2017 27" iMac Pro + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2 [DANgerous25]  

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DANgerous25
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December 22, 2017 3:32 pm  

Update 13th Feb: for iMac Pro users with nVidia eGPUs I strongly recommend remaining on MacOS High Sierra 10.13.2. 10.13.3 suffers from performance problems, and 10.14.4 beta doesn't work at all. 

 
System specs  

2017 iMac Pro 27" 5K , 3GHz Intel Xeon W 10-Core, 64GB 2666 MHz DDR4, AMD Radeon Pro 64 16GB, MacOS High Sierra 10.13.2 build 17C2120m, Dell P2715Q 27" 4K monitor.

 

eGPU hardware  

Akitio Node (replaced PSU withCorsair SF600 PSU), MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable, Thermaltake RGB Silent Fan, DisplayPort cable to external monitor

 

Hardware pictures (day and night mode :-))

Capto Capture 2017 08 05 12 31 58 PM
IMG 9406 mod2

IMG 7410 mod

 

Installation steps (for eGPU output on the external screen, I haven't tried anything else. Only for High Sierra)

 

a) If the NVIDIA web drivers are available for your MacOS build. If you don't know, try this anyway as it will fail when you try to install if your build is wrong:

  • Follow the steps in the first post of this thread (Credit to @yifanlu and @devild), ensuring that you pick the correct webdriver/eGPU combo for your OS version. Follow all the required reboots.

 

b) If the NVIDIA web drivers are not available for your MacOS build:

  • See this post. @devild was very kind to give a custom installer that worked with my build. He/She also suggested some manual methods to fool the installer, but I couldn't get that to work.

 

c) If you've managed to run the NVIDIA webdriver and the eGPU installer from either a or b above:

If you rebooted after the installs with the eGPU connected you will find that the iMac Pro will not boot past the Apple logo, you'll just get a black screen. The workaround is this: you must unplug the eGPU's TB3 cable, reboot, log in, plug in the eGPU, check that the eGPU has been detected in System Report -> Thunderbolt, then lot out (not reboot), then log in. Your external screen should now come on.

 

Optional steps

  • Replace the Node's PSU with a Corsair SF450 or Corsair SF600 (I tried both, both work, both virtually silent). Link here for steps.
  • Replace the Node's front fan with something quieter. I went with a Thermaltake fan. I tried a couple of others recommended in the thread here, but the fans were either too dull or too noisy (even if they were far superior to the Node's stock fan in terms of air flow). 

  

Benchmarks 

Whoosh!

Capto Capture 2017 12 22 11 26 44 PM
Capto Capture 2017 12 22 11 26 14 PM

Capto Capture 2017 12 23 10 32 09 AM

 

Comments 

Big thanks to the eGPU community for all their help and support. Particular shout outs (in no particular order) to those have have helped me most: nando4, devild, goalque, rastafabi, devild, yifanlu, theitsage.

If I can help anyone then please reply on the thread or PM me. I have managed to get the Late 2014 iMac 5K and 2017 iMac Pro working so can give some advice on either.

Edited: 3 months  ago

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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theitsage
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December 22, 2017 3:39 pm  

This is the best of both worlds. We love to see some photos of the setup.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

51 external GPU build guides


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nando4
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December 22, 2017 3:48 pm  

Pretty please, could we have a screengrab of a CUDA-Z benchmark run on the eGPU? I'd like to see if Apple are enabling full TB3 bandwidth on their newest powerhouse system.

Edited: 5 months  ago

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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DANgerous25
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December 22, 2017 3:55 pm  
Posted by: nando4

Pretty please, could we have a screengrab of a CUDA-Z benchmark run on the eGPU? I'd like to see if Apple are enabling full TB3 bandwidth on their newest powerhouse system.

I don't have Cuda installed Nando, what do I need to install/run?

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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nando4
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December 22, 2017 4:05 pm  

You'd need the Mac CUDA package installed, and then download and run CUDA-Z. All the instructions are on:

http://cuda-z.sourceforge.net/

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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Eightarmedpet
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DANgerous25
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December 23, 2017 1:43 am  

Pics and Cuda benchmark added (no idea if it is good or not!).

(N.B. yes, I know I am no photographer...)

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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nando4
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December 23, 2017 1:52 am  

@DANgerous25 , your CUDA-Z host-to-device (H2D) of 848MiB/s is underperforming. We see 22xxMiB/s in Windows and 15xxMiB/s in macOS on a 32Gbps-TB3 interface on Macbooks.  The device-to-host looks like 16Gbps-TB3 numbers. Possible culprits are listed at the following URL and I'm leaning towards the host PCIe port is running at x2 3.0 instead of x4 3.0.  Try a couple of other TB3 ports to see if can bump up the H2D number given than non-TB 13" MBPs have some x2 3.0 ports, maybe your iMac has too?

https://egpu.io/external-gpu-implementations-table/#perf

Great photo of your desktop and your fueling source (caffeine) 🙂

Edited: 5 months  ago

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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DANgerous25
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December 23, 2017 2:34 am  

Weird, I ran it again and got a very different result. Maybe it's because I opened it from inside the package, whereas in this run I copied to Applications and ran from there. In any case, I'll try different TB3 ports as well to see if there is any difference. It's a bit of a pain though, as unplugging will cause the Mac to crash, and then I have to log in, plug in, log out, log in. All in the name of science though...

Capto Capture 2017 12 23 10 32 09 AM

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Baris Oktem
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December 30, 2017 3:48 pm  

Hello,

I would like to try similar setup but i have some concerns...

As far as i understand all of this when i try to open imac it's impossible with egpu. I have to unplug egpu thunderbolt cable and when i'm login the system plug it again? Is that correct?

And when i try to imac build in screen also impossible to see egpu? I need to use second screen for that or is it working without it? I am asking this because my earlier 2014 imac i can use 980ti with build in screen. My only problem with that i need to be power off egpu box and open again. It's big issue for me just because of that i sell my egpu box :)) is there any workaround that?

Your setup looks perfect for me how much did you pay imacpro with 10core model?

 


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(@przemyslaw_sobiecki)
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December 30, 2017 7:26 pm  

Hello,

Are you going to try to run nvidia egpu card without the second display? I am going to buy imacpro for my reasons... but I also want to start rendering with octane/other gpu+cuda based rendering engine. So we know that there are some imac (old) solutions to run egpu on internal 5K retina display. I dont have any spare place on my desk neither want to neglect that internal display. Will you try to run it that way?


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Baris Oktem
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December 31, 2017 7:38 am  

i already try that with my old 2014 imac and works. Only problem is when you open system you need to be take out thunderbolt cable and plug it again and log out and log in again. It's very annoying in some cases, because sometimes not working at all. I was using for Octane and Redshift in my iMac and that works. I didn't measure Thunderbolt3 cuda speed but my 980ti works with Octane really good.

Now i will start same thing for iMac Pro but same log out log in take out cable plug in plug out that's very annoying. Maybe just for closing egpu box works i hope. Maybe when i open system and some point open egpu box works.

I heard for macpro thats working like that.


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devild
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January 10, 2018 6:30 pm  

Hey DANgerous25,

what is the build version of macOS after 10.13.2 Supplemental Update?

Is it 17C205? Or is it again some special?

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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sometimesnever
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January 16, 2018 6:00 am  

Hi DANgerous,

Thanks for your hard work.

Prior to High Sierra, I used your fantastic guide and Rastafabi's script to get my Late '14 iMac 5K to work with my Akitio Node / GTX 1080Ti combo.

I was wondering, do I need to do anything special (uninstall/delete traces of the Rastafabi method?) before following the steps to install the yifanlu script?

And are there any other "gotchyas" to look out for when transitioning from the old method to new High Sierra method on a 5K iMac?

Thanks again for all you do. You're a lord!

Edited: 4 months  ago

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DANgerous25
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January 16, 2018 11:04 am  
Posted by: Baris Oktem

i already try that with my old 2014 imac and works. Only problem is when you open system you need to be take out thunderbolt cable and plug it again and log out and log in again. It's very annoying in some cases, because sometimes not working at all. I was using for Octane and Redshift in my iMac and that works. I didn't measure Thunderbolt3 cuda speed but my 980ti works with Octane really good.

Now i will start same thing for iMac Pro but same log out log in take out cable plug in plug out that's very annoying. Maybe just for closing egpu box works i hope. Maybe when i open system and some point open egpu box works.

I heard for macpro thats working like that.

Unfortunately when using High Sierra for Late 2014 iMac 5K and for iMac Pro you  have to boot with no eGPU, log in, plug in eGPU, log out, log in. If you don't like this then you can use Sierra (not High Sierra) for an alternative solution which isn't perfect but at least gets around that. 

The other issue is that if you switch off the eGPU or unplug it then it causes the system to crash.

 

Posted by: sometimesnever

Hi DANgerous,

Thanks for your hard work.

Prior to High Sierra, I used your fantastic guide and Rastafabi's script to get my Late '14 iMac 5K to work with my Akitio Node / GTX 1080Ti combo.

I was wondering, do I need to do anything special (uninstall/delete traces of the Rastafabi method?) before following the steps to install the yifanlu script?

And are there any other "gotchyas" to look out for when transitioning from the old method to new High Sierra method on a 5K iMac?

Thanks again for all you do. You're a lord!

Hey there, always glad to be of use to someone!

I uninstalled Rastafabi's script (he provides an uninstaller) before starting fresh for the HS install. However I'm not sure if this is necessary. In any case, I recommend doing it.

The gotya with High Sierra, assuming you are still using your 1080TI or other nVidia card, is that you can't boot with the eGPU plugged in. You have to boot, log in, plug in, log out, log in. But if you can live with that, it's pretty much perfect.

The other minor pain, which is thankfully less painful due to helpful people like @devild, is that you have to reinstall everything when there is a High Sierra update. And if you update too soon before the right webdrivers are available, then you're in for some pain.

So my advice: Go for High Sierra, just don't update to the absolute latest version until you're sure that you have the right webdrivers and eGPU software builds.

 

Posted by: devild

Hey DANgerous25,

what is the build version of macOS after 10.13.2 Supplemental Update?

Is it 17C205? Or is it again some special?

Sorry buddy just saw this, and we already talked about it in the other post. 17C2205!

 

Posted by: Przemysław Sobiecki

Hello,

Are you going to try to run nvidia egpu card without the second display? I am going to buy imacpro for my reasons... but I also want to start rendering with octane/other gpu+cuda based rendering engine. So we know that there are some imac (old) solutions to run egpu on internal 5K retina display. I dont have any spare place on my desk neither want to neglect that internal display. Will you try to run it that way?

Sorry for the late reply. I don't believe there is a solution [yet] for using eGPU to drive the internal iMac screen. You need an external monitor. However, if you want to use CUDA then you don't need an external screen and it does work. I managed to test it by setting up an Ethereum miner. btw. you would have to mine for 1000s of years to recoup the cost of the iMac Pro!

Edited: 4 months  ago

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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sometimesnever
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January 22, 2018 2:45 am  

Roger that!

Thanks so much for taking the time.

Will set aside some time this weekend to have a crack at this.

Much appreciated, mate.


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devild
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January 24, 2018 7:35 am  

Why Apple, why? iMac Pro has a separate 10.13.3 update with another build version (17D2047). Let's see if Nvidia will go the previous way and will release special drivers for it.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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JROCK
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January 24, 2018 9:17 am  

devild

Let me know if you find a workaround please. So frustrating! This was supposed to just "work" in this update. 


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devild
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January 24, 2018 9:20 am  

I'll update NVDAEGPUSupport.pkg once new drivers will be available.

Another question: will and when (if yes) Nvidia release drivers for this build?

If no, then script - https://github.com/vulgo/webdriver.sh - will help.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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devild
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January 24, 2018 11:07 am  

The updated activator.

 

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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devild
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January 25, 2018 8:30 pm  

And here is the driver -  https://images.nvidia.com/mac/pkg/387/WebDriver-387.10.10.10.25.157.pkg

Please check if it's working.

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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Baris Oktem
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January 26, 2018 6:42 am  

Thank you so much for all this drivers i will try as soon as my imacpro comes 🙂


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DANgerous25
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DANgerous25
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January 26, 2018 2:08 pm  
Posted by: DANgerous25

Works like a charm, @devild! Nice one!

Having said that, after only minutes of usage it seems that there is a significant performance hit using 10.3.3. I don't know if it's the webdriver or the OS or something else, but it's so noticeable that I'm in the process of doing a system restore back to 10.3.2. 🙁

Let's hope 10.3.4 is better when it comes out later in the spring.

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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devild
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January 26, 2018 2:56 pm  

It's the drivers' problem (as many hackintosh users have). Try to install old drivers with the script and use new activator.

The commands for installing old drivers:

sudo ./webdriver.sh -cu https://images.nvidia.com/mac/pkg/378/WebDriver-378.10.10.10.25.106.pkg
sudo ./webdriver.sh -m

Edited: 4 months  ago

That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.


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ed_co
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February 2, 2018 3:39 am  

Hey DANgerous25,

Pretty nice. Have you installed windows already??

Cheers.

E. 

Edited: 2 months  ago

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX1080Ti GAMING X@32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13.4 & Win10


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esatamacmodular
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February 4, 2018 9:27 pm  

sweet build! best of luck moving forward. when doing rendering do you think the internal amd card kicks in too or is it only rendering with one or the other (other being the egpu 1080)


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quantum
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February 6, 2018 10:44 am  

Hey DANgerous25,

no luck here at all. Tried different driver version and so on. Maybe they Akitio node doesn't recognized my GFX Card ?

Someone can give me an advice what else I can try ?

Setup looks like this

GFX Adapter: EVGA Geforce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition

ImacPro 2017
https://imgur.com/QNPckX5

thats what the Akitio Node sees
https://imgur.com/5Nm9wp5

Edited: 4 months  ago

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DANgerous25
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February 13, 2018 3:14 am  

Hi @quantum, I managed to get my iMac Pro to see my 1080 Ti, however the performance was terrible - trust me it is so bad you wouldn't want to use it, it causes your whole system to lag. Have you tried using 10.13.2? I suggest you give that a try and see if you are able to detect the card.

@esatamacmodular: I'm afraid I can't answer your question as haven't tried rendering. But, I can tell you this: I've tried running various cryptomining scripts and they are able to take advantage of CPU, internal GPU and external GPU all at the same time. I even swapped out the 1080TI for a Vega Frontier Liquid which also worked. The current downside I am seeing is that using eGPU the on-screen graphics is only driven by the eGPU, i.e. the internal Pro Vega 64 [in my system] sits idle while the eGPU drives the internal iMac screen and external screen unless I do something like mining.

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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benr
 benr
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February 16, 2018 4:04 pm  

Hi all,

I have an older iMac 5K (2014) with Thunderbolt 2. Currently I have three(!) 1080 Ti cards in a variety of enclosures (TB2 and TB3 with multiple ports).

Under 10.13.3 and the nvidia-egpu-v6 by devild, I am able to daisy chain all three(!) eGPUs and get fully scaled performance in Redshift Render and DaVinci Resolve (both using CUDA). I have to hot plug after booting, and log out and in, but it works reliably. 

I have been debating an iMac Pro or a recent iMac 5K as an upgrade to my core system, but I am starting hear that Thunderbolt 3 will not allow daisy chaining, or even perhaps multiple eGPUs with invidual connections. Since Thunderbolt 2 is very much working with this approach, I am looking for some other input. 

I have tested on my MacBook Pro 15-inch (2016) with the same 10.13.3 and nvidia-egpu-v6, and have experienced kernel panics while attempting to log out and in, or reboot with more than one eGPU attached (either chained or separately). A single eGPU works as expected, but the MacBook Pro has always behaved differently than the iMac in this respect, so I’m still not certain where the TB3 iMacs are at.

I’d like to ask any iMac Pro owners, or indeed iMac 5K with TB3 owners if they have any experience with multiple Nvidia eGPUs for CUDA at this time?

Or has Apple and Intel’s development push to allow official eGPU use on the Mac placed more restrictions on the possible setups than our previous unsupported efforts did?

thanks


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nando4
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benr
 benr
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February 16, 2018 6:04 pm  

@nando, I'll try to write up the build shortly.

But my biggest concern is that all of those build are Thunderbolt 2-based Macs. I'm getting the feeling that Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs won't support more than one eGPU at a time, period.

Hoping someone can help confirm or disapprove that.


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DANgerous25
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February 17, 2018 6:06 am  

Hi @benr, I have iMac Pro and a 1080TI in Akitio Node and Vega Frontier Liquid in a Sonnet Breakaway Box. I haven't managed to get both eGPUs working at the same time on the iMac Pro. The MacOS versions I've tested with this setup are 10.13.2 and 10.13.4 beta 2. Note that I am not daisy-chaining, I have each eGPU on a different Thunderbolt bus (causes an immediate crash if you try to plug them in the same). The observations so far are:

Using 10.13.2 and 10.13.3 I can get the 1080TI working using @yifanlu/@devild's nvidiaegpu solution. However on 10.13.3 it causes the whole system to suffer from serious performance problems, prompting me to downgrade instantly. Hot plugging / log out / log in required to get the 1080TI detected and working.
If I then introduce the Vega FE to 10.13.2 it works, but then the 1080TI is no longer detected by MacOS HS. I haven't found a solution to this.
Using 10.13.4 b2 I'm able to get the Vega FE working completely in a completely natural sense. But I can't get the 1080TI working at all, with or without the Vega FE.

Unfortunately I don't have multiple nVidia cards to test, so I can't confirm if the iMac 5K or iMac Pro will support multiple nVidia eGPUs. I'd say there is a good chance of it working on iMac Pro if you can get it working on your iMac 5K.

But my biggest concern is that all of those build are Thunderbolt 2-based Macs. I’m getting the feeling that Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs won’t support more than one eGPU at a time, period.

Hoping someone can help confirm or disapprove that.

I can confirm it is possible using TB3 because I got it working on my MBP+TB (see screen below), which was on 10.13.3. I couldn't get it working on 10.13.2 or 10.13.4 b2 on the MBP+TB. Evidence below. I don't recommend it if you're going to use the nVidia card for screen output, however for CUDA it works. I can't say if the CUDA performance is impacted or not, but I don't have the general lag/performance issues when using it purely for CUDA.

Capto Capture 2018 02 15 02 58 08 pm

Edited: 3 months  ago

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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diazou
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March 26, 2018 2:35 pm  

Hello,
I want to add a GTX 1080 Ti on my Imac Pro, what do i need in addion of the GPU and the Akito node please ?
Thanks


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ed_co
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March 26, 2018 7:13 pm  

Hey DANgerous25,

Could you please do me a favour?

Could you please run the latest CPU-Z in Windows 10, and capture every single tab? Trying to build a new rig similar to iMac Pro.

Cheers.

E. 

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX1080Ti GAMING X@32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13.4 & Win10


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Mize
 Mize
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March 29, 2018 4:28 pm  

Thanks for this thread. I now have the entry-level iMac Pro (8 core, 32GB, Vega 56) up and running with and Akitio Node Pro and a 1080Ti. I'm running 10.13.3, but not really gaming much in macos so the degraded performance from 10.13.2 isn't a problem. Everything runs great in Windows 10 except that (and this counts for both macos and windows) programs cannot determine what card I have installed in the Akitio Node Pro. For example I have Oculus Rift running, but it warns of inadequate hardware in spite of running very well. If not for the poor macos performance and the login/logout/plugin/logbackin process I'd be a very happy camper.

iMac Pro (2017), 3.2 GHz Xeon W, 32 GB, 1TB SSD, RX Vega 56 + AKiTiO Node Pro w/ Zotac 1080 Ti, working with login hack on 10.13.3 but BROKEN by Apple blocking Nvidia in 10.13.4. Boo-hiss you Apple!


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