Mac Mini & eGPU

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Mac Mini & eGPU

Postby NN116688UL1 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:34 pm

I realize eGPU's have been brought up in the pass, however I have a new Mac mini 3.2ghz 6 core w/ 16gb RAM, upgrading to 32gb soon, and as some of you may know, the onboard GPU is not that great, although it is handling the basics so far in C1 v.12. There is much discussion as to whether C1 takes advantage of a GPU and / or an eGPU. Any feedback especially from those running eGPU's w/ a Mac Mini would be most helpful.
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Re: Mac Mini & eGPU

Postby CorsairVelo » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:09 am

I'm running an eGPU on a brand new Mini. I'm using an OWC Helios eGPU enclosure and inside I have a Radeon 'RX 580' which is a variant of what was in the iMac 2017s (the 2018s can be upgraded to have a Vega gpu which is better)

C1 definitely benefits from a better GPU for certain things. Phase One documents it , though not in much detail, here
https://www.phaseone.com/en/Search/Article?articleid=1720

I dug a little deeper to document it myself a while back when I was using the eGPU with a MacBook Pro. I have migrated now to the Mini which uses the same eGPU. Anyway, my findings are here: https://www.peterguyton.com/c1p-hardware-acceleration

Bottom line, it helps a ton when running process recipes, but the other benefits are harder to quantify. Preview generation and getting the preview size set correctly in C1 preferences is a bit hit or miss in 4k. A LOT DEPENDS on if you are running a 4k or not. If I were to do it again, I'd get a one-step-better GPU (like a Vega 56) as I find the Radeon RX 580 (in either the eGPU or in the iMac) a bit "wanting" with a 4k screen. If you have a 2560 x 1600 type screen (QHD?) then you may not need an eGPU at all except for the obvious benefits when running large batch jobs (if you do those).
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Re: Mac Mini & eGPU

Postby NN116688UL1 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:12 pm

Very helpful information, especially in regards to the Vega 64! So far, with 32gb of RAM and a pretty powerful processor, I have had zero notable issues, but then again, I really haven't pushed C1. Since my monitor is 2500 x1600, I may just hold off on and eGPU until I upgrader to either a 4k or 5k! On a side, note I've been told by Apple, that an eGPU can be be a little buggy in Mojave at times. however Apple is aware of this and looking at some fixes in the next OS release. Have you noticed any issues?

Again, thanks for all your insight!
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Re: Mac Mini & eGPU

Postby CorsairVelo » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:01 pm

I think in your shoes, I'd probably hold off until you go 4k. Sounds like it's working well for you with your current 2500x1600 monitor. Plus, prices of GPUs seem to be dropping.

I noticed more eGPU abnormalities when I used it with the laptop, mostly docking and undocking, as it could be a bit slow and sometimes when you click the "disconnect eGPU" button and it just wouldn't release the eGPU. With the Mini, I don't need to do that. There are times when certain screen actions look laggy and such, but overall it seems pretty solid now with the Mini.

With the Macbook, I would see the two GPUs in the performance monitor differently if I booted docked vs undocked. Boot while docked, the eGPU would show up on top (in performance monitor, Window, GPU history), but if the laptop was already booted and you connected to GPU, the eGPU would show up second. While I did set C1 (in finder) to try "prefer external GPU", it just seemed better when I rebooted with the eGPU attached and where the eGPU showed up first. I'm sure Apple is still working out the nuances of connecting/disconnecting to eGPUs, but again, with a Mini, it just stays connected all the time and seems solid.
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