Fast and Furious? 2019 MacBook Pro 15-inch with Radeon VII eGPU
June 4th, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
If an eGPU with Radeon VII is added to the 2019 MacBook Pro 15-inch, will it run GPU intensive apps as fast as an iMac Pro?
iMP 3.2 8c VII = 2017 iMac Pro, 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W-2140B processor, 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, eGPU* + Radeon VII GPU (16GB HBM2 memory)
iMP 3.2 8c Vega 64 = 2017 iMac Pro, 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W-2140B processor, 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU (16G HBM2 memory)
rMBP 2.3 8c VII = MacBook Pro 2.3GHz 8-core Intel i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, eGPU* + Radeon VII GPU (16GB HBM2 memory)
rMBP 2.3 8c 560X = MacBook Pro 2.3GHz 8-core Intel i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, Radeon Pro 560X GPU (4GB GDDR5 memory)
* The AKiTiO Node Pro eGPU was used. When running the two games, the Radeon VII provided best results when it was connected directly to the UP2715K Dell display. Both Macs were running macOS Mojave 10.14.5.
The 1440p Aztec Ruins (High Tier) game play simulation was run in Offscreen mode. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II
The built-in "Skaven" benchmark was used with the Metal based game. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
RISE OF TOMB RAIDER
The built-in three phase benchmark was used with this Metal based game. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
DAVINCI RESOLVE 16 (METAL)
Noise Reduction was applied to the Candle Project "Parrot" clip. The effect is rendered on the fly during looping playback. (HIGHER frames per second = FASTER.)
The answer is "YES!" The Radeon VII in an eGPU box gave the 2019 MacBook Pro enough boost to beat the iMac Pro with the same eGPU Radeon VII in 3 out of 4 tests we featured.
REALITY CHECK: If your important apps are CPU heavy and GPU light, adding an eGPU with a Radeon VII will not make your life better. Also some pro apps that lean heavily on the GPU will stubbornly ignore the eGPU. GPU intensive Enhance function in Adobe Lightroom Classic is case in point.
IS IT WORTH IT? The eGPU box plus the GPU in our test case will cost you over $1000. And if you are a gamer who wants maximum FPS, you will want a display connected directly to the GPU. More $$$ if you don't already own one.
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WHERE TO BUY THE AMD RADEON VII:
Order from B&H Photo Video.
WHERE TO BUY eGPUs:
Order the OWC Mercury Helios FX 650 direct from Other World Computing.
Order the AKiTiO Node Pro from Other World Computing.
Order the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box from B&H Photo Video