Gaspar Potocnik

AMD or Nvidia, any real world comparisons?

5 posts in this topic

Looking into buying a video card to use as a eGPU with a new MacBook Pro to run VW and Vision. For what I read in other posts there shouldn't be any difference, but has anyone done some actual tests with a Mac? AMD has always been the chipset choice of Apple, should this mean it should work better?

 

I've found online quite a few comparisons on windows and some on Mac, all show the GTX 1080 Ti is 20% better/faster than the Vega 64...

 

@JimW do either VW or Vision benefit from CUDA or Metal? Or is it all OpenGL and OpenCL? Have you done any test on either cards running on Mac?

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9 hours ago, Gaspar Potocnik said:

Looking into buying a video card to use as a eGPU with a new MacBook Pro to run VW and Vision. For what I read in other posts there shouldn't be any difference, but has anyone done some actual tests with a Mac? AMD has always been the chipset choice of Apple, should this mean it should work better?

 

I've found online quite a few comparisons on windows and some on Mac, all show the GTX 1080 Ti is 20% better/faster than the Vega 64...

 

@JimW do either VW or Vision benefit from CUDA or Metal? Or is it all OpenGL and OpenCL? Have you done any test on either cards running on Mac?

 

I have a 2014 MB Pro and 2013 Mac Pro (Trashcan)  That I ran an NVIDIA GTX 980 TI in an external thunderbolt 2 enclosure and external monitor.   While it worked better than the internal D700s and Geforce GT 750M (for Vision particularly) it was still disappointing and not reflective of the performance that card should produce.  I'm sure some of it has to do with it being thunderbolt 2 VS thunderbolt 3 and the shear amount of video card bandwidth needed.   Even with Thunderbolt 3 and using an external display you take a 20% performance hit right off the top just from the limited bandwidth of Thurnderbolt 3 (~40gbps theoretical)  and even less (~20gbps theoretical) with thunderbolt 2 (I say theoretically because after the overhead and stuff it's never that fast in the real world).    After an incredible amount tinkering and frustration I finally caved and setup a Windows box, specifically for Vision.    It worked much better for that application,  plus NVIDIA constantly updates their drivers for Windows vs slower updates for Mac. 

 

When I talked to the Vision tech support guys last year about eGPU's,  they had not encountered anyone using anything like that sort of setup.

 

I'm assuming you are running High Sierra.  Last I read, egpu's are sorta supported natively now,   but (I believe better support is coming in 2018) at this point (per my research) it only works with AMD cards natively without outside modifications/scripts/software.    When I was running my setup it was with goalque's automate-eGPU.sh script.   And while it worked,  sometimes the machine would hang on booting and if you disconnected something inadvertently or did something out of order, the Mac would crash hard.   So after several months of trying to make it all happen, I decided it was just a way bigger PITA than it was worth.

 

If you are planning on running the card on your internal display it will be a much more substantial performance hit.  In anycase YMMV.   It ultimately depends on the complexity of your Vision files and the frame rates you hope to get/find acceptable.   

 

-W

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19 hours ago, Gaspar Potocnik said:

@JimW do either VW or Vision benefit from CUDA or Metal?


We take no advantage of either of these techs at the moment, and I do not see any immediate inclusion of them on the horizon in the next version or two. My crystal ball isn't perfect but If I had a whiff that we might be bringing them in soon I would absolutely let you know.
 

For the GPU, we use OpenGL primarily, I do not believe we use OpenCL at all in Vectorworks or Vision.

As for eGPUs, SO FAR all the results I hear of the most recent official inclusion of them on the mac side are positive, with mild losses in performance compared to having the same model GPU installed internally, but only in extremely taxing scenarios. Almost any decent eDPU solution would trounce the lame integrated Intel graphics options however, so in those cases an eGPU is very much worth it. As to specifically Nvidia or AMD, Apple historically sort of swung back and forth between the two, but we don't see a huge difference in performance related to brand, just the raw performance of the hardware itself. 

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20 hours ago, Gaspar Potocnik said:

do either VW or Vision benefit from CUDA or Metal?

 

CUDA is proprietary NVidia cards only (beside, Mac + PC)

So not available for standard Mac users as Apple is by standard with AMD only.

So just for a minority which will use eGPU with NVidia cards.

 

OpenGL and OpenCL are "open" standards, so OpenGL Apps will run on PC + Mac (+Linux)

with both, AMD + Nvidia GPUs.

 

Metal is Mac only but should work on AMD + NVidia.

 

 

So supporting Metal would speed up VW on Mac significantly,

but would require to create 2 VW Versions, as far as all Graphics concerned.

A Mac Metall development + a Windows development.

(Where you would switch PC Version from OpenGL to MS DirectX in that case)

Such a parallel development is normally not affordable for cross platform Apps.

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In the past nVidia cards were a bit more stable and a bit better supported than AMD cards, but AMD has caught up and now the differences are not that big anymore.

 

There are two exceptions that you may want to look at when deciding for a card:

- power consumption, in the past AMD had a higher power consumption (and more heat production) than nVidia but lately it seems that AMD cards have a bit lower power consumption based on the reviews I have seen (though you really need to check this out as those reviews are only a small sample of the cards). This is important for mobile setups or when you have limited cooling options.

- support by other software for a specific card, some software relies heavily on e.g. CUDA and does not really support the AMD equivalent and if that other software is a main tool as well besides Vectorworks then this could sway your choice to one brand or the other.

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