Mac Pro with FirePro W9100 eGPUs

eGPU = External Graphics Processing Unit


My Research

Mac Pro

Top of the range Mac Pro
12 Core Intel Xeon E5-2699v3
128 GB 1866 Hz DDR3 RAM
1 TB PCIe Flash Storage
Dual AMD FirePro D700 w/ 6 GB VRAM each

eGPU

Sonnet Thunderbolt 2.0 Enclosure
Dual AMD FirePro W9100 w/ 16 GB VRAM each

Mac Pro + eGPU

Insert the two AMD FirePro W9100 GPUs into the PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.

Add an additional power supply (PSU) with a switch connected to the switching pins to power on the power supply - you could use a jumper cable.

Connect one of the six Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Pro to the Sonnet Thunderbolt 2.0 Enclosure.

Turn on the Mac Pro & The Sonnet Thunderbolt 2.0 Enclosure & see if the two W9100 GPUs have been recognised.

If the two W9100 GPUs have been recognised, power down all equipment & connect up the six 4K DCI monitors per W9100 GPU via the Mini DisplayPort connectors; otherwise, repeat from the top.

Once all monitors are connected, power on all equipment & start using the monitors & GPUs.

Using eGPUs for Processing

It is possible & rather reliable to use eGPUs for parallel processing & rendering of the vast data sets?

Answer:

Yes, but it could be a better experience.

It appears there is a lag in Thunderbolt 2.0 for multiple eGPUs, bandwidth could be getting close to the threshold, but it should be vastly improved with Thunderbolt 3.0.

I am considering looking at using all of the Thunderbolt ports for linking to the eGPUs to see if that will make much of a difference.

Ongoing Research

I will report back in a few months with more research, hopefully with an idea on Thunderbolt 3.0.


Adam's Matthew's Findings


My Original Post on Adam's Video

Hi Adam, I was going to point this out when you first published the video, but ran out of time.

Towards the end of the video, you stated you were thinking about a Titan GPU of some sort.
As you have dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs (not in Crossfire), I would suggest staying with the AMD FirePro family.
The AMD FirePro W9100 is an expensive graphics solutions, but it is also incredibly powerful. For workstation based tasks, including rendering, it is the best graphics card.

I would suggest connecting the top three monitors to the W9100, freeing up another two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports on your Mac Pro.
If I were to do this system, I would look at what I could do to smooth the load on the two D700s & the W9100.

The W9100 supports six 4K DCI monitors at 60 Hz. The dual D700s support six 4K DCI monitors at 60 Hz. The only difference being the total SGRAM capacity. Dual D700s tops out at 12 GB GDDR5 SGRAM. A single W9100 has 16 GB of GDDR5 SGRAM.

If I were fortunate to build my dream Mac Pro workstation, I would use two FirePro W9100 GPUs & the TOTR Mac Pro. Connect four LG 34" OLED 6120x2160 21:9 6K displays to each of the W9100s and use the four remaining Thunderbolt 2.0 ports to connect to expansion systems for 16 Gbps / 32 Gbps (future) Fibre Channel PCIe cards, other networking cards & general peripherals.

I am very interested to see the next step of your desk.

In Response To:

Adam's Video on his 50 Megapixel Mac Pro Workstation