Best Egpu For Macbook Pro - On Friday, Blackmagic announced that it has discontinued its Vega 56-powered Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Pro. However, there are excellent - and upgradeable - options that won't break the bank.
Blackmagic's eGPU line was pretty good. It was quiet, and probably the most Apple-like of all the options. While the Radeon RX580-based version is still available, the high-end Vega 56 model has been discontinued only due to the retirement of the chipset that resided at the core of that particular model.
Best Egpu For Macbook Pro
Since the release of the Thunderbolt specification ten years ago, there has been discussion and practice of using an external enclosure of some sort, with a PCI-E GPU card. For years, solutions have relied on a variety of hacks to work efficiently, hampered by bandwidth limitations.
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That changed (mostly) when High Sierra arrived. A technology addition to High Sierra in the spring after its release allowed users of AMD graphics cards to purchase a card enclosure and plug it into a Mac to receive an upgrade to the chipset installed in a particular Thunderbolt 3 machine.
Benefits vary, mostly depending on workload. Anything that depends on video frame rates will see a profit. Also, there are some advantages to some video transcoding downloads - but not all.
As an added bonus, the eGPU keeps the heat generated by graphics processing away from the smaller Mac Mini and MacBook Pro. Although this varies slightly depending on the workload, in our tests, a Mac mini with an eGPU connected to a 4K display will maintain the high speed of the processor "turbo" for a long time, and will run cooler during periods of low load.
All that said, you won't get full speed from a PCI-E graphics card. So if you have a Mac Pro, don't bother with the eGPU. Just get a cable kit for your graphics card and use one of the PCI-E slots on the Mac Pro instead of the big gain.
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And if you want to go deeper, or get into trouble, there is a large community dedicated to the technology at egpu.io.
There are eGPU cases with built-in cards, such as the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck series. Although we have praised ourselves in the past, at present it is difficult to praise ourselves. Time marches on, and so do graphics chipsets.
There's a reason why Blackmagic's top-of-the-line eGPU Pro Vega 56 chipset is no longer in production - it's been slated for two new releases. The Radeon VII and the Radeon 5600 and 5700 families are released from Blackmagic eGPU Pro, and both can be housed in a single case.
Based on our experience in testing and daily use up to 2020, we have two families of eGPU enclosures that we like the most, as of April 2020.
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Sonnet wasn't the first to market an eGPU case, but they were the first to be anointed by Apple. Sonnet's eGFX Breakaway Box was used to demonstrate the technology at WWDC 2017, and a special version was included in a package Apple sold to developers to get on board with the technology.
There are several Sonnet eGPU enclosures now, but the best is the Sonnet 650 with powerful power and support for 100W charging power on the host computer - which is important to support full charging speed on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The Sonnet 650, like the Razer, can take on more power-hungry cards like the Radeon VII.
The Razer Core X is the first in Razer's Core eGPU series to include Mac support. A tool-free slide-and-lock mechanism is used to install the graphics card in the PCIe slot, which is secured with a single thumb screw, and the housing can accommodate large "3-slot-wide" cards. Perforated sides and cooling fans are also used to keep the card and chassis as cool as possible.
The Core X Chroma has the same basic design as its predecessor, consisting of a black aluminum case with a side window. It has lighting effects to illuminate the graphics card and front, but this time it uses Razer's Chroma lighting system that can produce 16.8 million colors.
Macbook Pro (hd6770m) [2nd,4c,q] + Rx 570 @ 4gbps Ec2 (exp Gdc 8.5c) + Win10 [hoot_live]
Inside, the 650-watt power supply has been changed to a 700-watt version, allowing it to handle graphics cards with power requirements of up to 500 watts. Power is provided with a connected MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt 3 connection, which can reach up to 100 watts.
In addition to Thunderbolt 3, this housing also offers a Gigabit Ethernet connection and four USB 3.1 Type-A connections.
Unfortunately, there is no way to use an Nvidia card in macOS Catalina, for reasons too complicated to enumerate here - but we have done it elsewhere. There are a wide variety of AMD cards available, at various prices.
Prices vary widely, with the RX 470 selling for around $110 and the Radeon Pro WX 9100 selling for around $1,500. And don't forget to include the cable - the 18-inch Thunderbolt 3 cable that comes with the eGPU enclosure is too short for most setups.
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Currently using Vega 64, Radeon VII and RX 5700XT in eGPU cases from various manufacturers, including the two listed here.
Until recently, it was not possible to connect a USB-C display to the graphics card in a separate eGPU case. The bidirectional USB Type-C to DisplayPort cable solves this very problem, with a 6-foot braided nylon cable that has a USB Type-C connection on one end and a DisplayPort on the other.
Given that this cable is double-sided, any eGPU enclosure that contains a graphics card connected to DisplayPort - almost all - can accelerate the USB-C display. And if pressed, this could also allow an older display using DisplayPort 1.4 to connect to a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connection directly, without the need for an adapter.
The cable is compatible with DisplayPort 1.4 and VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode 1.0a, which allows it to provide video with a resolution of up to 4K at 60Hz. The bidirectional conversion itself is done between the HPD signal and the Power Delivery VDM built into the cable.
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After leaving the Navy in 1999, Mike spent 11 years as a technical analyst supporting a large number of Apple customers in the Washington DC area. For more than two decades on the Apple beat, Mike has served as Apple…
I suspect the reason Blackmagic no longer sells their eGPUs is due to low sales. I would happily buy one or the eGPU solution you listed if Apple supported Nvidia cards and their drivers on MacOS. Unfortunately, as your story has been described, Apple chooses not to support Nvidia. This is unacceptable and means I will have to buy a PC soon (which I am obviously not happy about). Apple has dropped OpenGL support, it doesn't support CUDA, and that means that if you want to use popular software like Blender, it's as if your powerful machine doesn't have a GPU. It's crazy. Decisions like these drive video professionals away from Apple hardware.
Cloudy said: I suspect the reason Blackmagic no longer sells their eGPUs is due to low sales. I would happily buy one or the eGPU solution you listed if Apple supported Nvidia cards and their drivers on MacOS. Unfortunately, as your story has been described, Apple chooses not to support Nvidia. This is unacceptable and means I will have to buy a PC soon (which I am obviously not happy about). Apple has dropped OpenGL support, it doesn't support CUDA, and that means that if you want to use popular software like Blender, it's as if your powerful machine doesn't have a GPU. It's crazy. Decisions like these drive video professionals away from Apple hardware. They are still the RX580 version.
Cloudy said: I suspect the reason Blackmagic no longer sells their eGPUs is due to low sales. I can't imagine why anyone would sell such an expensive and limited solution. Razer Core X with Vega 56 users here.
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Although I use it on Windows and not on Macs I can attest to the sonnet. I've had a Breakaway Box 550 with an RTX 2070 for a year and it's been rock solid. Used it with the Gram 17 I bought at the same time. It gets reliably. No matter how many times I unplug and plug it back in, rest, turn on, it keeps disconnecting and reconnecting the sold rock. I would have trouble recommending it to a Macos user with an AMD card.
I have a Sonnet 650 with a decent RX580 inside, connected to a maxed out 2019 13” MacBook Pro. Before Catalina everything worked fine, but after the upgrade (and I was waiting for the .3 release) it was a random mess - the computer wouldn't start when connected to the eGPU at first, most programs wouldn't recognize the eGPU unless it was put into clamshell mode and even then from seeing it it won't use it, there was a freeze that would only happen with the eGPU... It's after the last update of .4 things seem to be back to normal, so about 6 months later
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