 8x or 16x. A typical GPU card is 16x. If this is the case and you want full speed Mac Pro are aboslete. This is not as saying Mac Pro will not work, nor does it say Mac Pro will give you bad performance. But as far as GPU acceleration in expansion chassis this could be "not perfect". Then we come back to the endless discussion if you should build on Linux, Mac or Windows...


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