December 21st, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
The new MacBook Air has many uses but we observed it struggling to run games at low resolution and moderate settings. So we ran some tests adding an eGPU with a "real" graphics card.
(screenshot from DIRT Rally)
eGPU Radeon RX 580 = 2018 MacBook Air + AKiTiO Node with Radeon RX 580 (8G)
eGPU Radeon RX 570 = 2018 MacBook Air + Sonnet Puck with Radeon RX 570 (4G)
UHD Graphics 617 = 2018 MacBook Air using only the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 617
RISE OF TOMB RAIDER
A Metal based game, we used the built-in 3 phase benchmark at 1440X900 Medium preset. (HIGHER the Frames per Second means FASTER)
Using the built-in Benchmark mode, we selected Medium preset at 1440X900 Fullscreen, disabled Vsync, and disabled MSAA. (HIGHER the Frames per Second means FASTER)
GFXBENCH - AZTEC RUINS NORMAL
Aztec Ruins Normal OFFscreen 1920x1080. (HIGHER the Frames per Second means FASTER)
GFXBENCH - CAR CHASE
Car Chase Normal OFFscreen 1920x1080. (HIGHER the Frames per Second means FASTER)
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Sure enough the eGPUs gave the 2018 MacBook Air a substantial boost in frame rates. Gaming with just the factory integrated GPU is painfully slow.
An eGPU is not something you can toss in your backpack but it is a welcome addition to your home setup when it's time to enjoy running your favorite games. It will also boost your performance when running GPU intensive pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Motion as we will illustrate in a future article.
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