Late 2019 Mac Pro PCIe Slots and Thunderbolt 3 AIC Apple I/O Card
 
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Late 2019 Mac Pro PCIe Slots and Thunderbolt 3 AIC Apple I/O Card  

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itsage
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With the introduction of the mid 2019 Mac Pro, Apple has brought internal PCIe slots back in a tower form factor. The excitement ends here for me. They priced me out completely. What I found most intriguing is the Thunderbolt 3 add-in card. This means when Thunderbolt 4 becomes available it's possible to upgrade (and hopefully used 2019 Mac Pro are within reach by then). It might be a possibility for the classic Mac Pro to use this AIC if it's available through third party.

Above is my guess of the PCI Express lane allocation to each slot. The CPU has 64 lanes so a PCIe switch is likely hosting slot 5 to 8. The MPX with its use of a modified/extended slot is pretty cool. From what I gathered Apple routed the two Thunderbolt 3 controllers on the MPX graphics card to a x8 PCIe connection. In a fully configured Mac Pro, there are 6x TB3 controllers and 12x TB3 ports.

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mac_editor
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Apple: Here’s the new Mac Pro.
Me: Seems nice, monitor looks great.
Apple: Starts at 5999$.
Me: Well....
Apple: Here’s the new Apple Pro Display XDR.
Me: This is great.
Apple: Costs 4999$.
Me: Oh, well....
Apple: The stand is sold separately and costs 999$.
Me: ...

That stand should have a f***ing GPU in it, a good one at that.

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nu_ninja
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I mean, the hardware specs look very impressive and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want one, even if I don't know what I would do with it.

But I get the feeling even Apple doesn't really know what they want to do with this. The base iMac Pro is $1000 cheaper and comes with a 5k display attached. Sure it's not as modular, but the CPU and RAM are still socketed and with an eGPU you could theoretically upgrade the graphics as well. I actually wouldn't be surprised if the price point is deliberately higher so it doesn't compete with the iMac Pro.

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Ningauble77
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2019 Mac Pro was announced today with 580x base gpu but option for either single or dual Vega 20- based "Radeon Pro Vega II" cards, so hopefully Radeon VII drivers will improve as we approach the fall.  Also gives little hope to nvidia drivers going forward, considering the Mac Pro has PCIe slots, but semi-proprietary auxiliary connectors on the Graphics Cards to feed DisplayPort from the slots to the TB3 ports and may not even work with generic off-the-shelf GPUs.  Also had a bunch of pro-app companies announce Metal support for their software, some of whom I believe currently perform best with CUDA.

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goalque
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Posted by: Ningauble77

but semi-proprietary auxiliary connectors on the Graphics Cards to feed DisplayPort from the slots to the TB3 ports and may not even work with generic off-the-shelf GPUs.

No word about standard graphics cards. I was wondering if you can combine:

"Up to 300W auxiliary power via two 8-pin connectors"

and

"Three full-length PCI Express gen 3 slots
One x16 slot; two x8 slots
75W auxiliary power available"

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OliverB
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Posted by: Ningauble77

2019 Mac Pro was announced today with 580x base gpu but option for either single or dual Vega 20- based "Radeon Pro Vega II" cards, so hopefully Radeon VII drivers will improve as we approach the fall.  Also gives little hope to nvidia drivers going forward, considering the Mac Pro has PCIe slots, but semi-proprietary auxiliary connectors on the Graphics Cards to feed DisplayPort from the slots to the TB3 ports and may not even work with generic off-the-shelf GPUs.  Also had a bunch of pro-app companies announce Metal support for their software, some of whom I believe currently perform best with CUDA.

So, the trashcan is past, they return to PCIe-slots? Interesting...

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Ningauble77
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Posted by: goalque
Posted by: Ningauble77

but semi-proprietary auxiliary connectors on the Graphics Cards to feed DisplayPort from the slots to the TB3 ports and may not even work with generic off-the-shelf GPUs.

No word about standard graphics cards. I was wondering if you can combine:

"Up to 300W auxiliary power via two 8-pin connectors"

and

"Three full-length PCI Express gen 3 slots
One x16 slot; two x8 slots
75W auxiliary power available"

I just noticed those 8-pin connectors mentioned on the tech specs page... in the presentation it kinda looked like the additional power and tb3 displayport connectors were part of the slot.  I guess we will find out soon enough.

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joevt
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Posted by: goalque
Posted by: Ningauble77

but semi-proprietary auxiliary connectors on the Graphics Cards to feed DisplayPort from the slots to the TB3 ports and may not even work with generic off-the-shelf GPUs.

No word about standard graphics cards. I was wondering if you can combine:

"Up to 300W auxiliary power via two 8-pin connectors"

and

"Three full-length PCI Express gen 3 slots
One x16 slot; two x8 slots
75W auxiliary power available"

I think the tech specs say there's four 8 pin connectors (two per MPX bay). This is listed as an alternative, if you don't use an MPX module, which implies using standard graphics cards is an option.

Too bad they don't offer a Thunderbolt routing option for standard graphics cards. A third party could maybe create an adapter that exposes the DisplayPort paths of the MPX connector.

The slots are (from the top):

  • Single wide:
    • 8: x4
    • 7: x8
    • 6: x8
    • 5: x16
  • Double wide:
    • MPX Bay 2:
      • 4: x16 double
      • 3: x16 double
    • MPX Bay 1:
      • 2: x8 double
      • 1: x16 double

This picture is probably the connectors for the PCIe power cables.

PCIe power connectors

For slots 5 to 8, it appears to be one 6 pin (75W).
For slots 1 to 4, there appears to be four 8 pin (150W each).
I don't think these are used by the MPX modules. They get 475W from the MPX slot and 75W from the PCIe slot.

I don't see how DisplayPort gets to the I/O card. Are the signals in the PCIe slot? How can that be? That I/O card slot is obviously a propriety non-standard PCIe slot.

I:O card slot

The I/O card slot appears to block cards longer than x8 (there's a key in the middle). The visible lower x8 pins (fingers? contacts?) are formed to contact both sides of a standard PCIe card edge. The upper x8 part of the slot doesn't have visible pins, or they are arranged differently than PCIe pins. These are probably USB and DisplayPort signals. The USB probably comes from the chipset, so that the I/O card doesn't need a bridge chip to support a USB controller and a Thunderbolt controller. Probably the Thunderbolt controller is on the card. The proprietary I/O card slot may indicate that the I/O card cannot fit in a standard PCIe slot.

The two 10Gb Ethernet ports are down by the power plug and not part of the I/O card (the tech specs should format that text better to make it more clear).

Ethernet ports

With the I/O card, there are four Thunderbolt 3 ports (two on the top of the case, and two on the I/O card). This means there are two controllers which can take two DisplayPort signals each (four total). But the AMD Radeon Vega II MPX Module only supplies two DisplayPort signals. Does this mean two of the Thunderbolt ports cannot do DisplayPort when you only have that MPX Module? Or is there an internal MUX like in the Mac Mini 2018 that routes two DisplayPort signals to the four DisplayPort inputs of the two Thunderbolt controllers?

There is no mention of what the two SATA ports, USB port, and 10 pin plug are for.

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Eightarmedpet
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I like it, but at that price I’m out...  my hopes for a tb3 equipped Gpu were raised then dashed...  le sigh. 

Thinking about it though, this would be total overkill for me.

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OliverB
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The price is within the to be expected boundaries. No news here.
1.5 TB RAM may be enough for image processing.

In the video they say something like "with two MPX Modules (can) create the world's most powerful graphics card". What exactly is this most powerful graphics card? It's not supposed to be the RX580, the only one I can find on that site.

Edit: If found it here.
"There will also be a version with two Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs, which Apple called "the world's most powerful graphics card."

This post was modified 1 year ago

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