2018 Mac Mini, 3.0 GHz Hex-Core Intel i5, 32 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, iGPU : Intel UHD 630
Mac OS Big Sur 11.1 and Windows 2004 20H1
LG 27" 4K HDR connected via Display Port cable
Picked up a new 650 watt Breakaway Box from Sonnet for $279 a couple weeks ago. It’s been good. Not a noisy beast.
After some waiting, a more powerful card at a lower price showed up at Man's Best Friend (the local Micro Center retail store's refurbished inventory).
PowerColor‘s Red Dragon Vega 56 has a full 8GB of High Bandwidth Memory, 3584 shaders, and those 56 Compute Units. I grabbed the last card in stock, along with the store's 2-year warranty for a full refund or replacement. For $190 total.
(Every city needs a Micro Center retailer. Seriously. This is the way).
Mac OS (Plug and Play)
Last month, upgrading directly from Catalina 10.15.6 to Big Sur 11.1 was quick and painless.
Loving Big Sur a great deal. Better file management, better graphics performance, better eGPU integration.
Hey! Where you been?! 😉
Dirt 4 (Mac OS) High settings at 4K
Vega 56: 55-60 FPS
5500 XT: 30-35 FPS
Total War: Troy (Mac OS) High settings at 4K
(No frame counter in this game)
Vega 56: (feels like) 45-50 FPS
5500 XT: (feels like) 25-30 FPS
Here are results from Metal API benchmarking software at 4K resolution:
Vega 56: 50 FPS
5500 XT: 38 FPS
Vega 56: 56,759 Metal Score
5500 XT: 39,480 Metal Score
Vega 56: 1975 and 2066 GFLOPs Memory Bandwidth
5500 XT: 1900 and 1933 GFLOPs Memory Bandwidth
Vega 56: 60 FPS (limited to my 4K display's 60Hz refresh rate)
5500 XT: 59.8 FPS
(T-Rex Onscreen > Aztec Ruins Offscreen. Not gonna lie).
Here's a Blender + AMD RPR Metal GPU rendering benchmark:
Blender Mac 2.91 Metal GPU render using AMD Radeon Pro Render 3.0 plug-in
(64 Samples with the RPR Denoiser set to Machine Learning preset)
Vega 56: BMW demo scene - 21 seconds
And the Indigo Renderer based OpenCL GPU rendering benchmark:
Indigo Bench - OpenCL GPU Render scores
Vega 56: Bedroom scene - 5.324
Vega 56: Supercar scene - 12.454
I previously installed Windows 2004 20H1 and AMD Adrenelin 20.4.2 drivers in May 2020. I swapped in the Windows v1903 pic.sys file at that time.
I booted into Windows sans eGPU, signed in to the desktop screen, then hot-plugged in the Breakaway Box.
A couple minutes later, Windows had recognized the enclosure and new AMD graphics card. I shut down Windows, re-routed display cables, and started up again.
I signed in to the Windows desktop, and all was well.
Everything continues to work the way I need it. Same as in Mac OS.
Windows Games at 4K + Ultra/Epic settings:
Star Wars Squadrons
Vega 56: 60-70 FPS
5500 XT: 50-70 FPS
Fortnite Battle Royale
Vega 56: 27 FPS
5500 XT: 21 FPS
Here are some Windows benchmarks at 4K:
Unigine Superposition DirectX at 4K Optimized
Vega 56: 4600 Score / 34 FPS Average
5500 XT: 3602 Score / 27 FPS Average
Vega 56: 71,520 OpenCL Score
5500 XT: 41,024 OpenCL Score
Blender Windows 2.91 OpenCL GPU render using Cycles
(96 Samples with the Denoiser set to NLM preset)
Vega 56: - Nahita Sky demo scene - 1 minute 11 seconds
5500 XT: - Nahita Sky demo scene - 1 minute 48 seconds
Shadow of the Tomb Raider demo benchmark - High settings at 4K
Vega 56: 32 FPS
5500 XT: 25 FPS
Good times 😎