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Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...

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Nicholas Zimmerman
Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 7:56:42 am

The new rumors seem to be pointing to only $600 for the D700 upgrade, which assuming this meant both cards would be only $300 per card. The PC equivalent of this card is $3,500 and Tim Cook really focused on how good of a deal Apple got from AMD on these cards. At $300 a card (which honestly seems like too good of a deal) these would cost less than 10% of the PC cards. While this may seem like a stretch (and honestly it does, I think it'll be more like $1,200 for the upgrade), professional graphics aren't all that different from the consumer side. The architecture is the same, and there really isn't anything physical to separate the pro and consumer models. This means that AMD could give Apple a sweetheart deal and allow their FirePro's to sell at an extreme discount through Apple, but why would they do that?

OpenCL. At the moment I have a Radeon 5870 in my Mac Pro 3,1 and it's a pretty decent card. I can run up to 8 nodes in Resolve 10 and get 24fps, and it makes quick work of Apple's built in FCPX and Motion effects. Problem is, as soon as I add anything from Boris it slows to a crawl. I'd bet that isn't the case after the next BCC update. Until Apple announced the new Mac Pro, practically nobody supported OpenCL for professional plugins. Neat Video, Davinci Resolve, Mercury Engine, etc. all supported only CUDA, but now all support OpenCL. This leads me to think that AMD is letting Apple get the deal of a lifetime on some very high end graphics cards in exchange for exclusivity. Look at Mavericks, it's got OpenCL support built right into the OS, and this frees Apple from having to be at nVidia's whim and has already destroyed much of their pro monopoly before the machine is even released. Renders that took hours back in June now take just minutes because developers realized that they had to begin supporting OpenCL, and that seems like a very good reason for AMD to let their best cards go at very good prices.

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Andre van Berlo
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:35:02 am

I also thought the upgrade would have been a lot more expensive. D700's, no less than 2 of them for a mere upgrade price of $600 is just bizar.

It's already hard to wait for the release but with these rumouring prices it becomes agony :-)


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 11:06:40 am

A Radeon 5870 is a 2009 card - almost the stone age.

Bernie


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Gary Huff
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:10:46 pm

[Bernard Newnham] "A Radeon 5870 is a 2009 card - almost the stone age."

That's how I feel whenever I'm googling some issue and stumble upon Creative Cow posts from 2009. Man, what was being talked about then. Crazy.


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:11:38 pm
Last Edited By Bernard Newnham on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:15:15 pm

If I was into buying stuff for C4D and AE and didn't want to just build something from parts, I'd have one of these -
http://tinyurl.com/pxe78p5

Chuck in a bit more RAM, maybe change the graphics card if a new one came out, add some boringly ordinary drives.....then change it all again in a few months time with no hassle at all.

Bernie


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Shawn Miller
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 5:38:25 pm

[Bernard Newnham] "If I was into buying stuff for C4D and AE and didn't want to just build something from parts, I'd have one of these -"

Are you sure you wouldn't want a dual proc machine instead... something with as many cores as you could stuff into a box, :-)

http://www.boldata.com/catalog/478/config


Shawn



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Marcus Moore
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:41:47 pm

I agree- I think they've overweighted the price of the CPUs and undervalued the GPU upgrades in their calculations.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:45:07 pm

I agree with your assertion that Apple and AMD are working together to popularize OpenCL on the desktop. OpenCL was originally developed at Apple, whereas CUDA is proprietary to NVIDIA, and AMD has been getting clobbered in the GPGPU market by NVIDIA. I see how Apple and AMD have mutual interest in getting some volume in the market around OpenCL and FirePro.

However, I disagree with your assertion that the announcement of the Mac Pro was the catalyst for any recent OpenCL developments. The Mac Pro was only announced in June of this year. Adobe added OpenCL support for Premiere in CS6 (May 2012). NeatVideo started investigating OpenCL support around the same time, and I would guess that Blackmagic Design was already at work on OpenCL for Resolve 10 then, too.

Developers are generally interested in OpenCL because CUDA is NVIDIA-only; supporting both CUDA and OpenCL means you don't have to require your customers to have GPUs from a specific vendor. Supporting OpenCL gives them options and independence.

CUDA took an early lead and continues to be popular because its performance is outstanding, its development tool chain is more mature, and because there are more high-level libraries available for CUDA. (All of these factors also mean there are a good number of experienced CUDA developers.)

I'm glad to see an open standard competing in the market, and maybe this push to OpenCL is good in the long term, but it's a hit in the short term on the Mac platform for users like me interested in CUDA-only solutions like Octane.

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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Rick Lang
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:07:14 pm

The D700 compares to the AMD Firepro W9000 but there are many differences in that PC/Linux card compared to the completely custom designed card in the Mac Pro. I think it was Walter who originally pointed out, the memory in the W9000 is ECC while Apple doesn’t talk about the type of memory in their D700 so it likely isn’t ECC. That’s a significant cost savings. Although the bandwidth of both are the same, Apple’s card achieves 3.5 teraFLOPS while AMD’s card hits 4.0. Other differences include lack of Crossfire and I think I read at one point there is support for OpenGL 4.1 for Apple versus 4.2 for AMD but Apple include HDMI 1.4. And since this is a very custom card, we don’t know how much of the card was built by Apple and licensing the technology rather than buying the off-the-shell card that is built by AMD.

All in all, it does seem to be a very good deal on the Mac Pro.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Devin Crane
Re: Why the D700s and the Mac Pro might be really good deals...
on Dec 17, 2013 at 4:07:42 pm

[Nicholas Zimmerman] "The new rumors seem to be pointing to only $600 for the D700 upgrade, which assuming this meant both cards would be only $300 per card. "

$600 additional over the D500, not $300 per card or $600 for the 2 cards.



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