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2015 Macbook *Air* + EGPU for video editing

Texacal1

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 15, 2019
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Hey Guys,

Brand new to the community so go easy on me if this has already been discussed :) I couldn't find any old posts on this.

I can't afford the new macbook and was hoping to use my old 2015 Air i5 (8gb RAM) for video editing with an external GPU that works with Mac, running FCP.

If anyone has any experience or notorious bottleneck guidance, please let me know!
 

ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
1,286
982
Hey Guys,

Brand new to the community so go easy on me if this has already been discussed :) I couldn't find any old posts on this.

I can't afford the new macbook and was hoping to use my old 2015 Air i5 (8gb RAM) for video editing with an external GPU that works with Mac, running FCP.

If anyone has any experience or notorious bottleneck guidance, please let me know!

I think you would notice an improvement, albeit a marginal one.

The CPUs are slow on the Airs, but the graphics are even slower.

You could find out for sure if you export a test project from Final Cut and open Activity Monitor and hit CMD + 3 and CMD + 4 with activity monitor (graphs should appear that show CPU usage and GPU usage).

Which graph is full?
 
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smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
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I can't afford the new macbook and was hoping to use my old 2015 Air i5 (8gb RAM) for video editing with an external GPU that works with Mac, running FCP.

Whatever you do, plan on trialing your new eGPU rigorously during the return window. They're notorious for being less impressive than people expected and that often has much to do with the way the software does and doesn't utilize them. Most of the benchmarking that I've seen with the various eGPUs used a 13" or 15" MBP so I have no idea how those results would apply to a MacBook Air.

If my memory serves me correctly, FCP saw minimal gains for timeline edits because those aren't GPU limited (on a MBP). If you're hoping for faster editing be aware of this. Also be aware that the boost you get from an eGPU is significantly lower than you would get with the same GPU onboard.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
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If my memory serves me correctly, FCP saw minimal gains for timeline edits because those aren't GPU limited (on a MBP). If you're hoping for faster editing be aware of this. Also be aware that the boost you get from an eGPU is significantly lower than you would get with the same GPU onboard.

I’ve actually made a video that captures the marginal improvements:
macOS eGPU | AMD RX 580 vs Vega 56 Benchmarks | macOS Catalina [Beta 2]
 
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smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
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I’ve actually made a video that captures the marginal improvements

Very nice video. Your voiceover skills are up there. Do you know anything about the effect the GPU has or doesn't have on timeline editing. I saw another video in which the Tuber said that timeline edits rely so heavily on cached files and are already so heavily optimized that GPUs have only the teeniest effect on performance.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
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982
Do you know anything about the effect the GPU has or doesn't have on timeline editing. I saw another video in which the Tuber said that timeline edits rely so heavily on cached files and are already so heavily optimized that GPUs have only the teeniest effect on performance.

I’ve noticed a pretty significant improvement, especially with heavier loads like 4K video. I’m not sure whether that’s due to the eGPU directly handling timeline edits though (or whether it’s because the eGPU handles other tasks in the background which frees up resources to make the timeline better)
 
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