AKiTiO Node Titan eGPU connected to the 2019 Mac Pro
April 7th, 2020 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Other World Computing has released the AKiTiO Node Titan eGPU with 650W PSU. We connected it to our 2019 Mac Pro with three different fast AMD GPUs installed. We compare the performance with the same GPUs installed INSIDE the Mac Pro.
PRO VEGA II = Apple's Radeon Pro Vega II (32GB HBM2 memory)
VII = AMD Radeon VII (16GB HBM2 memory)
5700XT = ASUS AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB GDDR6 memory)
W5700 = AMD Radeon Pro W5700 (8GB GDDR6 memory)
(TITAN) = GPU installed in AKiTiO Node Titan Thunderbolt 3 eGPU
2019 Mac Pro 12-core 3.30GHz W-3235 CPU, 96GB of 2933 MHz DDR4 ECC memory, 1TB PCIe based flash internal storage
Blender 2.82a - Metal Render of BMW Scene
AMD Radeon ProRender add-on enables Metal rendering in the latest version of Blender. We increased BMW scene samples from 64 to 512 to make it work harder. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
DaVinci Resolve 16.2 - Looping Noise Reduction
Using the 1080p Candle Project, we applied the "3NR" preset and started a looping playback. We rendered noise reduction using Metal. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
DaVinci Resolve 16.2 - Blur Effects
Using the 1080p Candle Project, we applied the "64 Blur Nodes" preset and started a looping playback. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
Basemark GPU Metal
Used the 'Official Test': 3840x2160, High Quality, Fullscreen. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
GFXBench Metal - Aztec Ruins (High Tier)
Ran at 2560x1440 Onscreen mode. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
TW: Warhammer II
Used the built-in Skaven benchmark at 3840x2160, Ultra Quality. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Other World Computing loaned us an AMD Radeon Pro W5700. It's a significant AMD GPU variation since Apple will soon offer the AMD Radeon Pro W5700X GPU module as a 2019 Mac Pro option. The W5700 came with five mini DisplayPorts. We were able to use the included DisplayPort adapters to feed the dual DisplayPorts of our Dell UP2715K display, thereby forcing the Mac Pro to use the W5700 when running Warhammer II.
SURPRISE: The W5700 along with the RX 5700 XT, beat the Radeon VII and Radeon Pro Vega II when rendering the BMW scene with Blender 2.82a and AMD ProRender activated. Blender clearly 'likes' AMD's RDNA architecture.
CAUTION: When putting the iMac Pro or 2019 Mac Pro to sleep with the W5700 attached via any model of eGPU, there is a kernel panic. However, no kernel panic at sleep when installed inside the 2019 Mac Pro. Hopefully the eGPU glitch will be addressed soon by Apple.
In some cases, the GPUs installed in the AKiTiO Node Titan eGPU lagged behind the same GPUs installed inside the 2019 Mac Pro. That happens when there is a lot of chatter between the eGPU and the Mac. The Thunderbolt 3 connection can't compete with the bandwidth of tower's internal PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.
The AKiTiO Node Pro eGPU has been one of our favorite designs and the Node Titan is no exception. It's main advantage over the Node Pro is the upgrade from 500W to 650W PSU.
BONUS: An eGPU can often close the GPU performance gap between MacBook Pro laptops and the Mac Pro. Here is one example using a lowly 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch with wimpy Integrated Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU. Adding the Titan eGPU with Radeon VII GPU installed makes a dramatic difference.
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OTHER GOOD SOURCES
Trans International sells various Mac upgrades
Other World Computing sells memory, eGPUs, storage, and used Macs. The TITAN Node Titan eGPU will soon offer a bundle with some of the GPUs tested above.
B&H Photo Video sells Apple products, GPUs, eGPUs, displays, storage, etc. They sell both the RX 5700 XT and the Pro W5700.
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copyright 2020 Rob Art Morgan
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