Help! Is the 2016 MBP powerful enough (for VR)?

untitled_folder

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2016
9
7
Hi all. I'm about to buy a new laptop in a few weeks. My problem is this: I've worked as a professional photographer and video producer for years and always had a Macbook Pro. Now I'm getting more and more requests for VR productions, and would need a suitable computer. I can use the Windows PCs in my uni's VR lab, but of course it would be great to own a laptop that's as compatible as possible. So:
  • Is any of the new touch bar MBPs powerful enough for Oculus Rift / HTC Vive?
  • If not, could this be achieved with an eGPU? It seems the problem lies in GPU power.
  • If eGPU would be the way to go, does it matter which MBP version I get?
I know Oculus CEO has already said they're not going to support macs "before Apple releases a good computer" but it's difficult to believe there's no way to make MBP powerful enough. I wouldn't like to leave Apple ecosystem, the apps and workflows only because the MBP doesn't meet some GPU requirement.

Thanks for the help!
 

untitled_folder

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2016
9
7
The GPU in the MBP doesn't meet the minimum Occulus Rift specs. You'll need a gaming laptop for that.
And that's it? I was hoping for some solution like the Bizon eGPU to work :( Well, maybe there's no way around it then..
 

paaj

macrumors member
Oct 27, 2016
54
20
eGPU might work, I think some already do even if unsupported by Apple, and of course it will depend on the quality of the graphics. On the dGPU with lower settings you will still get a feeling for the VR experience, just not full quality.

I think I ran a dev version Oculus with Unity3D on my 2008 MBP (maybe Bootcamp, unsure about the specifics anymore unfortunately). Just a test environment with some cubes, textured planes and basic landscape but it worked.
 

untitled_folder

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2016
9
7
eGPU might work, I think some already do even if unsupported by Apple, and of course it will depend on the quality of the graphics. On the dGPU with lower settings you will still get a feeling for the VR experience, just not full quality.

I ran a dev version Oculus with Unity3D on my 2008 MBP. Just a test environment with some cubes, textured planes and basic landscape but it worked.
Thanks! That's good to know. And yeah, I'm not expecting to get the full quality experience. I just wouldn't like to be totally cut off from the workflow because of owning a mac. If I understood correctly, the new Bizon Box 3 (for MBP 2016 / Thunderbolt 3) supports some GPU cards that should have enough power.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,777
33,722
Boston
At this point in time, it doesn't seem like VR is on Apple's map, maybe they'll have a machine that will be capable, i.e., iMac or Mac Pro, but I doubt if we'll ever see a laptop from apple handle it.

Not for nothing, I'm not sure too many laptops have the specs to drive VR anyways.
 

untitled_folder

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2016
9
7
At this point in time, it doesn't seem like VR is on Apple's map, maybe they'll have a machine that will be capable, i.e., iMac or Mac Pro, but I doubt if we'll ever see a laptop from apple handle it.

Not for nothing, I'm not sure too many laptops have the specs to drive VR anyways.
Good point. And it really depends what you're doing with VR. I had an opportunity to try Nokia OZO, and even though it was connected to a 15" Macbook Pro (previous generation), I was able to use the real-time 3D / 360 degree preview quite well and look around. So maybe macs are not useless, just not powerful enough for every task in VR production workflow.

Still it's a bit :(
 

theitsage

Suspended
Aug 28, 2005
795
860
Apple doesn't abide to anyone's standards or requirements. The 15" MBP with Radeon Pro 460 won't be able to run Oculus Rift in Windows. Even if you manage to run it, you'll experience under-spec warnings and lags.

I've tried Oculus Rift with an RX 480 in a Mac Pro tower. It worked in Windows 10. The Radeon Pro 460 is less than half the performance of that GPU. I'm also in the process of making my RX 470 eGPU to work with a Late 2016 13" MBP. It's been a challenge and the least expensive option is $500.

If you want to get into VR, using a Mac is more hassle than it's worth.

oculus-rift-rx-480-mac-pro.jpg
 

maknik

macrumors regular
May 17, 2006
172
53
It currently won't run VR, but as we discussed here -- https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/new-macbook-pro-and-gaming.2009761/page-11#post-23899063 -- there may be some hope as of a couple weeks ago, when Oculus announced they had lowered the base specs by a factor of 2 (https://developer.oculus.com/blog/asynchronous-spacewarp/):

Oculus is releasing a new technology aimed at reducing system hardware requirements while maintaining content quality across a wider array of hardware. Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) is a frame-rate smoothing technique that almost halves the CPU/GPU time required to produce nearly the same output from the same content....

The hardware requirements for ASW are modest. This functionality has been enabled on all current-generation AMD GPUs (RX 400 series) and previous- or current-generation Nvidia GPUs (GTX 900 or 1000 series).
Various folks have now tested the Radeon Pro 460, and as it shows here http://imgur.com/a/sCQlw and as is said below, it may in fact be quite close to meeting the new minimum specs, if Oculus decides to support it:

Overall 5% difference between RX 460 and Radeon Pro 460, looking at Luxmark scores. I was expecting bigger difference in minus for Radeon Pro 460. That appears to be good news.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,449
2,190
I think everyone has their terms confused here. This guy is a photographer/videographer...my guess is you want to create 360 video? If so that is more than possible, even with current apple notebooks.

When people are talking "VR" they are talking about rendering real time 3d worlds - ie. video games. Which macs have never been good at, so requiring higher frame rates and two displays is just going to make the situation worse.
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
I'll tell you shortly. I have an oculus and a sonnet egpu, will see if I can get the Titan X pascal running off the new MacBook Pro
 
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untitled_folder

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2016
9
7
I think everyone has their terms confused here. This guy is a photographer/videographer...my guess is you want to create 360 video? If so that is more than possible, even with current apple notebooks.

When people are talking "VR" they are talking about rendering real time 3d worlds - ie. video games. Which macs have never been good at, so requiring higher frame rates and two displays is just going to make the situation worse.
Thanks, but not really. I've made some 360 videos already, so that works fine with my current laptop like you said. What I'm looking forward is to start creating "real" VR but also combining video and some functionalities from Unity (spatial audio, menus, etc.). So maybe I'll get the MBP and use the university's machines for 3D stuff.
[doublepost=1479193841][/doublepost]
I'll tell you shortly. I have an oculus and a sonnet egpu, will see if I can get the Titan X pascal running off the new MacBook Pro
Sounds great, thanks!
 
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