2013 Mac Pro Performance

Bro, does your rig even lift?
Post Reply
anthonydiehl
Is taking Resolume on a second date
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 21:12

2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by anthonydiehl »

I recently used a new 2013/14 Mac pro on a project. It was a rental so I don't recall all the specs, but I recall it was the 6-core processor and the D500 graphic cards. I noticed a very odd performance issue that I'm wondering if any others have experienced.

When connecting multiple thunderbolt to DVI dongles to drive 4 screen @ 1920 x 1200 each (three projectors and 1 monitor) the performance in Arena, with almost nothing running at all, was around the 15-20fps mark. As I removed thunderbolt dongles, I could get the fps up again. In desperation, I tried connecting a matrox triplehead2go DP to one thunderbolt port and set the resolution to 2 x 1920 x1200 plus one thunderbolt to DVI dongle. I was still technically pushing the exact amount of pixels as before, but now I was using one less thunderbolt port. The performance jumped up to 50-60fps as I would normally expect.

Any ideas here? It seems that pushing pixels isn't the issue, using a bunch of thunderbolt ports is. Anyone experienced this same behaviour on a mac, specifically the new mac pro?

User avatar
Oaktown
Resolume honorary member
Posts: 2834
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 15:19
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Oaktown »

Are you using passive or active MiniDP (not Thunderbolt) to DVI adapters?

User avatar
drazkers
Wants to marry Resolume, and Resolume said "yes!"
Posts: 955
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 10:54
Location: Brady V up in Canada

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by drazkers »

Sounds more like driver issues and how OSX is handling multiple cards.

Thats just an educated guess. I'm curious what the resolume guys say about their dual firepro support/experiences.

Joris
Doesn't Know Jack about VJ'ing or Software Development and Mostly Just Gets Coffee for Everyone
Posts: 5185
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 11:38

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Joris »

Without going into dual GPU support, as far as we can tell, there is some weirdness going on with multiple outputs, Spaces and Beam Sync.

With one output monitor attached, Resolume will chug along at 60fps. Each added display will then reduce that, as if they are waiting for each other for a refresh. Four outputs will bring you down to 15fps, without any content playing.

Keeping Displays have Separate Spaces turned on somehow affects this issue, but we're not quite sure how or why. To make things even stranger, the same hardware with the same Resolume runs like a charm under Win 8.1 using Bootcamp.

We're not completely blaming Apple for this, it's also possible we haven't yet figured out the magic words needed to make the Mac Pro play nice. But to be honest, we're a bit hesitant to start pulling special workaround tricks under the hood, just to get something to work that should just work out of the box.

User avatar
Oaktown
Resolume honorary member
Posts: 2834
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 15:19
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Oaktown »

Which is a great reminder that Macs are some of the best Windows laptops/desktops when using Bootcamp!

Go Apple!!!! ;)

anthonydiehl
Is taking Resolume on a second date
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 21:12

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by anthonydiehl »

This is upsetting info on the Mac Pro... I want to love it... say it aint so...

As for active/passive adapters, I don't know. I have researched this a bit and I don't actually know how you tell if an adapter is active or passive. Its very confusing and poorly documented. I suspect that this is a likely culprit. Is there a thread somewhere here (or anywhere online) that gives actually real info on active/passive adapters for thunderbolt/(mini)display port?

The only reason I'd use the mac pro on a show is for the small footprint and relatively low cost per output in a multi screen set up (3 or more external HD displays). But this is leading me to believe that a custom PC is the way to get the performance I need.

User avatar
Oaktown
Resolume honorary member
Posts: 2834
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 15:19
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Oaktown »

As for active/passive adapters, I don't know. I have researched this a bit and I don't actually know how you tell if an adapter is active or passive. Its very confusing and poorly documented. I suspect that this is a likely culprit. Is there a thread somewhere here (or anywhere online) that gives actually real info on active/passive adapters for thunderbolt/(mini)display port?
The best way to tell is how much you paid for your MiniDP to DVI adapter.
~$10: Passive adapter
~$35: Active single-link adapter
~$100: Active dual-link adapter

I've had issues with passive adapters too many times that now I only use active adapters for anything I do. It's a great investment especially from DisplayLink to DVI/HDMI or VGA! Some GPUs such as the AMD Eyefinity 6 cards won't work well at all beyond two displays unless of course you use Displayport or you have active adapters.

The Accell active adapters (DVI single-link - B087B-006B-2, HDMI - B086B-008B-2 & VGA - Accell B101B-002B) are my preferred active adapter: http:amzn.com/B0098HVZA0. Keep in mind that you'll need a dual-link adapter if you work with anything above 1920x1200.

anthonydiehl
Is taking Resolume on a second date
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 21:12

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by anthonydiehl »

Oaktown wrote:The best way to tell is how much you paid for your MiniDP to DVI adapter.
~$10: Passive adapter
~$35: Active single-link adapter
~$100: Active dual-link adapter
Sorry, but this is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about that perpetuates confusion online... this is in no way an accurate measure of identifying the hardware you need or identifying the hardware you already own.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to a technical spec document or reference on display port/thunderbolt adapters?

As for the Accell adapters, I'll check those out, thanks.

User avatar
Oaktown
Resolume honorary member
Posts: 2834
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 15:19
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Oaktown »

My post was not meant to introduce confusion but rather give you a sense of what's what.

The easiest way to know is to take your existing adapters, find the brand/model # and look it up online. If you can't find any info on your existing adapters, buy new ones.

As far as buying new adapters, just read the description when you buy it and you'll know whether it's passive or active.

There is no thunderbolt video adapters, just miniDP. Thunderbolt is just a combination of DisplayPort and PCIe and it shares the same connector as the MiniDP. That's why you'll find Thunderbolt to Ethernet/FW800 adapters since it uses PCIe connection but all video connections will be using DisplayPort technology.
Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.03.31 AM.png
Note that the Apple Thunderbolt displays are unique (and proprietary) because they use both technology (PCIe and DP) and won't work with just a DisplayPort cable.

If this is not clear, take a look at these links:
https://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/
http://www.macworld.com/article/1158145 ... _know.html

Warspite
Hasn't felt like this about software in a long time
Posts: 144
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 14:36

Re: 2013 Mac Pro Performance

Post by Warspite »

I just dropped idea of getting new Mac Pro for Resolume. May be PC based mapper server and Macbook Retina (with Quartz, Syphon etc) live feed into this PC is a better idea. You are getting solid DVI and full size Display Port connectors instead of this thunderbolt consumer level connectors. And all storage and capture hardware inside solid steel case, and not octopus of cables and boxes on work table.

Post Reply