eGPU Performance Loss - PCI Express vs. Thunderbolt
 
Notifications
Clear all

eGPU Performance Loss - PCI Express vs. Thunderbolt  

 of  10
  RSS

enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

This is the question that many users wants to know: How much performance drop of my Video Card i will have if i put it in the eGPU with Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 3? I will give you the answer in this thread!

In all benchmarks we can see that, if we play games with FULL HD 1920 x 1080 Resolution (1080p) on External Display the Thunderbolt Number is not a big deal, BUT if we use the laptop Internal Display - the best Thunderbolt we have, the less performance drop we will get and also if you have better video card you will have more performance drop because - better FPS will make more bandwidth, if you use higher resolution than 1080p on External Display you will have less performance drop because of lower FPS: 

THUNDERBOLT # PCIE SPEED EXTERNAL DISPLAY 1080P INTERNAL DISPLAY 1080P
       
Thunderbolt 3 32Gbps-TB3 ~20% performance drop ~20% 1060 | ~28% 1070 | ~30% 1080 & 1080Ti
Thunderbolt 2 16Gbps-TB2 ~20% performance drop ~24% GTX 1060 | ~40% GTX1080 & TITAN X 
Thunderbolt 1 10Gbps-TB1 ~20% performance drop ~50% performance drop
PCI Express 126Gbps-PCIe    

Thanks to @itsage we finally have result with the same CPU in the same Desktop PC with attached to the motherboard Thunderbolt 3 port eGPU (AKiTiO Node with GTX 980Ti 6GB Hybrid) and the results shows the same close to ~20% percent performance drop with External Display for Thunderbolt 3 (32Gbps)! 

GTX 980Ti 6GB Hybrid in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 980Ti 6GB Hybrid in eGPU (Thunderbolt 3 32Gbps) External Display - 16% performance drop

So after that test we can confirm that all results we saw so far in this thread are true story even they are with different CPUs and some GPUs are overclocked! 

BENCHMARKS DESKTOP PC (126 GBPS)
GTX 980TI 6GB
EGPU THUNDERBOLT 3 (32GBPS)
EXTERNAL MONITOR | GTX 980TI 6GB
     
Unigine Valley 3807 (91.0 FPS) 3250 (77.7 FPS)
Unigine Heaven 2279 (90.5 FPS) 1918 (76.1 FPS)
Unigine Superposition 3806 (28.5 FPS) 3653 (27.3 FPS)
3DMark Time Spy 5878 (38.0 FPS) 5342 (34.4 FPS)
3DMark Fire Strike 15997 (49.7 FPS) 13233 (49.2 FPS)
     
Metro Last Night Redux 138.1 FPS 93.5 FPS
Rise of the Tomb Raider 59.9 FPS 58.1 FPS
Tom Clancy's The Division 59.8 FPS 46.8 FP

UPDATE: Again thanks to @itsage we have complete benchmarks for 1080p (15% performance drop), 1440p (8% performance drop) and 4k (5% performance drop) with the same CPU in the same Desktop PC with attached to the motherboard Thunderbolt 3 port eGPU (Razer Core with GTX 980Ti 6GB Hybrid)

 
Test Bench @ 1080p PCI EXPRESS (DESKTOP PC) THUNDERBOLT 3 EGPU
     
Unigine Valley 95.1 FPS 83.7 FPS
Unigine Heaven 90.7 FPS 79.0 FPS
Unigine Superposition 93.2 FPS 86.9 FPS
3DMark Time Spy 36.0 FPS 33.5 FPS
3DMark Fire Strike 88.2 FPS 71.7 FPS
     
Rise of the Tomb Raider 60.0 FPS 58.5 FPS
Tom Clancy's GhostRecon 87.9 FPS 56.6 FPS
Shadow of Mordor 128.5 FPS 97.3 FPS
 
Test Bench @ 1440p PCI EXPRESS (DESKTOP PC) THUNDERBOLT 3 EGPU
     
Unigine Valley 58.1 FPS 53.9 FPS
Unigine Heaven 57.1 FPS 52.2 FPS
Unigine Superposition 62.5 FPS 59.7 FPS
     
Rise of the Tomb Raider 60 FPS 58.3 FPS
Tom Clancy's GhostRecon 66.0 FPS 45.9 FPS
Shadow of Mordor 89.2 FPS 73.6 FPS
 
Test Bench @ 4k PCI EXPRESS (DESKTOP PC) THUNDERBOLT 3 EGPU
     
Unigine Valley 26.6 FPS 25.6 FPS
Unigine Heaven 24.5 FPS 23.8 FPS
Unigine Superposition 31.9 FPS 31.2 FPS
     
Rise of the Tomb Raider 46.8 FPS 46.0 FPS
Tom Clancy's GhostRecon 37.8 FPS 30.1 FPS
Shadow of Mordor 51.4 FPS 46.3 FPS

We have full tests with GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU on all Thunderbolt ports vs. Desktop PC and also a Gaming Laptop:


1. Thundebolt 3 (32 Gbps) vs. PCI Express (126Gbps)

1.1 GTX 1080Ti 11GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 3 (32 Gbps)

Most of the eGPU users wants GTX 1080Ti, thanks to @konceptz we can see that we have -20% performance drop of the GPU on external display, on the Internal Display we have  -30% performance drop thanks to @ryokun6 post:

GTX 1080Ti 11GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

AKiTiO Node + GTX 1080Ti FE 11GB / MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2016) Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) External Display: -20% performance drop

Mantiz Venus + GTX 1080Ti FE 11GB / MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2016) Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) Internal Display: -30% performance drop


1.2 GTX 1080 8GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 3 (32 Gbps)

Another test with EVGA GTX 1080 Hybrid 8GB with 2016 MacBook Pro 13" (i5-6360U) with eGPU with Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps):

GTX 1080 8GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps) 

 GTX 1080 8GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) External Display: -20% performance drop


GTX 1080 8GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) Internal Display: -30% performance drop


1.3 GTX 1070 8GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 3 (32 Gbps)

Another test with AKiTiO Node eGPU with GTX 1070 8GB with ASUS UX501VW (i7 -6700HQ) – Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) Test:

GTX 1070GB 8GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1070GB 8GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) External Display: -20% performance drop

GTX 1070GB 8GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) Internal Display: -28% performance drop


1.4 GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 3 (32 Gbps)

Another test with GTX 1060 6GB eGPU (late-2016 13" MBP + GTX1060@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Thunder3) ) snow us 21-22% perfromance drop if you using Internal Display and External Display with Thundebolt 3 (32Gbps)

GTX 1060 6GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) Internal Display: -22% performance drop

GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) External Display: -21% performance drop

So we can see from all benchmarks that with Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) with better Video Card we will get more performance drop, its because again of FPS and bandwidth! Also with GTX 1060 6GB will give us the same 21-22% performance drop thanks to Thunderbolt 3 (32 Gbps) on Internal and External Display!


2. Thundebolt 2 (16 Gbps) vs. PCI Express (126Gbps)

2.1 GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 2 (16 Gbps)

After i buy new laptop (15' Macbook Pro Retina late-2013 Iris Pro Only) with Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) - the performance drop is great even on Internal Display with Optimus vs. Thunderbolt 1 (my old laptop) 

GTX 1060 6GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16 Gbps) External Display: -16% performance drop

 GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16 Gbps) Internal Display: -24% performance drop


2.2 GTX 1080 8GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 2 (16 Gbps)

Another test with 1080 eGPU (2015 15" Dell Precision M7510 + GTX1080@16Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) ) snow us 43% perfromance drop if you using Internal Display with Thundebolt 2 (16Gbps)

GTX 1080 8GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1080 8GB in eGPU with Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) Internal Display -43% perfromance drop

1488265666-Screenshot-from-2017-02-28-14-37-57.png


2.3 GTX TITAN X 12GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 2 (16 Gbps)

Another test with one of the best Video Cards: TITAN X 12GB, Akitio Node and 2015 Macbook Pro 15' - Thunderbolt2 (16Gbps) Test: 

TITAN X 12GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

TITAN X 12GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) External Display: -20% performance drop


TITAN X 12GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) Internal Display: -42% performance drop

 


3. Thundebolt 1 (10 Gbps) vs. PCI Express (126Gbps)

3.1 GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 1 (10 Gbps)

I tested my eGPU performance drop and put my EVGA 1060 6GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps) and I get 20% performance drop on External Display and 50% performance drop of Internal Display on my eGPU with Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps):

GTX 1060 6GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps) External Display: -20% performance dropGTX 1060 6GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps) Internal Display: -50% performance drop


3.2 GTX 1070 8GB in eGPU with Thundebolt 1 (10 Gbps)

Another test with GTX 1070 in eGPU with MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) for Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps)

GTX 1070 8GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

GTX 1070 8GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 1 (10 Gbps) External Display: -22% performance drop


To us eGPU users, the performance loss compared to a desktop is negligible. 

With eGPU we have 20-50% performance drop on Internal and External Display and this is great, because with GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080 & GTX 1080Ti even with this performance drop - we can play all heavy games with 60FPS:

  • GTX 1060 6GB - HIGH/ULTRA gaming with 1080p on External Display (TB1, TB2, TB3) or Internal Display (TB2, TB3)
  • GTX 1070 8GB - ULTRA gaming with 1080p on External Display (TB1, TB2, TB3) or Internal Display (TB2, TB3)
  • GTX 1070 8GB - MID/HIGH gaming with 1440p on External Display (TB1, TB2, TB3)  or Internal Display (TB2, TB3) 
  • GTX 1080 8GB & 1080TI 11GB - HIGH/ULTRA gaming with 1440p on External Display (TB1, TB2, TB3) or Internal Display (TB2, TB3)
  • GTX 1080 8GB & 1080TI 11GB - MID/HIGH gaming with 4k only External Display (TB1, TB2, TB3)

  • PCI Express provides you a 126Gbps
  • Thunderbolt 3 provides you a 32Gbps (x4 3.0)
  • Thunderbolt 2 provides you a 16Gbps (x4 2.0)
  • Thunderbolt 1 provides you a 10Gbps (x4 2.0, but Thunderbolt 1 channel limited to 10Gbps)

Q: Why There is a performance drop by using Internal Display compared with External Display (Monitor)

A: In case of using Internal Monitor, CPU will send data to the eGPU for graphic processing and then eGPU will send processed data again to the laptop to display it on the Internal Display. In this case Thunderbolt bandwidth will be used in two ways and this will waste bandwidth and cause performance drop compared to using External Monitor. By Using External Display (Monitor) CPU will send data to eGPU for processing and then eGPU will forward processed data directly to the External Display (Monitor)

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@JayzTwoCents Retesting with 1080 on Internal vs. External Display vs Laptop with 1080 inside PCIe:


Rise of the Tomb Raider 1080p / DX12 - Preset Very High

1080 with Thunderbolt3 (32bps) on Internal Display: 59FPS / Laptop with 1080 with PCIe (126Gbps) : 94FPS

- 37% performance drop on Internal Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3

1080 with Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) on External Display: 62FPS / Laptop with 1080 with PCIe (126Gbps) : 94FPS

- 35% performance drop on External Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3


Metro Last Light 1080p / DX11 Ultra Settings no SS

1080 with Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) on Internal Display: 98FPS / Laptop with 1080 with PCIe (126Gbps) : 157FPS

- 35% performance drop on Internal Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3


1080 with Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) on External Display: 112FPS / Laptop with 1080 with PCIe (126Gbps) : 157FPS

- 28.6% performance drop on External Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3


Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

1080 with Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) on Internal Display: 2182 / Externla Display: 2411 /  Laptop with 1080 with PCIe (126Gbps) : 3178

- 30% performance drop on Internal Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3

- 24% performance drop on External Display with eGPU with Thunderbolt3

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


mr.ribeiro and Eydawn liked
ReplyQuote
Antharsious
(@antharsious)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Very interesting thread here...

I gathered the benchmarks of this thread as well as on the forum to illustrate the score and loss (in Heaven 4.0) as a function of the bandwidth compared to a Desktop...

This may give a visual idea about what is happening 😉

Impact of Turboboost on performances and fan noise level (MacBook Pro)

 
2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1060 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
t0panka
(@t0panka)
New Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@enjoy don't you think there is something wrong with Jay setup? How is he getting so low numbers with eGPU? How is Dave2D getting 10-15% drops

Also TB1, 2, 3 all have same loss on external monitor? How is that even possible?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

ReplyQuote
enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@t0panka It's because he used slower Video Card in the eGPU and he gets lower FPS, i will update the first post with that! The post is about heavy games performance drop.

For example users with 1050TI have only 5% perfromance drop on External Display and only 10% performance drop on Internal Display with Thunderbolt 1 and with Thunderbolt 3 - because of low FPS and because the more FPS you get the more Bandwidth you will have:

eGPU with EVGA 1050TI 4GB via Thunderbolt3 (1080p) on late-2016 13' Macbook Retina TouchBar:

eGPU with Gigabyte GTX 1050Ti 4GB with Thunderbolt 1 (1600x900) on Lenovo T430s (Left External Display / Right Internal Display)


About why Thunderbolt 1, 2 and 3  have the same performance drop on External Display, the test are only on FULL HD 1080p Resolution, If you up the resolution the best Thunderbolt you have, the less performance drop you will get Smile

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
t0panka
(@t0panka)
New Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@enjoy thank you very much for explaining!

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

enjoy liked
ReplyQuote
enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC - in Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 eGPU vs. PCIe:


- EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in Akitio Thunder3 with MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2016)Intel Core i7-6567U @ 3.3 GHz (2 cores) - Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) - /Geekbench 4 score - 4016/  - EXTERNAL DISPLAY 

-20% performance drop


 - EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in Akitio Thunder2 with MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2016)Intel Core i7-6567U @ 3.3 GHz (2 cores) - Thunderbolt2 (16Gbps) /Geekbench 4 score -  3489/  - EXTERNAL DISPLAY 

-20% performance drop


- EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in Akitio Thunder2 with MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3720QM @ 2.6 GHz (4 cores) - Thunderbolt1 (10Gbps) /Geekbench 4 score - 3576/ - EXTERNAL DISPLAY 

-20% performance drop


- This is what happen if we put EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps):


Thunderbolt 1, 2 and 3 all have the same -20% performance drop vs. PCIe on External Display with eGPU on 1080p! 


On Internal Display is where the problems of Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 comes. I show you why....


On Internal Display the same video card (EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC) with Thunderbolt 3 on the Same laptop MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2016)Intel Core i7-6567U @ 3.3 GHz (2 cores) - Thunderbolt3 (32Gbps) - /Geekbench 4 score - 4016/ will give us the same score on Heaven 4.0 like on the Internal Display - still 20-22% performance drop vs. PCIe!

While the Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps) and Thundderbolt 2 (16Gbps) will have 45-50% performance drop vs. (PCIe slot 126Gbps) on Internal Display

- EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in Akitio Thunder2 with MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012) Intel Core i7-3720QM @ 2.6 GHz (4 cores) - Thunderbolt1 (10Gbps) /Geekbench 4 score - 3576/ - INTERNAL DISPLAY

- EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC in Akitio Thunder2 with MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2016)Intel Core i7-6567U @ 3.3 GHz (2 cores) - Thunderbolt2 (16Gbps) /Geekbench 4 score -  3489/ - INTERNAL DISPLAY


This test with the same Video Card show us that, Thunderbolt 3 is the best right now if you want to use Internal Display, but Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 are still in the game if we lower the resolution or just use External Display!

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
Antharsious
(@antharsious)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I gathered the benchmarks of this thread concerning the gtx 1060 and displayed the score in Heaven 4.0 for quad-core and dual-core processors...

The score obtained with a dual-core processor is indeed lower than the score obtained with a quad-core processor (as enjoy mentioned).

This behavior is visible on both internal (~ 25% lower) and external (~ 15% lower) screens...

 

Impact of Turboboost on performances and fan noise level (MacBook Pro)

 
2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1060 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [build link]  


enjoy liked
ReplyQuote
enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

After tons of results i saw online, the better video card you get the more performance drop you will have due to the bandwidth and better FPS, for example:

  • GTX 1050 4GB - 10-15% performance drop /eGPU with Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 vs. Desktop PC PCIe (126Gbps)/
  • GTX 1060 6GB - 15-20% performance drop /eGPU with Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 vs. Desktop PC PCIe (126Gbps)/
  • GTX 1070 8GB - 20-25% performance drop /eGPU with Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 vs. Desktop PC PCIe (126Gbps)/
  • GTX 1080 8GB - 30-35% performance drop /eGPU with Thunderbolt 1, 2 or 3 vs. Desktop PC PCIe (126Gbps)/

 

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
enjoy
(@enjoy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

TITAN X 12GB, Akitio Node and 2015 Macbook Pro 15' - Thunderbolt2 (16Gbps) Test:

TITAN X 12GB in Desktop PC (PCIe slot 126Gbps)

TITAN X 12GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) External Display: -20% performance drop


TITAN X 12GB in eGPU Thunderbolt 2 (16Gbps) Internal Display: -42% performance drop

 

VIDEO from i get the results:

 

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU

 
2012 13" MacBook Air [3rd,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.12 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
 of  10