External GPU (eGPU) Resources

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by F-Train, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. F-Train, Nov 22, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #176
    It's not clear to me whether you are saying something different from what post #142 and #143 say about how to connect the components: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/external-gpu-egpu-resources.2154653/page-6#post-26827251

    The order in those posts is working for @rmdeluca and for me.

    That order is:

    1. Thunderbolt cable from Mac mini to Asus housing; and

    2. Display Port, HDMI or DVI cable from the GPU itself in the Asus housing to the monitor.
     
  2. apolloa, Nov 22, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

    apolloa macrumors G5

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    #177
  3. F-Train, Nov 22, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #178
    Update: See post #186.

    I just received an e-mail from Asus Support that reads in part:

    [your query] has been escalated. A representative will be in contact with you shortly.​

    This follows yesterday's 21 November e-mail stating:

    I have informed our engineers of your request. A representative will be in contact with you within 24-48 hours.​

    And this e-mail on 19 November:

    Thank you for the response I had your case sent over to our engineering team and we are just waiting for a response.
    And this e-mail on 17 November:

    I am really sorry to hear about this problem that you are having with getting the specification for your XG Station Pro. I will do my best to have this resolved for you.

    However currently I not seeing this information, what I will do is to have your information look into by our engineering team so that we can have a better response to provide you with ok.
    With luck, we are getting close to an answer.
     
  4. Coyote2006, Nov 22, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

    Coyote2006 macrumors regular

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    #179
    Ah thanks, I see. I've just expected to have a Mac-T3-eGPU-T3-Monitor connection, not DVI/HDMI/DP.

    Is DVI/HDMI/DP fast enough to run a 5K monitor?
     
  5. rmdeluca macrumors 6502

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    #180
    DP is. In fact, even TB connections to TB monitors are using DP links to carry the video.
     
  6. F-Train, Nov 22, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #181
    Pretty close. The Blackmagic eGPU costs US$700. Through Saturday, Newegg is offering the Vega 56 for $340. The Asus housing is $330.

    On the face of it, it doesn't make a lot of sense that Asus says that its housing supports Vega under Windows, that Apple now supports Vega under Mac OS, but that the Asus housing wouldn't now support Vega for Mac OS.

    I'll post what Asus tells me about Vega 56/64 support as soon as I hear, but I don't know if I'll hear tomorrow, and I don't know how clear its response will be.
     
  7. F-Train, Nov 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #182
    UPDATE: As of December 14, 2018, Compressor will not use an external GPU. This explains the result of this test.

    I did the test discussed in post #147 again, this time using the new 64-bit Compressor both times.

    The test involves using an i5 mini with 8GB of RAM and Compressor to convert this Samsung 4K promotional video from H.264 to H.265. The video is 637.5MB and runs 02:38 minutes:



    First, I did the conversion using the mini's internal GPU, and then I did it using AMD's RX 590 GPU in Asus's XG Station Pro housing.

    Both times the file reduced in size by 427.6MB. With the internal GPU, it took 02:02, and with the RX 590, it took 02:01.

    In other words, the RX 590 did not make a difference in this test.

    On the upside, the new Compressor appears to be significantly more efficient at this kind of task than it has been in the past.

    I'm exchanging my i5 mini for an i7 today, so I won't be able to do more tests until the new computer arrives in about a week.

    At that time, I'll be interested to learn whether the i7 is faster at this task than the i5. Because the new computer will arrive with 8GB of RAM, and I'll be changing that out for 32GB, I'll also be able to test whether 32GB of RAM vs 8GB makes a difference.
     
  8. Coyote2006 macrumors regular

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    #183
    Dual eGPUs also seem to work nicely (for supported software):

    I just wonder how the MacPro will be built. I'd personally like the idea of having a quite MacPro with a Vega 20/56/64 on board (like the iMacPro) instead of a big case with a PCI GPU. If it's that easy to speed up (eGPU supported) software with just adding one or multiple eGPUs then an eGPU concept would be a good choice. Choose 1 or 2 CPUs, 4 RAM and 2 flash slots would give a perfect machine.
     
  9. mac_4eva macrumors member

    mac_4eva

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    #184
    Ah, I just jumped the gun as I was reading through the thread. Thank you for the note.
     
  10. nampramos macrumors 6502

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    #185
    So still no official answer from Asus regarding Vega 56 compatibility on Mac and no one went ahead and tried it themselves either? :D
     
  11. F-Train, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #186
    I have just received a substantive response from Asus Support. It looks like the the XG Station Pro web site has simply not caught up with Apple's support for Vega. Boldface added:

    Thanks again for reaching out to ASUS Corporate Customer Care, my name is Nackay and it is my pleasure to provide you with further assistance.

    Our technicians indicated that the ASUS XG Station Pro will support Vega 56 and or 64 on Apple OS. The following link was also provided:

    Introducing the XG Station Pro: the Thunderbolt 3 external graphics dock turns professional
    https://edgeup.asus.com/2018/introd...-3-external-graphics-dock-turns-professional/

    Thank you for the opportunity to address this matter with you. We value you as an important ASUS customer and we want to ensure your experience with us is fulfilling.

    If you have any other questions, comments or concerns please feel free to reach out to us again. Thanks for choosing ASUS Products and Services.

    Best Regards,

    Nackay S.

    ASUS Corporate Customer Care​
     
  12. nampramos macrumors 6502

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    #187
    That's great news, thank you!

    So it will support even the Vega 64 out of the box or is that with the 2 * AC trick?
     
  13. F-Train, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #188
    Ha!

    It has taken me since 15 November to get a clear answer from Asus Support to the basic question. I did tell them that guidance on power, if the answer was "yes", would be helpful. They haven't provided that guidance, and I am not inclined to spend another two weeks trying to get it :)

    I think that @rmdeluca's post #83 is a good starting point on the question of power, and that this egpu.io article is also worth reading: https://egpu.io/asus-xg-station-pro-review-cool-calm-collected/
    --- Post Merged, Nov 27, 2018 ---
    I have sent the following e-mail to Nackay at Asus Support:

    Thanks Nackay,

    This is good news, and I have just published your e-mail on the MacRumors web site: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/external-gpu-egpu-resources.2154653/page-8#post-26849154

    It would be a good idea for Asus to change what it says on the XG Station Pro web site. It looks like the web site was written before Apple started to support Vega.

    Thanks again,​
     
  14. F-Train, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #189
    Here are the launch dates and original prices for the AMD 8GB GPUs. Maybe worth keeping these prices in mind when buying. There's already an attempt going on on Amazon U.S. to sell the new RX 590 for US$320, which is $40/15% more than I paid for it at launch a mere 12 days ago.

    RX 580
    18 April 2017 $230

    RX Vega 56
    14 August 2017 $400

    RX Vega 64
    14 August 2017 $500

    RX 590
    15 November 2018 $280

    Also, note that Newegg appears to have a much more restrictive policy than Amazon on return of GPUs.
     
  15. nampramos macrumors 6502

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  16. F-Train, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #191
    A comment about the Asus housing and the Blackmagic housing...

    The important thing about the e-mail from Asus Support (post #186) is that one can purchase the XG Station Pro housing knowing that one can use it with the Vega 56 GPU. I'd want to do some careful calculations before using it with the Vega 64, but I'm wary of the 64 anyway for reasons of heat and noise, and I'm not convinced that I even have a use case for it.

    I like the build quality, small footprint and looks of the Asus housing, and especially that the power supply is separate from the housing and that it comes with a 1.5m/5' Thunderbolt 3 cable.

    The main argument for the Blackmagic is that it is allegedly markedly quieter than other enclosures. I can't speak for the OWC, Razer or Sonnet enclosures, but having used the Asus with an RX 590, I think that in the case of the Asus this is just sales talk with no basis in reality.

    At the same time, the Blackmagic has a clear weakness; namely, that one can't change out the GPU, whether to the new RX 590, a Vega, a GPU from the upcoming AMD Navi series, or a Nvidia GPU when, and if, Apple and Nvidia bury the hatchet.

    The price of the Blackmagic may have been understandable when it was released, but with prices for GPUs coming back to earth I can't imagine forking out US$700 for it.
     
  17. Bartjes macrumors newbie

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    #192
    I switched from a 2010 Mac Pro with 5 hd, 8 usb-3 ports and sapphire rx 580 gpu inside, to a small and beautiful Mac Mini 2018 that i can stuck away in the corner of my desk. Of course i bought a hugh but very silent Breakaway Box and a big but silent Terramaster unit for the 5 hd. eGPU is working well and so do the hd. But these devices put together take up as much space as my old Mac Pro did.
     
  18. crhendo macrumors member

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #193
    Potential Cable Problems?

    Throughout the forum I have noticed that different terminology is used for describing the cable that goes from the thunderbolt 3 port on the Mac Mini to the eGPU "box". Some say "usb-c cable", some say "1.5M Thunderbolt cable" and some say "Thunderbolt 3 cable" etc.

    While I have never tried connecting a plain old USB-C cable to my eGPU, I'm inclined to believe that it simply wouldn't work. I have also discovered that for any Thunderbolt 3 cables over .5M, some are only capable of running at 20Gbps and you need to specifically look for a certified for 40Gbps cable to guarantee the throughput.

    Maybe this could be one of the reasons that some of us are achieving different results?

    Just a thought........
     
  19. rmdeluca macrumors 6502

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    Oct 30, 2018
    #194
    The maximum a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 cable can currently support is 10Gb/s for lengths up to 1m.

    A passive Thunderbolt 3 cable can do 40Gb/s for lengths up to 0.5m.

    An active Thunderbolt 3 cable can do 40Gb/s for lengths of at least 1.5m.

    Both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C share the same connector at the end of the cable, hence why some people confuse them. But they are decidedly different technologies.
     
  20. F-Train, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018

    F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #195
    As I understand it, it comes down to this...

    You need a Thunderbolt 3 cable to make an external GPU work.

    With one exception, all of the housings come with a .5m/20" passive cable. This cable runs between the housing and the mini.

    The exception is the Asus, which comes with a 1.5m/5' active cable.

    Given that all of the housings come with a Thunderbolt 3 cable, I don't know how cabling could lead to different results, unless one is connecting one's monitor cable to a port on the housing instead of a port on the GPU itself and/or are seeing differences in result between a DisplayPort cable and an HDMI cable.

    To the extent that people have had problems getting an external GPU to work, it appears to have had to do with issues, such as FileVault, that have nothing to do with cables.
     
  21. Chiromac81 macrumors regular

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    Ontario Canada
    #196
    Is an external GPU needed for things like watching you tube videos or internet videos or watching your own 4K videos from iPhone without stuttering-things like that? Also would it affect streaming the stored videos on hard drive to Apple TV? Or is internal ram on mini good enough to do these tasks without issue thanks
     
  22. F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #197
    For your situation, you aren't going to need an external GPU. It's a complete non-issue.
     
  23. Chiromac81 macrumors regular

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    #198
    Thank you so much. What about if I have a big monitor like a 32 inch and it isn’t scaling properly but I want to maximize it-is that what I would need a eGPU for then?
     
  24. Meatsuit macrumors newbie

    Meatsuit

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    #199
    Have a 2018 MM i7,32,500 with the OWC Helios FX W/RX580. Connected with a OWC 3 foot thunderbolt cable. Put the card in it. Hooked it up with a fast Hdmi and it works fine. Changed the cable to a DP 1.4 cable also works fine. No issues with start up screen. Running on a LG 34 Ultra Wide and worked on my LG 55 4K TV with the fast HDMI also.
    Plan on updating to a Vega 64 once the manufacturers get up to speed with Metal. Or Mac Embeds move native drivers. Think the Helios Fx should handle it. Felt there was to much Mac Tax associated with the Black Magic and the delayed release made go with the FX box.
    Here are a few benchmarks

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.10.01 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.14.13 PM.png
     
  25. F-Train thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #200
    Great to see more input on the OWC Helios/RX 580 combination. @NerdsLTD also went with the Helios, and, like you, is happy with its performance (see post #150).
     

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