To eGPU or not? Any experiences?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by crashwins, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. crashwins macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks for clicking!

    Me: a photographer / video side-hustler (meaning I have a day job, but make side money doing creative work)

    I've had a 27" iMac for a while, but I am constantly wanting to lug it places: to my partner's house, to the studio, to work (I'm underemployed). I'm about to sell it for a nifty price and have been in a feverish research mode ever since.

    Originally I was just assuming I'd go with the tried-and-true 15" MBP with dedicated graphics. Honestly, I never really loved these computers, usually preferring the Airs or MBP 13s. So when I came across the eGPU option a light went off!

    I only really need a GPU for Adobe Premiere, and this software is clunky on many Macs anyway! I've read several people using Bootcamp to get much better export-time results out of Windows. So for me, Capture One and Lightroom aren't really taxing the graphics, but I would be driving a 21" monitor.

    So, where I'm at:

    I could buy a powerful 13", but I don't think quad cores are an option? Or maybe another brand of 13" that's powerful (any recommendations?) and an eGPU (looks like I could use a 1080 if I'm running bootcamp), or just simplify everything and grab a 15" with dedicated graphics. Again, with or without an eGPU I would want to powering a 21" monitor at home (I don't need a giant 5K monitor for my work).
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2018 ---
    Wow, just came across this....

    Super helpful..But that's more esoteric. Seems a 15" is a must
  2. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2018
    Pittsburgh, PA
    eGPU doesn't work under bootcamp, not supported by Apple. There are some ways to enable it but it is not a straightforward process. A little easier to do on 13 inch because you don't need to disable dGPU. If you were planning on running Adobe Premiere using CUDA in bootcamp it really would be easier, cheaper and much faster to just buy a Windows laptop with dedicated 1050ti or 1060. But I guess this is not your primary use case.

    I'm using eGPU with the 15 inch, but mostly as a docking solution, to provide power and drive multiple monitors without taxing internal GPU.

    Honestly I don't think you'll benefit that much from eGPU driving one small monitor and occasional video edit - you can use proxies and edit even on Air, or switch to Final Cut. It all depends on ratio of your photo/video workflows, how invested you are in Apple systems etc. But wait until tomorrow, maybe Apple is going away from AMD or at least improving support for Nvidia cards, RX2080 suddenly has efi boot screen in Mac Pro with latest bootrom.
  3. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks! I appreciate it -- super helpful. Yeah, the reality is though I love MBPs, they don't always play nice with Premiere.

    I have been considering a windows gaming laptop, but the reviews on many of these are so polarized! Any suggestions?
  4. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2018
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Dell XPS 15 or Lenovo X1 extreme. They're not 'gaming' laptops, there are way more powerful machines out there but it comes at a price of size and weight. Those two have more or less MBP 15 footprint and weight.
  5. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    X1 Extreme. You get 6 core CPU with a decent 1050 nvidia card. And you can easily upgrade RAM and SSD, so no need to go all out in advance for your purchase. You get a good trackpad, and probably the best keyboard on any laptop. Selection of ports is also great.

    Another option would be Surface Book 2, it has good keyboard as well, great screen, but not so great are ports (but decent), weight and you can't upgrade anything down the line, so basically just like MBP.

    If I had to pick, I would go for X1E without a doubt. Durable machine, and high build quality. And since you are a photographer, go for HDR 4K screen. Your eyes will love it, and I do believe it has everything a photographer needs. Check out some reviews first.
  6. crashwins thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks! The MSI GS65 seems like a very interesting machine. But I would certainly wait until after Apple's launch tomorrow.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2018 ---
    Ok, great! Thank you. I will look it over. I need a solid GPU, more for the video editing than anything, and wasn't sure the Surface Book 2 had them yet.

    Any love for the MSI one I linked? That seems to have across-the-board good reviews
  7. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    No love, but no hate as well. Never seen the device in person, so can't really judge it.
    But keep in mind, with x1e you get by far the best build quality and durability, with excellent screen and port selection. And it's easy to upgrade ram and ssd, even wi-fi chip.

    With SB2 you get true MS device, good keyboard, and some other stuff like tablet mode, studio mode, etc. You also get better GPU (1060 for 15"), but their CPU is a 15W version quad core.

    You will have to do some research yourself. Do you have MS store near you? Then purchase from them whatever device you want, since people are saying that they have great customer service. Check out MSI support, Lenovo support, etc.

    There are a lot of factors in play here, not just what device is better. Good luck hunting :)
  8. evec macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2016
    This video show the speed between XPS15 / MBP 15

    unless you really require faster Premiere and can not wait for extra rendering time, i suggest you get MBP15
    instead of XPS

    1. The screen in MBP is more nature and accuracy compare as XPS 4K, this is the main reason choose of MBP15, also MBP is 16:10 which screen size is bigger that 16:9 XPS
    2. XPS use downgraded TLC SSD compare as MBP use MLC SSD
    3. Although Radeon Pro 560 shower that Nvidia on XPS15, the mbp 15 is a REAL workstation grade display card
    instead of XPS only is a Optimus graphic core which require CPU graphic chip work together (make CPU hotter )
    4. Trackpad in MBP is much much better that XPS15
    5. MBP build better, less noise (coil whine and fan), lighter.
  9. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2018
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I had MSI stealth couple of years ago and it was unbearably loud and hot. And now they stick a 6-core in it. Plus it has a gaming screen in it, which is most likely not what you want for photo edit, doesn't even reach sRGB coverage.
  10. ilikewhey macrumors 6502a


    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    i just got a used mantiz venus egpu and so far i highly recommend it, its plug and play and works well in my parallel, you can easily get a quad core i5 13inch 2018 mbp and call ita day with egpu,

    plus egpu takes care of all the heat so the mbp stay relatively silent
  11. _Kiki_, Oct 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018

    _Kiki_ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2017
    Razer Blade 15 with 4K screen, GTX 1070 Max-Q crushes any XPS and Lenovos
  12. smbu2000 macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2014
    Well I'm using an eGPU running in Win10 Bootcamp on my 2017 15" MBP. It was the upper model at the time 2.9 i7/16GB/512GB/4GB Radeon Pro 560. I picked up a nice deal on a Razer Core V2 and I am using it with a GTX 1080 connected to my 31.5" Eizo 4K monitor.

    I haven't tested it with any pro apps, just the occasional game. System worked fine and was fairly easy to get setup in Win10. Only use it when I am running Win10 and not macOS though. I don't have a recent AMD card to test with it in macOS.
  13. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2018
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have Razor Core X and the first time I booted Windows with Vega FE in it had no display obviously because I didn't know about all the hoops with EFI you have to jump, so was reading on internal screen in Windows hot to make it work and started to smell... the odor of overheating electronics. Turns out the card was in high power state but the fan was switched off. You literally couldn't touch the outside of the enclosure, it was so hot. Ever since - nope, I'm not messing with it. It did however survive, no damage that I can tell. It was couple of months ago, I think still on one of Mojave betas.
  14. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    I have an eGPU (Sonnet Breakaway and Radeon RX 580) that I use with my 2016 nTB MBP. It is plug and play in macOS but getting it to work in Windows was a whole other process. The 2016 nTB MBP is harder to get working than 2017+ models because of the lack of large memory allocation in Windows. Maybe I was just unlucky in my configuration, as others were able to get their configs working with minimal problems. Ironically getting an NVIDIA card to work with my setup was much easier.

    I think newer MBPs will be easier to get working in Windows. Right now I have my Windows install on a portable SSD so I can use it on my MBP or mini. Despite the many hours it took me to get my eGPU working, it was worth it. If I were to do it again though I would buy a different enclosure, as the one I have doesn't even act as a hub.

    Maybe someday Apple will add official bootcamp support for eGPUs, making things a lot easier.

    Check out, they have a lot of super helpful information.

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13 October 29, 2018