eGPU + AMD Radeon Vega Frontier  

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imcalledandy
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August 1, 2017 12:26 pm  

Has anyone had the chance / need  to create a setup based around the AMD Radeon Vega Frontier?

I'm considering this card for rendering using the AMD Pro Render which is coming to Cinema 4D in Release 19.

I'm thinking there's no point getting an RX 580 / 570 since Vega is more future proof (albeit more costly).

Will it work with Sierra using Automate-eGPU script?

Edited: 11 months  ago

2013 MacPro 2xD700 2xGTX980Ti@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.3
2017 TB MBP 2xGTX1080Ti-TB3 (Akitio Node) + macOS 10.13.4


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theitsage
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August 1, 2017 12:34 pm  

There's no Vega drivers in 10.12.6 Sierra so automate-eGPU script won't help. The latest 10.13b has Vega drivers. I have a hard time believing it's for the iMac Pro only now that Apple officially supports external GPU.

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imcalledandy
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August 1, 2017 12:38 pm  

Thanks for the reply. Yes - I believe you are right.

How are you finding the latest beta of High Sierra?

Also, am I right in thinking that it will be some time before Nvidia drivers are available for High Sierra? Hence the move towards AMD Vega.

2013 MacPro 2xD700 2xGTX980Ti@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.3
2017 TB MBP 2xGTX1080Ti-TB3 (Akitio Node) + macOS 10.13.4


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theitsage
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August 1, 2017 12:50 pm  

10.13b is very stable on the 2013 Mac Pro. It's not the same story on 2016 MacBook Pro though. I would see visual glitches when waking the laptop up from sleep. One time the display was completely frozen on a pixelated pink screen.

As far as Nvidia and other AMD cards for external use, Apple seems to have a much tighter leash in High Sierra. Existing methods don't work anymore. The RX 580 (and 570/480/470) are the only cards we can use for eGPU atm.

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DANgerous25
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August 5, 2017 4:22 am  

Hey @theitsage, my current setup is Late 2014 iMac 5K 27", + Akitio Node (With Corsair SF450 PSU), + MSI GeForce GTX 1080TI. I am using an external Dell 4k monitor for a dual-screen setup with my iMac display. I'm using @rastafabi's eGPU-enabler solution to get it all working which is fantastic, running on MacOS Sierra 10.12.6. (folks are welcome to see my post here for how I got it all working with full disclosure on the issues that I've faced)

It works great apart from two niggles: 1) Max resolution on the 5k screen is 3840x2160, 2) the startup sequence is a bit crappy as a sleep/wake is required to get both screens working. Both niggles are relatively minor, and otherwise the setup works amazingly well and is incredibly stable.

However... I would really like to get away from those niggles. Having seen the all the news about Apple embracing eGPU and the Apple dev kit/box, it made me think "what if I used an AMD card, would my troubles be over?". So I guess I have a few questions that maybe we can't answer yet but would be great to get there:

  1. Is the Vega Frontier Edition going to be a comparable, if not better, card than the 1080TI (let's say my main use case is gaming)?
  2. Will the water-cooled version of VFE fit in the Akitio Node?
  3. Will the VFE work in my Akitio Node with my upgraded Power Supply?
  4. Will the VFE work with High Sierra (I think you mentioned it works in beta?)
  5. Will my two niggles disappear by using an AMD card, because I'm not limited by nVidia drivers?
  6. Will I essentially get native support using the proposed VFE setup?
  7. Any other recommended alternatives?

Thanks as always for your support and advice.

Dan

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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imcalledandy
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August 5, 2017 6:11 am  

Hey Dan, just to jump in on point one, I think the VFE is more comparable to the Titan Xp - it certainly has more RAM than the 1080Ti.

This would be quite interesting if you got it all working you'd be able to keep your 2014 iMac but have essentially the proposed iMac Pro GPU. 

Could you also keep your 1080Ti as part of the setup? How many TB ports does the iMac have?

2013 MacPro 2xD700 2xGTX980Ti@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.3
2017 TB MBP 2xGTX1080Ti-TB3 (Akitio Node) + macOS 10.13.4


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mac_editor
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August 5, 2017 7:07 am  
Posted by: DANgerous25

However... I would really like to get away from those niggles. Having seen the all the news about Apple embracing eGPU and the Apple dev kit/box, it made me think "what if I used an AMD card, would my troubles be over?". So I guess I have a few questions that maybe we can't answer yet but would be great to get there:

  1. Is the Vega Frontier Edition going to be a comparable, if not better, card than the 1080TI (let's say my main use case is gaming)?
  2. Will the water-cooled version of VFE fit in the Akitio Node?
  3. Will the VFE work in my Akitio Node with my upgraded Power Supply?
  4. Will the VFE work with High Sierra (I think you mentioned it works in beta?)
  5. Will my two niggles disappear by using an AMD card, because I'm not limited by nVidia drivers?
  6. Will I essentially get native support using the proposed VFE setup?
  7. Any other recommended alternatives?

Thanks as always for your support and advice.

Dan

  1. For gaming, early benchmarks suggest that the Vega FE is slightly more powerful than the 1080. The 1080 Ti performs far better, although the FE has more FPP. Check this benchmark out:  Driver optimizations and gaming support might edge the FE closer to the 1080 Ti in the future.
  2. Something to look into -> assuming the card is as large as a Titan XP, alongside a cooler I can't say if it would fit or not. Additionally, it might be worth considering the power draw of the card as well, as it leaves very little room given the Node's PSU. I'm also looking for the exact dimensions of the card.
  3. Upgraded your PSU? You are all set.
  4. As of writing this, no one has yet tested the VFE in an external setup. High Sierra has the drivers, but official support for this GPU has not been announced. It is quite clear that Apple will most likely not limit to eGPUs to a single card. RX 580 only support is just for initial testing. So the future does look bright.
  5. Assuming a stable High Sierra release with eGPU support -> both niggles will most likely be resolved. Internal Display Acceleration will probably be added in future High Sierra revisions.
  6. With High Sierra, chances are a BIG yes for TB3 notebooks and iMacsTB2 compatibility varies and is considered unsupported.
  7. I don't think there are really comparable + compatible alternatives to the Vega for macOS. I would suggest being very patient as Apple works things out in High Sierra before jumping the gun and purchasing the setup. Of course, if it is flexible enough for you that you could return it - you could try with the High Sierra Betas.
Edited: 11 months  ago

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.sh

Guides:
Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX480@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10
Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + GTX980Ti@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS


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DANgerous25
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August 5, 2017 8:37 am  

Thanks guys for your responses. In terms of the performance, I can certainly live with the drop in performance between 1080TI / 1080-like setups in exchange for native support and no niggles. It does sound like the future is bright and I should hang on as this could be a very promising setup if it gets proper support. Heck, if it means I can get rid of any temptation to buy an iMac Pro (which I can't afford and really don't need!) then great.

@Andy: My iMac has 2 x TB2 ports, but I only have one eGPU and one external monitor. So to keep the 1080TI in a dream setup scenario there'd need to be a solution for the resolution problem (nVidia driver update? MacOS official support? Both would save me $$$).

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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DANgerous25
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October 1, 2017 5:24 am  

Bumping this thread now that High Sierra is out in the wild. Has anyone tried Vega Frontier Edition in a Mac setup, or know if it works? Also will both air and water cooled editions fit in the Aktio Node?

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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DANgerous25
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January 28, 2018 2:29 am  

Bumping this again... given that it looks like High Sierra 10.3.4 is going to have a decent level of support, I'm wondering if I can put a VFE card (maybe even the water-cooled version) in my Akitio Node. Note that I already have a 600W PSU in my Node so I don't think I will have issues there. Has anyone tried it or seen if it is possible?

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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ikir
 ikir
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January 29, 2018 9:32 pm  

There few users here who have Vega FE inside eGPU, it should works without issue as far I know

eGPU.it | LG 34" 4K 34UC88 curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2017 touchbar i7 3.5Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD --> my complete setup video


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DANgerous25
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January 30, 2018 12:16 pm  
Posted by: ikir

There few users here who have Vega FE inside eGPU, it should works without issue as far I know

Thanks @ikir. Next key question (and I've searched but can't find) if anyone has installed the watercooled version (or even a RX 64 water cooled) in the Akitio Node?

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Chippy McChipset
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January 30, 2018 11:54 pm  
Posted by: DANgerous25
Posted by: ikir

There few users here who have Vega FE inside eGPU, it should works without issue as far I know

Thanks @ikir. Next key question (and I've searched but can't find) if anyone has installed the watercooled version (or even a RX 64 water cooled) in the Akitio Node?

Can't speak for anyone else but with the Sonnet enclosure (one of the roomier models out there), there's no easy way to fit or configure a water-cooled GPU that size in the box. I recommend against it. Most of the boxes you see on this site weren't designed for it IMO. If you haven't purchased yet, play it safe and go with the air cooled version. For C4D the level of performance you will get between the two will not be too different IMO.

To be honest that would go for most OpenGL and OpenCL accelerated tasks and most apps. Also with C4D, R20 likely to be a bigger release than most as they start hooking the rewritten core into different functions, and much of that may actually be CPU-dependent, not GPU-dependent. MAXONs engineers tend to optimize very carefully towards whichever hardware is best suited to the computational task at hand, vs. other developers which tend to optimize across the board for one or the other. All that is another way of saying don't give yourself too big a headache trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (liquid cooled uber-GPU for that extra 4.8% performance), when you're better off going with a slightly less powerful card and more powerful rig overall.

Edited: 5 months  ago

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Jyin
 Jyin
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January 31, 2018 3:54 am  
Posted by: Chippy McChipset
Posted by: DANgerous25
Posted by: ikir

There few users here who have Vega FE inside eGPU, it should works without issue as far I know

Thanks @ikir. Next key question (and I've searched but can't find) if anyone has installed the watercooled version (or even a RX 64 water cooled) in the Akitio Node?

Can't speak for anyone else but with the Sonnet enclosure (one of the roomier models out there), there's no easy way to fit or configure a water-cooled GPU that size in the box. I recommend against it. Most of the boxes you see on this site weren't designed for it IMO. If you haven't purchased yet, play it safe and go with the air cooled version. For C4D the level of performance you will get between the two will not be too different IMO.

To be honest that would go for most OpenGL and OpenCL accelerated tasks and most apps. Also with C4D, R20 likely to be a bigger release than most as they start hooking the rewritten core into different functions, and much of that may actually be CPU-dependent, not GPU-dependent. MAXONs engineers tend to optimize very carefully towards whichever hardware is best suited to the computational task at hand, vs. other developers which tend to optimize across the board for one or the other. All that is another way of saying don't give yourself too big a headache trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (liquid cooled uber-GPU for that extra 4.8% performance), when you're better off going with a slightly less powerful card and more powerful rig overall.

For strictly speaking about fit, I do not agree.

IMG 20180117192124

This pic is a bit old, but I was able to fit 1) Vega FE LC, 2) larger SFX-L PSU, and 3) extra 120mm pull fan at exhaust side of the radiator, with enough room for good air flow. The Sonnet BreakAway Box is indeed designed for exactly this.

http://www.sonnettech.com/support/kb/kb.php?cat=524&expand=_a2&action=b914#b914

I don’t have the 2) or 3) anymore, but reason to remove them had nothing to do with how they ‘fit’.

I won’t comment on if one needs the extra performance, or not. But getting the LC has other considerations. One is the noise. Among the people who was affected by higher fan speed, I was not all that bothered with noise. The LC, allowed me to manage the fan noise much better. Another consideration is heat. Take a look at how I solved both the heat and noise here.

IMG 20180117192446

The issues with Sonnet is Power. My 550 drives the Vega FE LC with stock PSU. But I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was using PD.

Edited: 5 months  ago

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DANgerous25
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February 4, 2018 1:41 am  

@jyin, thanks for the informative post. May I ask what is the 800W PSU you are using in the picture? I am waiting for my FE LC to arrive, I was planning to use my Corsair 650W, hoping that it will be ok. 

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Jyin
 Jyin
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February 4, 2018 1:44 am  

That PSU was SilverStone SX800. I no longer have it, and I can't recommend it for eGPU.

Despite Tom's Hardware's in-depth review and good score in cross-loading and ripple. It utterly failed to power the GPU.

I am back on the stock OEM PSU now, and I have not had any issues yet.

Please note that I do NOT use the PD, so I have 87W head-room.

J


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DANgerous25
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February 7, 2018 3:42 pm  

So in the name of science I got myself a Vega FE liquid, and with a small amount of non-damaging hackery I managed to squeeze it into the Akitio Node. The good news ends there. For the moment it's not detected by MacOS 10.3.2 or 10.3.3. I'm currently installing 10.13.4 public beta 1 and hope for more luck.

Boy the fan is loud...

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Jyin
 Jyin
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February 7, 2018 3:56 pm  

Which fan? The radiator one?

I should do noise meter capture when it’s quiet at night and post it here. But last time I did that, the difference between eGPU off and on was like 2db at sitting distance for me.

J


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theitsage
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February 7, 2018 4:10 pm  

@dangerous25 I'm not sure why the Vega FE eGPU wouldn't show up in 10.13.2 and 10.13.3. Is it connecting to your iMac Pro?

I recently did some testings with the max number of eGPUs a Mac can host. It seems one per Thunderbolt controller is the limit. Here's a plug-and-play dual Vega eGPUs in the late 2016 15" MacBook Pro. When plugging two eGPUs into both ports hosted by one Thunderbolt controller, one of the eGPUs simply not work (shows up as Display instead of full name). Daisy-chaining two eGPUs to use one port produces the same result.

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Antoine
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February 7, 2018 4:19 pm  

Just got a FE liquid and it's not recognised by 10.13.4 b1 also.
When I connect the tb3 cable to MBP 2017 node and card switch on and fan go to max rpm.
Seems like liquid version is seen as different card than FE air

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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DANgerous25
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February 7, 2018 4:23 pm  

I have the same issue as Antoine, albeit I am using iMac Pro with the Akitio Node. Even on the 10.13.4 beta 1. Not detected, fan (from the radiator) sounds like I have a small aircraft under my desk.

@theitsage: I only have the one eGPU connected, I swapped out the 1080TI for the Vega FE Liquid.

Any ideas how to make it detect?

Edited: 4 months  ago

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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theitsage
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February 7, 2018 4:25 pm  

What does it show for Device ID in System Information » Graphics/Displays? The Vega FE air version shows 0x6863.

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Antoine
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February 7, 2018 4:27 pm  

in Graphics/Displays there are only the RP560 and the Iris card.
Node is recognised in Thunderbolt section.

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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Antoine
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February 7, 2018 5:30 pm  

@DANgerous25, @Jyin did you tried also on 10.13.4 beta 2?

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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theitsage
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February 7, 2018 5:58 pm  

@antoine What about under System Information » PCI?

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Antoine
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February 7, 2018 6:03 pm  

PCI > "This computer doesn’t contain any PCI cards or devices. If you installed or connected a PCI card or device, make sure it is properly installed."

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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Antoine
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February 7, 2018 8:08 pm  

@theitsage do you think that adding the proper Device Id to the info.plist in the AMD10000Controller.kext, the FE Liquid could be recognised?
I don't know how to read the Device Id of the card.

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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theitsage
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February 7, 2018 9:04 pm  

@antoine I don't think that helps. 10.13.4 already has all the PCI IDs known for Vega cards. I was just curious whether the liquid cooled version has the same ID as the air cooled one.

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DANgerous25
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February 9, 2018 1:07 pm  

So I've now upgraded to 10.13.4 beta 2 (17E150g), still no joy. The Akitio Node is detected in the System Report -> Thunderbolt, but no sign of the FE there, or under Graphics.

Any ideas folks? 

N.B. I also tried connecting it to my MBP TB, on 10.13.3. That doesn't detect it either so whatever the issue is doesn't seem special to iMac Pro.

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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theitsage
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February 9, 2018 1:12 pm  

My guess is the Vega FE Liquid is somehow identified differently than the Air version in macOS. I've been looking for the vBIOS and PCI ID but not much luck.

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DANgerous25
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February 9, 2018 1:45 pm  

Does this help?

Disclaimer: I've no idea what most of this means...

https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/197023/197023 (appears to be liquid based on comments at the bottom)

https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/196039/amd-rxvegafe-16368-170616 (appears to be air-cooled)

@jyin: How did you get yours to work? What MacOS version?

@All: I have a Corsair 600W PSU, could that be the cause (although the card has power, fan is 100% crazy, LEDs on...)?

Edited: 4 months  ago

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Jyin
 Jyin
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February 9, 2018 3:42 pm  

@dngerous25, I am still running 10.13.3. With my 2017 iMac 27’ it was plug-and-playin OS X. The fan does run a little faster than under Windows, but noise is barely noticiable from about 4 feet away (about 2-4db) when the GPU is idle. I do have the exhaust duct pointing up so the noise and hot-air escape the enclosure away from me. The OS X identifies the card as RXxxx, the PCI device is same as the Air Cooled (0x6863).

In the Bootcamp, I had to disable the RX580 to resolve the error 12. But that’s all I had to do. I do also disable the FaceTime camera, but I don’t know if that is necessary. The Internal display still shows desktop as generic display.

J


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theitsage
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February 9, 2018 4:28 pm  

@jyin Thank you for the input. Sounds like the 550W PSU in your Sonnet Breakaway Box was able to handle the Vega FE when no PD is active. 

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Antoine
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February 9, 2018 5:08 pm  

Also for me 10.13.4 beta 2 does't resolve the issue. Still not visible and fan in the radiator runs like crazy.
Just to prove that the card is working fine, I'm trying to install it in Windows 10 via Boot Camp but the card is not detected and Amd Driver (from 17.12.2 to 18.1) is not detecting the card during the installation. I've no clue what to do. Any Suggestions?

My setup: 2017 MBP -RP560 - Akitio Node with PSU Corsair SF600 and Vega Frontier Liquid (gold) (three Pci-e cables, Node board connected to cpu slot of the SF600 and FE Liquid connected to 2X8pin cables on the Pci-3 slot of the SF600). Same setup was tested with the RX580 and it works just fine.

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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DANgerous25
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February 10, 2018 1:38 am  

@jyin: I wonder if it is somehow related to the enclosure? That seems to be the only difference between your setup and mine/@Antoine's.

late-2017 27" iMac Pro RPVega64 + GTX1080TI@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + MacOS 10.13.2
late-2014 27" iMac 5k R9 M295X + GTX1080Ti@16Gbps-TB (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Antoine
(@antoine)
Trusted Member
Joined:9 months  ago
Posts: 79
February 10, 2018 10:19 am  

Perhaps it could the Node, indeed but sound weird.
I would exclude the SF600 not giving enough power as I exclusively connected to the FE and the original PSU to the Node.
I've put back the Nitro+ Rx580 and with the SF600 is not giving me any trouble in 10.13.3 or 10.13.4 b2 or Windows 10

Edited: 4 months  ago

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE LC@32Gbps-TB3 (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.4


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