Redshift on a mac

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I have a well specd Mac Pro trashcan which is i realized is possibly going to take months of continuous rendering to finish an upcoming job in mantra. Cloud rendering will speed things up but it’ll cost a fortune which will come out of my pocket. so I’m deciding what best way forward short term and long term.

Technically I should be able to run redshift on Mac with 2 gtx1080s in 2 seperate thunderbolt connected enclosures. If such a rig actually works it should allow me to render it all locally under Mac OS in a reasonable time frame. But it seems like such a little-used path that worry it’ll end in endless bugs and frustration.

does anyone have experience running redshift on a Mac? I’d appreciate any wisdom from your experience. Thanks.
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There's already discussion about that on the RS forum and as far as i know this is working.
May I ask you why on the first place you bought the MacPro trashcan, that's 2013 hardware no ?
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Thanks Nnois– i found some productive conversations on redshift forum. Sounds like it will work very well with houdini, redshift and an external GPU. i think i'll pull the trigger.

I've been using the trashcan since it was first introduced. It is a great machine, really. I know that's not a popular opinion but mine's been able to render day and night rock-solid, cool, quiet and pretty fast for over 4 years now without issue. Compared to GPU PC's its like a slow and steady tortoise. With this project though I'm afraid it may finally lose the race unless I finally get with the times.

I would appreciate hearing from others who are running redshift on a mac how their experience is going.
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jonahtobias
I would appreciate hearing from others who are running redshift on a mac how their experience is going.

It works fine - as well as the Linux version.
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That’s good to hear aryte.

I’ve settled on a 1080ti and sonnet enclosure. If all goes well I may purchase a second one. I’ll post here my experience.
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How did your experience go?
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@matleaf – About two weeks into owning an eGPU and my experience has been… awesome! I went with a sonnet eGPU enclosure and a 1080 ti graphics card connected using a thunderbolt 2 to 3 converter. I also purchased a redshift license.

Getting the mac to recognize the GPU was difficult and involved terminal scripts – not plug and play at all (Apple is supposedly fixing this). However once up and running its absolutely smashing through renders.

Many jobs are 20-30x faster. Things like GI and volumetric lighting used to be too time-consuming to consider, I now just shrug. Best purchase I've made in years. Highly recommend. I will buy a second eGPU and card in the coming months to double speeds yet again. Even After Effects now runs faster (I set it to use CUDA in preferences).

Finally, by freeing up the CPU I'm able double the speed of certain tasks. For example I've been able to simulate pyro while simultaneously rendering the previous frame. For example, a frame that takes 4 minutes to simulate and 4 minutes to render will now take a total of 4 minutes to do both by splitting across the CPU's and the GPU, rather than 8 minutes if both were on CPU. Hopefully that makes sense.

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Does the 4x PCIe 2.0 level speed of thunderbolt 2 limit the speed of your renders with eGPUs (vs cards directly connected to PCIe slots) ?
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The thing the 4x PCIe speed might limit is the speed geo and textures load into the cards memory. Typically scenes load into in the ipr quite fast and the render goes from loading to rendering as quickly as mantra.

The Nvidia drivers are less mature for the Mac than the other platforms and there’s no way to overclock currently. so I’m getting slightly slower speeds than an equivalent PC, but not by much.
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Thanks. So long as the speed is only affected when loading data onto the GPU, I guess it’s a good solution.

Might look into eGPUs myself once Apple officially releases support.
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Just as an update I've now connected a second 1080 TI to my Late 2013 Mac Pro setup. Configuring it was surprisingly difficult and took almost a full day but now it works well. Living life on the edge. My render speed is almost 2x as fast with two cards. Benchmark scene went from 12 minutes on one card to 6:20 with two.
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Hey Jonah!

Thanks for posting your experience with this setup and the updates too.

I’m looking to do this myself and I would really appreciate it if you could give me some tips to reduce the dangers of setting this up… I’ve read that the terminal scripts are a little unpredictable and have the potential of damaging your Mac. Could I possibly contact you so you can give me a quick rundown of what I need to get this to work?

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Bruno
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Following. In the same situation with my favorite Trash Can. Now that MacOS supports eGPUs, is terminal scriting even needed?
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I am under the impression that eGPU only works with AMD cards at the moment, which makes it a no-go for Redshift users.

Honestly for anyone who needs serious rendering power, while also wanting to continue working in OS X, the best solution at the moment is to go with a Hackintosh. That is what I'm running myself, 6-core i7 with 2 1080ti and Redshift is flying on it.
>>Kays
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Fwiw - my follow up is that whilst Redshift on MacOS is awesome OpenGL stability for Houdini with a 1080ti is horrendous. i.e. so many crashes per day that it was impossible to do any serious work. OpenCL performance is awful too. Not expecting this to change now that OpenGL is deprecated.
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Houdini is not the most stabile program in the world, add to being on the mac version, add to that rendering in Redshift, add to that hacking your mac to support an eGPU and there are lots of places for shit to happen. Despite all of that I'd never want to go back to my CPU based Mac renderer – the speed these GPU's give is creatively liberating.

If I were to buy a new computer I would go PC. I'm in the midst of a big 3D project and finding myself hitting lots of bugs (mainly in redshift) I suspect some of these bugs are are mac-specific. Often they require annoying workarounds which partially negate the time savings I'm getting from my GPU's.

To summarize: eGPU rendering on a mac, still a big thumbs up. But not a panacea.
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If you work professionally in the CGI, I recommend a high-end PC with Windows, so I've worked with Mac for many years, but Apple's policy of a closed system greatly conditions your work. I'm one of those who thinks that OSX is by far the best operating system, but hardware is not. A high-quality PC ridicules the best mac. Linux is very similar to OSX, but it has the great disadvantage of some drivers and tools like Zbrush that are not for this platform.
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