2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP560X) [8th,6C,H] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X Chroma) + macOS 10.14.4 [craftsman]
I was originally going to purchase the Radeon VII for my eGPU set up but after seeing the RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled + Razer Core X Chroma build by @itsage I decided that was sufficient GPU power for my needs and furthermore I preferred the design and low noise of the liquid cooled card.
I found a used RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled for a decent price 450 euros and it was in perfect condition. During my first tests the Unigine benchmarks were very unstable and a couple of Steam games caused the GPU to become noisy. @itsage pointed out that the default VBIOS was probably overclocked by the previous owner so I switched to the energy saving VBIOS. The result was successful, all the gaming, 3D and pro apps worked without a problem. The energy saving BIOS also makes the GPU run super quiet with very little performance penalty.
i. 10 bit colour support, flawless.
ii. Audio over HDMI to my 4K HDR display, flawless.
iii. Plug and play all the way, flawless, superb.
iv. 8K video scrubbing in Da Vinci Resolve 16b, great. I used the 8K sample HELIUM 8K from Red's site for the test.
v. The free version of Resolve appears to render out using only the CPU though. Maybe the full version renders on GPU?
vi. Image and video in Creative Cloud apps, super fast viewport navigation and resizing. This was the most important reason I needed an eGPU as this operations cause the MacBook Pro to throttle and choke.
vii. I put the Razer Core X in vertical position on the floor under my desk. This allows me to use a short Thunderbolt 3 cable to reach the MacBook Pro on my desk. It also makes the USB ports very accessible.
viii. This card is super quiet most of the time and under load it makes a pleasant whirring sound.
ix. Perfect sleep performance. The card goes to sleep and wakes flawlessly.
x. Tried Rise of the Tomb Raider. Same performance as the 1080 Ti but that's not great. It's a very badly ported title that randomly jerks and freezes even though the GPU is not overheating.
I'm super pleased.
Photos and screenshots below.
Samsung 4K display. It's not really 6400x3600 resolution. The System Profiler has a bug that misreports the screen resolution. The Display Preferences correctly shows that it is 4K...
@craftsman nice setup! How are the vibrations when standing the enclosure vertical? Does it gets transferred to the floor or desk? Might want to do the same.
For Resolve, if you are doing basic editing, the GPU won't load up. Only once you start having correction nodes, grading, fusion, etc and resolve will really chew through the GPU.
boot using the v64 power saving bios in windows, flick switch to normal bios, and flash, and should be good to go. If it still crashes it might not be an issue with the bios (very few LC owners mod their bios) and could be hardware problems - check your temps and compare with other v64 LC owners. If coolant is leaking/evaporating have to address asap.
No vibrations at all, even under full load.
When you apply nodes and LUTs to video there is brief whirring up of the fans. Same in Creative Cloud apps. It's a pleasant sound anyway, kinda sci fi sounding like when Robocop turns his head.
I'll install the card in my PC and restore the VBIOS there but otherwise I'm not seeing a performance loss in energy saving mode. Maybe 1-2% max.
Surprise! I discovered that macOS was running my display at 6400x3600 but it was downscaled to fit. By choosing 'Default for this display' I now have the correct resolution, except that I have to live with slightly smaller fonts. There's a small improvement in performance and grading in DaVinci Resolve is real time.
@craftsman Nice build! I wanted to ask if you have noticed the enclosure PSU fan noise during sleep. I hear it when the Razer Core X Chroma is asleep while connected to a TB3 host (MacBook Pro, Blade Stealth, and Mac Pro).
Correction. Today I used to eGPU for work with hard drives also attached to the Chroma's ports. At the end of the day I put the machine to sleep but the PSU fans continued to gently spin. It appears if you use the system very thoroughly then the PSU doesn't fully sleep. It's easy to tolerate but I decided to disconnect the eGPU before sleep.
Have you've managed to find a way around this? Or is it just resolved by unplugging it?
@craftsman Thank you for the update. That is my observation as well. The computer and external GPU themselves stay asleep just fine. What keeps running during sleep is the PSU fan. The sound is not that audible.
This set up can no longer complete any of the Unigene benchmarks and the few 3D game titles I have also result in crashes. It wasn't stable before but worse now. I've tested the card in a PC and it looks fine. 2D games + compute benchmarks Luxmark and Geekbench continue to work normally.
The Unigene demos will hang at some point or log me out. After crashing there is an instance of the app still running in Activity Monitor where it is consuming a lot of CPU. The app however is not running and is closed. It is just a thread stuck in the CPU.
In an eGPU set up there are many points of failure....System APIs > Drivers > SMC > Thunderbolt firmware of the host computer > Active Thunderbolt Cable with chips in the connectors on both ends, Thunderbolt firmware of the chassis > GPU firmware > GPU hardware.
To work out where the problem is takes a lot of work. The only thing I can do is try another GPU. Everything else is not in my hands.
I've made this thread private, invisible to guest visitors.
After very intense research, looking at other user experiences and screenshots I found that a batch of Revision ID 0x00c0 cards have an instability and reliability issue. I refunded my RX Vega which was behaving inconsistently and had Revision ID 0x00c0. I'll now purchase the Radeon VII but will first wait for the fan fix and for Apple to list it in their support article.
This thread can be deleted.
Tried Rise of the Tomb Raider. Same performance as the 1080 Ti but that's not great. It's a very badly ported title that randomly jerks and freezes even though the GPU is not overheating.
This should not be the case, Feral ports are awesome and super optimised. I've run several Rise of the Tomb raider and it works great on any eGPU system I've tried. I've a video on my Italian channel
MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD
my awesome Radeon VII eGPU
my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64