Video Specific Thunderbolt 2 eGPU for MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014
I have searched extensively on this amazing site for this information for my situation perhaps shared by others, there isn't enough on the following and I think my post will help people with these issues:
1) video editing specific eGPU discussion
2) having only Thunderbolt 2 and not TB3
3) having a intel 2.5 i7 and not a faster processor
4) not enough info about whether my intel processor will conflict with various GPU's
5) wanting to know if a TB3 eGPU does work with the TB2 port what the result is (benchmarks or something specific to video editing would be amazing), 6) wanting to know if anyone had any preferences for an eGPU with Adobe CC
7) wanting eGPU knowledge for video editors and not just gamers
8) wanting to know if anyone was able to use Mojave with an eGPU
9) wanting info for these retina models that cannot be upgraded at all in anyway
10) wanting info for people who would like to code as little as possible while appreciating/respecting heavily the skill it takes to code
11) having a model with two graphics cards and not knowing actually if and how that could mess stuff up with video editing
12) being in a field where you plan for your computer crashing sometimes. So I would like to hear any long time eGPU users for video editing with some laptop like mine let me know if there is a model they have had for awhile that has crashed or only crashed a little
A eGPU for the following model could perhaps make this one of the most affordable sub-$1000 options if you want to edit raw 4k footage and are not bankrolled by Hollywood, please help!
So.... I currently have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014), 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB Intel Iris Pro 1.5GB ( https://support.apple.com/kb/SP704?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US ).
I got it dirt cheap with almost no prior use because in the all the chaos of the ebay used mac sections, it was the kind of a weird gem much cheaper than others in that it no only had an extra eGPU, it had a CUDA compatible one! Well, when I could use my NVIDIA card, it wasn't fast, but it does work with RAW 4K footage in Davinci and Adobe Premiere CC (mainly what I use and sometimes without proxies or playing at 1/4 quality!). I had to de-upgrade my computer too though, as too many others have commented here on, oh, the blood feud with Nvidia and Apple, happy to see Apple still has spite and dominance in their protocol post-Jobs.
And well this is fine, but I am poor and I had to use my computer and the internet at work. And High Sierra has given me my first experiences in the life of my Mac with viruses. Even when sadly I am not fun enough to download anything I shouldn't or go to provocative internet locales. I even use Little Snitch because of control issues. And still, this computer crashes, stuff opens it shouldn't, the screen does weird stuff, etc.
So I want to maybe go the eGPU route and for these reasons:
1. I don't have the money to get another computer with the debt I already got getting the gear for my video gig business last year.
2. In my experience regularly updated Macs don't crash or freeze, so for years I have used them when I'm on sets where I want to back-up footage to my laptop/use it as an extra monitor. However, my going back to High Sierra 10.13.6 has started to make this happen.
3. My computer is actually okay, but it could be faster... My GPU handles everything and does so in a way where my CPU is almost left untouched, even when I am doing the most extreme stuff with RAW 4.6K. Yet, it is slow and I know the pushing it to the limit rollercoaster Im putting it through is going to cut its life shorter than it should.
4. I am working with more and more 4-4.6k footage while getting more work and more often now the jobs require I do GPU intensive things, and well multiple deadlines and more GPU usage means the 750m is great if you have one deadline a week, but with multiple and only one computer, im struggling now (I have to do proxies now, export/send stuff quickly, etc., and use the computer on set sometimes, so its been tough).
That said, I was wondering if anyone knows the following:
1. The absolute cheapest option for my mac model (ideally from someone who has one or one near it!)
2. An option that does not require my having to do too much or any code or GPU building. If one of the many premade AMD (I think Apple likes AMD?) pre-loaded eGPU's that could just be almost just plugged in and work, that would amazing. I basically don't trust myself with doing computer build and code stuff... My A/V tech skills and computer skills go off in different directions at a certain point.
3. An option that can plug into my thunderbolt 2 port or ports. I understand this means it will be much slower since every eGPU is Thunderbolt 3? And this site and Apple say TB3 things should work with TB2 things with an adapter? But I haven't been able to find anything for something close enough to my model computer and gave any info about how well the TB3 device worked with the TB2 with some benchmarks or something.
4. An option that maybe work on Mojave? I heard its only Nvidia that is not working anymore with Apple? I dont believe, contrary to hilarious posts from higher ups at Apple, that they are "working on new drivers". If anyone has Mojave then who also has a Macbook Pro Retina with only TB2 ports and has a eGPU, I would super appreciate to hear about it and even see any bench marks if that is possible?! I know you all will not have an Nvidia eGPU most likely!
And this site is awesome! I am excited to become a eGPU nerd eventually now on top of an AV nerd! If you all can code super well though, I just cant get that part of this, but I assume I will have to do some...?
I have... I am confused at what works with my model, especially with my CPU, having TB2, hoping I can go back to Mojave, and for video editing and not specifically for gaming. Gaming GPU's tend to work for video, but sometimes randomly in certain random areas, they don't.
If you off the top of your head know where I should have looked, I would appreciate being pointed in that direction.
Oh, wait @mac_editor, I have looked here... the 2-3 people who have my model used nvida cards which apple says not to do anymore and/or used a enclosure that specifically says "do not use this for graphics cards". And none of them said anything about video editing. I know lots of people edit videos now, especially gamers, so I just was wondering if anyone had any ideas.
And @mac_editor your builds were the ones that scared me most haha. You are like a legit code genius and/or people on my level are scared to do that. Im wondering though if you still have my model laptop and if you have tried any of the newer pre-loaded just plug and play eGPU's?
@videoquestions Ahh ok great that you worked through those guides! Basically this Mac is a real pain to get going on eGPU. The easiest and simplest setup would be on macOS Sierra + using automate-eGPU.sh + AMD eGPU. For the latest OSes, you will need the more recent workarounds as you may have read through in the guides. And it’s still not the most optimal. If you are willing to use a GTX 780/ti eGPU though, you might have an optimal experience on Mojave. The workarounds are very easy to implement (especially if you’re not getting an external monitor) so don’t worry! You won’t have to write any serious code (at most copy-pasting 3 lines of code).
I also edit videos (as a hobby, YouTube basically) and this Mac served me well. In the later stages of its life, I paired it with an RX480 and enjoyed my video editing and gaming experience.
Amazing @mac_editor! Yeah, I have just gone back through your builds and I took your being awesome and extensive as that requiring a ton of coding. I mean, there is some and you figure it out, but maybe I can do it?
And your opinion is to follow this and it ? https://egpu.io/forums/builds/mid-2014-macbook-pro-gt750m-gtx78016gbps-tb2-sonnet-breakaway-gfx-macos-10-14-windows-10/
And in this test ( https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Premiere-Pro-CC-2018-NVIDIA-GeForce-vs-AMD-Radeon-Vega-1206/) and others I saw, it was at the bottom of all the tests, but the AMD RX 580 seems to get fairly close to the more expensive AMD GPU's? And there are a few companies with fairly cheap premade egpu's that have the AMD RX 580 in them? In the end it is annoying Apple as literally abandoned supporting Nvidia and in turn, a lot of the more ideal GPU's for editing, but what am I to do? Anyway, for 2x-4x more than Apple's BlackMagic eGPU they are selling for $700 or $1200 for the pro version, you can make your own eGPU with the AMD cards they have in those, so yeah, just wondering then your thoughts on nvidia, its tough because Apple is trying to make them not work on their machines.
And overall, what is lost when you use a TB3 device with a TB2 machine? I see from your benchmarks that it is better to use a eGPU, so it is in the end ultimately faster and stronger to use an eGPU than an internal even over TB2?
@mac_editor like I am seeing these around for $250-$300 used: https://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-Gaming-Graphic-Card-GV-RX580IXEB-8GD/dp/B07CCK527Y/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=RX+580+egpu&qid=1551255742&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull
I can get an Nvidia card like the GTX 780/ti or better and the 350w box your reccomended though for only a bit more. Again, the issue is Mac literally not supporting Nvidia... When you used the GTX, did you have mojave and if so, your code made your computer recognize it without problems?
@mac_editor because yeah... https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicegpu/ is what Apple is trying to profit off from but these cards are cheap to get on their own + the Vega 56 in a lot of tests actually does the same or worse than the AMD RX 580? It does a bit better here and there, but it isn't worth $500 more dollars... so... apple is being weird... Nvidia is ultimately faster and its super lame that starting like literally last fall they just stopped giving up the info nvidia needed to update their drivers when Mojave happened (there were problems before then too supposedly). And their apple/blackmagic verified egpu options (the basic and the pro) are not that different except for price haha. But yeah, any thoughts about what I am saying help because one can get a AMD RX 580 and several awesome nvidia cards (with a enclosure, adapter, cords, power, etc) for way less than the starting basic apple/blackmagic egpu.
Hmm... not sure if this interest you or anyone who is reading, but I just found this: https://postperspective.com/review-using-egpu-apple-macbook-pro-thunderbolt-2/
I am fan of Davinci Resolve, I just got stuck with Adobe Premiere this last year, but if this is true, anyone who has a TB2 Mac like you had and I have, should get themselves a copy of Resolve Pro (its free with a camera and/or if you have a friend with several cameras and only needed one copy of Resolve (like myself)) as the free doesn't let you pick a GPU. I will probably switch to Resolve full time if I test a eGPU and it works... Wonder if anyone else has done this as well with Resolve and found good results even with Mojave and nvidia cards....
Um, the more research I do the more I realize you @mac_editor are the most epic dude and friend to the gamer/video editor on the mac maybe ever. You also did http://purge-wrangler.sh ????? All research leads back to you, haha, I will paypal donate for sure super soon! Anyway, is this why you think Nvidia is still okay? What about the lack of drivers nvidia can make now for their cards after apple stopped being friends?
@videoquestions I have written a few scripts, yes :p. Also, you forgot @goalque who was instrumental in discovering a way to patch for NVIDIA GPUs which purge-wrangler uses, besides numerous other contributions ;). It’s all the power of community.
To summarize my recommendations for you:
- If you’re for sure not going to use an external monitor, get an AMD GPU and use the latest version of macOS + purge-wrangler.
- If you want an external monitor and an AMD GPU, note the limitations of purge-nvda, an additional script required (besides purge-wrangler) to get the external monitor functional on this Mac (see Hardware Chart in my signature) on macOS 10.13.4+.
- I don’t recommend modern NVIDIA cards for this Mac because you have to use precise timing to plug in the eGPU (otherwise the system won’t boot). Older GPUs (such as GTX 780) won’t cause the issue. My build guides highlight the procedure.
- The older NVIDIA GPUs also do not have the external monitor issue highlighted in the second point. Hence a good recommendation if the GPU is easily procurable.
- AMD and older NVIDIA GPUs would work flawlessly on Bootcamped windows on this Mac if needed in the future. Newer NVIDIA ones don’t unless you use a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure, which IMO isn’t a good investment today (better to futureproof for TB3). Can refer to build guides for this.
Touching base on video editing:
- An RX570 or better would give you an optimum boost in video editing. Still, I recommend buying from a vendor with great return policy if you’re not satisfied with performance (such as Amazon Prime). You can refer to Apple’s eGPU documentation. All mentioned cards should work with your system post-patch (though keep note of the recommendations above).
- Its ok to choose an older NVIDIA card. Apple includes drivers for these cards in macOS, and will do for as long as the 2014 MBP can be updated). The provided drivers are well-optimized as well (vs. what NVIDIA provides on pre-Mojave builds). Still, if you feel it’s not the best option, go AMD.
- On a tight budget, a more practical thought process is to have an extra GPU to “add” to existing performance, but a lot of apps (especially most games, and even FCP) use one GPU or the other, hence not all processors are utilized to their max potential. Keep this in mind. Hence buy with a good return policy and be sure you are satisfied with performance.
- Thus it is overall a better choice IMO to buy a far faster GPU (RX 580 or better) that totally eclipses in this case the 750M, so even the single eGPU-only performance gains are massive, even over limited TB2 bandwidth. You can see the performance gains in most build guides.