Video: Apple eGPU developer kit tested with a 15-inch Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider takes a look at Apple's eGPU developer kit, including the Radeon RX 580 video card, and the Sonnet eGFX enclosure.







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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Here's hoping Apple embracing expandable, configurable GPUs spills over to their next Mac Pro and it throws back to the Mac Pro tower and it's myriad of expandable options. I am still trucking along with a Mac Pro 2009 flashed and upgraded to a 3.46ghz CPU (original CPU was 2.66), RX 560 GPU (Original GT 120), and SM951 SSD (original slow as molasses mechanical). I've maxed this as much as it can go (except for the GPU).

    I could also see adding one of these to my 2017 Macbook Pro and make it my main driver stationary and on the go depending on what Apple has to offer with their Mac Pro redesign.


    chia
  • Reply 2 of 18
    PracticalBatmanPracticalBatman Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I really truly wish Apple would stop their relationship with AMD and go back to Nvidia. It's caused us so many issues (at a college) because all the Adobe apps render much slower without Cuda. They've asked us to pull 5 year old machines out and redeploy them just to have nvidia graphics back, just for the hardware acceleration. CUDA is immensely valuable, but hey, lets just throw irrelevant AMD chipsets at it.
    edited August 2017 xzutipoo
  • Reply 3 of 18
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 860member
    How much is this bad boy
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,566administrator
    tyler82 said:
    How much is this bad boy
    The dev kit as examined here is $599. There's a bunch of eGPU enclosures at this point, but until Apple officially declares if they're blessing any given configuration, it may not be a bad idea to wait.

    Plus, full, official, support for eGPUs won't be available until the spring.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,566administrator

    I really truly wish Apple would stop their relationship with AMD and go back to Nvidia. It's caused us so many issues (at a college) because all the Adobe apps render much slower without Cuda. They've asked us to pull 5 year old machines out and redeploy them just to have nvidia graphics back, just for the hardware acceleration. CUDA is immensely valuable, but hey, lets just throw irrelevant AMD chipsets at it.
    Not irrelevant, just not as fast for your use case, and other Adobe users.

    Apple is prioritizing their own apps in hardware with AMD, at the expense of fastest Adobe performance.
    watto_cobratipoo
  • Reply 6 of 18
    PracticalBatman : The failure (time and time again) is Adobe. They have had code problems for years and yet remain indifferent. https://create.pro/blog/opencl-vs-cuda/
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    I really truly wish Apple would stop their relationship with AMD and go back to Nvidia. It's caused us so many issues (at a college) because all the Adobe apps render much slower without Cuda. They've asked us to pull 5 year old machines out and redeploy them just to have nvidia graphics back, just for the hardware acceleration. CUDA is immensely valuable, but hey, lets just throw irrelevant AMD chipsets at it.
    The beauty of an eGPU is you can use an Nvidia card along with Nvidia's web drivers. 
    watto_cobraxzu
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Have you tested these eGPUs via daisy-chaining? I'd ideally like a setup where I only have to plug in a single TB3 cable (presumably from the LG monitor) and have both the monitor and eGPU hooked up automatically.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Does it work in Bootcamp?
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,566administrator
    Have you tested these eGPUs via daisy-chaining? I'd ideally like a setup where I only have to plug in a single TB3 cable (presumably from the LG monitor) and have both the monitor and eGPU hooked up automatically.
    We've done an assortment of other eGPU reviews doing that, yes. With this particular one:


    About halfway through. Works fine.


  • Reply 11 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,566administrator

    Does it work in Bootcamp?
    Tricky question. Right now, in Sierra with hacks for macOS, yes. In High Sierra, no. 

    We expect the latter will be resolved before the feature rolls out in full in the spring.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    PracticalBatman : The failure (time and time again) is Adobe. They have had code problems for years and yet remain indifferent. https://create.pro/blog/opencl-vs-cuda/
    According to that link, all pro apps are preferring CUDA over OpenCL except for FCP.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    Why? Just Why? So hopefully I can get the Graphics Card in the Spring of next year that I have had in my PC for over a year?

    I like the solution for mobile users, but it defeats the goal of being a mobile user. I had a Mac Plus that I carried around in a bag with a shoulder strap.... 

    Still. I would rather have this than an iMac. 
  • Reply 14 of 18
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,051member
    Still a heck of a lot of performance penalty using macOS's graphics stack rather than Windows, even in metal apps afaik. I really hope they shore this up so I can remove boot camp. Otherwise my hardware performs like a generation or two back. 



  • Reply 15 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,566administrator
    xzu said:
    Why? Just Why? So hopefully I can get the Graphics Card in the Spring of next year that I have had in my PC for over a year?

    I like the solution for mobile users, but it defeats the goal of being a mobile user. I had a Mac Plus that I carried around in a bag with a shoulder strap.... 

    Still. I would rather have this than an iMac. 
    The technology should not be limited to the RX 580 at launch.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 18
    xzu said:
    Why? Just Why? So hopefully I can get the Graphics Card in the Spring of next year that I have had in my PC for over a year?

    I like the solution for mobile users, but it defeats the goal of being a mobile user. I had a Mac Plus that I carried around in a bag with a shoulder strap.... 

    Still. I would rather have this than an iMac. 
    The technology should not be limited to the RX 580 at launch.

    Max was able to hook up a Vega 64 16GB VRAM video card to the eGPU kit. The kits power supply only has an 8 and a 6 pin power connector, so he had to swap it out to power the Vega card. He got close to the same scores in benchmarks and a couple video editing apps as he did with the RX 580, meaning it's far from being optimized. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Does it work in Bootcamp?
    Yup I'm playing GTA V maxed out and in 4k on my MacBook Pro 13 no touch bar connected via thier stupid cord to an enclosure I bought on Amazon and I stuffed a 1080 nvidia card I'd bought for a pc (since sold) and my 65 inch 4K LG Television - it's super awesome. And I should get a job lol. 

    Dunno about what Sierra will be like but I don't use Adobe stuff but I think Apple makes the best laptop - screw the old MacOS vs. Windows garbage conversation. The physical machines are sexy, small and desirable. Get a loan if your poor.

    The worst that that can said about dual booting a Mac is that Bluetooth mice can get weird. But only apple mice. And don't expect gestures Windows is terrible on the magic touch thing...

    So in short - stop buying laptops that aren't apple, install windows and have two awesome computers for 2k. The best enclosure imo is the Mantiz (spelling) it's slick and matches the laptop. But Razers Core (older) works just fine with the right drivers. Also we have razor actually to thank For this because they're the first company that had an  commercially available EGPU that was available over thunderbolt before that you had to do this major hack that was weird and also complicated. 

    also for gamers (no one will ever port a current AAA game to macOS so let it go) this setup works as far back as Thunderbolt 1. Yes you lose performance and that WILL affect the current gen of AAA games (Call of Duty seems to struggle) but if your like me and have a 11 MacBook Air too but wanna play GTA with an Xbox controller discreetly during a class or lecture - the egpu is NOT made to be portable but that's got nothing to do with whether it can ;)

    its an awesome development and while my use is niche it probably will change the way we used computers.  It will certainly grow the gaming industry... Certainly the content we create and consume. AMD is awesome too five people use adobe primarily and the render is slow because probably your school computers are bottlenecking

    Nvidia does not need to have a monopoly and to be clear there also changing their focus to self driving chips which means AMD has an opportunity to get market share and that's better for all - better because: the Polaris  architecture (not that Pascal architecture video cards are lesser - they're monopoly inflates thier price and conscripts it to mostly those hobbyists that are obsessed with gaming) that came out this year are already provably better faster cheaper than Pascal cards. In some benchmarks the difference is embarrassing factoring price. 

    cheaper being the key reason they will become more  ubiquitous and then perhaps they will be spurred to create games natively for OS. Apple is unwise in not allowing the convergence of its legacy OS with its mobile OS. Not sure why I've conflated these two things but when u speak about boot Camp it's impossible not to notice that Windows is on everything and iOS is on everything and nobody knows how to use Mac OS X under 25 beyond its iOS sibling apps and its for people that already live or have already been using OSX since the cave for which means it will probably die someday stuck only on MacBooks (with users using Word, Mail, Chrome and idiots digging in the applications folder for a file tree) but readily available - but never to its full potential. It doesn't need to be capscitative (spelling) friends it needs to be interchangeably useful and OS neutral (never Android - that garbage is a sick old man of an OS that ruins good Korean plastic)

    bootcamp is a for sure. This post was a mess of words with creative punctuation. Your welcome.

    obviouaussiepaul said:
    Does it work in Bootcamp?
    Does it work in Bootcamp?

  • Reply 18 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    Does it work in Bootcamp?
    Yup I'm playing GTA V maxed out and in 4k on my MacBook Pro 13 no touch bar connected via thier stupid cord to an enclosure I bought on Amazon and I stuffed a 1080 nvidia card I'd bought for a pc (since sold) and my 65 inch 4K LG Television - it's super awesome. And I should get a job lol. 

    Dunno about what Sierra will be like but I don't use Adobe stuff but I think Apple makes the best laptop - screw the old MacOS vs. Windows garbage conversation. The physical machines are sexy, small and desirable. Get a loan if your poor.

    The worst that that can said about dual booting a Mac is that Bluetooth mice can get weird. But only apple mice. And don't expect gestures Windows is terrible on the magic touch thing...

    So in short - stop buying laptops that aren't apple, install windows and have two awesome computers for 2k. The best enclosure imo is the Mantiz (spelling) it's slick and matches the laptop. But Razers Core (older) works just fine with the right drivers. Also we have razor actually to thank For this because they're the first company that had an  commercially available EGPU that was available over thunderbolt before that you had to do this major hack that was weird and also complicated. 

    also for gamers (no one will ever port a current AAA game to macOS so let it go) this setup works as far back as Thunderbolt 1. Yes you lose performance and that WILL affect the current gen of AAA games (Call of Duty seems to struggle) but if your like me and have a 11 MacBook Air too but wanna play GTA with an Xbox controller discreetly during a class or lecture - the egpu is NOT made to be portable but that's got nothing to do with whether it can ;)

    its an awesome development and while my use is niche it probably will change the way we used computers.  It will certainly grow the gaming industry... Certainly the content we create and consume. AMD is awesome too five people use adobe primarily and the render is slow because probably your school computers are bottlenecking

    Nvidia does not need to have a monopoly and to be clear there also changing their focus to self driving chips which means AMD has an opportunity to get market share and that's better for all - better because: the Polaris  architecture (not that Pascal architecture video cards are lesser - they're monopoly inflates thier price and conscripts it to mostly those hobbyists that are obsessed with gaming) that came out this year are already provably better faster cheaper than Pascal cards. In some benchmarks the difference is embarrassing factoring price. 

    cheaper being the key reason they will become more  ubiquitous and then perhaps they will be spurred to create games natively for OS. Apple is unwise in not allowing the convergence of its legacy OS with its mobile OS. Not sure why I've conflated these two things but when u speak about boot Camp it's impossible not to notice that Windows is on everything and iOS is on everything and nobody knows how to use Mac OS X under 25 beyond its iOS sibling apps and its for people that already live or have already been using OSX since the cave for which means it will probably die someday stuck only on MacBooks (with users using Word, Mail, Chrome and idiots digging in the applications folder for a file tree) but readily available - but never to its full potential. It doesn't need to be capscitative (spelling) friends it needs to be interchangeably useful and OS neutral (never Android - that garbage is a sick old man of an OS that ruins good Korean plastic)

    bootcamp is a for sure. This post was a mess of words with creative punctuation. Your welcome.

    obviouaussiepaul said:
    Does it work in Bootcamp?
    Does it work in Bootcamp?

    What frame rate are you seeing?  I am surprised that SLI or Crossfire are not required, i.e. dual GPUs for 4K 60 FPS.  I run GTA V with AMD Crossfire with a new Mac Pro 6 Core driving both GPUs and get 2K and 60 FPS everything at max but if i drop to a single GPU I am down to as low as 40 FPS.
    edited August 2017
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