Apple's latest Mac Pro continues to cause problems for professional users

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited September 2015
One year after its release, Apple's radically redesigned Mac Pro remains a source of frustration for some video-focused professionals whose workflows are being interrupted by rendering glitches apparently caused by problems with the unit's ATI graphics system.

Example of a Mac Pro rendering error shared by Apple forum user NtNxt
Example of a Mac Pro rendering error shared by Apple forum user NtNxt


An AppleInsider reader spotlighted the problem this week, but the issues --?which center primarily around OpenCL-driven color corrector DaVinci Resolve --?first began to appear in May of this year, manifesting as application lockups and visual artifacts on exported video. At the time, Apple's OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 update was pegged as the cause, with affected users urged to wait for a new update or downgrade to OS X 10.9.2.

Problems have continued, however, even after the release of OS X Yosemite.

"I and others have reported this to Apple, yet they are quiet on the issue," the AppleInsider reader who identified themselves as "OpenCL LSD" wrote. "I first reported it to Apple in late September. Since then they requested Applecare replace the graphics cards three different times which did nothing to fix the issue."

While the cause remains a mystery, a number of threads on both Apple's own support forums and those owned by DaVinci creators Blackmagic Design point to the device drivers supplied for the Mac Pro's ATI FirePro D700 graphics cards.

Multiple users have reported that rebooting their Mac Pro into Windows using Bootcamp resolved the problem, but that fix is obviously suboptimal for their workflow.

"Yes, I confirm that installing Windows 8.1 on my MAC PRO and running Resolve 10.1.5 solves the render issues," Blackmagic user Edo Brizio wrote. "Resolve sees the 2 D700 as 2 Radeon HD 7900."

Other users believe that thermal problems could be to blame, with some resorting to software tricks that force the Mac Pro's fans into high gear. Others have gone as far as to construct elaborate cooling apparatuses around their towers, both of which appear to have helped alleviate the issues.
Similar issues have persisted since May of this year, and continued following the release of OS X Yosemite.
"Seems heating problems ... we made a "box" with two fans (one under the mac to flow and one over to aspirate heated air) and ... miracle, most of our problems are solved," according to Apple forum poster Alex Sylicone.

A recent response from Blackmagic employee Peter Chamberlain seemed to bolster the case for a driver or firmware problem, after he revealed that some customers reported upgrading to the latest release of OS X Yosemite helped.

"There are a number of people looking into these reports. I'm hopeful of an update from those engineering teams shortly. As mentioned above we don't see this in our lab but I have seen some of these at a customers facility," Chamberlain said in a post. "In the meantime, I have reports that the latest Yosemite update helped with one of the problems so be sure to you are up to date with that."

For its part, Apple appears to have been treating the problem reports as possible hardware concerns, with numerous users reporting that the company readily replaced GPUs and logic boards in affected units. One user reported receiving three such replacements, with Apple technical support acknowledging a possible software problem after the third incident.

"I have repeatedly reached out to Applecare on the matter and all they say is engineering is looking into it," one affected user told AppleInsider. "The pro user community in Hollywood has been seriously letdown."

Though only a few dozen complaints have surfaced in the wild, this marks the latest in a string of incidents --?notably including the disastrous rollout of Final Cut Pro X --?that has seen much of the professional video community lose faith in Apple and allowed competitors like Adobe to regain lost ground.
«134567

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 134

    Oh, great, now we'll be inundated by comments about "Mac-Pro-graphics-card-gate". Eeeesh. 

  • Reply 2 of 134
    Quality control in both hardware and software seems to have gone down since Steve Jobs died. Tim Cook needs to make fixing this first a top priority before it becomes ingrained in the brand instead of releasing new products at a fast pace.
  • Reply 3 of 134
    rtamesis wrote: »
    Quality control in both hardware and software seems to have gone down since Steve Jobs died. Tim Cook needs to make fixing this first a top priority before it becomes ingrained in the brand instead of releasing new products at a fast pace.

    Yep, because there was never any GPU issues with any previous Mac¡
  • Reply 4 of 134
    rtamesis wrote: »
    Quality control in both hardware and software seems to have gone down since Steve Jobs died. Tim Cook needs to make fixing this first a top priority before it becomes ingrained in the brand instead of releasing new products at a fast pace.

    "Fast pace"??? Seriously? The Mac Pro had not been refreshed in years, and Apple was heavily criticized for it.
  • Reply 5 of 134
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,607member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rtamesis View Post



    Quality control in both hardware and software seems to have gone down since Steve Jobs died. Tim Cook needs to make fixing this first a top priority before it becomes ingrained in the brand instead of releasing new products at a fast pace.



    I'd say that is complete rubbish. Can you produce any kind of evidence, stats, examples to back up your claim?

  • Reply 6 of 134

    Can only say to the above poster who clearly doesn't own one that the old Mac equivalent tower with the old Radion card is way smother in day to day use than the new highest end Radion in the highest end New Mac Pro, neither the New Mac Pro or its card is anything like as good as it's billed as being and yes the video encoding problems were true though I have not noticed them of late. Also the new Mac Pro benchmarks slightly slower in 3D apps than its predecessor, and is awful to use with a KVM switch and is positively schizophrenic with USB devices every now and again, but then it's Rev A kit so what do you expect.

  • Reply 7 of 134
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,413member
    @gerry g. I haven't had any issues with USB devices, nor my USB switch on mine. Most 3d applications are VERY CPU oriented (Cinema 4d for example), so of course it's going to benchmark slightly lower, it went from dual cpus to a single cpu. To be in the same ballpark is a win.

    I haven't had any rendering issues in FCP X yet. Maybe I don't push my machine in video as hard as these guys, but I certainly push the CPU with video / audio encoding, continuous integration. I've been VERY happy with my machine.

    I have witnessed two KPs that I believe were related to preview Yosemite releases.

    This doesn't say that these issues aren't happening, but I'd at least like to contribute that they aren't extremely widespread.

    (FWIW, I'd take my new Mac Pro over my old one any day of the week)
  • Reply 8 of 134
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    paxman wrote: »

    I'd say that is complete rubbish. Can you produce any kind of evidence, stats, examples to back up your claim?

    No, nobody can. It's all revisionist history and romanticizing the past ever since Steve Jobs passed away.
  • Reply 9 of 134
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Yep, because there was never any GPU issues with any previous Mac¡

    And that class action lawsuit over 2011 MBP GPU failures doesn't exist. ;)
  • Reply 10 of 134
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,348member
    IMHO I don't think this is another '...gate'.

    I notice the part where the article says "which center primarily around OpenCL-driven color corrector DaVinci Resolve" and references to staff at Blackmagic commenting on hardware problems with Apple. Anyone reading Blackmagic blogs knows that company has been plagued with their own 'issues' relating to vertical line sensor problems. This all points to an industry on the bleeding edge of development and all sorts of issues relating to drivers and hardware incompatibilities.

    Nowhere in the article does it say a new Mac Pro running Apple software has any issues with graphics and believe me I have had MBPs with issues so I am not being a blind fanboy here. I have not once had an issue with Final Cut Pro X or related Apple software on my new Mac Pro, but then I am not running bleeding edge third party hardware or software ... just bleeding edge Apple video software. I would also add rendering 4K, and multiple layers at the same time, in FCProX barely gets my nMac Pro warm! Not to mention the Mac can happily do other tasks without even noticing the load.

    Just my guess ... I suspect some software companies need to get with Apple and sort out how to correctly run on the nMac Pro.
  • Reply 11 of 134
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,348member
    rogifan wrote: »
    And that class action lawsuit over 2011 MBP GPU failures doesn't exist. ;)

    Miss the sarcasm mark in Soli's post or reinforcing his point?
  • Reply 12 of 134
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by gerry g View Post

     

    it's Rev A kit so what do you expect.


    For the price I don't think it's unreasonable for people to expect a lot more.

  • Reply 13 of 134
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Miss the sarcasm mark in Soli's post or reinforcing his point?

    Reinforcing it. ;)
  • Reply 14 of 134
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,348member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Reinforcing it. ;)

    Cool.
  • Reply 15 of 134
    Apple seriously should teamed up with pro-class software companies (not Adobe, please), and shared a group of engineers that work between new hardware and software.

    You can't have your flagship customers rely on the weak links between you and your outside contractors, and pray everything won't be wrong.
  • Reply 16 of 134
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,780member
    rogifan wrote: »
    And that class action lawsuit over 2011 MBP GPU failures doesn't exist. ;)

    That Nvidia problem affected every company that used those units. I don't understand what this problem is from. If it's cooling, one would think that it would be easy to reproduce.

    I was wondering where 2014's new Mac Pro was, as it should have been announced in November, or the latest, early December. At first, I thought it was Intel's delays with chips, but now I wonder if it's this problem instead. I wanted to upgrade this year to the new one, but now, I don't know what to think.
  • Reply 17 of 134
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,780member
    IMHO I don't think this is another '...gate'.

    I notice the part where the article says "which center primarily around OpenCL-driven color corrector DaVinci Resolve" and references to staff at Blackmagic commenting on hardware problems with Apple. Anyone reading Blackmagic blogs knows that company has been plagued with their own 'issues' relating to vertical line sensor problems. This all points to an industry on the bleeding edge of development and all sorts of issues relating to drivers and hardware incompatibilities.

    Nowhere in the article does it say a new Mac Pro running Apple software has any issues with graphics and believe me I have had MBPs with issues so I am not being a blind fanboy here. I have not once had an issue with Final Cut Pro X or related Apple software on my new Mac Pro, but then I am not running bleeding edge third party hardware or software ... just bleeding edge Apple video software. I would also add rendering 4K, and multiple layers at the same time, in FCProX barely gets my nMac Pro warm! Not to mention the Mac can happily do other tasks without even noticing the load.

    Just my guess ... I suspect some software companies need to get with Apple and sort out how to correctly run on the nMac Pro.

    Yeah, I noticed that their software mostly seems to be involved with this issue. But is it the only software? Strange that booting into Windows solves the problem. It is looking more like a software issue. I wonder if the software is locking the cards into a high activity state that causes overheating. According to the article, the problem is either tied to the 700 cards, or mostly so. If the newest Yosemite update helps solve the issue, then something in software looks to be happening. I wonder why it's taking so long though, if it's just softepware.

    I'd also like to know if it's JUST their software. I've never had these problems with my older Mac Pro's. I was so looking forward to getting a new one soon.
  • Reply 18 of 134
    I'm an audio guy. If anyone wants to sell their "defective" Mac Pro to me cheap, I'm listening.
  • Reply 19 of 134

    I'm not happy for this issue.  However, I do hope it causes Apple to equip next generation with premium Nvidia Cuda cards.

  • Reply 20 of 134
    z3r0z3r0 Posts: 230member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    Yep, because there was never any GPU issues with any previous Mac¡



    Well it was a lot easier to replace GPU's back in the day ;)

Sign In or Register to comment.