2019 16 inch MBP eGPU setup and advice with FCPX
 
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2019 16 inch MBP eGPU setup and advice with FCPX  

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Oliver Mackenzie
(@oliver_mackenzie)
New Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 

Hi all,

I just received my 2019 16 MBP (maxed out except for SSD) and I was looking for some eGPU advice. I’m a professional video editor/producer and I spend most of my time in FCPX and Motion. 

I have a Blackmagic eGPU (the lower end one with the Radeon 580 Pro) that I was using with my old 2017 15 MBP setup. I also have the Apple codeveloped LG 21.54k monitor and a cheap BenQ 1080p 21.5″ monitor

I’m considering upgrading my eGPU setup to an RX 5700XT setup, but I think I have to keep using my Blackmagic eGPU to properly drive my LG 4k. 

Does anyone have experience working with multiple GPUs with a similar setup? IE I’d be connecting my Mac to my Blackmagic eGPU and drive my displays off the Blackmagic, and connect maybe a Razer Core + RX 5700XT eGPU setup and set the 5700XT as my render/share GPU in FCPX.  

This way I can keep using my Blackmagic eGPU to drive my LG 4K properly and still get a decent boost in performance in FCPX through my 5700XT

I’m also considering waiting for a more powerful Apple developed or codeveloped eGPU that would work as a plug and play replacement for my Blackmagic eGPU

It would be amazing to get an option to render with multiple GPUs at once as well in FCPX but for now it seems like you need to get a Mac Pro for that to work. 

Maybe someone can relay their experiences with a similar split display eGPU/render eGPU setup? If it works well, I’ll probably end up buying an enclosure and RX 5700XT in the next few days. 

Apologies for the wall of text. 

Thanks,
Oliver 

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

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

@oliver_mackenzie

You won't see much improvement in FCP/Motion as at the moment they don't use eGPUs effectively. Check Max Yuryev/Max Tech YouTube channels for benchmarks as well as: https://egpu.io/forums/pro-applications/testing-project2-is-external-gpu-faster-than-internal-gpu-while-exporting-video-in-fcp-x/#post-70645

Which demonstrates poor egpu performance in these apps. Next month, I'll be posting my own tests (link in my sig, currently private).

purge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance

Master Threads:
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2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
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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Oliver Mackenzie
(@oliver_mackenzie)
New Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 

@mac_editor

Thanks very much for the advice. I also just noticed that the render/share toggle doesn’t impact the gpu used for the timeline at all, that’s always the display gpu, so my question was kind of moot for my purposes. 

I’ll just stick with my current setup for now. I’m going to have to do some tests over the holiday break with my current setup--based on the information in that thread, maybe running FCPX off the internal 5500M would be faster than most current eGPU setups, including my own. 

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

.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: @oliver_mackenzie

but I think I have to keep using my Blackmagic eGPU to properly drive my LG 4k. 

You can connect the LG 4K display with a Huawei VR 2 cable if you don't need the second Thunderbolt port of the display.

The Radeon Pro W5700 will be available soon. It has a USB-C port.

Posted by: @oliver_mackenzie

I’m also considering waiting for a more powerful Apple developed or codeveloped eGPU that would work as a plug and play replacement for my Blackmagic eGPU .

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro doesn't count? It's an improvement over the Blackmagic eGPU at least, but overly expensive.

 

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @mac_editor

@oliver_mackenzie

You won't see much improvement in FCP/Motion as at the moment they don't use eGPUs effectively. Check Max Yuryev/Max Tech YouTube channels for benchmarks as well as: https://egpu.io/forums/pro-applications/testing-project2-is-external-gpu-faster-than-internal-gpu-while-exporting-video-in-fcp-x/#post-70645

Which demonstrates poor egpu performance in these apps. Next month, I'll be posting my own tests (link in my sig, currently private).

Looking forward to those test results! 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Netcho
(@netcho)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I can confirm that even though the eGPU is selected in both Compressor and FCP X they are used just in FCP X in the timeline for playback. Encoding goes with integrated GPU which is amazing bullshit and I have filed a complain to apple. Suggest you do the same. Motion utilized it I think the same way. Playback is accelerated with eGPU for sure which is a good think after all.

MacBook Pro 2015 15” 2.5 GHz

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro (R9 M370X) [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.14.4 [build link]  


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Oliver Mackenzie
(@oliver_mackenzie)
New Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 

@joevt

Appreciate the advice re: LG 4K connectivity. 

I meant a GPU that's more powerful than either of the Blackmagic options, given the limited performance delta between the Blackmagic eGPU and eGPU Pro. Something like an RX 5700XT or Radeon VII.

I would have purchased a Blackmagic eGPU Pro but I bought the Blackmagic eGPU as soon as it went on sale which was a few months before the Pro was released. 

@netcho

With recent versions of FCPX and the prefer external graphics toggle enabled I've been able to accelerate playback and exports with my eGPU without issue, although the eGPU utilization while exporting is usually kind of low.

@mac_editor

I did some export tests with a few recent projects of mine with the 2019 15” MBP (maxed out except for SSD) and my 2017 15” MBP (maxed out), and here were the results: 

 

2D animated motion graphics video (3 mins long):

2019 MBP w/egpu: 18 mins 11 secs

2019 MBP no egpu: 21 mins 50 secs 

2017 MBP w/egpu: 17 mins 48 secs

 

Filmed monologue video with color corrections and motion graphics (11 mins long):

2019 MBP w/egpu: 21 mins 30 secs 

2019 MBP no egpu: 13 mins 20 secs 

2017 MBP w/egpu: 22 mins 13 secs 

 

Filmed monologue video with color corrections (13 minutes long): 

2019 MBP w/egpu: 5 mins 21 seconds

2019 MBP no egpu: 2 mins 30 seconds 

2017 MBP w/egpu: 6 mins 11 seconds 

 

So results are a little mixed, though I do think the second and third videos are more representative of the kinds of material I’m typically editing. I would have tested the 2017 MBP without the eGPU as well, but it tends to throttle really badly when exporting without an eGPU and I didn’t have 2-3 hours to wait while it finished exporting those projects. 

I do notice better timeline performance with the 2019 MBP as well, which I think is mostly from the bump in CPU performance. Thumbnails and waveforms render out a lot faster and there’s less stuttering/lag when moving around the timeline. 

Maybe the answer here is to use the 2019 MBP with the eGPU connected, but set the internal 5500M as the render/share GPU. From what I can tell, timeline performance seems a bit better with the eGPU driving the timeline/displays, although I’d need to check again to be sure. 

Not to get off topic, but my primary goal is to get better FCPX performance overall than my prior setup. I travel for work frequently so I need mobile and desktop setups, and for the past four years or so I’ve been working exclusively off of laptops. 

I’d be willing to buy a 2019 Mac Pro and maintain a separate laptop and desktop if it meant dramatically better performance though. Maybe buy a base spec Mac Pro and add a couple of 5700XTs? I’d want to see user reports on third party GPU performance, compatibility, and stability first though, including multi gpu support within FCPX. 

Or maybe it would be a better idea to keep my new laptop and just hope for an FCPX release with better eGPU utilization. 

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? 

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

.

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

@oliver_mackenzie

Yes there will be improved performance in some scenarios but you might have noticed that the eGPUs are barely utilized (different amounts for different Macs). In my testing, I look at multiple versions of FCP and the results so far are astonishing. Timeline performance is the one things that I believe has been a significant advantage for eGPUs from my experience, but I shall incorporate some empirical data for this claim in my tests.

The Mac Pro will obviously be faster as demonstrated in the test I linked to you where @iphone4tw spoofed his Hackintosh to be a MacPro7,1 and with the same hardware everything ran faster (seems like Apple has only optimized for Mac Pro).

The reason I’m not recommending eGPU anymore comes from a value standpoint. Previously any eGPU setup had great value for FCP because the gains were more obvious. Now not so much - if I have a GPU that is 4x faster, then I expect to see similar gains or at least relatively significant improvements. But ‘value standpoint’ is subjective so I think it is up to you. Perhaps you could wait until I finish and publish the tests for more insight before moving forward. 

purge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance

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

 
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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Massimo Franzese
(@massimo_franzese)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 

As a professional user of final cut I recommend you only use FCPX to produce ProRes and leave the encoding job to specialised programs like handbrake (that make no use of GPU but they offer full control of export options and far superior quality)

The eGPU is used to take pressure of while you are grading or putting effect processing in background the other bits you are not working on. It is not that useful in sharing as encoding is mostly a computational activity. Besides if you use prores it will be a breeze. Once in handbrake if you use h264 the cpu is hardware accelerated while x265 is slow especially at 10 bits 4K

In your case your macbook pro discrete GPU if top specs is faster than your blackmagic. I would use that for the timeline and display and use the blackmagic for background tasks. It would probably also make sense to connect a display to your mac so you have all real time on mac and all background externally

This post was modified 11 months ago

Mac Mini 2018 3.2 Ghz 6 cores
Razer Core X enclosure with Sapphire Vega 64 Nitro
Benq PD2720U


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