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eGPU performance on Macbooks

Hi,

 

I'm still doing the research about the best option for my next ultrabook. As of now I'm considering basically 2.5 options: the new Macbook Air with the M1 SoC and the Dell XPS 2020. The third option would be the HP Envy but I prefer the first two.

 

So I currently have a Vega 56 on my desktop so I was thinking of buying an eGPU enclosure so I can use it with the laptop after I upgrade it in a year or two. I thought that MacOS runs better on an AMD GPU but I wanna know if this means it would be at an advantage over the XPS using that same GPU or if it just means that MacOS runs worse on Nvidia hardware?

 

Thanks

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I own two Razer Core X Chromas each with Sapphire Pulse Vega 56 cards, I use it with my MacBook Pro 15" and Mac Mini but also have an M1 MacBook Air to play with. At the moment eGPUs are not supported on the new M1 Macs, but as far as I can tell it's due to drivers.

 

In terms of the actual performance in macOS, that depends entirely on what you're doing, the card shouldn't perform inherently better or worse, but it's hard to compare because Apple's OpenGL implementation is dated and they'd really prefer you use Metal which is not on Windows, and similarly Windows is mostly DirectX stuff which is not on Mac. For what it's worth, World of Warcraft which supports both DirectX and Metal natively runs fantastic both in Bootcamp and macOS with the eGPU and performance is about the same. I used to use a GTX 1070 in macOS with one of my enclosures but it stopped working in the most recent macOS and Nvidia stopped updating their drivers for Mac, but when it did work, it was fine too.

Edit: Just to re-iterate though, Nvidia cards are not plug and play in macOS anymore.

 

Again, it really depends what you're doing. A GPU is a GPU.

Platform agnostic software engineer & small business owner. 

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28 minutes ago, exhaustedbrit said:

I own two Razer Core X Chromas each with Sapphire Pulse Vega 56 cards, I use it with my MacBook Pro 15" and Mac Mini but also have an M1 MacBook Air to play with.

You sir have a lot of toys.

28 minutes ago, exhaustedbrit said:

Just to re-iterate though, Nvidia cards are not plug and play in macOS anymore

That's what I wanted to know. Then I guess it's nice to have an AMD GPU on a MacBook. I'll be using mostly for video editing with Premiere and After Effects. Since the recent update the GPU utilization has been much better on Windows so my guess would be that I could expect similar performance on both platforms.

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