Mac Pro 2013 (D500) and 2 x BenQ SW271 4K monitors - advice on kit for Lightroom and Photoshop speed boost
Completely new to the eGPU subject and have spent the last couple of days reading through many articles and build docs and thoroughly confusing myself. Am after some advice on what kit to buy.
My MP 2013 is a 3.0 Ghz 8 core, 64GB ram with 2 x D500 internal cards running Catalina. I've recently purchased 2 x Benq SW271 27" 4K screens for use with Photoshop and Lightroom.
Since I unplugged my Lenovo (also 27" 4K) screens which were running fine and plugged in the Benqs, Lightroom seems to be running like a dog with time spent watching the whirly beachball more than editing. (Each screen on a different BUS.) I'm thinking this may be coincidence since I've also just moved to a Sony a7RIV and the 61 megapixel RAW files are huge (around 80Mb) compared to my 22mp Canon 5DIII and it's they that are more likely causing the image rendering/performance issues, but performance and beach ball watching is still worse now on catalogues without the huge Sony files in them.
As I can't afford to (and don't want to) replace the MP with an iMac Pro, I'm thinking the eGPU route might be a way to give me back the graphics performance I once enjoyed.
I'm thinking the Akitio Node Duo as the enclosure but am not sure if I need two graphics cards to run both the monitors or one higher specified one - for example would 2 x 6Gb cards be better than a single 8Gb. I've no idea! And I think from reading the card(s) need to be AMD. Connection on the Benqs will be via DP (but they do have HDMI and USB-C too).
Any kit advice you can give would be much appreciated - my ideal would be as few boxes and purchases as possible (only one enclosure) and not have to boot using one screen input then hot plugging/swapping screen inputs to utilise the eGPU
Many thanks, Lee
@lee_wilkinson Monitor output is handled by only one D500 regardless of which mini-DisplayPorts you connect the monitors. The eGPU option should definitely help with handling these two 4K monitors. Due to the Thunderbolt 2 connection of the 2013 Mac Pro, it's best to use single slot enclosure to host a strong card rather than a dual-slot option like the Node Duo hosting two less power cards.
I have been using a 2013 Mac Pro with different Radeon eGPUs for testing purposes. You'd need Purge-Wrangler script first of all to unblock external graphics feature in macOS. Another prerequisite is the Apple Thunderbolt 3/USB-C to Thunderbolt adapter. Due to no Power Delivery through Thunderbolt 2, you can go for 15W PD enclosures. If your budget is near $1,000 I'd recommend Radeon VII + ASUS XG Station Pro. If the budget is around $500, you can go with RX Vega 56 + Sonnet Breakaway Box 350.
Thank you for the info. I'd no idea that only one card did both monitors so am guessing connecting to different BUSes makes no difference and I'm running both with just 3gb which is why it struggles. I think for longevity and max performance I'd like to go the Radeon VII and XG Station Pro route but at $860 and $700 respectively here in the UK that might be a stretch too far!
@lee_wilkinson Sorry to hear a bout the high cost in the UK. How about the Mantiz Venus? I saw some mentions of it being on discount atm. Here's my own 2013 Mac Pro build with the Mantiz Venus + Radeon VII eGPU. Is there any Thunderbolt 3 enclosure close to or less than $300 in your market?
The Razer seems to be the most available but seems huge!
Perhaps I need to have a word with my buddies in the US and get them to ship me something 😛
I ought to add that I have a TB3 Macbook Pro as well so preference would be something with enough output wattage to power it if I ever wanted to use the eGPU with that in the future which I believe knocks out the Node.