AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT GPU connected to an iMac Pro running macOS Catalina versus other GPUs
October 29th, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated November 12th with Blender results
There is much interest in the AMD RX 5700 XT GPU now that it is supported in macOS 10.15 'Catalina.' We connected it to our iMac Pro using an eGPU to see how it compared to a few other AMD GPUs.
VII = Radeon VII (16GB HBM2 memory) in eGPU Box
5700 XT = Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB DDR6 memory) in eGPU Box
Pro Vega 64 = iMac Pro's built-in Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 memory)
RX 580 = Radeon RX 580 (8GB GDDR5 memory) in eGPU Box
TEST DETAILS: The 2017 iMac Pro 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon, 32GB of ECC memory, 1TB flash storage, running macOS Catalina. We used various eGPU boxes from Other World Computing and Sonnet Technologies.
Blender - OpenCL Render of BMW Demo Scene
(LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
DaVinci Resolve Single Node of Noise Reduction
Using the 1080p Candle Project, we applied the "1NR" preset and started playback. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
DaVinci Resolve Triple Nodes of Noise Reduction
(HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
Final Cut Pro X 10.4.7
Exported the BruceX sample 5K project to ProRes 4444 XQ. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
Performed a Render RAM Preview on the 600 frame Atmospheric-Open sample project. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)
TW: Three Kingdoms
Used the built-in Battle benchmark. The three GPUs connected via Thunderbolt 3 appear to have a disadvantage running this game. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
TW: Warhammer II
Used the built-in Skaven benchmark. Notice which GPU dominates the 4K gaming mode. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT surprised us. First it beats both the VII and Pro Vega 64 running Blender.
Then it keeps up with the Radeon VII running DaVinci Resolve's real-time rendering of Noise Reduction during looping playback.
On the other hand, the iMac Pro's internal Radeon Pro Vega 64 handled the Final Cut Pro X and Motion tasks faster than any of the external GPUs.
The Three Kingdoms game was frustrating since, as with the Apple pro apps, the external GPU appeared to be at a disadvantage. Could it be a bandwidth issue since the eGPU boxes must 'chatter' over the Thunderbolt 3 bus?
However, as we increased the resolution with Warhammer II, the Radeon VII flexed its muscle when it reached 3840x2160 (aka 4K). And the Radeon RX 5700 XT beat the internal Pro Vega 64.
(NOTE: The external GPUs reported best game frame-rates when connected directly to our Dell UP2715K display.)
I doubt anyone would connect an RX 580 externally to an iMac Pro but they might do so with a lesser Mac. At least it gives you a reference point to see where the RX 5700 XT fits in the GPU hierarchy -- much faster than an RX 580 and often 'nipping at the heels' of the top end Radeon VII.
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copyright 2019 Rob Art Morgan
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