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Apple may pair next Mac Pro with NVIDIA's Kepler video

updated 02:45 pm EST, Tue February 14, 2012

Apple seen hopping back to NVIDIA for workstations

Apple's long-rumored Mac Pro update could signal a return to NVIDIA for graphics based on claims about production progress on Tuesday. The company had reportedly been soured based on is experience with drivers and hardware failures, MIC Gadget heard. Instead, it would use NVIDIA's Kepler hardware, although which exact parts weren't mentioned.

Apart from possibly better behavior, the graphics switch might also be to improve overall speed for creative pros. Adobe's Creative Suite still primarily depends on NVIDIA's CUDA general-purpose computing rather than OpenCL.

Kepler is expected to be about three times more efficient in performance than NVIDIA's existing technology and may help it leapfrog AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series.

The same tip had Apple just getting test samples of Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors. The 22-nanometer chips have reportedly overcome overheating issues and are in high-enough production volumes. Apple would be using eight-core chips with 20MB cache, according to the tip, supporting its own early, inadvertent slip of 16-core Mac Pros that would use two processors.

The finished hardware, if accurate, might not ship until later into the summer, or about two years after the last update. Apple is known to have skipped a 2011 update after Intel's Xeon E5 missed the market for all but a handful of specially-picked customers.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What PC were you getting at the nearest PC store that runs with a 12 core Xeon?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. thnikkaman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Stuffing the votes will get you nowhere, you jerkass. The admins need to ban you, bigtime.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Creative pros -

    Have long left the Mac.

    2 years for a processor upgrade (a VERY expensive one at best),
    is WAY too long a wait when even shaving off seconds from each 3D frame rendered counts towards making a deadline.

    Specially so since a trip to the nearest no name PC store will get you the latest processor/memory combination for half the price 2 year old tech gets you on the Apple store; albeit on a cheap plastic case.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Speak for yourself...

    Are creative pros getting frustrated.. you bet your a** they are.. have they "long left the Mac" as you say? Um, not yet they haven't.

    Apple lost quite a few to Adobe and Avid w/ the FCX debacle, true, but the vast majority of creative pros I deal with are still on the Mac. Some of them are saying things like "You'll pry 10.6.8 and FC7 from my cold dead hands..." But, they're still here.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. thnikkaman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Consider yourself reported to the admins. Now be a good boy and bugger off.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Speaking for Myself...

    If most of the time in front of your computer is spent with 2D applications like graphic design, desktop publishing and such, where most of the time in front of the monitor is spent making judgments and changes where the computer is mostly waiting for your input, the horsepower built into an iMac or Mac book pro will do.

    On the other hand, if you are either visualizing a piece of geometry so complex it feels like orbiting it in molasses with the built in Radeon card you need either a second linked graphics card or a more powerful one. Just try opening the iMac to upgrade a drive...

    Same goes for the CPUs. Say you have a couple weeks for doing a simple 30 (client's words not mine) second animation, here every second gained on rendering time in favor of scene design or character key-framing is invaluable.

    About 3 years ago I built a couple workstations based on E5472 Xeons, back then about $1000 each; I still use those machines on a small render farm. Last summer I built a new main machine around a E7-4870 (10 core/2GHz and a hefty $4,500) and a Quadro 5000, this machine with a single processor renders 3-5 times faster than both previous machines together and costs about the same; can't wait to put in the second Xeon!

    But all these are just scenarios only of relative importance. Eventually a phone will have enough horsepower to do "most" pro's work; alas a 12 core Mac Pro is not aimed most pros; only at the most demanding ones, precisely the ones Apple is abandoning.

    This is particularly sad for animators that got used to the Mac Pros, as Apple with their HUGE leverage on Intel got GREAT deals for the top tier processors even as most other components were (still are) overpriced.

    Take the Quadro FX 4000, a very solid midrange card for 3D modeling(with proper drivers it even accelerates some adobe pluggings), the Mac version is about 10% more expensive than the PC version, yet savings on the top end Apple Xeons more than offset that extra. Not any more.

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