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Reader Comment: OpenCL Support for the dual AMD GPUs

Andrew D writes about the 2013 Mac Pro:

I'm a hobbyist photographer and I'm also dabbling in 3-d and would like to do some more video so a Mac Pro update was something I was looking forward to, if it delivered. For myself, I'm not horribly upset about the lack of internal storage options since my storage needs aren't terrible.

But, there are a couple of things that I noticed that are a major concern for me, and probably pros. The big one for me was the choice of the AMD video card. Don't get me wrong, it looks like a great card but a lot of 3-d applications, and crucially After Effects, rely on CUDA for their acceleration, not OpenCL. This means that for a lot of people that powerful video card is going to be utterly useless.

While not a concern for me, my thought for the pro market was how on earth is someone going to rack mount this thing? I know there was already a big complaint with the previous Mac Pro model that it was too tall to fit horizontally in a standard rack. I know that a lot of music and video pros rely on rack mount equipment and this unit seems utterly ridiculous for their use.

In terms of the lack of PCIe slots, my guess is Apple is really trying to push Thunderbolt even further and wants manufacturers to build more native Thunderbolt peripherals so you won't need a card but that's still going to be tough for people that want something like a RED Rocket or similar piece of gear for video editing. Not to mention that as long as Apple remains the only manufacturer who's allowed to run non-Intel video over Thunderbolt there's just not going to be much uptake on the PC side of things. To date, Intel has refused to certify any Thunderbolt device on the PC side that takes video input from another video card.

MPG: video “card” might not quite the right term; there are dual AMD FirePro GPUs with associated memory built-in. Not conventional PCIe cards, though presumably they are effectively PCIe cards.

I would expect to see vendor software support for the dual powerful GPUs guaranteed to be present; it unifies the market and thus provides a strong incentive, particular once any one vendor does so (the others then have to follow, or compare poorly). So I doubt this will remain an issue, and with 4-5 months to go before intro, we might actually see some support right away, thinking positively here.

As for rack mounting, yes, it’s a total joke. A serious pro machine with this port layout could have been designed like the former XServe, which also allowed for a few internal drives: utilitarian vs sexy.


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