Nvidia releases beta Mac graphics drivers for Pascal-based video cards

Posted:
in Mac Software
Less than a week after promising them, Nvidia on Tuesday released beta Mac drivers compatible with any of the company's Pascal-based cards, including the 10 series and the recently-launched Titan Xp.




The software (direct link) is useful to a relatively small segment of the Mac user base, namely people with an external Thunderbolt graphics enclosure or a pre-2013 Mac Pro with a free PCI-e slot. Nvidia's 10-series cards range from the GTX 1050 through to the GTX 1080 Ti.

The Titan Xp is a $1,200 card with 12 gigabytes of GDDR5X VRAM, and 3,840 CUDA cores clocked at 1.6 gigahertz. This translates into 12 teraflops of performance, above even the 11.3 teraflops on the 1080 Ti.

Nvidia's cards are typically aimed at Windows gamers and professionals, but the new drivers should allow users to boost Mac's limited 3D games library, and more likely graphics-intensive productivity apps.

The company could conceivably be laying groundwork for Apple's modular Mac Pros coming in 2018. It might also simply be catering to growing interest in eGPUs, which take advantage of the ports on Apple's latest Macs and make them more competitive, power-wise, with high-end PCs.

With the exception of the Mac Pro, all Macs -- even 27-inch iMacs -- rely on either mobile graphics processors or integrated Intel graphics.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    xzuxzu Posts: 112member
    thank Nvidia, thank you. 

    Please Apple give us a Mac that can use these.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    I think it's cool that Nvidia is making these for Macs, but is there really a market for this right now? If you have a pre-2013 Mac Pro, would you really spend $1200 on a state-of-the-art video card? Perhaps I am clueless, but are that many people out there using external Thunderbolt video card enclosures with more modern Mac Pros (or any other Mac)?
    baconstang
  • Reply 3 of 12
    appexappex Posts: 510member
    Great for brand new Mac Pro relaunch in 2018 8 (with brand new Apple Thunderbolt display). Looking forward to it...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,995member
    xzu said:
    thank Nvidia, thank you. 

    Please Apple give us a Mac that can use these.


    Sorry, pass. Nvidia will never be part of Apple's ecosystem. Only through an add-on. Their notoriously unstable support for OpenCL and anchoring all to CUDA guarantees Apple moved well beyond them.
    baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 12
    I was wondering if anyone knows about Villagetronic.com so that I could use an Nvidia card on my MBP? They make (made) a ViDock that uses the Express Card slot on my MBP 17" late 2011. Unfortunately I only just discovered the company and now it looks like they are no longer actively around. Does anyone know if they are and/or if there is a was to still get an Express Card solution as I'd rather not have to sacrifice my one Thunderbolt v1 port for a device such as this. Any help would be appreciated. I really liked the ViDock as it was a more elegant solution and prettier too with three slots. thx.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    I think it's cool that Nvidia is making these for Macs, but is there really a market for this right now? If you have a pre-2013 Mac Pro, would you really spend $1200 on a state-of-the-art video card? Perhaps I am clueless, but are that many people out there using external Thunderbolt video card enclosures with more modern Mac Pros (or any other Mac)?
    There are many more, less expensive cards in the lineup than just the top of the line. i'm waiting to see more usb c enclosures come around, but word is that the Razer One's enclosure would support a MBP. I think a TB3 enclosure is very much called for Apple's whole lineup. Mac mini with a tb3 enclosure Awesome. An iMac with a TB3 enclosure, also awesome. A MBP with a TB 3 chases. Still awesome. As a matter of fact a TB3 chassis probably would have saved apple allot of grief and have been awesome to the max for the MP trash can. Cute little can on the desk, expansion locked away in a cabinet. It would have been amazing.  
  • Reply 7 of 12
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 91member
    the reason Nvidia made this card, is because this card will be compatible with external graphics card units. There are few in the works!
  • Reply 8 of 12
    jdwjdw Posts: 463member
    I personally look forward to AppleInsider's review of this eGPU kit:

    https://bizon-tech.com

    Pricey but doesn't require hacker skills like most others.
    edited April 11
  • Reply 9 of 12
    pentaepentae Posts: 17member
    You forgot to mention the 10s of thousands of us (100s of thousands?) that have a hackintosh build.
    seeker143
  • Reply 10 of 12
    pentae said:
    You forgot to mention the 10s of thousands of us (100s of thousands?) that have a hackintosh build.
    We talked about it briefly in the article about the launch of the Titan Xp.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    jdw said:
    I personally look forward to AppleInsider's review of this eGPU kit:

    https://bizon-tech.com

    Pricey but doesn't require hacker skills like most others.
    Very nice piece of kit. I'd personally like to see one that supported a couple is SSD's and added a couple of "legacy" ports like SATA, USB and maybe even a FW800/ gigabit Ethernet, but at least something more than just one video card. Useful, but not vastly if you still have to connect a bazillion other adapters or a second port multiplier via TB3.  

    I used to use a magma chassis way back in the day via the express card on my MBP. It also supported drives and allowed you to add a second card for ports of your choice. That chassis was my best friend and travel buddy on many gigs. 
  • Reply 12 of 12
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,902moderator
    sergioz said:
    the reason Nvidia made this card, is because this card will be compatible with external graphics card units. There are few in the works!
    There's some tests of a Titan X in an external GPU box here, Thunderbolt 3 on the laptop and TB2 on the 2013 Mac Pro:

    http://barefeats.com/nmp2013node.html
    http://barefeats.com/rmbp2016node.html

    The change to TB3 didn't affect the results much. The D700s in the Mac Pro still hold up pretty well vs the external when the software supports them - it's 7TFLOPs for the 3+ year old dual GPUs vs 11TFLOPs for the Titan X but AMD handles compute tasks better at times. For CUDA software, NVidia is the only option so this setup at least allows it to work.

    It doesn't say if it's the Pascal Titan X there or an older model. There are comparisons for native GPUs on the Luxmark site:

    http://www.luxmark.info/top_results/LuxBall HDR/OpenCL/GPU/1?page=1

    In the external box, the Titan X is 16937, The 980ti is ~19100. In the native PC tests, the 980ti gets ~21000. The older Titan X gets 17,800 and the Pascal one gets ~23000-24000. I'd guess they used the older Maxwell Titan in the box.

    It doesn't look like much of a performance hit and the box is only $330:

    https://www.akitio.com/expansion/node
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKKSNTS

    A Titan X is a bit expensive at ~$1200 but you'd get a 980ti ~$300, maybe 1080ti. Hooked up to a lower end Mac, $630 for high-end GPU performance is an ok deal. A Mac Pro should be capable of connecting one to each TB port maybe 6X GPUs hooked up via chaining with a display plus the internal GPUs. This would work for video apps where you could send separate frames to each GPU to render.

    I don't know why Apple hasn't supported external GPUs, they could even have made their own box and it would have saved all the complaints about the Mac Pro's lack of GPU updates. You just plug a new one in the back and can upgrade it whenever you want. There's a bandwidth hit vs internal PCIe but in practical terms, it's not making a difference. If the data gets cached to the GPU's internal memory then it doesn't matter, the raw processing power is still there.
    edited April 12
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