eGPU and browser performance on Mojave
Hello fellas, I have a MacBook Pro 15 2018 560x and I'm wondering if an external gpu will help improve scrolling performance inside Safari and Firefox. Can someone open Safari/firefox and start scrolling on a trackpad and open a gpu hitory from activity monitor to see whether the browser uses the external gpu for scrolling? Thanks in advance ,guys! I will be forever grateful
@iwrwr I don't have issues without eGPU. Same system.
I have two eGPU setups on two completely different systems and do not notice any form of browser performance issues throughout Mojave.
One thing you can try with any application you use is:
Open finder, go to applications. choose an application such as safari for example. Right click, Get Info and you will notice a "Prefer External GPU" option that is not checked.
Go through any application you would want to use the eGPU, check that option, possibly restart the system and double check that setting held and see if you performance varied.
8 out of 10 scrolling animation are buttery smooth ,but the other 2 have skipped frames. It's mostly buttery smooth in Safari ,but in Chrome it's really bad. This issue is present on all macbooks. I've tested the store units and they also tend to skip some frames sometimes. On the 5k iMac store units the scrolling is absolutely flawless ,so I was thinking that maybe an eGPU can solve this problem. It bugs me alot ! I've payed such a premium for this laptop and I expect it to be flawless. I can invest in something like razercore X AND VEGA 56 .I know that it sounds crazy for just a little improvement in scrolling ,but when you add to that that maybe I can make it work in bootcamp to game, when I play 4k youtube the fans wont kick in and also the added benefit in Final Cut it is starting to make sense. Many people on the internet are telling me that they don't have problems ,but they simply have not be looking for them .
In summary -On safari it is a butter,but sometimes skips a frame or 2,on chrome it is much more pronounced. It happens both on mine MBP and on the store units. Can you please just open Safari/Chrome with the eGPU plugged in and open activity monitor and then press command + 4 to open GPU history and try a couple of scrolls with a trackpad to see if the browser is using the eGPU for scrolling? It will take you 2 minutes. This is all I wanna know and I will be grateful.I was thinking of making a screen capture edit to showcase the scrolling problem but unfortunately I am very low on SSD space right know,and the quicktime recordings take alot of it. I'm gonna get a T5 by samsung next month thou.
@iwrwr Thank you for elaborating. While I have not had scrolling issues, I do agree that with Mojave, some animations sometimes tend to lag/drop frames. I am currently away from my external monitors (so have just the eGPU and internal monitor). With Prefer External GPU enabled, Safari still does not use it for scrolling (uses the Intel UHD 630) on the internal display. I do recall it using the eGPU if there was a monitor connected to the eGPU (and Safari was launched onto it), but I cannot provide evidence of the same at this time. In all honesty, I am uncertain whether or not an eGPU would resolve a scrolling issue because frankly, even a base Intel UHD chip can supposedly handle these tasks (meaning the system is probably not GPU-bound at all). More than likely, your issues may be resolved in future versions of macOS. For diagnosing, I do suggest using your upcoming SSD - install a fresh copy of macOS on it and see if you experience the same issues there. What version of macOS are you using?
Besides the issue at hand, the eGPU can certainly provide performance benefits in Final Cut Pro as you mention, so in that respect, could be a good idea anyway.
Many people on the internet are telling me that they don't have problems ,but they simply have not be looking for them .
Not everyone has a keen eye as you 😉 but I agree with you generally, UI performance on Mojave has not always been great (for example, switching to a space which has Terminal open = tons of lag).
For 4K Youtube (via Firefox or Chrome), I believe the CPU is used (no hardware decode on macOS for VP9) so over eGPU, there should not be a difference. Gaming in bootcamp though - you will see massive improvements.
This test may help you detect issues: www.testufo.com/framerates-text#pps=480&count=4
@mac_editor Thank you for your response! I don't know why it's showing up like only UHD 630 is being used when scrolling in Safari,maybe you didn't disable automatic graphic switching ? The GPU history is showing only the 560x working when scrolling on mine MBP. I use the latest Mojave 10.14.4 .
I didn't know that it's possible to boot Mac OS from an external drive so easy ,I'm definitely going to try it! Thanks for the great idea!
About the browser using only the CPU when rendering YouTube 4k,I think that's not correct,because the gpu activity utility is showing 560x spiking all the way up. I've heard from some youtubers that indeed their MBP becomes quieter when playing those files with an eGPU.
I managed to free 35 gb of storage from my laptop by deleting render files inside FCPX so I tried to capture some of the lag. In the you will see me scrolling a bit too fast ,but the same stutter as the big one can happen on a random slow scroll,I'm scrolling that much just for the purpose of the video. You will see that it is worst on Chrome. It should be noted that for some reason when you start screen capturing,the gpu starts working faster and the scroll lag become more rare,that's why I wasn't able to capture a little bit of lag inside FCPX title section scroll.
@iwrwr Just make sure to enable boot on External Drive in Recovery Boot T2 settings.
About 4K video playback - I just tested (4k60) on Firefox. No, I do not keep Automatic GPU Switching disabled. To clarify, you don't need to disable this to use the eGPU. If the preference box is checked, it should be used automatically, unless the application automatically decides its GPU, in which case the setting can be ignored (Safari, for example, may do this).
CPU is used from 100-600%. https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/8l2d25/youtube_4k1440p_on_firefox/ mentions my point. The GPU ramps up as well, but here are my thoughts on that: I think is the GPU will (obviously) ramp up since frames are being displayed (on the GPU's framebuffer/display), but the processing is done by the CPU. In the attached image, clearly the CPU is ramped up. Hence the reason the mac becomes quieter is that the eGPU is displaying the frames and not any internal GPU, leaving thermal headroom for the CPU. For any hardware encode/decode, we would have seen meager activity in Activity Monitor.
You should report the issue to Apple as well. The issue will likely only be fixed in a macOS update. Perhaps some other users with eGPUs connected to external monitors can chime in. I do see the lag you pointed out to in the video - yes happens on my system as well (have noticed it), but rare occurrence (I'm on 10.14.5 beta though).
I've never even hoped for such a detailed and helpful answer! As far as I know scrolling is hardware accelerated so it makes sense that the eGPU will help in this regard so as I understand , the little lag should completely disappear when I have an eGPU and external monitor connected . I guess that you have been using OSX from long before me . Can you remember seeing this kind of lag on previous OS versions like the original Sierra and El capitan?
@iwrwr macOS UI does need some GPU oomph for smoothness, but if scrolling is GPU-bound (which I don't think it should be), then an eGPU would make a difference. Note that scrolling has been generally smooth on Mac for the past decade (sans eGPU). Scrolling is a function of both hardware and software, with the latter being something that is updated/changed constantly - hence my suspicions with that first. I had a 2013/14 MBP and while it lagged sometimes under load, for the most part, scrolling was smooth (general use, videos, etc.). For web, a lot of factors besides this affect scrolling (such as the website itself). I think the best way to address your concerns would be for you to try the eGPU combo yourself - it may or may not make a difference - I can't conclude - but do let me know if you try! With your iMac example, while the GPU is better, so is the display resolution, which is far higher than an MBP. In a way, the load balances out (assuming appropriate tested window size, etc.), so it may not be the best way to draw conclusions.
Previous versions of macOS have been better in some regards (Snow Leopard Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Sierra for me) on older Macs. I've been using Mac since Leopard (been only 10 years - but that's just a tad less than half my lifetime ;p). Sierra was usually much better, but had a ridiculous rare bug where all animations would stutter after prolonged sleep and some other variables. Fortunately they addressed that in High Sierra (but this version had it's own bigger set of annoyances - such as being unable to view PDFs on Github in Safari).