MacOS GPU

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Joe_H
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Re: MacOS GPU

Post by Joe_H » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:42 am

Here is what I know about driver support for AMD and nVidia GPU's on OS X:

Support for AMD GPU's is distributed with the OS. When a new Mac that has a discrete AMD GPU is sold, the OS that comes with it will support the GPU and possibly some others from the same generation. Later updates may include support for additional GPU's of the same generation and earlier if not already supported by the driver.

Since Apple last used nVidia as an OEM provider of GPU's a number of years ago, only support for Kepler and earlier cards is included in OS X as distributed by Apple. For Maxwell and Pascal based cards nVidia releases drivers that can be downloaded from their site. A specific download is required for each OS version and patch level (build number). I haven't checked to see if drivers for the 2000 series nVidia's have been repleased yet. I run a GTX 1060 on one of my OS X systems at home using these drivers.
MeeLee wrote:Not sure how MacOs runs Windows, and if Windows drivers would work from an emulation perspective.
There are some sites where users of Macs are running windows games through some sort of emulation, like Wine is to Linux.
I don't have a Mac.
In general, OS's such as Windows running in a VM or emulation do not have the necessary access to the GPU hardware to run F@h.

Person have run Windows or Linux directly on Mac hardware, that works quite well.
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bruce
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Re: MacOS GPU

Post by bruce » Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:04 am

OK, let's review what we know.

FAH software consists of 3 major components

* FAHControl -- provides a GUI interface between the human and the other software components.
* FAHClient -- a back-end program that knows how to get a new assignment and return the finished results.
* FAHCore_?? -- an analysis program that processe the assigned Work Unit using the hardware on your system.

FAHClient also contains code that detects what supported hardware you have and informs the server so that it gets an assigned WU that you can process.
FAHCore_?? comes in several flavors, depending on what hardware is going to do the analysis.
The only FAHCore that's available on OS-X uses the CPU. The other software components are available.
... so a FAHCore to process work on your GTX 1060 would be required and it would need the support of drivers, including a functional version of OpenCL.

Does FAHClient report the presence of your GTX 1060 or is that detection software non-functional?
What version of OpenCL is available on your system? ... and does it work? (Note: There were a lot off non-functional versions of OpenCL on older versions of OS-X.)
How difficult would it be to port an existing FAHCore_?? from Linux so that it could work on OS-X with that GPU?
What percentage of the Macs have functional Fermi or AMD discrete GPU?
Will those machines be capable of dissipating the heat of the GPU running at a high computational loads for long periods of time?

Joe_H
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Location: W. MA

Re: MacOS GPU

Post by Joe_H » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:09 pm

Does FAHClient report the presence of your GTX 1060 or is that detection software non-functional?
Yes

What version of OpenCL is available on your system? ... and does it work? (Note: There were a lot off non-functional versions of OpenCL on older versions of OS-X.)
I would have to look up the OpenCl version number. Notes on the openmm.org site state that OpenCL is supported as of OS X 10.10.3 or higher, I assume that coincides with Apple fixing the bug that other notes list as being introduced as of 10.7.5. I am running OS X 10.12.6

How difficult would it be to port an existing FAHCore_?? from Linux so that it could work on OS-X with that GPU?
This I do not know. Many pieces of software from Linux backgrounds port relatively easily to OS X, but there are differences as OS X's lineage is from BSD4.3 via NextSTEP.

What percentage of the Macs have functional Fermi or AMD discrete GPU?
My estimate is less than 20%. How much less I don't know, that would require access to sales figures I do not have.

Will those machines be capable of dissipating the heat of the GPU running at a high computational loads for long periods of time?
For desktop machines, yes. Apple is very good at designing enclosures and cooling systems capable of removing heat, but to get maximum cooling may require overriding default fan speed settings. I would be less confident of current laptop designs being able to do so.
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bruce
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Re: MacOS GPU

Post by bruce » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:35 pm

Analysis software should be easy to port to a different OS. The code doesn't change. Probably the only things that would matter are calls to system error detection software (and that is likely to be the same) and perhaps renaming the work files to conform to Apple's naming conventions rather than Linux's.

Finding somebody to do it is more of a problem than it should be, though ... and paying them, of course.

MeeLee
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Re: MacOS GPU

Post by MeeLee » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:37 pm

Since MacOs is Unix based, the step from MacOs to FreeBSD (or any other Unix OS) is very small.
Or.. The step from FreeBSD(//Unix) to Apple would be very small.
There could be more support in the FreeBSD community than in the Apple community in generating code for Unix.
I'm just speculating here...

Though there are a lot of apple computers folding, they're mostly laptops; lower powered devices with older graphics cards.
Surely better than folding on CPU, but like mentioned before, it's the same with Intel IGPs.
Modern Intel IGPs (from Corei7 and i9) would probably outfold most Apple mobile GPUs, and are in larger supply; yet there are no drivers for that either.

SteveW928
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Re: MacOS GPU

Post by SteveW928 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:29 pm

I guess I would add another request for Mac F@H to support GPUs. There are more and more Mac users who are now adding eGPUs to their systems, even if the internal GPUs in most Macs wouldn't be up to the task.

I've contributed over 30M points to the project now over the years, and 20M of those have been in the last several months, when my Mac is running in Boot Camp with my eGPU. If I were able to also run the eGPU when I'm booted into macOS, I could contribute a good amount more.

I can't say how many people are in the situation I'm in, just that it will be increasing. Whether that is worth it to the project or not, I can't say. But, I'd sure like to be using more of my available computing power to contribute.

Regards, -Steve

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