eGPU Performance

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Apple2GS, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Apple2GS macrumors member

    Apple2GS

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    #1
    I'm considering adding a eGPU to my MacMini. I have a 4K monitor and find that the graphics performance to be slow. I'm not talking about gaming but just dragging, scrolling, or maximizing windows. In reading reviews, its not clear if the Mac will use the eGPU for normal UI use.

    Reviews talk about the need to enable app specific use of the eGPU. Is this relevant for a MacMini or only MacBook Pros with a dedicated GPU. if connected to a eGPU I would only want to use the external GPU and turn off the integrated one. Is this possible and does an eGPU help a MacMini with normal UI performance?
     
  2. gymrat2k, Jul 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019

    gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #2
    Which generation of Mac Mini is it? Slow ui might be because of the 4k not being run at 60Hz, more likely at 30Hz. THAT feels horrible. Without the egpu I would choose to lower the resolution so that it ran at 60Hz. Cheapest way to get acceptable performance at ui level.
     
  3. Apple2GS thread starter macrumors member

    Apple2GS

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    #3
    I have the 2018 MacMini. My other computer is a PC without integrated graphics and an RX 590. The UI is much faster on the PC. Im wondering if a eGPU will improve overall UI performance or is a eGPU only for games and certain apps.
     
  4. gymrat2k, Jul 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019

    gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #4
    If connected I believe (caveat emptor) that a EGPU should be able take over all the graphic work from the internal GPU all the time, not just in games. Mac Mini -> EGPU -> External display. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

    I've got the simplest MBP 15 inch from Mid 2015 with Intel Iris Pro and the UI is feels reasonably fast and responsible on a 4K display, though not "overpoweringly" so. Not everything is as smooth as it can be.

    Latest generation Mac Mini has Intel UHD Graphics 630 and support for the following combination of maximum concurrent display setups:
    • Up to three displays:
      Two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
    • Up to two displays:
      One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
    Could you have a display cable not up to the current standard? https://turbofuture.com/computers/do-i-need-hdmi-cable-4k-hdmi-20-guide
     
  5. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #5
    i also have a very similar question. I am wondering if I'm just looking for general display performance (UI) improvement, can I just connect the egpu to the mac mini 2018 directly? (monitor not going through the egpu)
     
  6. gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #6
    How bad do you feel that the 4K performance on an 2018 Mac Mini is to try to solve it with an EGPU?

    For me it's ok as long as the mouse pointer is smooth, since that's used much more frequently.
    If the resizing, dragging, or maximizing of windows isn't 60 FPS it's less of an issue.

    Iris Pro Graphics 5200 (MacBook Pro 2015) vs UHD Graphics 630 (Mac Mini 2018)
    https://technical.city/en/video/Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200-vs-UHD-Graphics-630

    Intel Core i3-8100 (Mac Mini 2018) vs i7-4770HQ (MacBook Pro 2015)
    https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-4770HQ-vs-Intel-Core-i3-8100/m18784vs3942
    http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/209/Intel_Core_i3_i3-8100_vs_Intel_Core_i7_Mobile_i7-4770HQ.html
     
  7. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #7
    everything else works flawlessly, except for photoshop. I work with 200 - 500MB files. It isn't smooth in this program, especially when dealing with brushes. (brush cursor often disappear)
    This appeared after i upgraded my monitor and I am assuming that the internal gpu is now taxed to run a 5k monitor as well as needing to display an image heavy program?

    would an egpu help with my photoshop display performance issues?
     
  8. gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #8
    That would be the logical conclusion, yes.

    But the subscription Photoshop CC nowadays automatically updates itself and it could also be a temporary bug. Check forums.adobe.com if anyone else has this problem. A quick search showed many with that question there.

    From: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204349
    An integrated GPU provides effective graphics support and shares video memory with the main system.

    If your Mac Mini have 8 GB of system memory, and it worked fine with a normal monitor, but with all 14,7 miljon pixels of a 5K monitor it lags in certain situations it could be the added stress of "low memory". Time for an upgrade – do you have 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB RAM?
     
  9. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #9
    thanks for responding. i have 32GBs and Im assuming that should be plenty to run the display, as everything else works fine. I will have a look on the adobe forum. hopefully this is just a bug and nothing else. as, the macmini runs great everywhere else....
     
  10. gymrat2k, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019

    gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #10
    32 GB should be enough for a lot of layers, heavy images and advanced brushes.

    Barefeats.com has done many comparisons and have the following articles about Mac Mini 2018 with EGPU:

    Why the 2018 Mac mini really needs an eGPU
    https://barefeats.com/mac-mini-needs-egpu.html
    The weakest subsystem in the newest Mac mini is the GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630. See what adding various models of eGPU and GPU will do for its graphics performance.

    Can the 2018 Mac mini with an eGPU compete with the "Big Dogs" running Pro Apps?
    https://barefeats.com/mac-mini-versus-pro-macs.html
    After we published results for a 2018 Mac mini with an eGPU box, the question was raised, "Is it now on par with an upgraded Mac Pro tower or a low-end iMac Pro -- running Pro Apps?" We have an answer.

    Do Pro Apps Run Faster on the 2018 Mac mini with an eGPU?
    https://barefeats.com/mac-mini-needs-egpu-pro-apps.html
    The previous article used GPU intensive benchmarks and games to highlight the benefits of adding an eGPU to the 2018 Mac mini. Today we show how it may or may not improve the performance of pro apps.

    2018 Mac mini versus other Macs
    https://barefeats.com/mac-mini-2018-versus-other-macs.html
    As expected, the performance of the Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU was disappointing. The Mac mini 'screams' for an eGPU. We used the AKiTiO Node Pro with the AMD Radeon Vega Frontier installed to illustrate the gains possible if you are running GPU intensive apps.
     
  11. oppastopa macrumors newbie

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    May 25, 2019
    #11
    For best performance with LG ultrafine 5k how do you go about?

    Monitor — to eGPU — to Mac mini
    or
    Monitor and eGPU both plugged into mac mini?
     
  12. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #12
    Thank you, @gymrat2k for those threads.

    @oppastopa based on this test: https://barefeats.com/mac-mini-needs-egpu-pro-apps.html it seems that an indirect connection (monitor & egpu both connected to mini) works fine. though, they didn't test any adobe softwares.

    Also, it appears that the only easy direct egpu connection with the ultrafines are with the $$$ blackmagic...

    i have been searching the internet on indirect performances as well, however there are barely any. Most discussions it seems were also 1.5+ years old. And with the recent updates of the macOS, it seems that egpu is better supported and I have a feeling those information may no longer be accurate.

    let me know if you find any new info. in the mean time, im gonna do a lot more tests with my photoshop settings. HOPING that this is a photoshop bug.
     
  13. Hessel89 macrumors regular

    Hessel89

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    #13
    The 2018 is perfectly capable of running 4k smoothly. (Source: I run both a 5K and a 4K monitor side by side) Have you checked if your monitor and cable support HDMI 2.0? Earlier versions of HDMI only support 4K at 30 hz.
     
  14. gymrat2k macrumors member

    gymrat2k

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    #14
    Excellent, real world experience trumps my googling.
     
  15. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #15
    reporting back on my mac mini 2018 with an egpu.
    to recap, i have an LG 5k monitor and i have been finding that my photoshop performance has been inadequate, especially when using the brush tool. I thought the 5k monitor is taxing the mac mini internal gpu too much.

    after a lot of research, i decided to purchase an egpu (with an RX 850 card) and used it indirectly with my mac mini.
    surprisingly, i've found that the performance improvement was only minimal.
    photoshop does respond slightly faster though my brush issue is still present at times.

    i will be returning the egpu, since these things aren't cheap and I found that the improvement wasn't enough.
     
  16. Hessel89 macrumors regular

    Hessel89

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    #16
    what do you mean with ''indirectly?'' Are you using the eGPU in between the Mac Mini and the monitor?
     
  17. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

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    #17
    There are quite a few people on here with recent Mac Minis who reported having no problems with 4K monitors. I only remember their posts because I expected them to have serious lag and was surprised when people reported none.

    I had the initial BlackMagic eGPU briefly when it came out, but it did very little for me in the areas where I needed it. It's really hard to predict where that eGPU will and won't help and even when it does help, it's nowhere near the same performance as you'd get if you actually had the same card installed onboard.
     
  18. Hessel89 macrumors regular

    Hessel89

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    #18
    That's a shame. You don't happen to know if it boosts graphical performance on an app called ''thinkorswim'' or do you?
     
  19. Andrew7724 macrumors member

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    Jan 17, 2006
    #19
    hey hessel89, (indirect means) it is not in between the 2 machines, as only the black magic can do that while driving the LG ultrafine 5k. : S
    though i am doubting that the black magic was going to make a big difference in photoshop performance.
     
  20. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

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    #20
    Afraid not. BTW, I don't have a Mini either. I paired a 2016 MBP with the eGPU. Because I wasn't too impressed with my first experience with an eGPU, I upgraded to a 2018 MBP with a Vega 20.

    I expected the Minis to struggle more because they don't have a dGPU, but perhaps the iGPUs in them have some decent muscle power. Among the MBP line, the iGPUs in the MBP 13" laptops actually outperform the iGPUs in the 15" laptops. The machines without dGPUs are getting more powerful iGPUs than their better equipped counterparts.
     

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19 July 15, 2019