Help with All-In-One PC + eGPU options
 
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Supaiku
(@supaiku)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Hey guys,

 

So I do heavy graphics work, 3D GPU rendering with Redshift and Cinema 4D, and CPU heavy simulations in Houdini. Right now I've got a beast of a system: Ryzen 3960x 16-core CPU, two dGPUs (RTX 2070 Super and GTX 1080), along with 64 GB of 2666 Mhz DDR4 RAM or something similar. Truth be told, this system has all the power I need, but it runs HOT (especially in the summer) and takes up a ton of space in my relatively small studio. It's literally a beast. So I've been recently considering a minor downgrade to a more compact AIO system that will run cooler and take up less desk space. I'd also use an eGPU to replace the 2nd dGPU, as I know there are no AIOs that can hold 2 dGPUs. What do you guys think of the following 3 options:

 

1. HP Envy 32 - https://www.hp.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ConfigureView?urlLangId=&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&storeId=10151&catEntryId=3074457345619598818&quantity=1

This beast of a machine can be configured with up to a 10-core Intel processor, an RTX 2080 Super (though probably the laptop version of this card), and various RAM options, which I'm admittedly kind of confused about. If I configured it to the option for 32GB of 2666 Mhz DDR4 RAM along with the 1TB SSD that has 32 GB of Optane memory, would that more or less end up like my current system that has 64GB of RAM? I'm not sure how the Optane memory works. It also has a TB3 port, so my assumption is that I could add my current RTX 2070 Super into the mix with an eGPU enclosure.

 

2. 2020 Apple iMac

These can be configured similarly to the HP Envy above, but graphics are AMD as opposed to Nvidia. The RAM can also be jacked up to a ridiculous 128 GB and it doesn't have to be the overpriced Apple brand. And with the dual TB3 slots, maybe there is a chance that I could attach 2 eGPUs to this machine? I love Mac OS and greatly prefer it to Windows, but I do some occasional gaming and worry that I would lose access to most of my Steam games that don't run natively on Mac OS. Also I'd lose out on Raytracing capabilities that the RTX cards have (though future AMD cards are supposed to support Raytracing).

 

3. 2021 or later Apple iMac (Pro?)

This is the machine that all the creative 3D artists and designers are excited about. The speculated M1X chip is still somewhat of a black box (I'm trying not to get sucked into the rumor mill which has made all these false assumptions as of late) but it sounds quite promising. The GPUs on these future Apple Silicon iMacs could be absolutely amazing. Or they could be lackluster for another year or two. Also we have no idea if Apple Silicon Macs will support eGPUs in the future. There has been speculation that the next update for the Mac Pro will remain with Intel processors, which worries me as that could mean that Apple won't take the GPU side of its Silicon seriously for some time to come.

 

Very curious as to your guys thoughts on these options. There is a high likelihood that I will stick with my current system for some time, but I still love the idea of these more compact, less hot and stylish AIOs. Biggest problem with them is upgrade-ability, which I know is severely limited.

Ryzen 9 3950x 16-core CPU
64GB RAM @ 2666 Mhz
1 TB SSD
RTX 2070 Super and GTX 1080 dGPUs


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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@supaiku, If it's a work computer, I'd avoid Macs the way they are going. Get an AIO with Thunderbolt ports and a spare M.2 slot so that you have the flexibility in using eGPU.

 

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2021 13" ASUS ROG Flow X13 (RTX3050Ti) [R5K,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 64Gbps-XG (XG Mobile) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


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Supaiku
(@supaiku)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

@supaiku, If it's a work computer, I'd avoid Macs the way they are going. Get an AIO with Thunderbolt ports and a spare M.2 slot so that you have the flexibility in using eGPU.

 

Yeah, I have been thinking along similar lines even though I so prefer Mac OS to Windows. What do you think of the HP Envy 32? I couldn't find anyone on the forums here who has tested it with an eGPU.

 

Ryzen 9 3950x 16-core CPU
64GB RAM @ 2666 Mhz
1 TB SSD
RTX 2070 Super and GTX 1080 dGPUs


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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@supaiku, If you can wait until they offer Tiger Lake CPUs and Thunderbolt 4, that would be a great system for hosting an TBT eGPU. M.2 eGPU adapter such as ADT-Link R43SG is another good option for AIO desktop. Besides the silly double-sided tape for the rear plastic cover, all components are very accessible in the HP Envy 32. If it was me I'd run the computer without the rear cover.

 

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2021 13" ASUS ROG Flow X13 (RTX3050Ti) [R5K,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 64Gbps-XG (XG Mobile) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


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Supaiku
(@supaiku)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage, thanks for taking the time to look into this a bit more for me. I ended up giving HP Sales a call and spoke with a very helpful rep. She confirmed that there are two RAM slots and the RAM can be upgraded up to 64GB, which is a bit deceptive as HP only offers a max configuration of 32GB on their site. She said this was due to performance stability i.e. the system could potentially become unstable if you go over 32GB of RAM - though not likely if the motherboard can handle up to 64GB. She also told me that it does feature an additional M.2 slot. If I do end up going with this machine, I'd probably use the M.2 slot for an additional SSD drive, and the TB3 slot for an eGPU.

With that all covered, the big decision for me is do I choose to downgrade from my current Ryzen 3950x CPU to the Intel 10900 (or similar if HP upgrades to 11th gen in the future - though the rep said there are no current plans for that). Going from 16 cores down to 10 won't be much of an issue for graphic design and video editing, as Photoshop and Premiere Pro tend to work better with higher clock speeds vs. higher core count. And rendering will be handled on the GPUs. But simulation speeds... these are more dependent on higher core counts. And this is also the thing that I spend the most time waiting for while working. I always do longer renders overnight, but with simulations I am constantly changing settings and running the sim, caching to disk, etc. It's a very fluid process where I need to make changes and test as quickly as possible. So I guess it ultimately comes down to my level of patience and how much time working on a project I'm willing to devote to waiting for simulations.

 

Ryzen 9 3950x 16-core CPU
64GB RAM @ 2666 Mhz
1 TB SSD
RTX 2070 Super and GTX 1080 dGPUs


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