Mac Mini and Vega 64 eGPU

Do365

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
7
0
Hi there, I'm thinking about buy the new Mac Mini with this configuration:

Core i7
8 GB RAM (upgraded to 64GB later with third-party)
512 GB SSD

And add the following eGPU:

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 W
Asus Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2

For a price of about USD 3,800

I wanted to buy a MacBook Pro 15 but I use my Mac at desktop and I think MBP are very expensive and do not offer me 64GB RAM and a not so powerful GPU.

What do you think of this configuration? Shoulf I wait for Mac Pro instead?

Your opinions are much appreciated. Many thanks!
 

PJivan

macrumors 6502
Aug 19, 2015
456
431
Hi there, I'm thinking about buy the new Mac Mini with this configuration:

Core i7
8 GB RAM (upgraded to 64GB later with third-party)
512 GB SSD

And add the following eGPU:

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 W
Asus Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2

For a price of about USD 3,800

I wanted to buy a MacBook Pro 15 but I use my Mac at desktop and I think MBP are very expensive and do not offer me 64GB RAM and a not so powerful GPU.

What do you think of this configuration? Shoulf I wait for Mac Pro instead?

Your opinions are much appreciated. Many thanks!
Mac pro will probably go for xeon processors and ECC memory, therefore super expensive.
 
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head honcho 123

macrumors 6502
Dec 18, 2008
452
12
New York
Hi there, I'm thinking about buy the new Mac Mini with this configuration:

Core i7
8 GB RAM (upgraded to 64GB later with third-party)
512 GB SSD

And add the following eGPU:

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 W
Asus Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2

For a price of about USD 3,800

I wanted to buy a MacBook Pro 15 but I use my Mac at desktop and I think MBP are very expensive and do not offer me 64GB RAM and a not so powerful GPU.

What do you think of this configuration? Shoulf I wait for Mac Pro instead?

Your opinions are much appreciated. Many thanks!
I would think you should wait for the Mac Pro. It will probably have better storage and ram expandability. Not sure if you want to add the cost of monitors, unless you have them already.
 
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Do365

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
7
0
I would think you should wait for the Mac Pro. It will probably have better storage and ram expandability. Not sure if you want to add the cost of monitors, unless you have them already.
This price is without monitors, keyboard or mouse. Also, I think Mac Pro price will be huge, at less like iMac Pro price
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
1,457
992
NYC & Newfoundland
Last edited:

AlexMaximus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2006
819
231
A400M Base
Hi there, I'm thinking about buy the new Mac Mini with this configuration:

Core i7
8 GB RAM (upgraded to 64GB later with third-party)
512 GB SSD

And add the following eGPU:

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 W
Asus Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2

For a price of about USD 3,800

I wanted to buy a MacBook Pro 15 but I use my Mac at desktop and I think MBP are very expensive and do not offer me 64GB RAM and a not so powerful GPU.

What do you think of this configuration? Shoulf I wait for Mac Pro instead?

Your opinions are much appreciated. Many thanks!

Too close to a refurb or slightly used iMac Pro. If you do Pro stuff and have some time looking, you can get a better deal in my opinion. That doesn't mean the combination mentioned above is really bad.
I am kinda in the same situation sooner or later, however I will ignore this cycle. Besides that, we are too close from the next global financial crisis for my taste. I'll pass.
 
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Do365

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
7
0
Too close to a refurb or slightly used iMac Pro. If you do Pro stuff and have some time looking, you can get a better deal in my opinion. That doesn't mean the combination mentioned above is really bad.
I am kinda in the same situation sooner or later, however I will ignore this cycle. Besides that, we are too close from the next global financial crisis for my taste. I'll pass.
I'm thinking about it and perhaps for about the same price and better specifications I will wait for Mac Pro, any thoughts about new Mac Pro price?
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
I'm thinking about it and perhaps for about the same price and better specifications I will wait for Mac Pro, any thoughts about new Mac Pro price?
I suspect the Mac Pro will start $4000 and quickly increase from there with options. The prices you are looking at, I have to ask what you are using the computer for? At these prices, I think it should be the provider of your income. There is no reason to spend this kind of money on these machines unless they are bringing in more than what you spent. If that is the case, then I would really consider waiting for the Mac Pro or going with the iMac Pro.

If you are more of a hobbyist, then I would really think long and hard about what you really want and need, and what is a reasonable cost. That may end up being in this price range, but for most people, spending over $2000 for a home computer is pretty crazy these days. Over $3000 is downright nuts. Having said that, some people like having the absolute top end option, and I can understand that.
 
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djgamble

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2006
776
263
Also have a look at the Razer Core X as an enclosure.
I just ordered a refurbished 2018 Mac Mini + a Razer Core X and have cobbled together a package (using a mixture of 2nd hand and sale parts) that I think will offer more bang for my buck than a 21.5" iMac or 27" iMac.

Can't really quote meaningful $$$ as I'm Aussie but for somewhere between the cost of a default spec 21.5" iMac and a 27" iMac (with the same 6-core GPU) I've acquired:
- Mac Mini (with 32GB RAM - third party memory... mini comes with the 256GB SSD, which I prefer over the iMac's 1TB fusion drive)
- Razer Core X + RX Vega 64
- 24" Freesync monitor
- Keyboard and mouse
- A bracket to mount the mini to the back of the monitor

Moving forward I hope that this will provide a sustainable upgrade path (almost like a mid-level tower) so long as Thunderbolt 3 stays alive. I'll also be interested to find out how fast the eGPUs can go. For example, I wonder where there's a sweet spot where Thunderbolt 3's bandwidth is such that there's no point upgrading your GPU further.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,211
623
Moving forward I hope that this will provide a sustainable upgrade path (almost like a mid-level tower) so long as Thunderbolt 3 stays alive. I'll also be interested to find out how fast the eGPUs can go. For example, I wonder where there's a sweet spot where Thunderbolt 3's bandwidth is such that there's no point upgrading your GPU further.
There's almost always going to be some benefit to upgrading. But you will hit diminishing returns on the cost/benefit of it. More than if it was hooked up to a standard slot on the logic board. Generally, you pay a ~20% penalty in gaming for using 4 lanes vs 8 or 16, no matter the GPU you use. That penalty shrinks as you push the resolution higher. Less strain on the PCIe bus, and more strain on the GPU itself. Down the road, I'd expect that whatever replaces USB 4 (which integrates TB3) may introduce PCIe 4 support, doubling the speed of the lanes, making things better. Right now the difference between 8x and 16x PCIe 3 for GPUs is on the order of 1% or less. With PCIe 4, it's possible to bring that sort of negligible penalty to Thunderbolt as well.

Pro apps are different, but generally, you still pay a smaller penalty for pushing data across the PCIe bus less frequently. So it depends on the app.

EDIT: As an example, say we have two GPUs: One is 20% faster than the other.

GPU 1: 100% * 0.8 (Penalty) = 80% on TB3
GPU 2: 120% * 0.8 (Penalty) = 96% on TB3

96 / 80 ~ 120%, so while GPU 2 over TB3 in this case isn't as fast as GPU 1 on an x8 slot, it's still 20% faster when compared to GPU 1 over TB3.
 

djgamble

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2006
776
263
There's almost always going to be some benefit to upgrading. But you will hit diminishing returns on the cost/benefit of it. More than if it was hooked up to a standard slot on the logic board. Generally, you pay a ~20% penalty in gaming for using 4 lanes vs 8 or 16, no matter the GPU you use. That penalty shrinks as you push the resolution higher. Less strain on the PCIe bus, and more strain on the GPU itself. Down the road, I'd expect that whatever replaces USB 4 (which integrates TB3) may introduce PCIe 4 support, doubling the speed of the lanes, making things better. Right now the difference between 8x and 16x PCIe 3 for GPUs is on the order of 1% or less. With PCIe 4, it's possible to bring that sort of negligible penalty to Thunderbolt as well.

Pro apps are different, but generally, you still pay a smaller penalty for pushing data across the PCIe bus less frequently. So it depends on the app.

EDIT: As an example, say we have two GPUs: One is 20% faster than the other.

GPU 1: 100% * 0.8 (Penalty) = 80% on TB3
GPU 2: 120% * 0.8 (Penalty) = 96% on TB3

96 / 80 ~ 120%, so while GPU 2 over TB3 in this case isn't as fast as GPU 1 on an x8 slot, it's still 20% faster when compared to GPU 1 over TB3.
Thanks for the details - it's good to know that there's still the potential for next-gen graphics cards to provide a decent bump.

My reckoning is that (like with the Vega 64 I just grabbed), I'll be able to get a decent card from the previous few years at a competitive price for some time yet.

FWIW I'm happy with the results... the performance is really impressive and I had no issues setting anything up (a few reviews of the Razer Core X have people mentioning stress/frustration during the setup process - I found it all pretty seamless and got it right first go).

While I can't find the post, I wanna thank a guy who advised me against getting a Hades Canyon (somewhere - they were a fan of eGPUs as they minimise heat and can be upgraded). I remember heckling them a bit because they were super criticial of my original idea. However, I ended up going their way pretty much 100% after a lot of research so eeem haha... funny how such things happen.
 
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Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,211
623
It's been getting better, for sure. I still run across some wake-from-sleep issues with the eGPU I don't get with the onboard GPU, especially with HDMI and LG displays. Catalina has enabled the boot screen when using an eGPU. But they are mostly plug and play these days.

The main hurdle is that the options for driving a 5K UltraFine are all sorts of "meh". But if a BlackMagic Pro eGPU keeps me from buying a Mac Pro, maybe it's worth it.
 
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drmeatball

macrumors member
Aug 3, 2019
40
20
Ellicott City, MD
2018, Vega 64, Razor Core X, hauls ass.

🆙


Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 9.25.00 PM.png

Don't bother with the internal SSD imo, get a 2TB NVME ($225) and a Thunderbolt 3 ($130) enclosure (or you can even tide yourself over with an NVME to to USB-C enclosure ($30).

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 9.28.44 PM.png
 
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Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,211
623
Have you had the disconnections using the Blackmagic eGPU and the LG 5K display via TB3?
Didn't have an LG 5K to try. 4K seemed fine, but that was DP over USB-C.

Mostly just pointing out that the Blackmagic eGPUs aren't any more reliable than an eGPU you put in a Razer Core or the like. But if you need TB3, they're pretty much the only solution that doesn't require a bit of DIY.
 

Diamond Dog

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2018
232
356
I'm kind of in the same boat. I'll probably pick up a RX570 and wait for Navi options later this year or early next year.