Are any of the new iMac graphic card options suitable for VR?

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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I’d think Vega 48 would be iffy, but we don’t have the performance figures yet. I estimate it’s somewhere between a GTX 1660 and a GTX 1070. So maybe lower end VR stuff. Haven’t done much with VR myself but it takes a lot of FPS to not get sick and you have to output two views at decent resolution or it will look like garbage. I’d guess this is near the bottom of the barrel for VR but will run most newer normal games at 1440p around 60fps with moderately high settings in Windows.
 
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Minxy

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2012
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Thanks, Macduke. I can't believe that their top-end GPU is still likely too underpowered to handle VR. That's incredibly disappointing, especially at that price. Shoot.

Maybe get a Mac Mini + Razor Core X eGPU enclosure + AMD Radeon VII? It's not an all-in-one but at least you can upgrade the Mac and graphics card separately when you need to and you can have a Windows 10 install for greater range of VR games.
 

Whackintosh

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Original poster
Mar 8, 2009
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Now that both cards have been used for a few weeks, has anyone tried VR "playback" on Vega? All the reviews I've seen that talk about the 48 have focused on gaming or video editing.
 

Benz63amg

macrumors 68040
Oct 17, 2010
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The Vega is not capable of high end VR rendering performance and that’s the top end available graphic card right now for the iMacs so forget about it.

VR tech is surely advancing so sooner or later the iMacs will need to be equipped with far more capable graphic cards.
 
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Whackintosh

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 8, 2009
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The Vega is not capable of high end VR rendering performance and that’s the top end available graphic card right now for the iMacs so forget about it.

VR tech is surely advancing so sooner or later the iMacs will need to be equipped with far more capable graphic cards.
Good to know. So basically, it would likely make the most sense not to bother with the Vega and wait for the availability of a more powerful EGPU down the road?
 

Benz63amg

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Oct 17, 2010
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Good to know. So basically, it would likely make the most sense not to bother with the Vega and wait for the availability of a more powerful EGPU down the road?
Exactly, as far as VR is concerned which requires serious graphic power, None of the currently available graphic cards that are offered in the iMacs are capable of providing any sort of solid performance for a high end VR Experience, I personally have the 580x in my 2019 27 inch iMac.

Once Vr goes more mainstream perhaps we’ll start seeing some much more powerful graphic cards being built in to these computers.
 

Minxy

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2012
179
184
The Vega is not capable of high end VR rendering performance and that’s the top end available graphic card right now for the iMacs so forget about it.

VR tech is surely advancing so sooner or later the iMacs will need to be equipped with far more capable graphic cards.
Good to know. So basically, it would likely make the most sense not to bother with the Vega and wait for the availability of a more powerful EGPU down the road?
The best graphics card option you can select with the new iMacs is the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48, a more modest GPU is the AMD Radeon Pro 580x - they can both be used for VR. AMD state that these are both 'VR Ready Premium' cards https://www.amd.com/en/technologies/vr-ready-premium.

The most selection of games is when running Windows in Bootcamp mode, although the Vega 48 is definitely better. If you go to Steam and have a look at the recommended system requirements for a VR game you can view for yourself exactly what graphic card is required or recommended for each VR game.

Skyrim VR is an older title but list a Radeon Pro 580x as recommended graphics card https://store.steampowered.com/app/611670/The_Elder_Scrolls_V_Skyrim_VR/.

Less graphical intensive games like Job Simulator only requires an AMD Radeon R9 290 an https://store.steampowered.com/app/448280/Job_Simulator/.

Metro Exodus is a recent open world game that is graphically impressive its recommended graphics card is the AMD RX VEGA 56. https://store.steampowered.com/app/412020/Metro_Exodus/


Things to bear in mind; both cards should be suitable for the variety of less graphics intensive VR 'experiences.' The Vega 56 is the option if you want to run the new 3D worlds. An eGPU is not officially supported with Bootcamp, although there are some multi-step workarounds.
 

Benz63amg

macrumors 68040
Oct 17, 2010
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The best graphics card option you can select with the new iMacs is the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48, a more modest GPU is the AMD Radeon Pro 580x - they can both be used for VR. AMD state that these are both 'VR Ready Premium' cards https://www.amd.com/en/technologies/vr-ready-premium.

The most selection of games is when running Windows in Bootcamp mode, although the Vega 48 is definitely better. If you go to Steam and have a look at the recommended system requirements for a VR game you can view for yourself exactly what graphic card is required or recommended for each VR game.

Skyrim VR is an older title but list a Radeon Pro 580x as recommended graphics card https://store.steampowered.com/app/611670/The_Elder_Scrolls_V_Skyrim_VR/.

Less graphical intensive games like Job Simulator only requires an AMD Radeon R9 290 an https://store.steampowered.com/app/448280/Job_Simulator/.

Metro Exodus is a recent open world game that is graphically impressive its recommended graphics card is the AMD RX VEGA 56. https://store.steampowered.com/app/412020/Metro_Exodus/


Things to bear in mind; both cards should be suitable for the variety of less graphics intensive VR 'experiences.' The Vega 56 is the option if you want to run the new 3D worlds. An eGPU is not officially supported with Bootcamp, although there are some multi-step workarounds.
I have to disagree with you immensely, AMD claiming the 580x and Vega to be capable of VR is nothing short of marketing tricks. The two graphic cards can’t run high end computer games at maxed out settings at 60fps so how in the world are they supposed to deliver a high end VR Experience. They simply can’t. These cards are capable of mediocre VR experiences at best.
 

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
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Good to know. So basically, it would likely make the most sense not to bother with the Vega and wait for the availability of a more powerful EGPU down the road?
About two years ago, I had the HTC VR goggles on my single-hex Mac Pro 5.1. At that time I had a NVIDIA 980Ti with a Mac EFI Rom and a USB 3.1 card. The NVIDIA Test Tool gave me fullest approval for my setup. Every VR game run excellent under Win7. The lessons learned from this was, - Always put the biggest GPU in the Mac you can muster. Till this day most macs are gpu gimped.
Zooming forward to 2019, I desolved my Boot Camp-Hybrid System and replaced the old 980Ti with the Vega 64 Limited Edition to have even more extra punch and 2 more GB Video ram plus Mojave.
My Vega64 is about equal to a NVIDIA 2070 or a pimped 1080Ti card. Putting your Vega 48 in perspective, I would assume an equal gpu power like my old 980Ti - which means you can run VR on your iMac with vega48 if it had windows 7/8 on a bootcamp Partition with maybe medium quality. Your dilemma starts with the illusion that an eGPU is equal in power like an internal dedicated gpu, which is of course NOT true. As it is right now according to numerous tests, every eGPU has a serious 20 - 30% Performance reduction compared to its same internal card. This means a External Vega 64 or even Vega7 will almost fall down to a Vega 48 internal level performance. Be careful with that eGPU trap. In my opinion only relevant if performance differences are large enough. Therefor consider an eGPU not before 2022 on current iMac generation as a useful booster.

 

Koudspeel

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2013
145
150
Perhaps the Vega 64X in the iMac Pro would suffice. Although there are no benchmarks yet to be found.
 

AppleFan360

macrumors 68020
Jan 26, 2008
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689
I have 3 VR machines with 1080 and 2080 GPU's. I also have the 2019 iMac with the 580x. To say that the 580x or the Vega will not work with VR is false. I have been using VR for years now. Both graphics cards in the current 2019 macs can handle VR. Not necessarily high end graphics, but they will still work. They have plenty of horse power to handle it. You just need to make sure that you have at least an i7 processor to get decent frame rates.
 

Benz63amg

macrumors 68040
Oct 17, 2010
3,259
505
I have 3 VR machines with 1080 and 2080 GPU's. I also have the 2019 iMac with the 580x. To say that the 580x or the Vega will not work with VR is false. I have been using VR for years now. Both graphics cards in the current 2019 macs can handle VR. Not necessarily high end graphics, but they will still work. They have plenty of horse power to handle it. You just need to make sure that you have at least an i7 processor to get decent frame rates.
I highly doubt your statment, no one said it wasn’t capable of Basic VR apps however they are not capable of any high end VR Experience at 60 frames per second. The six core i5 is more than enough but that isn’t the bottleneck, it would be the graphic card that is incapable. The 580x (which I have in my 2019 iMac) and vega can’t handle a modern game with A consistent 60 frames per second with all the game settings maxed out so how in the world do you say it can provide a high end VR experience.
 

AppleFan360

macrumors 68020
Jan 26, 2008
2,197
689
I highly doubt your statment, no one said it wasn’t capable of Basic VR apps however they are not capable of any high end VR Experience at 60 frames per second. The six core i5 is more than enough but that isn’t the bottleneck, it would be the graphic card that is incapable. The 580x (which I have in my 2019 iMac) and vega can’t handle a modern game with A consistent 60 frames per second with all the game settings maxed out so how in the world do you say it can provide a high end VR experience.
I didn't say it can do high end VR. I said it can handle VR. High end VR takes a lot of horse power. Even my 1080 and i5 struggled with all the settings maxed out on my Windows machine. When I changed out the processor to an i7, it made a huge difference it frame rates. The GPU while vital does not take the full load of everything that VR needs to work well. Personally I would not buy a Mac to do VR simply because its behind the times but to say the 2019 iMac won't do it or can't handle it is wrong.
 

Zdigital2015

macrumors 68030
Jul 14, 2015
2,609
3,137
East Coast, United States
I highly doubt your statment, no one said it wasn’t capable of Basic VR apps however they are not capable of any high end VR Experience at 60 frames per second. The six core i5 is more than enough but that isn’t the bottleneck, it would be the graphic card that is incapable. The 580x (which I have in my 2019 iMac) and vega can’t handle a modern game with A consistent 60 frames per second with all the game settings maxed out so how in the world do you say it can provide a high end VR experience.
There are plenty of VR guides that do not call for the sort of high end GPUs that you are insisting are needed to experience VR. I think 60fps is achievable with both the 580X and the Vega 48, but maybe not with all game settings maxed out. I think @AppleFan360 is probably correct in that perhaps a Mac is not that best choice for a VR workstation, although the 2019 iMac can handle it, albeit with a higher cost and less flexibility than a Windows PC.

- http://www.logicalincrements.com/articles/vrguide
- https://www.newegg.com/vr/guides/how-to-build-a-budget-vr-ready-pc.html
- https://www.oculus.com/rift-s/#rift-s-pc-requirements
- https://techguided.com/vr-ready-pc-builds/

As for VR going mainstream - well, it seems like every year since 2016 (Oculus Rift) is going to be the one that VR goes mainstream, and it still hasn't progressed beyond a niche market.
 
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