The best Thunderbolt 3 eGPU cases for the 2018 Mac mini and MacBook Air

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  • Reply 21 of 41
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    ljc94512 said:
    With that said, can anyone suggest a good AMD GPU and eGPU case that fits this purpose?
    If you want to play ultra at 1920x1200 don't get one with a 580, get a Vega 56 or 64. The article above says which eGPU units have a power supply big enough for those cards.

    Also be careful to get an enclosure that will work easily under Windows. I'm not sure the Blackmagic one (which is really intended as a Mac only product) does.
    It's fine in Windows.
    I had all sorts of difficulties with my one (in conjunction with 2017 MBP, external LG 4K monitor (not the Apple one) and Windows 10 1803). It had the wrong device name in Device Manager (just random characters). It could only accelerate the external monitor (the internal one shut off completely), whereas on the Mac side it could accelerate either with a Terminal command. 

    And it was just generally unstable, sometimes I would have to plug and unplug it for it to power on (Windows would boot up with it plugged in but just never give it power). And sometimes when booting up Windows the login screen would show briefly on the external screen (like 2 seconds) and if I didn't press a key in that time the screen would turn off, and I had no choice but to hold down the MBP power button for several seconds and do a hard-restart. Honestly it was more hassle than it was worth. But it did work beautifully on the Mac side.

    So that's what my comment was based off, my own experience, but I know from your reviews that you also have one and there are so many variables with these setups that I don't doubt what you say, I just think one of these variables must have been different.
    Is this Bootcamp? There are all kinds of oddities with eGPUs in Bootcamp.
    Yes, Bootcamp. Oh, I see, you were plugging it in to a whole other Windows machine.
  • Reply 22 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    ljc94512 said:
    With that said, can anyone suggest a good AMD GPU and eGPU case that fits this purpose?
    If you want to play ultra at 1920x1200 don't get one with a 580, get a Vega 56 or 64. The article above says which eGPU units have a power supply big enough for those cards.

    Also be careful to get an enclosure that will work easily under Windows. I'm not sure the Blackmagic one (which is really intended as a Mac only product) does.
    It's fine in Windows.
    I had all sorts of difficulties with my one (in conjunction with 2017 MBP, external LG 4K monitor (not the Apple one) and Windows 10 1803). It had the wrong device name in Device Manager (just random characters). It could only accelerate the external monitor (the internal one shut off completely), whereas on the Mac side it could accelerate either with a Terminal command. 

    And it was just generally unstable, sometimes I would have to plug and unplug it for it to power on (Windows would boot up with it plugged in but just never give it power). And sometimes when booting up Windows the login screen would show briefly on the external screen (like 2 seconds) and if I didn't press a key in that time the screen would turn off, and I had no choice but to hold down the MBP power button for several seconds and do a hard-restart. Honestly it was more hassle than it was worth. But it did work beautifully on the Mac side.

    So that's what my comment was based off, my own experience, but I know from your reviews that you also have one and there are so many variables with these setups that I don't doubt what you say, I just think one of these variables must have been different.
    Is this Bootcamp? There are all kinds of oddities with eGPUs in Bootcamp.
    Yes, Bootcamp. Oh, I see, you were plugging it in to a whole other Windows machine.
    Yup. As seen here:


    egpu.io has loads of help on getting one to work fine in Bootcamp.
    ascii
  • Reply 23 of 41
    The Mantiz has a 2.5-inch mounting plate for a SATA drive. 

    Does fhis mean it can hold an SSD too and provide external storage? Wondering if there are many cases which can hold both a GPU and an SSD. Preferably a blade (SM951 or the like) plus the GPU. 
  • Reply 24 of 41
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    ljc94512 said:
    With that said, can anyone suggest a good AMD GPU and eGPU case that fits this purpose?
    If you want to play ultra at 1920x1200 don't get one with a 580, get a Vega 56 or 64. The article above says which eGPU units have a power supply big enough for those cards.

    Also be careful to get an enclosure that will work easily under Windows. I'm not sure the Blackmagic one (which is really intended as a Mac only product) does.
    It's fine in Windows.
    I had all sorts of difficulties with my one (in conjunction with 2017 MBP, external LG 4K monitor (not the Apple one) and Windows 10 1803). It had the wrong device name in Device Manager (just random characters). It could only accelerate the external monitor (the internal one shut off completely), whereas on the Mac side it could accelerate either with a Terminal command. 

    And it was just generally unstable, sometimes I would have to plug and unplug it for it to power on (Windows would boot up with it plugged in but just never give it power). And sometimes when booting up Windows the login screen would show briefly on the external screen (like 2 seconds) and if I didn't press a key in that time the screen would turn off, and I had no choice but to hold down the MBP power button for several seconds and do a hard-restart. Honestly it was more hassle than it was worth. But it did work beautifully on the Mac side.

    So that's what my comment was based off, my own experience, but I know from your reviews that you also have one and there are so many variables with these setups that I don't doubt what you say, I just think one of these variables must have been different.
    Is this Bootcamp? There are all kinds of oddities with eGPUs in Bootcamp.
    Yes, Bootcamp. Oh, I see, you were plugging it in to a whole other Windows machine.
    Yup. As seen here:


    egpu.io has loads of help on getting one to work fine in Bootcamp.
    I owned a NUC5 a few years ago but have skipped the more recent generations, an impressive little box. Thanks for the info.
    edited August 2018
  • Reply 25 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    hamishb said:
    The Mantiz has a 2.5-inch mounting plate for a SATA drive. 

    Does fhis mean it can hold an SSD too and provide external storage? Wondering if there are many cases which can hold both a GPU and an SSD. Preferably a blade (SM951 or the like) plus the GPU. 
    It can, yes. There aren't many that can hold both, and of the ones that have that spot, the Mantiz is the only one we like.

    The plate is for a 2.5-inch SATA3 SSD or hard drive. You don't really want anything faster in there, as with anything faster, you'll make an already tight bandwidth situation worse.
  • Reply 26 of 41
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,654member
    rezwits said:
    The only thing I would say, is YES, the Black Magic, is an eGPU, but it ENTIRELY defeats the purpose, or should I say the extreme purpose of being an eGPU, and that is, you want a box you can easily UPGRADE to a better card down the road.

    I mean I would say wait till you can get an eGPU box that is "rated" level PCIe3 in it's bridging.  And get one that you can upgrade 1-2 more times down the road.

    The Black Magic would be like getting a MacPro (late 2013), not in speed but in the fact you CAN'T upgrade.  I might be wrong maybe you can RIP out the GPU in the BMagic?

    I was thinking about getting the BlackMagic, but can't take out the card? meh...
    The Blackmagic isn't for me. However, at present, if you have a TB, TB3, or USB-C display, you literally have no choice in the matter. Fortunately, as this article shows, there are other options if you don't have a USB-C monitor, though.

    It doesn't appear that the GPU in the Blackmagic can be removed.
    Can any of these eGPU's work with an older 2015 MBP via TB2 to TB3 adapter? Even if reduced functionality? (How long were these eGPUs around.. I probably missed something) Great article and video . Thanks.
  • Reply 27 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    k2kw said:
    rezwits said:
    The only thing I would say, is YES, the Black Magic, is an eGPU, but it ENTIRELY defeats the purpose, or should I say the extreme purpose of being an eGPU, and that is, you want a box you can easily UPGRADE to a better card down the road.

    I mean I would say wait till you can get an eGPU box that is "rated" level PCIe3 in it's bridging.  And get one that you can upgrade 1-2 more times down the road.

    The Black Magic would be like getting a MacPro (late 2013), not in speed but in the fact you CAN'T upgrade.  I might be wrong maybe you can RIP out the GPU in the BMagic?

    I was thinking about getting the BlackMagic, but can't take out the card? meh...
    The Blackmagic isn't for me. However, at present, if you have a TB, TB3, or USB-C display, you literally have no choice in the matter. Fortunately, as this article shows, there are other options if you don't have a USB-C monitor, though.

    It doesn't appear that the GPU in the Blackmagic can be removed.
    Can any of these eGPU's work with an older 2015 MBP via TB2 to TB3 adapter? Even if reduced functionality? (How long were these eGPUs around.. I probably missed something) Great article and video . Thanks.
    We've been looking at eGPUs here at AI for two and a half years. They weren't officially supported by Apple until this spring -- but have been possible for a long time.

    Once upon a time, Apple rolled out support for TB2 eGPUs, alongside support for TB3 in a High Sierra beta. Before official support for the feature, Apple explicitly removed support for TB2 eGPUs, though.

    However, the egpu.io folk have a few workarounds. There is a bandwidth hit in an already constrained environment. How much of a hit depends on what you're doing.
  • Reply 28 of 41
    possible less than intelligent question:
    i primarily do design work for print, consisting of 1-300 page art catalogs and books.
    wondering whether it would speed up my screen redraw for rather large image files placed in indesign, by buying an enclosure, or whether i'll be better off with more ram.
    any thoughts?


  • Reply 29 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    possible less than intelligent question:
    i primarily do design work for print, consisting of 1-300 page art catalogs and books.
    wondering whether it would speed up my screen redraw for rather large image files placed in indesign, by buying an enclosure, or whether i'll be better off with more ram.
    any thoughts?


    I'd go with RAM for that workflow.
    normanhathaway
  • Reply 30 of 41
    Thank you for your efforts on this, Mike. I know it's at least partly fuelled by self-interest, but sharing your experience is really helpful to the rest of us.

    If you have time between testing new Macs and GPU enclosures and writing news and trying to have a life, maybe you can take it to an even more awesome level by penning a "GPU for Dummies" piece that explains what a GPU actually does. I'm still not completely clear on that myself. What does it do? What are the benefits? What kinds of tasks are improved with a better/faster card? What kind of tasks won't see much improvement? Why and why not?

    Something that assumes the reader knows zip zero nada about GPUs and wants to make smart decisions would very, very welcome! Thanks!
  • Reply 31 of 41
    Noise is my Number 1 concern. I'll sacrifice performance for quiet. How well does the new Pro Blackmagic unit keep the peace? How does it compare to the original? How would you characterize the noise level? Can you come up with an "About the same as..." comparison to something I might have in my home?
  • Reply 32 of 41
    I've noticed that Final Cut Pro "skips" when trying to play back certain transitions on my 2016 15" MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro 460 4GB). with that in mind...

    I'm putting together plans for a little edit suite that would use the above Mac in clamshell mode, with wireless keyboard/mouse and a pair of monitors at either 2560x1440 or 4K resolution. Would an eGPU help resolve the "skipping" issue described above in that configuration? When I'm doing other things, like mixing audio in Pro Tools, is there any benefit to an eGPU for that setup? Does it do anything useful for uses other than video work?

    BTW, when I finally finish this room (if I ever do), I'm putting up a wall plate that credits you as the Technical Consultant! :)
  • Reply 33 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    Noise is my Number 1 concern. I'll sacrifice performance for quiet. How well does the new Pro Blackmagic unit keep the peace? How does it compare to the original? How would you characterize the noise level? Can you come up with an "About the same as..." comparison to something I might have in my home?
    If noise is the main concern, the Blackmagic GPUs are very clearly the way to go as they are whisper quiet. The other ones don't howl when under load, but they are not quiet. 
  • Reply 34 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator

    Thank you for your efforts on this, Mike. I know it's at least partly fuelled by self-interest, but sharing your experience is really helpful to the rest of us.

    If you have time between testing new Macs and GPU enclosures and writing news and trying to have a life, maybe you can take it to an even more awesome level by penning a "GPU for Dummies" piece that explains what a GPU actually does. I'm still not completely clear on that myself. What does it do? What are the benefits? What kinds of tasks are improved with a better/faster card? What kind of tasks won't see much improvement? Why and why not?

    Something that assumes the reader knows zip zero nada about GPUs and wants to make smart decisions would very, very welcome! Thanks!
    I'll toss this on the list, but I wouldn't expect it before early December, I don't think.
  • Reply 35 of 41

    Thank you for your efforts on this, Mike. I know it's at least partly fuelled by self-interest, but sharing your experience is really helpful to the rest of us.

    If you have time between testing new Macs and GPU enclosures and writing news and trying to have a life, maybe you can take it to an even more awesome level by penning a "GPU for Dummies" piece that explains what a GPU actually does. I'm still not completely clear on that myself. What does it do? What are the benefits? What kinds of tasks are improved with a better/faster card? What kind of tasks won't see much improvement? Why and why not?

    Something that assumes the reader knows zip zero nada about GPUs and wants to make smart decisions would very, very welcome! Thanks!
    I'll toss this on the list, but I wouldn't expect it before early December, I don't think.
    No problem. Do you mind if I wait here? :)

    Until then, any thoughts on whether there's value in adding an eGPU to the setup I mentioned in post #32?
  • Reply 36 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator

    Thank you for your efforts on this, Mike. I know it's at least partly fuelled by self-interest, but sharing your experience is really helpful to the rest of us.

    If you have time between testing new Macs and GPU enclosures and writing news and trying to have a life, maybe you can take it to an even more awesome level by penning a "GPU for Dummies" piece that explains what a GPU actually does. I'm still not completely clear on that myself. What does it do? What are the benefits? What kinds of tasks are improved with a better/faster card? What kind of tasks won't see much improvement? Why and why not?

    Something that assumes the reader knows zip zero nada about GPUs and wants to make smart decisions would very, very welcome! Thanks!
    I'll toss this on the list, but I wouldn't expect it before early December, I don't think.
    No problem. Do you mind if I wait here? :)

    Until then, any thoughts on whether there's value in adding an eGPU to the setup I mentioned in post #32?
    It should help or eliminate that. I'll talk to the video guys to be sure. No plaque required :D
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 37 of 41
    Gene13Gene13 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I feel like part of this article is missing ... what is smaller than the Sonnet Radeon RX eGFX Breakaway Puck GPU-RX ... next one ... but the article dead-ends right there??? Was there more to this? -gene
  • Reply 38 of 41
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,201administrator
    Gene13 said:
    I feel like part of this article is missing ... what is smaller than the Sonnet Radeon RX eGFX Breakaway Puck GPU-RX ... next one ... but the article dead-ends right there??? Was there more to this? -gene
    That's it.
  • Reply 39 of 41
    swissambushswissambush Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Im confused.. Even if you get a non-blackmagic eGPU and use a 5k UltraFine ... Wont you still benefit from things like rendering speeds... applications that use opencl... etc?
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 40 of 41
    SeffSeff Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Hi, Y'all, (I'm a indy filmmaker). Happy holidays, I'm trying to work out an eGPU for my Mac Mini, with the: MSI Video Card Radeon RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC. + Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W. Does anybody know if that can work out? I'm really getting crazy what works and what doesn't :( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078DZR5YK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1 https://www.amazon.com/Sonnet-eGFX-Breakaway-550W-GPU-550W-TB3/dp/B0764J5QVD/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1544378497&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=sonnet+egfx+650w
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