2018 MacBook Pro 13-inch with eGPU versus other Macs
September 7th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
If you add an eGPU Box to a 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro, will it bring the graphics performance even with the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro?
2017 iMac Pro 8c Vega64 - 2017 iMac Pro 3.2GHz 8-Core Xeon W-2140B, 32G of RAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU
2018 15in 2.9GHz 6c eGPU = 2018 15in MacBook Pro 2.9GHz 6-core i9, 16G RAM, Sonnet Breakaway 650W + Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU to Dell 5K display
2018 15in 2.2GHz 6c eGPU = 2018 15in MacBook Pro 2.2GHz 6-core i7, 16G RAM, Sonnet Breakaway 650W + Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU to Dell 5K display
2018 13in 2.7GHz 4c eGPU = 2018 13in MacBook Pro 2.7GHz 4-core i7, 16G RAM, Sonnet Breakaway 650W + Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU to Dell 5K display
2018 15in 2.9GHz 6c 560X = 2018 15in MacBook Pro 2.9GHz 6-core i9, 16G RAM, Radeon Pro 560X GPU
2018 15in 2.2GHz 6c 555X = 2018 15in MacBook Pro 2.2GHz 6-core i7, 16G RAM, Radeon Pro 555X GPU
2018 13in 2.7GHz 4c i655 = 2018 13in MacBook Pro 2.7GHz 4-core i7, 16G RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU
We chose the Basic preset for this OpenGL benchmark. (The HIGHER the Frames per Second, the FASTER the Mac.)
DAVINCI RESOLVE 'NR' LOOPING
Looping playback of 1080p Candle project while rendering one Noise Reduction node on-the-fly. GPU Processing Mode was OpenCL. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
RISE OF TOMB RAIDER
A Metal based game, we used the built-in 3 phase benchmark. Settings were Medium preset at 1920x1200*, Fullscreen. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
(* The iMac Pro and the Dell 5K display can't do 1920x1200 so we used 2048x1152 which is actually 55,296 more pixels to push around. Also, when the MacBook Pro was connected to the eGPU, a Dell 5K display was used as the primary display. )
Using the built-in Benchmark mode, we selected Medium preset at 1920x1200* Fullscreen, disabled Vsync, and disabled MSAA. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)
We rendered the BMW Sample Scene using GPUs set to OpenCL. Notice we did NOT include the MacBook Pros running the factory GPU. Way too slow for this. And you can see that the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the eGPU rendered faster than the iMac Pro! (LOWER the time in SECONDS = FASTER)
Does the 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro get a big boost from an eGPU? YES -- in the case of graphics intensive apps.
As demonstrated above, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition GPU in an eGPU box can supercharge the 13in MacBook Pro, bringing its performance of GPU intensive tasks close to (or faster than) the 15-inch MacBook Pros. It can even rival the iMac Pro (which was sporting the Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU with 16G of VRAM).
THE COST FACTOR
Be prepared to spend $1000 for an eGPU setup like we used.
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