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eGPU advice for late 2015 iMac..  

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lorenzo
(@lorenzo)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Hi everyone

I'm running an iMac late 2015 with spec as below

macOS Mojave - version 10.14.4

iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
Processor - 4 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory - 32 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
Graphics - MD Radeon R9 M390 2 GB

As well as using After Effects CC 2018 I'm learning Cinema 4D and X-Particles.  As well as motion graphics the eGPU is primarily for rendering in Cycles 4D but I might move over to Redshift in the future (Cycles & Redshift require Nvidia GPU's with Cuda enabled).

I'm thinking about buying a Sonnet Breakaway 550w box with a ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and using theApple TB3 to TB2 adapter.

I'd like the option to upgrade the graphics card in the breakaway box as prices go down and if my workflow intensifies possible purchase another eGPU to further future proof my workflow.  

I might add an external monitor but that won't be for a while and I don't want to build a PC as I've been using Macs for so long now that I'm very comfortable with macOS and use many apps/workflows to run my film and music collection etc..

I've read through the The Beginner’s External Graphics Card Setup Guide for Mac on here as well as a few online articles but there is not a lot of build information about late 2015 iMacs so any advice about my component choices, potential build pitfalls to watch out for would be a great help.

Thanks in advance

Lorenzo

 

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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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

There are a few hurdles with your proposed plan. The 2015 iMac is Thunderbolt 2 and doesn't have official eGPU support. Running mcOS Mojave also means no drivers to use Nvidia graphics cards (900 series and newer). Here's an https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/state-of-egpu-for-macs-mojave-10-14-update /" target="true">overview of eGPU support in Mojave. You may either go back to 10.13.6 or go with an RX Vega 56.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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lorenzo
(@lorenzo)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Thanks for taking the time to reply I appreciate the input.  From what i’ve read so far the biggest problem would be getting my current osx set up to recognize the breakaway box with Nvidia as i’m running Mojave.  Would that be negated if I rolled it back to High Sierra in terms of plugging and playing the boxes.   I’m looking for a simple solution to a long term issue with terms of updating the boxes as times goes on and ATM it seems like it would be easier to build a custom (updateable) PC as eventually the boxes on OSX will stop working as the operating system falls behind?

thanks in advance

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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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

It's a sad state of affair when we have to pick the lesser of two evils. If you need Nvidia GPU more than macOS for your workflow then a custom PC would be a better long term solution.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@lorenzo
There is another possibility if you must have nVidia card with Mojave: Kepler cards. (most of 600er and 700er series).

There are some cards which are quite powerful, like this GeForce GTX Titan Black.

This card is not far behind a GTX1070, in MacOSX it's probably better.

Problem: Of course this is the end of the line, you won't have the possibility to upgrade the card. This is the reason, why it wasn't suggested before.

This post was modified 1 year ago

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680

 
2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP560X) [8th,6C,H] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 & macOS 10.15.4 [build link]  


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lorenzo
(@lorenzo)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Hey Oliver and thanks for jumping in with the advice which I really appreciate.  I have a few more questions if thats cool

I've been looking at Nvidia Kepler cards here: https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4780/~/list-of-kepler-series-geforce-notebook-gpus

and would the later 800 series cards also work as well?.  (more options are always better).  I know it seems like an obvious question but your build information for the Titan Black with Mojave 10.14.4 uses @mac_editor's  purge-wrangler script which requires High Sierra 10.13.4+.  I'm assuming the + means High Sierra & above so you can use the script in Mojave?

Cheers sage, the thing is when I bought the iMac back in 2016 I considered the GPU and thought it would be enough for what I was doing at the time but hindsight I suppose. With the advice from yourself, Oliver and more research I should be able to future proof the iMac for the next couple of years whilst I get the money together for the PC as well as learn how to assemble the PC myself which is a plus point. I never thought I'd go back but but where needs must.

Thanks again for the advice.

Ignore the 800 series question. More research answered my own question.😉

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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Sernie David Naungayan
(@sernie)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hello!

I know this is late but I am running this system:

iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)

macOS Catalina: 10.15.3 (19D76)

Is it still possible to use an EGPU through thunderbolt 2? If so, what GPU can I use or external enclosure? Thank you very much!

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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Cuong CVN
(@cuong_cvn)
New Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

I just upgraded my iMac 5K late 2015 to core i7, 1TB PCIe SSD and 32GB RAM, the iMac has two thunderbolt 2 ports. I use the iMac for photo editing with Lightroom, Photoshop, and I now want to install Windows on it to play MS Flight Simulator 2020, which recommends a Radeon RX 590 or GeForce GTX 970 video card installed. As there's no way to upgrade the iMac's GPU, an eGPU would be the way. Any recommendation is very much appreciated!

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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