Mac Pro with Nvidia H100

By: Tony Wu (tony.wu.delete@this.usa.com), June 18, 2022 6:49 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
> Why would a Mac Pro with an H100 be better than a PC with an H100?

The H100 is a 350W part. It will take good thermal engineering to create a quiet cooling solution for such a high-power part. Apple has the best thermal engineering in the computer industry, as you can see from the Mac Studio. Linux workstation vendors have been reduced to screwdriver shops. They can assemble a system from off-the-shelf parts and screw it together but they have no real engineering.

> If you're buying an H100 to do computation on, what supports it becomes less important by definition.

One of the main markets for a Mac Pro with an Nvidia H100 is software developers for Apple products. It is much easier for those software developers to use the platform they are already familiar with. MacOS is also popular with scientists.

> Wouldn't Apple rather try to beat H100 performance themselves?

The most profitable approach for any company is to focus on the areas where they add the most value and outsource the rest to others. The Mac Pro is certainly less than 10% of Apple’s Mac business so it makes no sense to do a lot of special chip design for this relatively small market. The M1 Ultra has 1/9th the performance of the H100 for FP64 (5.3 Tflops vs 48 Tflops) and 1/19th the performance of the H100 for FP16 (42.4 Tflops vs 800 Tflops). The Transformer Engine in the H100 has two FP8 formats that Nvidia claims speedup transformer training by about another factor of 2. In other words, the M1 Ultra is not even close to the performance of the H100.

Apple does not have the AI software that Nvidia had thousands of software engineers develop over the last 15 years. The reason Nvidia can charge the high prices they charge is that one else has the software support Nvidia has. No one is even close, unfortunately. Just look at how many years AMD has been trying to get PyTorch to work on their GPUs. It’s been “almost working” for the last 5 years and “almost working” isn’t good enough.
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