Late 2013 Mac Pro + Radeon [email protected] (Mantiz Venus via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS 10.14.5 [theitsage]
Despite being a late 2013 model year, my Mac Pro trashcan is only two years old. The processor and dGPUs are long in the tooth so I did some upgrades both internally and externally. I swapped a 6-core Xeon E5-1650 v2 for a 12-core E5-2697 V2. These old Xeon CPUs are being retired from data center and available on eBay for relatively cheap.
While I was upgrading the CPU, I decided to give the dual FirePro D500 dGPUs a good cleaning and new thermal paste. The trashcan is built very well and doesn't have much tolerance for errors when putting the parts back together. I struggled with the circular top and bottom alignment but all was well in the end. 🙂
Late 2013 Mac Pro – Xeon E5-2697 V2/2x Radeon FirePro D500 dGPU/32GB RAM/1TB SSD
Mantiz Venus + Radeon VII + Apple TB3 to TB Adapter + 2m Thunderbolt 2 cable
This corner of the house is my eGPU testing area so I had been looking for a set of wireless mouse and keyboard that can be shared between multiple computers. I finally found Logitech multi-device keyboard (K780) and mouse (MX Master) to be the perfect pairing. They have hard buttons to switch between three computers. The 2018 Mac mini is not visible but it's behind the ASUS USB-C monitor which sits neatly in the ledge of the keyboard.
@Mac_editor's Purge-wrangler was the essential tool to enable eGPU on the Mac Pro. Hot-plug, sleep, and hot-unplug have been working well in Mojave. Radeon VII doesn't have good drivers yet so there's some misbehaviors during sleep and shutdown. I could only use eGPU in macOS because the firmware of this Mac Pro 6,1 doesn't allow eGPU in Boot Camp.
AMD Ryzen really pushed CPU performance value in the past two years. This 12-core Xeon could barely match the 8-core Ryzen 7 1700X. The E5-2697 V2 is half the performance of the Threadripper 1950X. I ran some quick benchmarks with Luxmark 3.1 and Geekbench 4 to show the performance of this single D500 and dual dGPUs vs Radeon VII eGPU.
This Mac Pro benefits greatly from CPU and eGPU upgrades. Using an eGPU not only improves performance but also reduces heat significantly due to the triangular heatsink is shared between CPU and dual dGPUs. It would no doubt extend the life of the computer because the majority of issues in the 6,1 is due to discrete graphics card failure.
Such a shame the trash can never made it past v1, it was an incredible piece or kit. With Navi on the horizon I wonder if we would have finally had suitable Gpu replacements for the Mac Pro (I recall apple saying they designed themselves into a thermal corner with the trash can but wonder if die shrink would help to solve that).
I bought the trashcan because it has many similar characteristics of the G4 Cube. They're unique looking and to some beautiful inside and out. Also opening them up is an experience. Here's a gif I made of the G4 Cube's latch/handle.
For such a small computer, it's fairly modular. Not in the traditional sense because other than CPU and RAM, the other components are proprietary. Still it's better than having all major components soldered onboard. I'm afraid the 2019 Mac Pro will be as locked-down as all the recent Apple products.