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Lance Bachelder
ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:28:46 pm

Looks like ATI may be roaring back - no wonder Apple went this direction...

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

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Herb Sevush
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:48:01 pm

AMD is comparing the firepro to the K2000, hardly a top of the line card. I'd wait for the usual benchmark tests before popping the bubbly.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
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nothin' attached to nothin'
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Lance Bachelder
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 11, 2013 at 10:42:55 pm

Another benchmark showing higher end cards:

http://www.fireprographics.com/resources/AMD_W8000_benchmark_V2.pdf

Note that the GPU specs in the new Mac Pro far exceed the W8000 and you get two of them... not bad.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
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Rick Lang
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 2:03:01 am

The specs for the custom GPU in the Mac Pro Tube appear to meet or exceed their top card, the S10000.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Erik Lindahl
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:22:31 am

The S-series isn't even on their sites:

http://www.fireprographics.com/index.asp
http://www.amd.com/uk/products/workstation/graphics/ati-firepro-3d/Pages/at...

Is that something "coming soon"?

There is no doubt though that the GPU's have power. It's however been an issue with OpenCL vs CUDA in the past. Hope this changes!


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Steve Connor
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:29:52 am

[Erik Lindahl] "Hope this changes!"

It is for Video Editing and grading, BMD and Adobe have been vocal about this since the launch, maybe not so much for 3D in AfterFX though

Steve Connor

There's nothing we can't argue about on the FCPX COW Forum


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Erik Lindahl
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:47:18 am

It's not just 3D in After Effects, H264 encoding in Sorenson Squeeze and I know people where iffy about anything but CUDA for 3D-rendering in other apps (Maya perhaps).

But yes, open technologies like OpenCL / OpenGL is highly preferred!


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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:51:49 pm

[Erik Lindahl] "The S-series isn't even on their sites... Is that something "coming soon"?"

It is, but it's classified under Server Graphics:
http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstation/graphics/firepro-remote-graphics...


[Erik Lindahl] "There is no doubt though that the GPU's have power. It's however been an issue with OpenCL vs CUDA in the past. Hope this changes!"

Apple clearly wants OpenCL. That makes sense. Apple originally developed it.

From what I've read, CUDA offers a much more mature and refined development environment, but of course it's proprietary and OpenCL is not. But now it may not matter if CUDA makes development easier; if a developer wants their GPU-accelerated code to run on high-end Macs, they've got to go OpenCL or maintain two separate processing paths.

This is a blow to NVIDIA for CUDA on the desktop. It won't dent their financial or scientific computing prospects at all.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Rick Lang
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:53:52 pm

Erik, here is the top-of-the-line AMD FirePro S10000 link:
http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstation/graphics/firepro-remote-graphics...

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Erik Lindahl
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 1:02:48 pm

Roger, however, the specs Apple's given points at 2xW9000's.


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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 1:40:05 pm

[Erik Lindahl] "Roger, however, the specs Apple's given points at 2xW9000's."

Groovy.

A single W9000 lists at $3600.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Bill Davis
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:43:33 pm

[Walter Soyka] "A single W9000 lists at $3600."

AMD: So Mr. Schiller, how many would you be ordering?

Schiller: How about a million units to start... and we can pay cash if that helps.

AMD: Un. let me sharpen my pencil a bit for that pricing tier...

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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:58:05 pm

Bill, please see my post above. I am sure that not only is Apple not paying retail, I am sure that Apple can get preferential pricing. I'd suspect that AMD would have done just about anything to get this deal for the damage it can do to CUDA on the desktop alone.

My point in all this is that a new Mac Pro configuration with a 12-core CPU and dual 6GB GPUs sports some very pricey components. People should set their expectations for pricing accordingly. I'd be shocked if these things were available in a $4,000 configuration.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Bill Davis
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40:12 pm

I understand that.

But when I read the R2DX size specifications, the very first thing I thought was ...

Wow, they just saved themselves a TON of money on logistics and shipping over the old form factor.

A shipping container that could maybe hold 100 full sized MacPros - can probably hold 250 of these little guys.

I think that's part of the game Apple plays.

Sometimes smaller IS better.

Essentially, why exactly do I still need to rack mount stuff?

I actually sit at a Middle Atlantic desk with a bridge that has two 4 bay rack units built in.
Once upon a time that rack bridge held Tektronic scopes and a monitor switcher and an audio patch bay - none of which I've used in at least 5 years.

Today, the only thing I'm still using is a 8 switch power controller that lets me turn on the lights under my desk, a switch for the sub woofer I use when I have to monitor audio that needs full range low end playback - and a switch that turns on the suspended monitor I use for watching the news during my down time.

Everything else on the bridge AND in my 24 space deskside rack stays OFF 95% of the time.

Time to reorganize my space I guess.

I'm configured for a world I USED to work in. Which actually, I didn't notice until right now.

I can envision right where a MacPro Tube will sit on the bridge at eye height - and unlike my current MacPro - I bet I can retire the Middle atlantic fan-cooled side unit where my old MacPro sits enclosed for sound baffling.

Progress!

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:38:53 pm

[Lance Bachelder] "Looks like ATI may be roaring back - no wonder Apple went this direction..."

The new Mac Pro mini-site claims 7 teraflops of compute performance (presumably obtained by summing the performance of each of the dual GPUs), suggesting each GPU does about 3.5 teraflops. NVIDIA's GTX Titan does about 4.5 teraflops, so two of them would deliver 9 teraflops.

So in terms of raw power, AMD still trails NVIDIA -- but it's not as simple in the real world as the spec sheets suggest.

Apple is pushing OpenCL, and I think that's the key to the decision here. Even if CUDA is better, I am guessing that Apple doesn't want to be stuck on someone else's proprietary technology. (They prefer to be the proprietary ones.)

AMD's OpenCL performance exceeds NVIDIA's in most synthetic benchmarks (though there are a few tests where NVIDIA stomps AMD in OpenCL). NVIDIA's drivers don't yet support OpenCL 1.2 as AMD's do. Real-world testing of AMD vs NVIDIA on OpenCL, or AMD on OpenCL vs NVIDIA on CUDA is really limited.

Bottom line: whether these AMD cards are "the best" or not, they are certainly the best that have ever been offered in a Mac, and Apple's move here makes CUDA a second-class citizen on Mac OS.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:42:56 pm

[Rick Lang] "The specs for the custom GPU in the Mac Pro Tube appear to meet or exceed their top card, the S10000."

The S10000 is a dual-GPU card (like how the GTX 690 is two GTX 680s on a single board, or the Radeon HD 7990 is two 7970s).

What's interesting to me is that the S10000 costs $3500.

A Mac Pro with dual GPUs is not going to be cheap.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Daniel Frome
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:50:11 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What's interesting to me is that the S10000 costs $3500."

Crap...I wasn't aware the prices were THIS high.

I had guessed that a 12 core 64GB RAM config was going to cost about $6000 ... that's looking more like $9000 now.


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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:58:44 pm

[Daniel Frome] "Crap...I wasn't aware the prices were THIS high. I had guessed that a 12 core 64GB RAM config was going to cost about $6000 ... that's looking more like $9000 now."

NVIDIA has somewhere near three-quarters of the workstation graphics market. AMD may have been willing (or may have been coerced) to lower prices a bit.

But yes, a high-spec Mac Pro will cost a lot of money.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Lance Bachelder
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 2:22:52 pm

In studying all the different cards and benchmarks it appears to me that AMD gives you similar performance to Quadro for about half the price. For instance a FirePro W7000 which is around %700 online is similar to a Quadro K5000 which is around $1800 online. Even a W8000 is only around $1300 and that can compete with a K6000 Quadro.

Walter mentioned the Titan - it's a powerful card but sadly nVidia cripples output on all GeForce cards to 8 bit only. The AMD W7000, for instance, is less expensive than a Titan and can drive 4 10 bit 4K monitors via Display Port 1.2. I'm planning on testing the the W7000 in my PC as ASAP since Adobe CC is optimized for OpenCL and on paper performs better with AMD cards than Quadro.

The truth is for me, if Adobe CC performs well using the AMD W7000 on my PC and has affordable 10bit output to all my displays I would really have no use at all for a Mac in my workflow as I already have a powerful Win 7 workstation. Of course we won't know 'til next week when Adobe finally released the new suite.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Jakub Vomacka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:33:25 pm

firepro is different from common radeon cards mostly by drivers and ECC memory. so gpu chips for new mac pro could be pretty cheap, wonder what ram they use for their custom gpus in mac pro.

Radeon 7970 uses the same core and it is very interesting how it shows up in OsX 10.9 http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1594669

7970 is pretty cheap, $400 for whole card. imagine they just get the chips, in large quantity...


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Chris Kenny
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:52:24 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What's interesting to me is that the S10000 costs $3500.

A Mac Pro with dual GPUs is not going to be cheap."


Keep in mind, workstation GPUs are basically just gaming GPUs with more memory (and in this case ECC memory), qualified drivers, and firmware tweaks. Lots of ECC VRAM does add some cost, but not nearly as much as the markup GPU vendors charge. So, AMD can price this stuff much cheaper if they want to. Given that they don't have to worry about undermining aftermarket GPU upgrades here (since those aren't really going to exist on Mac platform anyway at this point), and given the promotional value of having their FirePro brand prominently featured on a new, ultra slick flagship Mac, AMD may well have cut Apple a pretty crazy deal.

Especially since this will encourage software vendors to support OpenCL, which, since much of this software is cross-platform, might help AMD sell more high-priced workstation GPUs to their Windows-based customers.

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Walter Soyka
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:09:40 pm

[Chris Kenny] "So, AMD can price this stuff much cheaper if they want to. Given that they don't have to worry about undermining aftermarket GPU upgrades here (since those aren't really going to exist on Mac platform anyway at this point), and given the promotional value of having their FirePro brand prominently featured on a new, ultra slick flagship Mac, AMD may well have cut Apple a pretty crazy deal."

Chris, I see from you and Bill that I've been very unclear here.

I am not suggesting that Apple is paying retail, or that the cost of this Mac Pro must start at $7k for the GPUs alone.

I just mean to point out that all this awesomeness comes with a price tag.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Lance Bachelder
Re: ATI GPU the right choice?
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:22:40 pm

I agree Apple won't be paying retail, they'll be buying a special OEM config and not a full blown PCIe version. But that doesn't mean we won't be paying retail for it. A single, less powerful W8000 goes for around $1,400 street price so how much might Apple charge for TWO more powerful GPU's in a BTO? My guess is a 12 core maxed out Mac Pro will be well north of 7 grand.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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