Apple appears to intentionally break Nvidia eGPU builds with OS update

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Mize, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Apple recently released macos High Sierra 10.13.4 which includes OFFICIAL support for eGPUs!!

    Provided your eGPU is from AMD.

    Many people built eGPU rigs on 10.13.1, 2 and 3 and, with some workarounds, they were working great with Nvidia board. My iMac Pro was running great with 10.13.3 and an Nvidia 1080Ti in an AkiTio Node Pro eGPU enclosure.

    But with 10.13.4 Apple blocks all Nvidia eGPUs and all TB1/TB2 connectivity, making Apple's version of eGPU effectively only available to recent Macs (must be Thuderbolt 3) and AMD GPUs.

    Way to make me hate you even more Apple.

    Fortunately, Fusion 360 runs on W10 and, of the two apps keeping me on MacOS, one was broken by High Sierra and isn't being updated.

    So now all I need is a good, hopefully inexpensive, vector drawing package that's good for technical drawings (think of them as CAD drawings for business people). Years ago I used CorelDRAW for this.

    At least now I can move my W10 installation from an external SSD to the zippy SSD in the iMac Pro.
     
  2. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    Well Apple have always been a very closed architecture, with only very specific hardware and very little support for open standards. If it's true, it's not exactly surprising is it?
     
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  3. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Breaking what works is idiocy, especially when it doesn't affect your bottom line. Perhaps there is a backroom agreement with AMD and Apple is killing off Nvidia as part of that deal. Either way it hurts consumers and drives another wedge between Apple and me. There are certain aspects of the macos/iOS ecosystem that Android/Windows/Linux cannot match or, if they do, they then constantly break with OS-updates...kinda like what Apple is now doing to their own ecosystem. At some point the advantages of the Apple ecosystem are insignificant next to the kludgey interfacing of Android and Windows.

    Any ideas on a good vector drawing application akin to CorelDraw but available outside of a $500 bundle of apps?
    What are you thinking Corel?
     
  4. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Oh Goody!
    Corel just let me buy the full version of their CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for the upgrade price (basically $200) based on my telling them I used to use it (I did) and was coming back to Windows.
    I should email Apple a copy of my invoice with a little buhbye note...
     
  5. tuna

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    You hate Apple so much you bought an iMac pro?
     
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  6. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Yeah yeah.
    It was an exceptionally great deal and I have done most of my creative work on macos the last few years (W7 and Linux before that). It was going pretty swimmingly up until this update by Apple, plus the iMac Pro (with a kilobuck rebate) is a sweet piece of kit for a workspace.
     
  7. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Indeed, Apple has decided to remove OS capabilities. Sonnet is an eGPU box manufacturer who has been a big player in the macos development of eGPU as they made the developer package for eGPU for Apple.

    Today they updated their site and removed *ALL* TB1 and TB2 support (retroactively) for their products. Here's what they wrote in response to inquiries from people who had been using eGPU with older iMacs, Mac Pros and MacBook products:

    Keep in mind that these TB1/TB2 builds (as well as all the Nvidia builds) were working just fine under 10.13.3.

    Apple forcing people to use AMD over nvidia and forcing their customer base to update to newer hardware just to regain function they already had. On top of that I'm not alone in viewing their new coprocessor as nothing more than a way to eliminate the Hackintosh market.

    I don't care for Windows 10 (mainly it's the look as I can't stand the flat HMI coupled with the lack of a robust command line interface like *nix), but I don't think Linux will cut it. Shame I just bought some macos software. Oh well.
     
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  8. CSI PC

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    Well AMD must had known this change was coming and the impact it would have on other IHV, but for once they decided not to leak any info or contact press :)
    I doubt this is going to cause a furore as it is not Nvidia implementing it :)
    More seriously I do feel though for those in your situation who are now in a costly and frustrating situation until a hack-workaround can be found for latest version.
    And yep blatant lock-in by Apple to use AMD but for many probably even here it is an OK situation because it is not an open system and solely Apple in their perception, also it is a kick for OEMs that started shifting eGPUs in that segment based upon Nvidia cards/TB1-TB2 GPU solutions but then it was never officially supported by Apple although this could be deemed as deliberate blocking but not sure anything can or will happen to change this situation.
    How many other IHV/OEMs products are impacted by the various changes?
    Must be a few.

    There was an interesting review (cannot find it now) with the latest iMac Pro that did the comparison of 1080ti+thunderbolt, Vega internal, Vega+thunderbolt; I was surprised how well the 1080ti actually did in that setup and was a notable upgrade.
     
    #8 CSI PC, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  9. CSI PC

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    Had to check to see if Kyle ran a story about Apple blocking Nvidia with the latest updates, quite amusing no news on their site about the Thunderbolt eGPU impact on specific IHVs.
     
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  10. ToTTenTranz

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    Could this be a matter of nvidia simply not making drivers for newer macOS builds anymore?

    A quick search tells me the last apple device to be sold with a nvidia GPU was the 2014 Macbook Pro with an option of getting the Kepler-based GT750M. Ever since then, they've only used Intel iGPUs and AMD dGPUs.

    On the discrete GPU side there hasn't been a single nvidia option for the Mac Pro for over 9 years, and the last "Geforce Mac Edition" was a GTX680 (Kepler again) from EVGA that even then could only fit the tower Mac Pros.


    Perhaps there's a way for the eGPUs to still work in windows mode or something?


    Notable upgrade for what? Gaming?
    Whomever is paying >$5000 for an iMac Pro to play games should be doing a bit more research.
     
  11. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Are you stating that NV is no longer making new drivers and asking if this is the reason for them getting sidelined, or are you asking indirectly if Apple Nvidia* is no longer making new drivers? :)
    *Edit; my bad! Sorry for confusion.

    Speculation: is the reason NV hasn't won any Apple contracts for years now that they're asking for too much money (IE, more than AMD's offer, I assume), or could it be because of their refusal to fully support OpenCL to force people towards cuda, in yet another NV-proprietaryness asshole move.

    Of course, now opencl is deprecated from what I understand (supplanted by vulcan), and Apple has moved towards their own proprietary metal API, but historically, could this have been a factor?
     
    #11 Grall, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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  12. CSI PC

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    A lot seems to come back to what you raise, a difference of opinion between Apple and Nvidia regarding CUDA and OpenCL, so Apple do not want to provide further business to a competitor with CUDA in any form which means they do try to block Nvidia in various ways from their own (Apple's) market segment.
    Apple was looking for solution to combat CUDA historically.

    If you want an independent perspective on CUDA, worth finding some of the technical meeting interviews on Youtube that involve some of the smartest minds involved in Deep Learning architectures from Google and others.
     
    #12 CSI PC, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  13. tuna

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    Yeah, smart enough to pick up soaps for nVidia. CUDA is one of the best forms of vendor lock in ever.
     
  14. ToTTenTranz

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    Which makes it ever more dangerous.
     
  15. CSI PC

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    When it is a professor of engineering-scientist who is one of the key people involved in Google's TPU, then it is worth taking note especially if when looking at all their work history.
    And that is just one example that can be found in those tech panels with an audience and chair-moderator.

    But then I thought this thread was about Apple lock-in behaviour and strategies, which one was to block CUDA.

    Edit:
    If interested that person is David Patterson, he saw what Nvidia did in developing CUDA as a great risk venture and there was a need for such an approach when this work started and evolved.
    Of course he supports open source that is only now more viable when compared historically (context utilising GPUs-accelerators), but sees value and a purpose/need to what CUDA was created for in terms of integrating GPU architecture/frameworks/libraries/so on.
    He is far from hostile about CUDA, and same goes for quite a few other senior engineering-science computer architects; both open source or CUDA have their pros/cons and why Apple also has plenty of proprietary solutions themselves.
     
    #15 CSI PC, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  16. Silent_Buddha

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    While, it sucks, I can understand that for a small company like Apple, they would like to reduce the support costs involved in potential support calls of owners using unsupported hardware.

    Oh wait...

    That piece of snark out of the way. I do want to say that it does make sense for them if they have no plans in the future of ensuring that any potential GPU used in an external enclosure will be fully supported under their Metal API.

    IE - they aren't going to put in work to make sure the Metal API will support GPUs outside of those that are already supported.

    This may not be that big of a deal on current version of MacOS and currently GPUs as they still support systems that don't fully support Metal.

    However, as time progresses and they wish to evolve and improve the API, they may be looking to move towards fully compliance with the API. I'm willing to bet that AMD are willing to work with them on that as are Intel. I'm less willing to bet that NVidia are willing to ensure that level of support for NV GPUs. That, of course, is also compounded by Apple not being willing to optimize or design around GPU features of GPUs that aren't officially supported. IE - Metal can be a leaner and more efficient API if it doesn't also need to be designed around additional GPUs that handle things in different ways.

    The limitation with TB 1/2 likely also plays into that as it'll start to ween out machines that don't have integrated GPUs of X level.

    People that feel bad when Apple shuts down loopholes to use unsupported hardware, shouldn't. Apple has done this in the past, continues to do this in the present, and will do it in the future as it isn't their job to ensure that unsupported hardware will work in any version of MacOS. This is different from Microsoft and Windows OS, as Windows OS tries to be hardware agnostic. And also why considerably more money and effort is put in by Microsoft on the OS side of things. Being hardware agnostic isn't easy.

    Apple platforms aren't open hardware platforms. Apple isn't interested in having an open hardware platform. Back in the Apple ][ days they briefly allowed open hardware support by allowing Apple PC clones. That was shut down for various reasons (revenue impact, support impact, etc.).

    People expecting to have some form of hardware freedom on Apple hardware should always be prepared to lose any freedom they manage to get through exploiting some loophole that allows them to use unsupported hardware in or on an Apple hardware device.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #16 Silent_Buddha, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  17. rcf

    rcf
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    I guess pretty much all eGPU users have Nvidia cards over TB1/TB2 links and use them for professional apps.
    So a nice chunk of Apple's remaining and dwindling professional userbase will be alienated and pissed off, and more certain than ever that Apple's upcoming "modular Mac Pro" won't allow Nvidia cards.
     
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  18. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    Nvidia updates their macos web drivers and macos cuda drivers as well. Apple is just blocking installation of Nvidia's drivers.
     
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  19. Pressure

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    There haven't been a Mac that has shipped with an NVIDIA graphic card in years. The fault squarely falling on NVIDIA as they did not update their drivers for OpenCL or any other open standard.

    Software limiting TB to the newest version only is just plain wrong though.
     
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  20. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    I think the fallout also had something to do with "bumpgate."

    I do think Cook has plans for custom processors to replace Intel. This would utterly destroy the Hackintosh market as well as hurting Apple sales numbers. But their profitability might skyrocket...

    Probably for the best that I bid Apple farewell the way I did '89-'09.
     
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