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Does After Effects 17 (2020) on a Mac benefit from an EGPU?
 

Does After Effects 17 (2020) on a Mac benefit from an EGPU?  

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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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I have a 2018 MacMini running Catalina 15.1 (Catalina = big mistake!). I just got a Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56.  While my "about this Mac" lists AMD Vega 56 for Graphics, I'm not seeing any improvement in rendering speed or anything else while using Adobe After Effects.  It seems that Premier Pro takes advantage of an egpu, but I can't find any info about whether  After Effects does (good luck asking Adobe).  Would I be better off spending the money doing an upgrade of the MacMini's RAM from 16 GB to 32 (or 64)? Any advice from After Effects users would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. --Paul

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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mac_editor
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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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@mac_editor

Yes. I did that right away. It appears my Mac is using the egpu. The question is whether Adobe After Effects 2020 (the latest version) can take advantage of an egpu. Premiere Pro does, but they are two very different programs even though they are both part of the Creative Cloud. I think that After Effects depends far more on the CPU, so perhaps maxing out the RAM would be more helpful than adding an egpu.

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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AJ Scarcella
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According to Adobe, After Effects has a new GPU-accelerated preview renderer: https://helpx.adobe.com/au/after-effects/using/basics-gpu-after-effects.html

 

There are also a bunch of effects that will lean on the GPU. So long as you've got After Effects tapping into the eGPU, it should boost its performance. I've been using it myself for the last couple of days and it certainly feels zippier, but I wouldn't say it's astoundingly different. Your mileage may vary.

 

Mac Pro 2013
OWC Mercury Helios FX
Radeon RX 580 8GB


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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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Much Appreciated, AJ. The problem I'm seeing is that Mac OS doesn't support Nvidia cards and drivers, while Adobe says the following:

"Adobe strongly recommends updating to NVIDIA driver 430.86 or later when using After Effects.  Drivers prior to this have a known issue which can lead to a crash... The current version of your NVIDIA drivers for macOS 10.13.6 do not support CUDA 9.2 and cause issues with your Adobe application. Adobe does not recommend upgrading beyond macOS 10.13.6 as Mac0S 10.14 (Mojave) does not currently support CUDA." 

This leaves those of us running the most current MacOS in less than optimal shape.

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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AJ Scarcella
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It's less an Adobe issue and more an Apple/NVIDIA one. It's unclear what's actually going on in that world (though there are plenty of theories as to what it is). In the meantime, Adobe has been working on its Metal implementation within their apps, and it's certainly coming along nicely. So, as long as you have a Metal-compatible GPU, you'll get an advantage.

Mac Pro 2013
OWC Mercury Helios FX
Radeon RX 580 8GB


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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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Hi AJ. I think you are totally right about this being an Apple/NVIDIA issue. As for After Effects, last night, I tried rendering a 10 second AE file with the EGPU connected (running the latest version 17 of AE), and it went much faster than I'd experienced before with prior AE versions (before the latest update last week). Then, I unhooked the EGPU, and ran it with my 2018 MacMini's native wimpy Intel gpu. I was blown away at how fast it ran--every bit as fast as with the EGPU. Adobe has said they said they worked hard to speed up rending on this latest version of AE, but I had no idea how successful they've been.

I'm definitely sending the Razer Chrome X and video card back. I'm not seeing any difference in speed with this new version of AE that justifies the $600 for an EGPU with a 2018 MacMini. 

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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(@megaseppl)
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Today I have tested current version of After effects on mac mini 2018 i7 with Catalina and Razer Core X with Radeon 5700 XT: GPU acceleration seems to work. The GPU usage of the Radeon is quite high while rendering and low when rendering is finished.

 Bildschirmfoto 2019 11 13 um 19.23.01

Mac mini 2018 i7, Razer Core X with PowerColor Red Devil 5700 XT


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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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Thanks, Sebastian. Question: were you using the latest version of After Affects (version 17 Build 557)?

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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(@megaseppl)
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Posted by: @paulj

Thanks, Sebastian. Question: were you using the latest version of After Affects (version 17 Build 557)?

Yes, that is exactly my version. 

 Bildschirmfoto 2019 11 13 um 20.15.11

Mac mini 2018 i7, Razer Core X with PowerColor Red Devil 5700 XT


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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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Thanks, Sebastian.  It's fascinating, that with or without the EGPU, the render speeds have been much faster with AE 17. When I export to the Media Encoder, it doesn't take what used to seem like forever to be ready to render. I'm sure the EGPU was doing plenty of work, but I didn't notice any real-life difference in render time with or without the EGPU. I do, however, think it would be a good investment for me to up my RAM to 32 GB like yours, given that AE seems to use the extra RAM.

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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AJ Scarcella
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I started reading a deep-dive article into After Effects and the quest for higher performance and basically the conclusion is that it's more complicated than it seems. 

https://www.provideocoalition.com/after-effects-performance-part1-in-search-of-perfection/

It's a pretty good look into how After Effects works and why throwing huge amounts of hardware grunt at the perceived performance issues doesn't always work. 

Mac Pro 2013
OWC Mercury Helios FX
Radeon RX 580 8GB


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PaulJ
(@paulj)
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@aj_scarcella

That's fascinating, AJ. Helps make sense of all the things I've read that contradict each other. I look forward to reading his Pt. 4 where I think he'll be talking about the improvements in AE 2020 (version 17).

Pending: 2018 MacMini with 16GB RAM running Catalina 10.15.1 EGPU=Razer Core X with an AMD Vega 56


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