Do I need or want an eGPU?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by N9JIG, May 12, 2019.

  1. N9JIG macrumors member


    Feb 25, 2019
    SW USA
    I have a 2018 Mac Mini, with 32GB RAM, 3.2 GHz. i7 and the Intel 630 internal GPU. I currently run 3 32inch 2560x1440 60Hz monitors. I am thinking of moving to 4K monitors.

    I have been thinking of an eGPU but I don't know enough about them to see if one would be worth it or not. I am not a gamer, I use the Mac mostly for web browsing, media consumption (Hulu/Netflix/Amazon video) and office work for my WFH job as well as some occasional live video sessions on social media. I run Parallels with Windows 10 for our phone system and some other Windows applications as well.

    Would an eGPU do anything to enhance my experience after I replace my monitors with 4K ones?

    By offloading some of the graphics processing would an eGPU reduce the heat generated by the Mac Mini? (SystemPal typically reports CU temps in the upper 60's C when watching live streams.)
  2. Stephen.R macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2018
    The biggest thing I believe is what resolution you’ll run the 4K displays at.

    If you use the “retina” mode (ie pixel doubled to make the text crisper and appear at a reasonable size) the “efficient” (aka what a mini without egpu can handle) is “looks like 1920x1080”.

    I can barely use this on 24” screens (stuff is too big IMO but I don’t have my egpu yet) on 32” it’d be ridiculous. So unless you intend to run them at true native (ie no pixel doubling) you’ll inevitably want to use something like “looks like 2560x1440” or similar, at which point the mini will struggle to run one, and will be noticeably glitchy with two.
  3. FilmIndustryGuy macrumors regular

    May 12, 2015
    Manhattan Beach, CA
    I have the base mini with 32gb ram hooked up to the LG 4k UltraFine 22 inch. the 4k is real 4k. I love to see clean letters. Everything runs very smooth and instant. Watching anything even 4k stuff is also smooth.

    I bought the Blackmagic eGPU to test my 4k FCPX video edit and Lightroom work but didn't really notice a huge workflow difference other than quicker color grading renders so I returned it.

    Id say you dont need some loud fan eGPU burning up electricity and cluttering your peace. My mini is silent. Id only get the Blackmagic eGPU again if I needed longer and heavier 4k work done since that one is pretty much silent and matches the rest of the space gray stuff on my desk.
  4. frou macrumors 6502


    Mar 14, 2009
    Have the GPU usage meter provided by Activity Monitor shown (Window > GPU History) and see how close it is to being maxed out while doing your typical stuff.

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