RX5700XT EGPU with Mac Mini 2018 on Catalina 10.15.1
 

RX5700XT EGPU with Mac Mini 2018 on Catalina 10.15.1  

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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I picked up a PowerColor AXRX 5700 XT 8GBD6-3DH and a PowerColor Gaming Station TB3 enclosure for my 2018 Mini.

Rear
Front
5700XT

I'm very happy with the card and enclosure. They're a very quiet combination. They pair nicely with the Mini, and run perfectly under Mac OS Catalina 10.15.1.

So, I'd say during the holidays you might want to keep an eye on the sale prices and, especially, the open box items available at Microcenter retail stores. I grabbed the RX 5700 XT (dual-fan, non-reference, 1605 mHz base clock model) for $306. the Gaming Station enclosure was $184. These were open box items with a 30 day return policy. Good times.

Also, in case you’re hesitant to run the Catalina update, I can relay that going from OS 10.14.6 to 10.15.1 went smoothly for me. 

Really, Catalina didn't take long to download and install - even on a Saturday afternoon with everyone and their dog clogging the internet with their online shopping efforts. 

I'm happy to say my new 5700 XT card and Gaming Station enclosure are truly plug-and-play in Mac OS 10.15.1. They just work. Now I appreciate that phrase a bit more.

That's it. That's all. So, no need to read further. Unless, you know, its 2:30am and you can't sleep...

Wait...did I just hear you mumble something about "Bootcamp"...? Nooo! Stop!

Ok, you do know that eGPU's are not supported in Bootcamp, right? You did read the Apple guide to using eGPU's with your Mac, right?

While I make money using Mac software, I do have a couple silly Windows-only programs I launch occasionally. Neither of which require or benefit from GPU acceleration.

But, since you are unhealthily obsessed with Bootcamp (and you're an insomniac) - here's some info: I did install Radeon Adrenaline 2019 software and a 5700 XT driver from AMD's website on my Mini's Bootcamp partition.

So you really can't sleep, huh? Ok, then I'll just say that from within Catalina, I can restart my Mini+eGPU into Bootcamp, and run a Windows session as long as needed. There's no trouble involved doing this on my Mini+eGPU.

But, I have the vintage Windows 10 (version 1809) - aka "The Good Windows".

And you don't. You are running some iteration of Windows versions "Hangry", "Stub Your Toe", or "Poke You In The Eye". 

Even with "The Good Windows" (which you don't have) I still encounter a hiccup getting out of Windows and back into Catalina.

Re-booting my Mini+eGPU from Catalina into Windows works fine. Windows to Catalina doesn't unless I first disconnect my Samsung X5 Thunderbolt external storage drive from the Mini's other Thunderbolt bus.

And the need for that workaround arose when running "The Good Windows".

So, God help you. Because you're running "Parked Your Car In A Loading Zone" Windows.

Gulp. 

 

 

This topic was modified 2 months ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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(Mac OS 10.15.1) Benchmarks:

Geekbench 5.0.4 

Geekbench Metal Results
Geekbench compute

Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0 - 1080P 8xAA - Fullscreen mode

Unigine Valley 1080p

This post was modified 4 weeks ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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I re-ran the Mac Geekbench 5.0 Compute benchmark tool. This time with my display plugged directly into my Mac Mini (not the eGPU)

The results came back higher.

Geekbench Compute for Mac - Display plugged into eGPU:

Metal: 27,488

OpenCL: 35,967

Geekbench Compute for Mac - Display plugged into Mac Mini:

Metal: 34,431 (20% increase)

OpenCL: 42,760 (16% increase)

 

 

This post was modified 2 months ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@mini-i5

Geekbench is inconsistent and best to avoid for now (I’ve gotten immensely varying scores on Geekbench GPU tests too). Luxmark will give consistent results. 

purge-wranglerpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance
2018 MacBook Pro 15" RP560X + RX 5700 XT (Mantiz Venus)

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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Ah, thanks! Here are (OpenCL) results from running the Mac LuxMark 3.1 GPU benchmark tool: 

Mac LuxMark 3.1 Lux Ball

Mac LuxMark 3.1 Mic

Mac LuxMark 3.1 Hotel

I guess we'll keep waiting for a reliable Metal benchmarking tool.

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@mini-i5

Those results looks right. I believe I got similar numbers in my tests. 

purge-wranglerpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance
2018 MacBook Pro 15" RP560X + RX 5700 XT (Mantiz Venus)

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro


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(@koncept_zero)
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With my TB2 iMac, I got a score of 32,782 with the 5700 XT. It was also worse than the internal gpu when rendering davinci resolve.

2018 Mac Mini (8th,6C,B) + Radeon VII @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.2


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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@koncept_zero

Thanks for the comparison data.

Yep. Navi is in that awkwardly-meeting-the-fam-for-the-first-time stage.

Radeon VII / Vega II will reign as King of compute (and keep people warm at night) for the foreseeable future.   

This post was modified 2 months ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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(@koncept_zero)
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Posted by: @mini-i5

@koncept_zero

Thanks for the comparison data.

Yep. Navi is in that awkwardly-meeting-the-fam-for-the-first-time stage.

Radeon VII / Vega II will reign as King of compute (and keep people warm at night) for the foreseeable future.   

I really really hope this happens. I'd like to pick up a 16gb Navi card one day 🙁

2018 Mac Mini (8th,6C,B) + Radeon VII @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.2


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frankle
(@frankle)
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Is the network port supported on macOS? The one on my Razer Core X Chroma isn't great as it keep dropping out ...

MacBook Pro Retina 15” 2015, Catalina 10.15.1
Razer Core X Chroma, Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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@frankle

Anecdotal evidence suggest that network ports on any brand of eGPU enclosure are unreliable, slow connections. 

So...not really sure why manufacturers include them.

Personally, the $229 (new) or $185 (open box) sale price alone was good enough for me.

(= ̄▽ ̄=)V

This post was modified 2 months ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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New GPU benchmarks for Mac OS from the online comedy website known as Geekbench.

Geekbench 5.1 scores for Mac GPU Compute tests performed with a 4K display attached to my RX 5700 XT  eGPU:

Metal Score: 35,703 (+23% increase over Geekbench 5.04 result)

Open CL Score: 33,732 (-6% decrease from Geekbench 5.04 score)

 

Remember, to achieve similar gains or losses in your own Mac Geekbench GPU compute scores, be sure to perform the following steps:

1. Don't update your version of Mac OS (or even Bootcamp)

2. Don't over-clock or under-clock your graphics card.

3.  Don't bathe your card with a sweet new liquid cooler.

4. Resist the temptation to re-purpose that whole-body cryogenic chamber you received for Christmas as... aha! - a brilliant new thermal management strategy for your Mac Mini + eGPU! 

😁

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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ikir
 ikir
(@ikir)
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Geekbench 5.1 is built with new compilers, and includes changes to both the CPU and Compute Benchmarks. These changes mean Geekbench 5.1 scores will be higher than Geekbench 5.0 scores. As a result, we recommend users not compare Geekbench 5.0 and Geekbench 5.1 results.


MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD
my awesome Radeon VII eGPU
my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64


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craftsman
(@craftsman)
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Posted by: @ikir

Geekbench 5.1 is built with new compilers, and includes changes to both the CPU and Compute Benchmarks. These changes mean Geekbench 5.1 scores will be higher than Geekbench 5.0 scores. As a result, we recommend users not compare Geekbench 5.0 and Geekbench 5.1 results.

On PC I didn't see the scores change at all from 5.0 to 5.1, in CPU and the three GPU tests Vulkan, OpenCL and CUDA.

On the Mac side, I didn't see any CPU scores change and we still have inconsistent and inaccurate GPU scores. Deleted Geekbench and it will never return, not in version 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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(@jangoloti_1)
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Joined: 3 months ago
 
Posted by: @mini-i5

I'm happy to say my new 5700 XT card and Gaming Station enclosure are truly plug-and-play in Mac OS 10.15.1. They just work. Now I appreciate that phrase a bit more.

 

 

It was the case for me but now it does not work. Still on 10.15.1. I have changed nothing.

Has anybody had the same issue? eGPU stops working without any change on the systems? What can I do?

Mac Mini 2018 i7 16 GB 512 GB SSD, Mac Book Pro 2016, BenQ PD2720U, Sonnet Breakaway Box 550 W, Nitro+ RX5700 XT, KFA2 SNPR 1060 6GB eGPU,...


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Mini i5
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So, next up on the 2019 eGPU benchmark tour - we retcon the ubiquitous Blender BMW demo scene. Gotta play the hits!

Blender v 2.79b for Mac OS (Open CL)

(2.79b is not the latest Blender build, but it does support Mac OS eGPU rendering. 2.79b is hilariously not-optimized for Catalina or AMD Navi cards. So...don't judge!)

Cycles CPU render using the Mac Mini's i5 6-core CPU: 7 mins, 35 seconds at 100% CPU utilization.  

Cycles GPU render using the RX 5700 XT eGPU: 5 mins, 00 seconds at 100% GPU utilization. Just a hint of how much a decent RX 5700 XT card can improve things on the compute side of life.

2.79b GPU

Testing out our 5700 XT eGPU rendering in a current Blender build requires strolling over to the Windows / Boot Camp side of the street, courtesy of the much-sought-after-by-those-in-the-know Windows Pro 1809 (Prairie Folk Edition). 

Blender v 2.81a for Windows (Open CL)

Cycles CPU render using the Mac Mini's i5 6-core CPU: 8 mins, 10 seconds at 100% CPU utilization.  

Cycles GPU render using the RX 5700 XT eGPU: a speedy 2 mins, 38 seconds at 100% GPU utilization. See! I told you it would be worth reading through all of this. 😁

Blender 2.81a BMW gpu render

The takeaway here is - maybe don't make fun of the 5700 XT's compute abilities quite yet. I see some potential there... lurking deep within Navi. That, or my contacts are occluded. Either way...

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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craftsman
(@craftsman)
Estimable Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: @mini-i5

So, next up on the 2019 eGPU benchmark tour - we retcon the ubiquitous Blender BMW demo scene. Gotta play the hits!

Blender v 2.79b for Mac OS (Open CL)

(2.79b is not the latest Blender build, but it does support Mac OS eGPU rendering. 2.79b is hilariously not-optimized for Catalina or AMD Navi cards. So...don't judge!)

Cycles CPU render using the Mac Mini's i5 6-core CPU: 7 mins, 35 seconds at 100% CPU utilization.  

Cycles GPU render using the RX 5700 XT eGPU: 5 mins, 00 seconds at 100% GPU utilization. Just a hint of how much a decent RX 5700 XT card can improve things on the compute side of life.

2.79b GPU

Testing out our 5700 XT eGPU rendering in a current Blender build requires strolling over to the Windows / Boot Camp side of the street, courtesy of the much-sought-after-by-those-in-the-know Windows Pro 1809 (Prairie Folk Edition). 

Blender v 2.81a for Windows (Open CL)

Cycles CPU render using the Mac Mini's i5 6-core CPU: 8 mins, 10 seconds at 100% CPU utilization.  

Cycles GPU render using the RX 5700 XT eGPU: a speedy 2 mins, 38 seconds at 100% GPU utilization. See! I told you it would be worth reading through all of this. 😁

Blender 2.81a BMW gpu render

The takeaway here is - maybe don't make fun of the 5700 XT's compute abilities quite yet. I see some potential there... lurking deep within Navi. That, or my contacts are occluded. Either way...

 

Your CPU is holding it back. With a faster CPU the 5700XT does the BMW scene in about 1 minute 40 seconds.

Blender Performance BMW Cycles Render 680x442

Blender 2.81 Alpha GPU Tests BMW CUDA vs OptiX

For above you can also see that the BMW scene takes about half a minute on a 2080 Ti in the latest Blender alpha. Three to four times faster than the 5700XT. Twice as fast as the Radeon VII.

I don't know how AMD is going to get close to that anytime soon, especially as next gen RTX is only 5 months away.

 

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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The Techgage online article (from August) cited by Craftsman is helpful for its comprehensive comparison of Nvidia and other AMD card's performance in Blender.

Looking closely at their GPU testing methodology, I see that Techgage didn't use default scene settings in the Blender demo files. Understandably, they optimized Blender's Cycles render settings for better performance.

Once I adjusted Cycles render Tile Size and Sample quantity in my 5700 XT testing to match Techgage, I found the results become very interesting for AMD and eGPU owners.

So there's a couple big takeaways I want to get to after I go through the updated test results - but first, here's a quick preview of how it's gonna go for Nvidia... 

ezgif.com optimize

It's time to start looking at our cute little Navi cat differently. Turns out, in the right situations, Navi is pretty feisty. It may not be a full Jedi yet, but its definitely "Force-sensitive" as they say.

Okay, so to start with probably the least interesting stuff - lets get back to that BMW demo scene. I went into the Blender Cycles render settings and increased the tile size to 512 x 512 to match Techgage. And my new 5700 XT eGPU score in v2.81a (99 secs) did end up better than Techgage's v2.8 test score (103 secs).

THIS ONE

The thing about those Techgage results, though, is they measure internal GPU card performance (slotted in their Intel Core i9-9980XE test workstation). And here's my Core i5 Mac Mini + eGPU achieving even (slightly) better 5700 XT test results just a few months later.

Ha! 😁

But that's not even the good stuff. Let's walk away from that BMW scene now. Because it's probably time to put that one in the bin alongside Geekbench. Let's take a look the other Blender demo scene (Classroom) in the Techgage article, one that is "more representative of a proper project for Cycles."  That's really where we find the more weighty material.

Here are the top performing (internal PCIe slot mounted) GPUs as tested in August by Techgage rendering the Classroom demo scene in Blender Cycles v2.8:

AMD Radeon VII - 96 seconds

Titan RTX - 97 seconds

RTX 2080 Ti - 97 seconds

RTX 2080 Super - 106 seconds

RTX 2070 Super - 108 seconds

AMD RX 5700 XT - 110 seconds

AMD Vega 64 - 115 seconds

AMD RX 5700 - 116 seconds

Titan Xp - 119 seconds

GTX 1080 Ti - 125 seconds

Quadro RTX 4000 - 136 seconds

And here's my 5700 XT eGPU test result running the current Windows Blender build v2.81a a few months later:

External RX 5700 XT over Thunderbolt - 92 seconds

2.81A CLASSROOM GPU 512 TILE SIZE

 

Top card tested in v2.8 by Techgage? An AMD Vega card (currently a variant is selling for as low as $499 at Best Buy). 

Current Navi card performance compared to other more expensive cards? Not bad, not bad at all. Very comparable performance at a lower price.  

Navi 5700 XT performance inside an eGPU in the the current version 2.81a? Well if you can manage to get past the Windows / Bootcamp headache, going with a 5700 XT / eGPU combo makes great sense to me.

It would be hard to envision a scenario where a render time of 92 seconds would feel unduly burdensome.😉

This post was modified 3 weeks ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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craftsman
(@craftsman)
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Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: @mini-i5

The Techgage online article (from August) cited by Craftsman is helpful for its comprehensive comparison of Nvidia and other AMD card's performance in Blender.

Looking closely at their GPU testing methodology, I see that Techgage didn't use default scene settings in the Blender demo files. Understandably, they optimized Blender's Cycles render settings for better performance.

Once I adjusted Cycles render Tile Size and Sample quantity in my 5700 XT testing to match Techgage, I found the results become very interesting for AMD and eGPU owners.

So there's a couple big takeaways I want to get to after I go through the updated test results - but first, here's a quick preview of how it's gonna go for Nvidia... 

ezgif.com optimize

It's time to start looking at our cute little Navi cat differently. Turns out, in the right situations, Navi is pretty feisty. It may not be a full Jedi yet, but its definitely "Force-sensitive" as they say.

Okay, so to start with probably the least interesting stuff - lets get back to that BMW demo scene. I went into the Blender Cycles render settings and increased the tile size to 512 x 512 to match Techgage. And my new 5700 XT eGPU score in v2.81a (99 secs) did end up better than Techgage's v2.8 test score (103 secs).

THIS ONE

The thing about those Techgage results, though, is they measure internal GPU card performance (slotted in their Intel Core i9-9980XE test workstation). And here's my Core i5 Mac Mini + eGPU achieving even (slightly) better 5700 XT test results just a few months later.

Ha! 😁

But that's not even the good stuff. Let's walk away from that BMW scene now. Because it's probably time to put that one in the bin alongside Geekbench. Let's take a look the other Blender demo scene (Classroom) in the Techgage article, one that is "more representative of a proper project for Cycles."  That's really where we find the more weighty material.

Here are the top performing (internal PCIe slot mounted) GPUs as tested in August by Techgage rendering the Classroom demo scene in Blender Cycles v2.8:

AMD Radeon VII - 96 seconds

Titan RTX - 97 seconds

RTX 2080 Ti - 97 seconds

RTX 2080 Super - 106 seconds

RTX 2070 Super - 108 seconds

AMD RX 5700 XT - 110 seconds

AMD Vega 64 - 115 seconds

AMD RX 5700 - 116 seconds

Titan Xp - 119 seconds

GTX 1080 Ti - 125 seconds

Quadro RTX 4000 - 136 seconds

And here's my 5700 XT eGPU test result running the current Windows Blender build v2.81a a few months later:

External RX 5700 XT over Thunderbolt - 92 seconds

2.81A CLASSROOM GPU 512 TILE SIZE

 

Top card tested in v2.8 by Techgage? An AMD Vega card (currently a variant is selling for as low as $499 at Best Buy). 

Current Navi card performance compared to other more expensive cards? Not bad, not bad at all. Very comparable performance at a lower price.  

Navi 5700 XT performance inside an eGPU in the the current version 2.81a? Well if you can manage to get past the Windows / Bootcamp headache, going with a 5700 XT / eGPU combo makes great sense to me.

It would be hard to envision a scenario where a render time of 92 seconds would feel unduly burdensome.😉

I don't have access to my computer with 2080 Ti because I'm visiting family. Here is the BMW and Classroom scenes rendered my brother's RTX 2080 Super. All scenes default settings and using the Cycles render.

BMW 28.26 seconds

Classroom 79.1 seconds (1 min 19 secs)

These scores are faster than the ones cited above by yourself and Techgage, especially the Classroom scene where my score is about 20 percent better than their top scores. My score is also about 30% faster than their result with the same card.

Driver improvements since that 'August 2019' review might have something to do with my score being much better or that I'm just a better system builder.

Annotation 2019 12 27 101014
Annotation 2019 12 27 100855

 

 

 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
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Time to shout-out Blender. The arc of their weekly on-going development helps us gauge the 5700 XT's potential as a compute card. Especially the Classroom demo file test results. It's clear AMD helped integrate Navi in Blender’s Cycles Open CL renderer on Windows v2.81a. 

Cycles GPU rendering for Mac OS ended back with v2.79b (pre-Navi and pre-Catalina). But there is some fun in looking at AMD Radeon ProRender's GPU rendering speeds on the current Mac OS Blender build, v2.81.

The ProRender plug-in, developed by AMD for Metal and Mojave, was updated last month. But it's lacking Navi optimization - unlike Blender Cycles for Windows. So be careful - there's some irony there you might trip over! 😁 

Here's how all the test data shakes out:

Blender Mac v2.79b Classroom Cycles 6-core i5 CPU render time: 11 mins 45 secs

Blender Mac v2.79b Classroom Cycles (Open CL, pre-Navi) GPU render time: 4 mins 25 secs

Blender Mac v2.81a Classroom Cycles 6-core i5 CPU render time: 8 mins 37 secs

Blender Mac v2.81a Classroom Radeon ProRender* (Metal, pre-Navi) GPU render time: 1 min 56 sec

Blender Windows v2.81a Classroom Cycles 6-core i5 CPU render time: 13 mins 24 secs

Blender Windows v2.81a Classroom Cycles (Open CL, Navi supported) GPU render time: 1 min 32 sec

This post was modified 3 weeks ago

2018 Mac Mini i5 / 6-core 3.0-4.1 Ghz / 32GB / 256GB / Intel UHD 630 / PowerColor Gaming Station / PowerColor dual-fan RX5700 XT / Mac OS 10.15.1 Catalina / LG 27" 4K display


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