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SLI in Mac Pro. It's True Onlooker!!

post #1 of 145
Thread Starter 
It has happened:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....12359&tstart=0
http://hardmac.com/news/2006-08-24/

"Got my Mac Pro with 2x NVidia 7300 cards today. Used the PCI Express bandwidth config app in OS X to set slots 1 and 2 to 8x mode then I tested SLI in WinXP using the modified ForceWare 85.96 drivers (modified to work on any chipset). The drivers recognized the cards straight away and offered to enable SLI mode and it appears to work without any problems."

OMFG.


Edit: SLI only in Bootcamp WinXP2. OSX still separate video cards, no SLI.
Also very interesting, someone installed a nVidia 7950 GX2 in the Mac Pro, reportedly works in Bootcamp WinXP2.
Looks like SLI, and *your* choice of video card is working in Mac Pro Bootcamp WinXP2??
Given that nVidia and ATI cards are offered with the Mac Pro, then Bootcamp nVidia and ATI drivers
will mean you can use almost any other card???
But you have to take the non-standard card *out* when booting into Mac OS... Hmmm
post #2 of 145
you can't somehow disable the slot in OS X to avoid physically removing the card every time? I mean, to have to shut down, open the box, add a card, close the box, restart into XP, all before playing a game seems an awful lot to ask. I'll keep my x1900xt
post #3 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

Given that nVidia and ATI cards are offered with the Mac Pro, then Bootcamp nVidia and ATI drivers will mean you can use almost any other card???
But you have to take the non-standard card *out* when booting into Mac OS... Hmmm

Does anyone know why Mac GPUs have different firmware? I could have understood that with the PPC machines but the Intel Macs should be made to run with any GPU under OS X. The fact that it Just Works with Windows is a little ironic.
post #4 of 145
Apple has not compiled the SLI driver in their drivers. This is the only explanation I can think of. I would love to see them do it though. Get on it apple! I want to use a Single slot QuadroX2.
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post #5 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

It has happened:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....12359&tstart=0
http://hardmac.com/news/2006-08-24/

"Got my Mac Pro with 2x NVidia 7300 cards today. Used the PCI Express bandwidth config app in OS X to set slots 1 and 2 to 8x mode then I tested SLI in WinXP using the modified ForceWare 85.96 drivers (modified to work on any chipset). The drivers recognized the cards straight away and offered to enable SLI mode and it appears to work without any problems."

OMFG.


Edit: SLI only in Bootcamp WinXP2. OSX still separate video cards, no SLI.
Also very interesting, someone installed a nVidia 7950 GX2 in the Mac Pro, reportedly works in Bootcamp WinXP2.
Looks like SLI, and *your* choice of video card is working in Mac Pro Bootcamp WinXP2??
Given that nVidia and ATI cards are offered with the Mac Pro, then Bootcamp nVidia and ATI drivers
will mean you can use almost any other card???
But you have to take the non-standard card *out* when booting into Mac OS... Hmmm

how much faster is a real sli chip set with 2 slots in x8 mode?
post #6 of 145
it's my understanding that the only current card to saturate a x8 lane is a 7950GX2 (and maybe a x1950xtx)
post #7 of 145
I doubt the X1950 would do it, it's only marginally faster than the X1900 XT 256MB even.
post #8 of 145
I thought it was ATI's answer to the 7950GX2, hence why I mentioned it.
post #9 of 145
It varies. Some games it has performance comparable to a 7950GX2 (the GX2 isn't well optimised) and other it only just beats a regular 1900xt. Seems as though memory bandwidth wasn't the bottleneck, but the GPU is.

Can't wait for the 64 pipeline DX10 ATI cards to come out...
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post #10 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

It has happened:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....12359&tstart=0
http://hardmac.com/news/2006-08-24/

"Got my Mac Pro with 2x NVidia 7300 cards today. Used the PCI Express bandwidth config app in OS X to set slots 1 and 2 to 8x mode then I tested SLI in WinXP using the modified ForceWare 85.96 drivers (modified to work on any chipset). The drivers recognized the cards straight away and offered to enable SLI mode and it appears to work without any problems."

OMFG.


Edit: SLI only in Bootcamp WinXP2. OSX still separate video cards, no SLI.
Also very interesting, someone installed a nVidia 7950 GX2 in the Mac Pro, reportedly works in Bootcamp WinXP2.
Looks like SLI, and *your* choice of video card is working in Mac Pro Bootcamp WinXP2??
Given that nVidia and ATI cards are offered with the Mac Pro, then Bootcamp nVidia and ATI drivers
will mean you can use almost any other card???
But you have to take the non-standard card *out* when booting into Mac OS... Hmmm

XP Pro SP2, or XP64? 64 won't boot will it? would it? would it be faster than Pro SP2?


OMFG is right.
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post #11 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celemourn

XP Pro SP2, or XP64? 64 won't boot will it? would it? would it be faster than Pro SP2?


OMFG is right.


I don't think XP 64 will play games if that is what your thinking. (I'm not sure though) I heard there only a few apps that actually run on it. Mostly 64-bit 3D apps, and some rendering engines like Mental Ray.
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post #12 of 145
I don't keep up with video game stuff, but does this mean that the SLI driver installer that checks for the nVidia chipset is just an unnecessary lock-out? Is it meant to protect the brand lock-in or was it just a crude way of ensuring that the setup would work?
post #13 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker

I don't think XP 64 will play games if that is what your thinking. (I'm not sure though) I heard there only a few apps that actually run on it. Mostly 64-bit 3D apps, and some rendering engines like Mental Ray.

I had WinXP 64bit on my Asus-SLI-normal, AMD64 machine for a while. For most games, backward compatibility with 32bit was okay. I took it off after a while though and just went WinXP2 Pro... nVidia graphic and chipset support for WinXP 64bit is excellent, just to mention.
post #14 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

I don't keep up with video game stuff, but does this mean that the SLI driver installer that checks for the nVidia chipset is just an unnecessary lock-out?

No, I don't think it's unnecessary, I think it's a "Apple-esque quality control" kind of thing. You want a good, verified SLI chipset so that you get good SLI performance and compatibility. At the same time, yeah, it's a lock out of some sort so that you only use nVidia nForce chipsets
post #15 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celemourn

XP Pro SP2, or XP64? 64 won't boot will it? would it? would it be faster than Pro SP2?


OMFG is right.

AFAIK only WinXP2 Pro will work with Bootcamp on Macs. Win 64bit is out of the question on all shipping Macs except the Mac Pro anyway. (All 32bit Intel CPUs except Xeon in Mac Pros)
post #16 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski

you can't somehow disable the slot in OS X to avoid physically removing the card every time? I mean, to have to shut down, open the box, add a card, close the box, restart into XP, all before playing a game seems an awful lot to ask. I'll keep my x1900xt

Yeah, I don't know about that... I just found the thread on Apple forums and thought I'd do a quick linky from here. It would be bloody annoying to have to remove and plug in the extra card each time...!
post #17 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon

how much faster is a real sli chip set with 2 slots in x8 mode?

The preliminary data given is looking at 3DMark2006:

3dmark2006 (free edition) results for one card:
3DMark Score 1642 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score 595 Marks
SM 3.0 Score 551 Marks
cpu 3861

3dmark2006 (free edition) results with SLI enabled:
3DMark Score 3091 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score 1162 Marks
SM 3.0 Score 1046 Marks
cpu 3861

So I think (guess) it compares okay with x8 x8 SLI chipsets, though one should check the results in the Search feature of futuremark.com. The 7300GT is pretty new as well so I'm not sure how exactly it does on performance.
post #18 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker

Apple has not compiled the SLI driver in their drivers. This is the only explanation I can think of. I would love to see them do it though. Get on it apple! I want to use a Single slot QuadroX2.

SLI'ed TWO QuadroX2s
You know, Quad GPU to go with Quad CPU.
post #19 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

But you have to take the non-standard card *out* when booting into Mac OS... Hmmm

I wonder if it's possible to use two 7300s, one stock and one that's a standard Windows board, if they will both work in OS X. The EFI stuff might only be important to boot-up. I am just speculating that maybe only one needs to be EFI compatible just so that the system firmware has a screen to attach to before the OS is up and running, then the OS might recognize the chip.
post #20 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

The preliminary data given is looking at 3DMark2006:

3dmark2006 (free edition) results for one card:
3DMark Score 1642 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score 595 Marks
SM 3.0 Score 551 Marks
cpu 3861

3dmark2006 (free edition) results with SLI enabled:
3DMark Score 3091 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score 1162 Marks
SM 3.0 Score 1046 Marks
cpu 3861

So I think (guess) it compares okay with x8 x8 SLI chipsets, though one should check the results in the Search feature of futuremark.com. The 7300GT is pretty new as well so I'm not sure how exactly it does on performance.

That sounds about right. It's just that the 7300GT is a shitty graphics card.
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post #21 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by theapplegenius

That sounds about right. It's just that the 7300GT is a shitty graphics card.


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post #22 of 145
So...hold on, someone boil it down for me.
Ill be able to run 2/3/4 ATI X1950XTX (Are they single PCIe ?)
And will I need anything external ? Or will i have to download anything ?
I do apologise for my lack of knowledge.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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post #23 of 145
You won't be able to do that because there are no chipset-independent Crossfire drivers, and even if there were, the X1950 XTXs would only work in Windows.
post #24 of 145
x1950xtx is a single PCIe card, but it's double-wide (it has a fan). This means you can have one in the double-wide slot, one in slot 2, and one in slot 4. However, you can't really use all of that very well.

If the Mac Pro comes with an x19-whatever, you can probably buy a second OS X one, crossfire them, and only have the first one work in OS X.
post #25 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by theapplegenius

That sounds about right. It's just that the 7300GT is a shitty graphics card.

meh.... I've got a Radeon 9800 All-In-Wonder.... running on a system with a 1.4GHz P4.. With the OLD socket... no, not that one, the REALLY OLD one: 423.

You want to talk about crappy graphics? how about having a relatively crappy card, and a cpu that can't even keep up with THAT?

<sigh> Time to go get a MacPro.
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post #26 of 145
He's speaking from the gamer perspective. A card is blazing before it comes out, fast when announced, and slow by the time the benchmarks are available.
post #27 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski

He's speaking from the gamer perspective.

.... well damn. now I'm insulted. Good zing.
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post #28 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celemourn

meh.... I've got a Radeon 9800 All-In-Wonder.... running on a system with a 1.4GHz P4.. With the OLD socket... no, not that one, the REALLY OLD one: 423.

You want to talk about crappy graphics? how about having a relatively crappy card, and a cpu that can't even keep up with THAT?

<sigh> Time to go get a MacPro.

Nice. Willamette.

I have a processor that doesn't keep up with my graphics card either. Last of the Netburst Pentiums: Intel 571 3.8GHz.
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post #29 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater

Theres and additional reason. Anything above a Nvidia 6 series will need an additinal power connection to the gpu, it cant just run off the motherboard supplied power. This is why Apple went with 7300 seriers cards because the Power Supply can not handle higher end cards. SLI or Crossfire in most cases requires at least a 500watt power supply, depending how other system requirements some are even going with 1000 watt supplies.

Nope, the Mac Pro has extra GPU power cables that seem to use a custom connector and are essentially identical to Molex cables in power and function. We'll just need a simple adapter to work them with PC-standard cards, and the X1900 XT will probably use one of those connectors by default.
post #30 of 145
Wasn't trying to be mean Celemourn, just thought it needed to be said.

And for the record, the Mac Pro has a large power supply. most workstations have 750W or 1KW power supplies. I haven't seen the Mac Pro's power supply's specs, but the Power Mac was a 1KW PS, and I bet Apple didn't cut back too far.
post #31 of 145
Mac Pro has a 1000W PSU also iirc. Which means CF would be no problem if someone got it working.
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post #32 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski

Wasn't trying to be mean Celemourn, just thought it needed to be said.

And for the record, the Mac Pro has a large power supply. most workstations have 750W or 1KW power supplies. I haven't seen the Mac Pro's power supply's specs, but the Power Mac was a 1KW PS, and I bet Apple didn't cut back too far.

Please refer to the third line of my signiature.

***EDIT***
that is, the third line of actual text. Blank lines don't count.
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post #33 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

SLI'ed TWO QuadroX2s
You know, Quad GPU to go with Quad CPU.


That is just a bit too expensive for me right now, but If I sell my Alienware maybe.
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post #34 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theapplegenius

That sounds about right. It's just that the 7300GT is a shitty graphics card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic

Gamer, gamer!!!! buy a console!!!! defiant, defiant Apple user!!!!, blasphemy, blasphemy!!!!...........

The thing is, at this stage Apple is offering the BEST *STANDARD* out-of-the-box graphics cards this century.

With Bootcamp WinXP2, let's take Mac games out of the equation. The MacBookPro and iMac come with ATI x1600, which really is pretty decent even now in the PC Gaming world.

The offering for the Mac Pro is quite staggering, if you consider that the PowerMac G5 was shipping with an absolutely pathetic 6600 *LE* and 6600 standard. Not even a bloody 6600GT!!

The 7300GT as standard recommendation is quite a decent card. 128bit path with 256mb RAM. It's a "GT" which has a reputation for decent performance even with punishing new games - just have to turn down antialiasing to 2x, no soft shadows, and some other settings to medium-high. Remember that now, for the MacBookPro, iMac, and Mac Pro, you can play the latest PC games at medium-to-mid-high qualities for this year, and in 2007, latest games at medium quality. This is overall is unprecedented for any Mac.

I agree that for gaming, I am probably going to go PS3 or something and just hook it up to my 1280x1024 LCD (the LCD also being used for my AMD64) if possible.

The fact still remains that when you purchase a premium, high-standard Mac, ie, MacBookPro and Mac Pro, and a "mid-range" iMac Core Duo, you are getting dualcore or quadcore CPUs and decent PC gaming graphics cards

Again, I propose that Apple is at an unprecedented stage in it's offerings, particularly OSX Tiger, latest Intel gear, decent graphics cards, ability to run Windows, and a Quadcore beast for $2,500... I'm feeling impressed at this stage.

AND THAT YOU CAN RUN SLI IN MAC PRO
post #35 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachPruckowski

Wasn't trying to be mean Celemourn, just thought it needed to be said.

And for the record, the Mac Pro has a large power supply. most workstations have 750W or 1KW power supplies. I haven't seen the Mac Pro's power supply's specs, but the Power Mac was a 1KW PS, and I bet Apple didn't cut back too far.

Specs for Mac Pro are:
# Line voltage: 100-120V AC or 200-240V AC (wide-range power supply input voltage)
# Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz single phase
# Current: Maximum of 12A (low-voltage range) or 6A (high-voltage range)

If Watts = Volt x Amps
Then we are looking at 1440 Watts Max

So yeah, looks like a nice 1000W power supply (very rough adjusting for Max rated with "actual published" rating).

Actually 1000W is pretty huge over the PC world's 500W and 650W rated power supplies. A decent 650W power supply can drive SLI'ed two 7900GTX on a nice Core2 (Conroe) 2.66 overclocked to 2.8ghz for example...... AFAIK

Edit: Given that you can drive FOUR 7300GT's and FOUR hard disks and TWO optical drives alongside your 3ghz Xeon Quad, I'd say the Mac Pro power supply is pretty sweet
post #36 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker

That is just a bit too expensive for me right now, but If I sell my Alienware maybe.

I just finished seeing Season4 of 24 (yes I am way behind but whatever) ... Notice how the terrorists were using Alienware?
post #37 of 145
Yeah - hopefully power won't be an issue for Mac Pros. My real question, however, is about SLI power draw at idle. If my computer is asleep or in Mac OS X, am I still running up the power bill?
post #38 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman

I just finished seeing Season4 of 24 (yes I am way behind but whatever) ... Notice how the terrorists were using Alienware?


And at the time they were far ahead of Apple video card wise, and not much has changed in that department. SLI still doesn't run in OS X, and all the good cards run under windows. Go figure. \
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post #39 of 145
Does anyone know if and when new Graphiccards with EFI are comming? I cancelled my Mac Pro order with x1900xt and picked up a standard 2.66 modell.

I tried some games under bootcamp (installed on a external hd), Far Cry, Half-Life2, CS: S, Dark Messiah, Riddick all runned decently at 1280x800 heighest detail and 4x AA, but it still looks so pixelated and if I go with higher resolutions, the frames drop dramaticly.

Not that I'm a hardcore gamer, I'm mostly working under OSX and play games on rainy days (a lot to come...), but I'd like to have a setup which will run games well for the next 2-3 years and the 7300 GT is way to weak for that.
post #40 of 145
well, when the new Mac Pro comes out (it get revised with quad-core processors), we should expect at least one new card. Also, whenever Vista gets around to supporting EFI, there will be a lot more EFI cards.
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