What If You Had A TITAN Xp Attached To Your iMac Pro?
May 24th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
We have already demonstrated an NVIDIA GPU in an eGPU box running on the 2013 Mac Pro and 2016 MacBook Pro. Guess what happens when you connect an eGPU with a TITAN Xp to a 2017 iMac Pro?
TITAN Xp - Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port with NVIDIA TITAN Xp (12G) GPU installed and connected to the Dell 5K UP2715K display with dual DP cables
VegaF - AKiTiO Node Pro connected to Thunderbolt 3 port with AMD Radeon Vega Frontier (16G) GPU installed and connected to the Dell 5K UP2715K display with dual DP cables
Vega64 - Built-in iMac Pro optional Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16G) GPU
VegaF+64 = Both Vega Frontier and Pro Vega 64 used for rendering
TITANXp+Vega64 = Both the TITAN Xp and Pro Vega 64 used for rendering
W = Running Windows 10 in Boot Camp partition instead of macOS
OCL = OpenCL used for GPU processing mode
CUDA = CUDA used for GPU processing mode
INT = Built-in 5K iMac Pro display set to primary
DELL = Dell UP2715K 5K display set to primary
The 2017 iMac Pro was running macOS 10.13.4 (build 17E199). Windows 10 was running in a Boot Camp partition.
Blender render of BMW Scene using only GPU (CUDA or OpenCL). (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
OBSERVATIONS: Not only is the CUDA GPU processing mode in Blender much faster than OpenCL, but OpenCL under Windows is almost twice as fast as OpenCL under macOS!
DaVinci Resolve on-the-fly render of 3 nodes of Noise Reduction during playback. (HIGHER Frames Per Second = FASTER)
OBSERVATIONS: TITAN Xp will NOT run using OpenCL in Blender under Windows, but WILL run using OpenCL in Resolve under Windows.
Rise of Tomb Raider with at 2560x1440 and High preset. (HIGHER Frames Per Second = FASTER)
OBSERVATION: NVIDIA TITAN Xp beats the iMac Pro's AMD Pro Vega 64 under Windows but not under macOS. Both GPUs run faster under Windows. Now you know why hard core gamers prefer to use Windows even on a Mac.
THE GOOD NEWS: The ability to choose an NVIDIA GPU to run in your iMac Pro's eGPU box does provide performance advantages for some apps -- especially when the app is CUDA capable. And it enables you to run "CUDA only" apps like Octane Render.
THE BAD NEWS: Currently, you lose use of the iMac Pro's built-in 5K display when running an NVIDIA GPU in an eGPU box under macOS.
THE GOOD NEWS: If you are running Windows 10 on the iMac Pro with an NVIDIA GPU in an eGPU box, BOTH displays ARE active.
1) The NVIDIA GPU in an eGPU box must be connected directly to its own display. We used the Dell 5K UP2715K display in this test session.
2) The TITAN Xp in eGPU box would not have worked with the iMac Pro running macOS 10.13.4 if it wasn't for modifications made by MacVidCards. No macOS or Windows patches were made.
3) The modified TITAN Xp currently only works with the iMac Pro in an eGPU box if you are running macOS 10.13.4 build 17E199. It does NOT work (yet) with 10.13.4 build 17E202 with Security Update.
4) Enabling the eGPU with NVIDIA GPU under macOS required us to Startup the iMac Pro holding down the Option key displaying boot volumes. Then we had to press a four key sequence (Command + Option + Shift + ".") to make the external display connected to the NVIDIA GPU primary. Though the Dell screen didn't light up, once we pressed ENTER key, the Startup continued and took us to the Finder screen.
Running the NVIDIA eGPU under Windows 10 only required us to select the Windows volume at Startup.
If the NVIDIA GPU provides your apps with a significant GAIN in performance, then the PAIN is worth the GAIN. The eGPU boxes are a welcome performance altering accessory -- especially when they can support both AMD and NVIDIA high-end GPUs under the latest version of macOS. What we long for is full support from Apple for BOTH AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
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