egpu to run 2 x LG 5k with USB-C conections  

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ioapps
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August 16, 2017 1:37 pm  

Hi, I have a Macbook Pro (15-inch, 2016) with touchbar. and the Radeon Pro 460 4096 MB graphic card.
I Also run 2x 27" LG 5k monitors. And it does run. How ever, if i try to do any intensive graphics on screen, they can not deliver.

Does any one know a setup that will help my current setup? Does an egpu box help me, or does it has to be graphic cards with USB-C connections? 


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theitsage
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August 16, 2017 3:23 pm  

An eGPU will unfortunately not be compatible with the Ultrafine 5K monitors. When I saw the announcement and Apple showed the 15" MBP paired with 2x 5K displays, my first question was how in the world people actually get any work done with such setup? I would contact Apple and ask them take the monitors back. Then use the refund to buy monitors with standard DisplayPort input which can be used with eGPU.

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goalque
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August 16, 2017 4:53 pm  

A low-end Intel Iris 540 can run an external 5K display, should be possible to connect it to the second TB3 port of the HL23T, to take advantage of the full 40Gbps bandwidth, leaving 22Gbps<->18Gbps pipe for the PCIe data.

Just tried out RX 580 on High Sierra and the second TB3 port of the HL23T can drive my UHD display with an USB-C to DP adapter.

However, there is ~25% OpenGL performance loss in Valley bench, if the app is accelerated by the eGPU, pixels pushed onto the UHD screen via HL23T’s TB3->DP interface. It’s therefore preferable to connect the display directly to the eGPU if your purpose is gaming, or any vector graphics that needs to be displayed.

The screen where the content is displayed doesn’t have to be accelerated by the eGPU, especially in GPGPU tasks. An app developer can divide the workload between the high-bandwidth internal GPU and the low-bandwidth eGPU.

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late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + [email protected] (Netstor HL23T) + macOS & Win10
late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + GTX980/[email protected] (Netstor HL23T) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Eightarmedpet
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May 18, 2018 4:59 pm  
Posted by: goalque

A low-end Intel Iris 540 can run an external 5K display, should be possible to connect it to the second TB3 port of the HL23T, to take advantage of the full 40Gbps bandwidth, leaving 22Gbps<->18Gbps pipe for the PCIe data.

Just tried out RX 580 on High Sierra and the second TB3 port of the HL23T can drive my UHD display with an USB-C to DP adapter.

However, there is ~25% OpenGL performance loss in Valley bench, if the app is accelerated by the eGPU, pixels pushed onto the UHD screen via HL23T’s TB3->DP interface. It’s therefore preferable to connect the display directly to the eGPU if your purpose is gaming, or any vector graphics that needs to be displayed.

The screen where the content is displayed doesn’t have to be accelerated by the eGPU, especially in GPGPU tasks. An app developer can divide the workload between the high-bandwidth internal GPU and the low-bandwidth eGPU.

I’ve been wondering about this. Would it work with other twin thunderbolt enclosures? Ie Node lite.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10
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LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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 chx
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May 27, 2018 4:27 am  

There is a little known, madman solution: the Gigabyte GC Alpine Ridge PCIe card can be stuck in a cheap mining riser for power, be fed two DisplayPort signals and have a Thunderbolt signal come out of it! No PCIe signals connected, no problems. Just search eBay for gigabyte alpine ridge, you need two.  Next up is a beefy but cheap AMD card (nVidia + MST + Mac OS X is a nope) with four DisplayPorts. There are not many candidates, the best is the 295x2 for about 600 USD on eBay, it's essentially two RX580 equivalent cards in one monstrous video card.

In  https://egpu.io/razer-core-x-review-thick-juicy/ you can see a 980 Ti Hybrid fitting in the Razer Core X, the 295x2 will very likely fit, too. The enclosure is long enough (with about an inch to spare), only concern is whether you can bundle up the tubing enough to fit in there but the 980 Ti Hybrid has the same 15" tubing as the 295x2 so hopefully it'll work. This comes to 900-950 USD while the only other viable solution, two Gigabyte RX 580 boxes would be ~1100 USD and then you need to deal with two eGPU enclosures and quite a few 40mm fans.

Your biggest challenge will be mounting the two Alpine Ridge cards + risers somewhere not too expensive. Perhaps this? Another possibility is just laying them on top of the PSU inside the Core X, the Alpine Ridge cards are neatly packaged on one side so no short risk  -- the review says it accepts three slot wide cards so you have an empty slot, you could run four mini DP cables in and two USB C cables out.  Depends on how the riser is oriented...


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3RYL
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May 27, 2018 2:23 pm  

Will the thunderbolt add in cards even work without the extra motherboard thunderbolt connector or did something change and I didn't know about?

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 chx
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May 27, 2018 4:39 pm  

Yes they will. The extra MB connector is only needed if you want the PCIe half to work.


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eAlchemist
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June 1, 2018 11:52 am  

Interesting topic! 

Is anyone practicly using such a setup already?

Thinking about the same. Stuck with the same. As I cant get FCP X timeline accelerated on my LG 5k connected to a MBP 15 2017 using a sonnet breakaway box (7970 currently).

Any way of getting usb-c and monitor controls running with a gc alpine card and a MBP?

The day this will work will be a lucky day x)..


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joevt
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June 15, 2018 2:40 pm  
Posted by: chx

Your biggest challenge will be mounting the two Alpine Ridge cards + risers somewhere not too expensive.

I've used the IT-GO "ADP-099-31" dual slot riser+enclosure to power two GC-ALPINE RIDGE add-in cards. I've used it with a Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter to test the Thunderbolt functionality since I don't have an LG 5K display.

#73

Posted by: 3RYL

Will the thunderbolt add in cards even work without the extra motherboard thunderbolt connector or did something change and I didn't know about?

The DisplayPort to Thunderbolt 3 conversion capability of Thunderbolt 3 add-in cards works without PCIe or Thunderbolt header connections. There may be issues with hotplug/sleep though. The GC-ALPINE RIDGE might not start DisplayPort conversion when used with some risers if the riser isn't connected to a computer. Other addin cards may behave differently. I didn't have that problem with the IT-GO dual slot riser.

Posted by: eAlchemist

Is anyone practicly using such a setup already?

There are examples of people using the LG 5K display with a GC-ALPINE RIDGE installed in a computer that doesn't have full support of the add-in card (no functions of the display that require PCIe communication can work in that case).

Posted by: eAlchemist

Any way of getting usb-c and monitor controls running with a gc alpine card and a MBP?

The day this will work will be a lucky day x)..

This would require some code to enable the add-in card's PCIe tunneling over Thunderbolt capability while in a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion box (if that's even possible). Examining Linux Thunderbolt drivers and the BIOS of motherboards that support Thunderbolt add-in cards might give a clue.


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theitsage
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August 29, 2018 2:06 pm  

@joevt3 Do you know whether your GC-ALPINE RIDGE AIC has TI82 controllers or TI83 ones? I checked the one I have recently and it has TI82. While macOS rejects TI82 controllers, I'm unsure how the LG Ultrafine displays interact with older USB-C controllers.

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joevt
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September 4, 2018 6:10 pm  

@theitsage My GC-ALPINE RIDGE (rev 1) has the TI82 as well. I assume peripherals don't care what TI chip is used in the host.


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theitsage
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September 4, 2018 6:40 pm  

@joevt3 Thank you for the confirmation. As far as I know, macOS (≥10.12) is the only one refuses to support TI82. Peripherals should not discriminate which USB-C controllers the host has.

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kevmo
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October 2, 2018 3:26 pm  

I just got the LG Ultrafine 5K working with my Mantiz Venus EGPU with a Vega 56 and a GC Alpine Ridge card (in one of these). Running MacOS 10.14.

Connected in the following way: Macbook Pro 13" 2018 to EGPU with TB3. EGPU to GC Alpine Ridge with 2 x DP to Mini-DP. GC Alpine Ridge to LG Ultrafine 5K with a TB3.

Ran Unigine Heaven and got 3 vs 26-37 FPS - a big improvement.

Next up: getting another LG Ultrafine 5K and GC Alpine Ridge card.


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joevt
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October 2, 2018 4:29 pm  
Posted by: kevmo

I just got the LG Ultrafine 5K working with my Mantiz Venus EGPU with a Vega 56 and a GC Alpine Ridge card (in one of these).

That is the same as the IT-GO "ADP-099-31" that I've tried except yours is mini PCIe and mine was PCIe x1. That difference doesn't matter since we're not using that part of it.

Did you have issues with the thickness of the back cover obstructing the Thunderbolt 3 cable of the LG display from being inserted fully? Compare how it feels to connect the cable with and without the backplate. The Thunderbolt 3 cable should click into the Thunderbolt 3 port.

I had to file the opening wider to fix that. I also had to file the part containing the screw holes that hold the PCIe card in place because otherwise the holes are too far away to be used.

Next up: getting another LG Ultrafine 5K and GC Alpine Ridge card.

Maybe consider a GC-TITAN RIDGE instead. It's more expensive but it supports DisplayPort 1.4 which may be useful for future Thunderbolt 3 displays.

In the future, it may be possible to use the add-in card in a Thunderbolt 3 expansion box to allow use of the extra functions of the display that require PCIe tunneling (audio, camera, USB ports). So far, I've only been able to use the USB controller of the GC-TITAN RIDGE in a Thunderbolt 3 expansion box.


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kevmo
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October 2, 2018 5:43 pm  

I didn’t even realize the titan ridge one existed. Doesn’t seem like anyone is selling it in Sweden unfortunately. Do you think one would be able to connect two displays to one of those, since 1.4 can carry 5k60?

I didn’t have any problems with the chassis. Fit decently well. Not sure how it would fit with two cards though - it’s quite narrow.


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joevt
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October 3, 2018 3:36 am  

LG 5K is dual link DisplayPort 1.2.

Alpine Ridge and Titan Ridge can't do two LG5K (one per port) because Thunderbolt controllers only have two DisplayPort inputs and LG5K uses both through one Thunderbolt port.

Titan Ridge can do two DisplayPort 1.4 5K displays, one per Thunderbolt 3 port, since Thunderbolt 3 port is still just 40 Gbps (enough for one 5K display like Alpine Ridge).


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 chx
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October 3, 2018 9:01 am  

Sure, on AIC card can't but the above discussion was about getting a second one and how it's better to get a Titan Ridge than an Alpine Ridge for future proofing.


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joevt
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October 3, 2018 1:57 pm  

Right. He wants a second AIC for a second LG5K and I said to consider a GC-TITAN RIDGE. I meant to say the GC-TITAN RIDGE can be the second AIC to power his second LG5K. Then I said the Titan Ridge can power two DisplayPort 1.4 displays, meaning only one card would be required for two 5K displays if they are new DisplayPort 1.4 displays or Titan Ridge displays. So maybe while considering a GC-TITAN RIDGE, also consider a new DisplayPort 1.4 display. But first you need to make sure macOS can support DisplayPort 1.4... I wonder if Apple will make a Titan Ridge based Thunderbolt display to go with a new Mac Pro. Maybe it doesn't matter if it's not happening soon.

Has anyone tested DisplayPort 1.4 yet with macOS? I don't remember seeing anyone try that. I have doubts because of the silly pixel clock limits Apple has had in the past. A Dell 8K at 30Hz using one DisplayPort 1.4 cable would be a good test. I think it should also be able to do 5K 60 Hz. There are 5K 60Hz DisplayPort 1.4 displays like the iiyama PROLITE XB2779QQS-S1 (I don't know if it's any good, I just googled for DisplayPort 1.4 5K displays and found that).


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kevmo
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October 8, 2018 12:03 pm  

Unfortunately I just realized I won't be able to use a second Ultrafine 5K monitor with my setup - the GPU doesn't have enough DP connectors and HDMI to DP is apparently not a thing. Oh well. RIP dreams.

I guess I can run one without the GPU. But that's not as fun and there is a difference in "snappiness" when using the GPU versus not.

This post was modified 1 week  ago by kevmo

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joevt
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October 8, 2018 9:56 pm  

HDMI 2.0 to DP 1.2 is a thing but it costs $200. I don't think anyone has tried it as half of a dual link SST 5K display. You would have to make the driver think the HDMI port is half of the display (override the EDID?) and the driver would have to be able to accept HDMI output as half of the display...


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kevmo
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October 10, 2018 9:19 am  

Yeah, that sounds very much not worth it... especially since I would need two.


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joevt
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October 10, 2018 2:16 pm  
Posted by: kevmo

Yeah, that sounds very much not worth it... especially since I would need two.

And also it probably won't work or the effort required to make it work is too great.

You have one of the Vega 56 cards with only two DisplayPorts and between two and three HDMI ports? In that case, you could try two 5K DisplayPort 1.4 displays (don't know if DisplayPort 1.4 works with macOS) or you could get a new graphics card with 4 or more DisplayPorts (use pcpartpicker to find cards with 4 or more DisplayPort or mini DisplayPort - most such results are not gaming graphics cards - make sure all the ports you want to use support 4K 60 Hz simultaneously) or you could get a second graphics card. All of these choices are expensive. Avoid Thunderbolt displays since they only work well with Thunderbolt computers.


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