VR Development on macOS with a Sonnet Breakaway 550 and an Asrock Vega56
September 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Hi! I'm wondering if anybody here has any experience on using a mac for VR Dev with an eGPU. I'm developing with Unity 2019.1.0f2 on a 2017 5K iMac with a Radeon Pro 580, and an HTC Vive and the setup is good enough for what I'm working on right now, but of course performance is awful compared to windows. The thing is that my brother has lent me his eGPU, a Sonnet Breakaway 550 with a Radeon RX 580, and when I tried it on my iMac, best performance that I could get out of it was slightly worse than my integrated GPU... so going through benchmarks found that actually the RX 580 is not THAT much better than the Pro 580 and with the thunderbolt connection working as a bottleneck it made sense that performance dropped under.
So... best AMD GPU that the box can hold as far as official documentation states is a Radeon Vega 56, which checking on benchmarks is between 60 - 80% better than my integrated GPU on overall performance. So I got one... tested yesterday with the same result; slightly worse performance using it for VR than my integrated GPU. So, as far as I understand the best performance that you can get out of these eGPUs is by using an external monitor plugged into the box; since the thunderbolt wire acts as a bottleneck the roundtrip from the computer to the box back to the computer sometimes is a killer. Because of that I ended up using the whole system with a beefy 2018 macbook pro hooked up to a TV as an external monitor, laptop closed... both VR equipment and TV connected to the Vega 56... same thing... slightly less performance than my integrated GPU. I'm baffled. One thing that I notice is that the Vega 56 never seems to be making too much of an effort... it's super silent, and the cooler doesn't seem to be running that fast, that might just be my perception though.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.