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eGPU + AMD Radeon Vega Frontier  

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imcalledandy
(@imcalledandy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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?

2013 Mac Pro (FP D700 x2) [3rd,8C,E] + GTX 980 Ti x2 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.1 [build link]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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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2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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imcalledandy
(@imcalledandy)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 Mac Pro (FP D700 x2) [3rd,8C,E] + GTX 980 Ti x2 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.1 [build link]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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DANgerous25
(@danfalconar)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

Hey @itsage, 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

2017 27" iMac Pro (Vega64) [7th,10C,W] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.13.2 [build link]  

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imcalledandy
(@imcalledandy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 Mac Pro (FP D700 x2) [3rd,8C,E] + GTX 980 Ti x2 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.1 [build link]  

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 
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.

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2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [build link]  


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DANgerous25
(@danfalconar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 $$$).

2017 27" iMac Pro (Vega64) [7th,10C,W] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.13.2 [build link]  

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DANgerous25
(@danfalconar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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?

2017 27" iMac Pro (Vega64) [7th,10C,W] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.13.2 [build link]  

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DANgerous25
(@danfalconar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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?

2017 27" iMac Pro (Vega64) [7th,10C,W] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.13.2 [build link]  

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