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Christian Schumacher
Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:11:18 pm

Amongst graphics updates in Mac OS X and the new Mac Pro dual GPU set up, what should we expect during this transitional period? Couldn't those new GPU cards just released for the current MacPro be used in a dual fashion to take advantage of newly created editing support for multiple cards? FCPX seems to be going in that direction for obvious reasons, Adobe Premiere is said to support dual GPUs for exporting already and also Blackmagic's Resolve works with several ones. But what about AVID or Smoke? Or any post production related software for that matter? Like AE, Motion, C4D, Lightworks, Edius,etc...Shouldn't all of them go dual GPU friendly? And also, is there any possible reason or some esoteric situation where current Mac Pros with current GPUs should NOT take advantage of these developments? Thanks in advance for any insight on this.


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Ridley Walker
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 13, 2013 at 7:07:42 pm

The current MacPros don't have the power internally (or power connections) to support multiple cards of this type.

More boards requires an external PCIe chassis, like those from Cubix.

http://www.cubix.com


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Christian Schumacher
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 13, 2013 at 7:58:59 pm

Yes, users who run multiple cards need that. Or even for a couple of powerful ones, sure.
Anything is valid depending on how long you need to wait to switch your systems.
But I am talking about running two (Dual=2) PCI 2.0 16X cards (single 6 pin each).

http://www.gizmag.com/nvidia-quadro-k5000-mac-pro/24045/

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/3/930857

As far as I know, we have so far the ATI 5770 and both Quadros 4000/5000.
And people have been also mixing eg. 5770 and Q4000. So there's that...
Moreover, I'm interested in the software implications of dual GPU support (being Open CL or CUDA)

Thanks for the reply.


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Eric Fiegehen
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:44:17 pm

Hi Christian,

Cubix has extensive experience working with 3x GTX 680 or multiple Quadro 4000 cards running in Xpander, which is attached to the Mac Pro in Slot 2. I would recommend staying away from GTX 690 since Apple limits OSX support to 4x GPUs maximum, and those GTX 690 cards require lots of power (therefore requiring lots of fan noise to cool).

Other I/O cards people attach to the current Mac Pro via Xpander include RED Rocket(s), ATTO, Fusion-io ioFX, and several others.

Eric Fiegehen
Director, Visualization & GPU Compute Solutions
Cubix Corporation
ericc@cubix.com
http://www.cubix.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:39:53 am

What I wonder about is if these computers are going to be able to run Fcs3.

I know Motion is out, but does fcp7 work ok with dual GPUs?

I haven't tried it, but I seem to remember there were issues at some point.

What about Color?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 1:37:24 am

Color balks when it detects two GPUs. Even a Blackmagic card set to "extended desktop" mode would keep Color from launching.




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 1:43:46 am

I thought that Color might have an issue.

What about fcp?


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Christian Schumacher
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 2:28:49 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "
What about fcp?"


Those are exactly the scenarios I'm trying to come up with, thank you for chiming in Jeremy. Although the studio I'm looking for to update is 90% Adobe CS, they still use some legacy and so I'm also curious if FCP 7 can run without issues with dual GPUs (Color has problems but they are "resolved" already). But my overall concern is current Mac software and current GPU hardware on "legacy" hardware. I believe that If one is dealing with MacPros in a post production workflow, there's a lot of options today for upgrading the current Apple workstation. Since the new updates of its OS, Apple has unlocked several video cards that only could run on Windows before. And last year, both AMD and nVidia have released Mac editions of theirs products, offering for example 3GB and 4 GB VRAM options. You can have high-end Quadros 5000 that one can run two of them in tandem in a Mac Pro without any additional power. Or you could set up a smaller and a bigger one ( or a single huge one) and then use a slick power unit housed in the optical bay that costs just 90 dollars. The optical bay is also such an easy location for placing one or two SSDs. All the cabling is already there. And you know this new Mac Pro and its PCI SSD? There's PCI SSD for current Mac Pros too. These are optimal solutions for speeding up your MacPro that also save space for your HDD bays.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 3:11:45 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I thought that Color might have an issue.

What about fcp?"


Not a concrete answer, but I never had FCP Legend find conflict w/multiple GPUs even though on the same machine Color would not launch if it detected multiple GPUs.

My guess is that FCP Legend, lik the honey badger, doesn't give a damn.




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 3:17:40 am

Thank you, Andrew.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 6:02:20 am

No sweat. Sharing knowledge and bickering incessantly is what we do, right? ;)




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:55:24 pm

Moi? Bicker?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 14, 2013 at 1:36:25 pm

[Christian Schumacher] "But what about AVID or Smoke? Or any post production related software for that matter? Like AE, Motion, C4D, Lightworks, Edius,etc...Shouldn't all of them go dual GPU friendly?"

Ae is multiple-GPU friendly, with these significant caveats: they are only used for the 3D ray-tracing renderer, and they must be CUDA-enabled NVIDIA cards. (The Ae ray-tracer was built on top of the NVIDIA OptiX library.)

Smoke renders on OpenGL, and I think OpenGL assumes a single GPU. NVIDIA has SLI and AMD has CrossFireX, both of which are mechanisms for allowing each GPU to process different portions of the same scene. With multiple GPUs, it may be possible to run an independent OpenGL context on each, allowing each GPU to render one whole frame at a time and compiling the results. Personally, I'd prefer to see Smoke eventually transition away from an OpenGL renderer to a purely computational renderer, but that's a separate conversation.

C4D has an OpenGL-accelerated viewport (see OpenGL multiple GPU notes above), and a purely CPU-driven final renderer. OpenGL would not be appropriate at all for final renders. There's a lot of work going on around GPU-accelerated rendering industry-wide, but Octane, the only commercially-available GPU renderer for C4D relies on CUDA. OpenCL support is planned for the indefinite future. Octane's Mac support came well after Windows support, so I'm not sure that the new Mac Pro is going to provide a big impetus for OpenCL support. At least for the time being, CPU-based rendering is still the standard.

Looking at the software you mention in general, there are big opportunities for multiple GPU support on compute tasks, but that will require implementing renderers with OpenCL and will take time.

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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Christian Schumacher
Re: Dual GPUs on current Mac Pros
on Jun 15, 2013 at 4:00:51 pm

Thanks for the amazing summary, Walter.


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