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TOPIC: external graphic cards for macbooks?

external graphic cards for macbooks? 23 Dec 2016 22:49 #84232

  • Betancourt
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Hi guys,
Is it possible to use some adapter to use dedicated graphic cards on macbooks? My macbook pro retina is getting a bit old for fcpx and I was wondering how to improve that performance without buying a new one.
Not sure what this does: www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpress3r.html
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 24 Dec 2016 00:46 #84233

  • Redifer
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This exists. I have no experience with it however.

bizon-tech.com/us/bizonbox2s-egpu.html/
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 24 Dec 2016 02:16 #84235

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Thunderbolt promises GPU expansion, but it is not yet a reality. You can buy the kits to do that, but I've yet to read about someone getting results that are significant enough to justify the cost.
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 24 Dec 2016 21:21 #84251

  • shane82388
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Yeah, its definitely something to look forward to in the not so distant future with the emergence of Thunderbolt 3, but right now all the solutions seem a bit rinkydink (exposed wires, really??)...

Not quite clear how it works, but I'd imagine whatever software is involved would need to be optimized for things to have the most positive effect? Hmm...

The people selling the things don't seem the most legit or well known either...maybe eventually there will be legit big time manufactures getting in to this area, or even someone like Lumaforge?
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 05 Jan 2017 15:23 #84560

  • toxotis70
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does anyone has mbp 15"with IRIS PRO GPU only and tell me if it can handle well 4K native footage from sony (slog) or any other 4K DSLR (h.264) without transcoding or proxy ?

Can you edit (simple edit) without stuttering -lag in the timeline while you are playing ?
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 05 Jan 2017 16:41 #84562

  • joema
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I can effectively edit a single stream of H264 4k from a Sony A7RII or Panasonic DVX200 on both 2013 MacBook Air and 15" 2015 MBP without transcoding or proxy. My MPB has the M370X GPU but H264 editing is not really GPU heavy -- it is a CPU-bound task. Applying effects are often GPU heavy.

Re stuttering, this is complex, as there are different criteria. Moving the playhead with the mouse is very smooth. Skimmer is very fast and the viewer update rate is fast in either performance or quality mode. JKL keyboard commands to move the timeline are responsive and the playhead moves smoothly at 2x fast forward or reverse. At higher speeds it jumps a bit. However this is vastly better than Premiere CC on the same hardware.

Premiere apparently dedicates a high priority thread to keeping the playhead moving smoothly but the viewer can hang for 5 sec at a time -- almost like a slide show. By contrast FCPX lets the playhead lag a bit but the viewer update rate is fast and so is response to JKL input. On Premiere those keyboard commands are so laggy it feels like the keyboard is broken. So there are various aspects to editing smoothness. In most practical ways FCPX is much quicker than Premiere on the same Mac hardware.

It is not as smooth or fast as 1080p -- even on FCPX -- but it is generally quite usable.

In general one stream of H264 4k can be edited OK on a recent Mac laptop, but this may vary based on the exact encoding. All H264 is not the same and some is harder to decode than others. Editing multiple streams such as multicam or split screen usually requires proxy to run smoothly.

The timeline used also has an effect. I usually edit 4k on a 1080p timeline since that is a little faster, especially for effects. This does not preclude doing crop/zoom operations and getting the full benefit of 4k. Even though the exported file will be 1080p, the full 4k resolution will be used to crop/zoom.

If for some reason 4k output is needed, you can easily copy/paste the 1080p timeline into a 4k project and then export at 4k. All the edits you did will be there.

Two easy steps to improve editing performance on 4k are (1) Set the viewer to "Better Performance" and (2) Edit on a 1080p timeline.
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 05 Jan 2017 18:31 #84565

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thanks for the answer... but i would like to have an answer from someone without dedicated GPU like yours.
I want to buy a used 2015 154"model with iris pro in a very good price, and i would like to know if it can handle 4k native files in FCPX .
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 05 Jan 2017 19:15 #84567

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toxotis70 wrote:
thanks for the answer... but i would like to have an answer from someone without dedicated GPU like yours.. .

My 2013 MacBook Air does not have a dedicated GPU and it does OK for basic 4k editing without using proxy, however the screen resolution is much less than the retina 15" MBP. Maybe someone can respond about 4k editing performance on a 15" retina MPB without a dedicated GPU.
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 14 Jan 2017 17:09 #84842

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Today I ran across this comparison test of the Bison box GPU extender by BareFeats… barefeats.com/rmbp2016g.html
This is the TB2 version with a TB3 version coming.
Seems pretty impressive.
Everyone should remember that Macs have shipped with TB1 ports which would not achieve the same speeds of throughput, but may (or not) as the article says not hinder the performance improvements.
It should be noted that TB can only use 4channels of the PCIe bus for whatever version of PCIe is in the computer. Each version of PCIe has different per channel data rates. Internally the bus supports 16 channels.
Anyway you pitch it, the testing is showing great improvements over the internal card and opens up the possibility of Cuda supported cards, if that is important to you (cough...Adobe users).
Might see dual card GPU extenders sometime in the future.
In many ways, Apple sees the future in externally connected devices, and USB-C will be the future physical port for those connections.

Hope this Helps, Greg
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 14 Jan 2017 17:44 #84845

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Looks like Sonnet has just launched new external TB3 expansion box available in US, Canada and Mexico
www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpressseltb3.html

Hope this Helps, Greg
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 14 Jan 2017 18:54 #84847

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VidGreg wrote:
Today I ran across this comparison test of the Bison box GPU extender by BareFeats… barefeats.com/rmbp2016g.html
This is the TB2 version with a TB3 version coming.
Seems pretty impressive.
Everyone should remember that Macs have shipped with TB1 ports which would not achieve the same speeds of throughput, but may (or not) as the article says not hinder the performance improvements.
It should be noted that TB can only use 4channels of the PCIe bus for whatever version of PCIe is in the computer. Each version of PCIe has different per channel data rates. Internally the bus supports 16 channels.
Anyway you pitch it, the testing is showing great improvements over the internal card and opens up the possibility of Cuda supported cards, if that is important to you (cough...Adobe users).
Might see dual card GPU extenders sometime in the future.
In many ways, Apple sees the future in externally connected devices, and USB-C will be the future physical port for those connections.

Hope this Helps, Greg


Can i use it with older MacBook Pro with thunderbolt 2 port?
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 15 Jan 2017 01:10 #84852

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Hi 70
The Bison TB2 expansion box was designed for MBP's with TB2 ports. So Yes to your question.
You would not need any adapters to use it. You could also use it with the 2012 model that have the TB1 ports without adapters, but it would have a maximum throughput of TB1, not the TB2. Earlier MBPs with TB used a Mini Display Port connector.
In the testing Barefeats used the latest MBP which has TB3 over the USB-C port so they used an adapter to convert to the older style of port (TB over Mini Display Port). Listed at top of article.
Thunder Bolt is backwards compatible, but TB3 always uses the USB-C physical port and the TB3 protocol is supported. You must also use a TB3 / over USB-C cable. This cable has active TB3 chips inside the cable.
So when Bison or any other company releases TB3 devices, they will always have USB-C type ports. TB3 is ONLY supported via this type of port, but only if the connected devices are TB3 capable.
Confused yet?
USB-C is a standard that describes the physical layout of the connector and it provides addition wires/pins that will allow various protocols using "Alternative Mode" specifications for USB-C. These Alternative Mode protocols can (optional) be things like TB, HDMI, Audio and many more protocols providing that the devices on each end have the proper chipsets and that the proper cable is selected. If both devices and cable are not compatible with the protocol, then it will not work or will automatically switch to a different protocol.
This will take some time and lots of confusion before everyone figures it all out. :ohmy:

Hope this Helps, Greg
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 15 Jan 2017 01:14 #84853

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I have now mbp mid 2015 15" with IRIS PRO only... which card can give me best results with Bison 2 ?
Nvidia (and what exactly card) or AMD (what model) ?
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 03 Mar 2017 18:25 #86272

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Just to follow up on this issue.
BareFeats just published some tests for a new Razor TB3 eGPU box and has some comparisons. They used a GeForce GTX 980Ti GPU in 2 different eGPU boxes and threw in a 2010 MP and a new rMBP with the 460 dedicated internal GPU in the comparison. The rMBP was the 2016 15".
Good read.
barefeats.com/rmbp2016core.html
There is a recent price reduction on the GTX 1080 GPU if anyone is interested.

Hope this helps, Greg
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 07 Mar 2017 04:58 #86339

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toxotis70 wrote:
does anyone has mbp 15"with IRIS PRO GPU only and tell me if it can handle well 4K native footage from sony (slog) or any other 4K DSLR (h.264) without transcoding or proxy ?

Can you edit (simple edit) without stuttering -lag in the timeline while you are playing ?
I am on a Mid-2015 15" MBP with an Iris card. If I have a 4k file on my internal SSD, I can playback and make simple edits. However, if I was doing a long edit I would transcode to proxy or optimized without question.
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external graphic cards for macbooks? 18 Apr 2017 00:10 #87270

  • Betancourt
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Pablo Betancourt
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