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4 GPU Render Machine - Wait for Coffee Lake?

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Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
4
Motherboard
ASUS Z270-WS
CPU
7700k
Graphics
1080 ti
Hey all, new Hackintosher here.

I'm in the process of planning a build that will eventually hold four 1080 ti's to be used with Octane Render.

Just wondering if anybody has advice for me on my choice of hardware.

My goal is this:
4 1080 ti's
As Hackintosh friendly as possible.

Originally I wanted to go with this Asus Z270-WS + i7-7700k, but a friend informed me that I'd only have 16 pcie lanes to work with meaning my 4 cards would only be working at x4 mode and then I'd have no overhead for additional m.2 devices if I chose to have them in the future. x4 is the lowest I want these cards to run while rendering.

Then I caught wind of the Coffee Lake release which also threw a wrench in my buying plans. Potentially an 8700k with its rumored 40 pcie lanes + a mobo that supports 4 pcie x16 could be the solution I'm looking for. But its Hackintosh compatibility probably won't be tested for at least a few months, correct?

I currently have a 2008 Mac Pro with a single 1080 ti so I'm not a stranger to a modest amount of hackery, but this will be used for work and I want to make sure I make the right decisions from the get-go.

This seems like a great community and I'm excited to dive into it. Would appreciate any input and insight into things I might not even know to ask yet. Thanks so much!
 

Jamesbond007

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Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
6,520
Motherboard
Z390 Designare
CPU
i7 9700KF
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Hey all, new Hackintosher here.

I'm in the process of planning a build that will eventually hold four 1080 ti's to be used with Octane Render.

Just wondering if anybody has advice for me on my choice of hardware.

My goal is this:
4 1080 ti's
As Hackintosh friendly as possible.

Originally I wanted to go with this Asus Z270-WS + i7-7700k, but a friend informed me that I'd only have 16 pcie lanes to work with meaning my 4 cards would only be working at x4 mode and then I'd have no overhead for additional m.2 devices if I chose to have them in the future. x4 is the lowest I want these cards to run while rendering.

Then I caught wind of the Coffee Lake release which also threw a wrench in my buying plans. Potentially an 8700k with its rumored 40 pcie lanes + a mobo that supports 4 pcie x16 could be the solution I'm looking for. But its Hackintosh compatibility probably won't be tested for at least a few months, correct?

I currently have a 2008 Mac Pro with a single 1080 ti so I'm not a stranger to a modest amount of hackery, but this will be used for work and I want to make sure I make the right decisions from the get-go.

This seems like a great community and I'm excited to dive into it. Would appreciate any input and insight into things I might not even know to ask yet. Thanks so much!

40 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the 8700K? Really? Intel calls them 40 "Platform" PCIe lanes, which means 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the CPU plus 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the chipset. So you still only have 16 PCIe lanes to play with for graphics cards in most cases.

Check the slide on this :
https://www.anandtech.com/show/1186...ation-coffee-lake-hex-core-desktop-processors

If you want more than 16 PCIe lanes from the CPU you will have to go to Intel's HEDT platform, based on the X299 chipset and CPUs like Core i7-7800X / i7-7820X / i9-7900X etc., which has 28 or 44 PCIe lanes from the CPU. But this hardware platform is not yet natively supported on MacOS High Sierra. Support may come when Apple releases the iMac Pro in December and the new Mac Pro in 2018.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
4
Motherboard
ASUS Z270-WS
CPU
7700k
Graphics
1080 ti
40 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the 8700K? Really? Intel calls them 40 "Platform" PCIe lanes, which means 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the CPU plus 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the chipset. So you still only have 16 PCIe lanes to play with for graphics cards in most cases.

Check the slide on this :
https://www.anandtech.com/show/1186...ation-coffee-lake-hex-core-desktop-processors

If you want more than 16 PCIe lanes from the CPU you will have to go to Intel's HEDT platform, based on the X299 chipset and CPUs like Core i7-7800X / i7-7820X / i9-7900X etc., which has 28 or 44 PCIe lanes from the CPU. But this hardware platform is not yet natively supported on MacOS High Sierra. Support may come when Apple releases the iMac Pro in December and the new Mac Pro in 2018.

Oh dang! You definitely pointed out something new for me.

That mostly makes sense. I just looked into the difference between CPU lanes vs PCH lanes.

So do I have this correct?:

If I were to go with my original setup of that Z270-ws and the 7700k I'd end up with four GPUs running in x4 mode, all those connected to the 16 CPU lanes.

And then, according to Z270 specs, SATA, m.2, etc would be sharing 24 separate PCH lanes that wouldn't affect my GPUs?

Thanks for being patient of my noob status. Your reply already helped clear up a bit.
 

Jamesbond007

Moderator
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
6,520
Motherboard
Z390 Designare
CPU
i7 9700KF
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Oh dang! You definitely pointed out something new for me.

That mostly makes sense. I just looked into the difference between CPU lanes vs PCH lanes.

So do I have this correct?:

If I were to go with my original setup of that Z270-ws and the 7700k I'd end up with four GPUs running in x4 mode, all those connected to the 16 CPU lanes.

And then, according to Z270 specs, SATA, m.2, etc would be sharing 24 separate PCH lanes that wouldn't affect my GPUs?

Thanks for being patient of my noob status. Your reply already helped clear up a bit.

I said 16 CPU lanes "in most cases" because some motherboards like the Asus Z270-WS may have extra hardware to provide extra PCIe lanes for graphics cards. According to the specifications the Z270-WS can support a maximum of 4 graphics cards each with x8 bandwidth. So if you want to use this board it can provide 8 PCIe lanes for each of the 4 graphics cards you want to use. Are you satisfied with that?

And yes, those 24 PCH lanes will be shared by the hardware components like M.2, SATA, USB3, LAN etc. But they actually all have to communicate with the CPU with a DMI link with only x4 bandwidth.
https://www.pcper.com/news/Motherbo...hipsets-Support-Kaby-Lake-More-PCI-E-30-Lanes
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
4
Motherboard
ASUS Z270-WS
CPU
7700k
Graphics
1080 ti
I said 16 CPU lanes "in most cases" because some motherboards like the Asus Z270-WS may have extra hardware to provide extra PCIe lanes for graphics cards. According to the specifications the Z270-WS can support a maximum of 4 graphics each with x8 bandwidth. So if you want to use this board it can provide 8 PCIe lanes for each of the 4 graphics cards you want to use. Are you satisfied with that?

And yes, those 24 PCH lanes will be shared by the hardware components like M.2, SATA, USB3, LAN etc. But they actually all have to communicate with the CPU with a DMI link with only x4 bandwidth.
https://www.pcper.com/news/Motherbo...hipsets-Support-Kaby-Lake-More-PCI-E-30-Lanes

Each GPU at x8 is more than enough. Thanks so much for your help.
 
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