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Apple-recommended AMD Graphics Cards for eGPU Use - macOS High Sierra 10.13.4+

tonymacx86

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Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 1.05.01 AM.png
There's a new Apple eGPU document with a selection of officially supported Thunderbolt eGPU breakout boxes and graphics card options. Supported cards as of macOS 10.13.4 include:
  • AMD Radeon RX 570, RX 580, and Radeon Pro WX 7100
    • Recommended graphics cards include the Sapphire Pulse series and the AMD WX series
  • AMD Sapphire Vega 56
  • AMD XFX Vega 56
  • AMD Sapphire Vega 64
  • AMD XFX Vega 64
  • AMD Frontier Edition air-cooled AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100
Source:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

AMD Graphics Cards
As of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, Apple has added support for the following AMD graphics cards. Please note these cards have only very recently become officially supported and may be more complicated to configure than NVIDIA graphics cards.

Sapphire RX 580 Pulse 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg


XFX RX 580 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg


Sapphire RX 570 Pulse 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg


XFX RX 570 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg


Sapphire Vega 56 8GB AMD
Newegg


XFX Vega 56 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg


AMD Pro WX 7100 8GB AMD
Amazon
Newegg
 
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UtterDisbelief

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It may sound odd but I originally thought the eGPU might feed back into the onboard graphics system, much like PowerVR cards did way, way back, to run games like Tomb Raider with enhanced visuals. I still have the card and software for this! Although these were mounted in a motherboard slot (ISA).

But the document mentions attaching a display to the eGPU so it's clearly more conventional. And attaching a Vega card externally is so far beyond what the onboard graphics can do ...

Will a Mac Book keep up?

:)
 
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trs96

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But the document mentions attaching a display to the eGPU so it's clearly more conventional. And attaching a Vega card externally is so far beyond what the onboard graphics can do ...

Will a Mac Book keep up?
The problem with the MacBook Pro will always be thermal throttling when you push the CPU in gaming or other scenarios that are demanding. Some people go as far as changing the thermal compound to liquid metal to prevent this but that is not as easy as doing the same thing on a desktop CPU. See the following video for a demo of this:

 

UtterDisbelief

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The problem with the MacBook Pro will always be thermal throttling when you push the CPU in gaming or other scenarios that are demanding. Some people go as far as changing the thermal compound to liquid metal to prevent this but that is not as easy as doing the same thing on a desktop CPU. See the following video for a demo of this:

Thanks for that. Yes, logical. I'm surprised people use a laptop for such demanding rendering, but clearly they do or Apple wouldn't cater for them. More sensible to use a nice new iMac Pro with an eGPU. The Apple document doesn't mention the Mac Pro itself which is a pity but down to its Thunderbolt 2 rather than 3, I suppose.

As for Liquid Metal - how scary a process is that? Looks too much like Mercury for my liking. Getting a temperature down from 100-degrees to 90-degrees is a bonus but still way too hot! One huge advantage of the hackintosh scene is that surely we score best on getting reasonable running temperatures.

:)
 
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I have a Vega 64 and Sonnet tech 650W, in my opinion, the eGPU is just so-so, of cause it works, but still get crash sometimes when you eject the eGPU even under 10.13.4, and the performance is not good, can only get scores around 1300 in Unigine Heaven 4 (1920*1080 Ultra).
 
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the problem is not that Nvidia cards can't run on Mac OS , the problem is that both companies Apple/Nvidia are fighting for the profit, no one want to take less, AMD is a bit cheaper than Nvidia in price, Apple and AMD they both see this as an opportunity to send Nvidia packing, Nvidia don't care, because they offer high quality drivers for gaming in windows and also to watch bluray movies, so that is basically where Nvidia make their money, anyway apple still running old versions of OpenGL and OpenCl on Mac os, that might be another reason besides just the money, metal is a smoke screen just like DX12. the last possibility is that apple probably wants to make the drivers themselves or they probably don't want to give Nvidia access to the system so they can write better drivers, moral of the story they are both fighting for control and supremacy and we suffer the consequences.
 
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Well, the reason why Apple opted for AMD is much simpler than others think. AMD has better high res monitor support and better double precision performance, which were barely used in games and mostly benefits for productivity and science softwares. That is what Apple exactly needs, Final Cut and Professional calcualtion.

nVidia on the other hand, optimizes their consumer grade cards for gaming(sacrifice double precision calculation for better efficiency) However, if Apple were to push macOS for gaming, they would have just opted for Vulkan as their initial plan instead of their own metal API. Metal is great but why would any company make or port their games to a 10% market share platform that doesn't even have proper hardware for gaming and without cross platform API. Hell, Apple even make their keyboard and mouse unable to play games(Touch bar, Butterfly switch, Mouse acceleration)
 
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Well, the reason why Apple opted for AMD is much simpler than others think. AMD has better high res monitor support and better double precision performance, which were barely used in games and mostly benefits for productivity and science softwares. That is what Apple exactly needs, Final Cut and Professional calcualtion.
Not really. In the OEM PC world this "X has better performance, so we choose them" is basically non-existent.

The main reason is AMD uses OpenCL which is Apple's thing, while Nvidia pushes CUDA (they do OpenCL too, but not as good). CUDA video rendering has been around for a long time with large support from Adobe etc., and Apple could have done Final Cut to do both OpenCL and CUDA, so obviously it was more a business then a technological decision. Data-science-wise, no one in the right mind is going to buy machines with non-upgradeable GPUs, nor Apple is doing all that much in that market segment either.

I'm sure there are more business side reasons on that also, like AMD is more willing to build the parts, or cheaper, etc etc.
 
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So many diff reasons for no Nvidia posted so far. The actual reason given to me by engineers at Apple is that Apple wants to contract the people who write the AMD/Nvidia drivers to work in house, at Apple, under Apple control and rules. Basically, you work at AMD, but go on loan to Apple and work at Apple office and do what Apple tells you. Nvidia wouldn't play ball because they don't like being told what to do on their own driver. Especially, since it would have killed web driver and support for their unapproved consumer GPUs since Apple would likely say "don't include that Maxwell/Pascal stuff until we say so."

Because Nvidia isn't a yes sir no sir, Apple took AMD because they are. That's the end of day explanation.

If they had played ball, would they have used Nvidia in any hardware, tough say. But, we definitely wouldn't be using Maxwell/Pascal cards with web driver if they said yes and hadn't used that hardware in any Macs.

Even now, AMD driver is worked on by hybrid AMD/Apple folks on campus and Nvidia driver is more or less maintained off Nvidia provided source by Apple engineers. Nvidia seeds them newest source but they don't control how Apple uses it. For example, Apple still strips Pascal/Maxwell out manually and on purpose. Also, why the build in drivers get bug fixes slower. At same time though, also get new bugs slower too (or avoid them entirely cause they are fixed by time that code gets down to Apple's end).
 
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In the business world there is nothing called (a yes sir no sir), what happens is something called (cooperation), this is how companies work together and achieve their goals.

The good reasons for Apple to chose AMD GPUs are a lot, not being cheaper because Apple ain't cheap and they actually go only for premium products, but the most important besides gaming AMD GPUs are pure OpenCL powerful cards which is good for professional work which is what Apple needs, Nvidia for years has separated their professional cards from gaming cards, because Nvidia has Quadro GPUs for professional work where the GTX are only for gaming, thats Nvidia's strategy not Apple's.

AMD gives the whole package in their consumer GPUs as their professional cards, Apple is a wise company and their professional software takes huge advantage from OpenCL (compute power) that is in AMD cards for that professional work Apple needs.

Even in Windows side software like the Adobe 2018, Sony Vegas and DaVinci Resolve are taking that advantage from AMD GPUs compute power for professional rendering, not only Apple.
 
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