16-inch MacBook Pro - What's the effect of eGPUs?
December 5th, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
We connected three different external desktop GPUs using an eGPU boxes to see how much they improve performance over the 16-inch MacBook Pro's internal Pro 5500M GPU.
VII= Radeon VII with 16GB of HBM2 memory in eGPU box
RX 5700 XT = Radeon RX 5700 XT with 8GB of GDDR6 memory in eGPU box
RX 580 = Radeon RX 580 with 8GB of GDDR5 memory in eGPU box
Pro 5500M = internal Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 8G of GDDR6 memory
TEST EQUIPMENT: 16-inch MacBook Pro 2.4GHz 8-core 9980HK processor with 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory; eGPU boxes included OWC Mercury Helios FX 650, AKiTiO Node Pro, and Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650
DaVinci Resolve 16.1
Looping playback of Candle 1080p project while rendering ONE node of Noise Reduction on the fly. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
Looping playback of Candle 1080p project while rendering THREE nodes of Noise Reduction on the fly. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
Blender 2.79 GPU only
Render BMW GPU demo file rendered with GPU only using OpenCL. (LOWER time in Seconds = FASTER)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Run the three phase built-in benchmark using High Preset with AMD FidelityFX CAS enabled. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
Render a RAM Preview of the 600 Frame Atmospheric-Open Sample Project. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
Render Iris Blur effect on sample image. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The first four graphs show the power of adding an external desktop GPU to the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The last two graphs show that an eGPU with a powerful desktop GPU does not always speed things up over the internal GPU.
Verdict: External Desktop GPUs in eGPU boxes are not a panacea. Sometimes they help, sometimes they don't.
Notice we used both the internal Radeon Pro 5500M and the external Radeon RX 580 when running DaVinci Resolve's looping playback with Noise Reduction. With some apps like DaVinci Resolve and Blender you can specify more than one active GPU, BUT that does not always result in faster playback and/or rendering.
However, dual MATCHING external GPUs are another story. For the Blender render test, we tried dual active Radeon VIIs. As you can see in the graph, it lowered Blender's render time from 445 to 209 seconds.
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OTHER GOOD SOURCES
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copyright 2019 Rob Art Morgan
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