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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU + 'late 2016' MacBook Pro 13-inch

Posted February 17th, 2017 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We tested the AKiTiO Node eGFX Box connected to the fastest 15-inch MacBook Pro 'late 2016' but now we want to see how it performs connected to the fastest 13-inch MacBook Pro 'late 2016.' Graphs below compare the two MacBook Pros running with and without the Node eGFX Box attached.

GRAPH LEGEND
rMBP15>Node>980Ti - 'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch connected to AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box with GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6GB) GPU installed
rMBP13>Node>980Ti -
'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch connected to AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box with GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6GB) GPU installed
rMBP15>Pro460 -
'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch with discrete AMD Radeon Pro 460 (4G) GPU
rMBP13>Intel550 -
'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch with integrated Intel HD Graphics 550

MORE LAPTOP SPECS:
'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch, 2.9GHz Quad-Core i7-6920HQ, 16G of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
'late 2016' Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch, 3.3GHz Dual-Core i7-6567U, 16G of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory

The AKiTiO Node eGFX Box's Thunderbolt 3 port was connected to the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port of the MacBook Pros. The DisplayPort GeForce GTX980 Ti GPU was connected to the Dell 5K 27" display's DisplayPort.

OctaneRender
This is a "GPU only" standalone renderer that can process scenes created in Maya, ArchiCAD, Cinema 4D, etc. -- and does so in a fraction of the time it takes with a CPU based renderer. However, it only runs only on CUDA capable NVIDIA graphics cards. We used the DEMO version with a test scene called octane_benchmark.ocs. For our test we selected RenderTarget PT (Path Tracing).
(LOWER time in seconds = FASTER)

DaVinci Resolve - Candle project playback renders Noise Reduction Node (1NR) on-the-fly. The factory GPUs rendered using OpenCL. All the GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the Node eGPU rendered using CUDA.
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER

Final Cut Pro X - We rendered two GPU intensive Blur effects.
(LOWER time in seconds = FASTER)

Geekbench 4 GPU Compute Benchmark - The internal factory GPUs rendered using OpenCL. All the GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the Node eGPU rendered using CUDA.
(HIGHER score = FASTER)

LuxMark 3 OpenCL - Though more than one GPU can be used to render, we selected one at a time.
(HIGHER KSamples per Second = FASTER)

Valley OpenGL Benchmark using Extreme HD Preset with noAA.
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

Tomb Raider Built-in Benchmark using High Preset
(HIGHER frames per second = FASTER)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The AKiTiO Node eGFX Box with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti significantly improves performance of 'late 2016' MacBook Pro 13-inch (as well as the 15-inch) when running GPU intensive apps. And with an array of compatible NVIDIA GPUs to choose from, you will be able to run 'CUDA only' apps like Octane Render.

"DO I NEED AN EXTERNAL DISPLAY CONNECTED TO THE NODE's GPU?"
It depends on the apps you run. DaVinci Resolve, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Blender, Octane Render, and PhotoZoom all detected and allowed us to choose the GTX 980 Ti without an external display connected. When the external display was absent or not set to primary, apps like FCPX, Photoshop, Lightroom, Tomb Raider (and other games) ignored the GTX 980 Ti in the Node.

THUNDERBOLT 3 ENABLER
To insure that all external Thunderbolt 3 devices we test are deemed 'supported' by System Profiler, we downloaded and ran the tb3-enabler.

RELATED ARTICLEs
See our test results with the Node eGFX Box connected to the 'late 2013' Mac Pro.

If you already own the BizonBOX 2 or 2S, you can use an adapter to connect it to the Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C port of the 'late 2016' MacBook Pro. We show those test results in a recent article.

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WHERE TO BUY A THUNDERBOLT GPU EXPANDER FOR THE MAC

The AKiTiO Node eGFX Box will be shipping in March 2017.

Bizon Tech sells the BizonBOX 2S (works with all Thunderbolt 2 Macs). The BizonBOX 3 (designed for Thunderbolt 3 Macs) is shipping bundled with a GPU. If have your own NVIDIA GPU and want to order the empty box, those are back ordered currently.

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copyright 2017 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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