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Will an eGPU run Starcraft 2 with decent performance in 4K?
 

Will an eGPU run Starcraft 2 with decent performance in 4K?  

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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 

I have a Dell XPS 13 9370 here, and occasionally play Starcraft 2. That piece of garbage Intel UHD 620 can actually play SC2 on low-medium settings with pretty okay framerates around 60 fps. However I also acquired a 4K monitor for my professional work and the Intel GPU cannot really run SC2 even on low settings in 4K with a decent frame rate.

So now I'm looking into getting an eGPU. I prefer AMD hardware due to better Linux support. Currently considering two options: (1) Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box which is more expensive. (2) Zotac AMP box mini with a used RX 560 or RX 570. This would be much cheaper but less performant of course.

The goal would be to run SC2 in 4K with medium-high settings on at least 60 fps. Could the RX 570 do that? Would I better off with the RX 580? I heard SC2 is a pretty much CPU-bound game, would the i7-8550U be a huge bottleneck?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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TheJizel
(@thejizel)
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Joined: 12 months ago
 

I don't have an RX 580, but I do have a Vega 64. I could test (I also have StarCraft 2) and let you know how it goes.

2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar RP560X + [email protected] (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.13.6 & W10 1803


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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: TheJizel

I don't have an RX 580, but I do have a Vega 64. I could test (I also have StarCraft 2) and let you know how it goes.

Thanks man, that would be very nice of you. What hardware are you testing on?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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TheJizel
(@thejizel)
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Joined: 12 months ago
 
Posted by: Timur Kristóf
Posted by: TheJizel

I don't have an RX 580, but I do have a Vega 64. I could test (I also have StarCraft 2) and let you know how it goes.

Thanks man, that would be very nice of you. What hardware are you testing on?

@timur_kristof I have a 2018 15" MacBook Pro with a 2.9 GHz i9 and 32GB of memory. My eGPU enclosure is the Razer Core X.

When initially running the game, my results were awful. I was getting under 30 fps running at 1440p with high settings. But then I noticed there was a render API option which allowed me to change to Metal (although I guess that's in beta for SC2). After making that switch, I got much better results and was able to bump up to ultra. Generally hovered around 90 fps with some dips during more action packed sections, but never went below 60 fps. Here are the full settings:

SC2 Settings

Note that this test was done in macOS. I do have Windows running in Boot Camp though, so let me know if you'd like me to try there as well (I suspect the results would be better as they generally are for most games I've tested with on both platforms).

2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar RP560X + [email protected] (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.13.6 & W10 1803


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TheJizel
(@thejizel)
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Joined: 12 months ago
 

It's also worth mentioning that I do have a 4K monitor I can test with. I did the prior test in 1440p, so let me know if you'd like me to redo in 4K as well.

2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar RP560X + [email protected] (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.13.6 & W10 1803


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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: TheJizel

It's also worth mentioning that I do have a 4K monitor I can test with. I did the prior test in 1440p, so let me know if you'd like me to redo in 4K as well.

Thank you so much! If you can spare the time, I would be interested in seeing how it goes with 4K with both OSes.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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TheJizel
(@thejizel)
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Joined: 12 months ago
 
Posted by: Timur Kristóf
Posted by: TheJizel

It's also worth mentioning that I do have a 4K monitor I can test with. I did the prior test in 1440p, so let me know if you'd like me to redo in 4K as well.

Thank you so much! If you can spare the time, I would be interested in seeing how it goes with 4K with both OSes.

Sure thing. I will try to get to it today or tomorrow. If not, I will be out of town for about a week and will do it after that.

2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar RP560X + [email protected] (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.13.6 & W10 1803


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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: TheJizel

Sure thing. I will try to get to it today or tomorrow. If not, I will be out of town for about a week and will do it after that.

Awesome, thank you.
Taking a closer look at your screenshot I see that it lists your GPU as a Radeon Pro 560X. So it looks like it was actually not running on the eGPU when you did the test? If the 560X can manage that framerate I guess the RX 580 will manage it as well, right? But still would be interesting to see how it performs on 4K.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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TheJizel
(@thejizel)
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Joined: 12 months ago
 
Posted by: Timur Kristóf
Posted by: TheJizel

Sure thing. I will try to get to it today or tomorrow. If not, I will be out of town for about a week and will do it after that.

Awesome, thank you.
Taking a closer look at your screenshot I see that it lists your GPU as a Radeon Pro 560X. So it looks like it was actually not running on the eGPU when you did the test? If the 560X can manage that framerate I guess the RX 580 will manage it as well, right? But still would be interesting to see how it performs on 4K.

Wow, I just noticed that too. That's really weird and has to be a bug. I'm 100% positive it was running off of the Vega 64.

Anyways, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. As I mentioned, I was out of town for work and then I was sick when I got back. I was going to give this another go the other day, but I foolishly upgraded to Mojave and it broke my Boot Camp install. I just rolled back to High Sierra last night, so now I need to set up Windows again and pray that I can get the configuration working once more. I'll keep you updated.

2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar RP560X + [email protected] (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.13.6 & W10 1803


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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: TheJizel

Wow, I just noticed that too. That's really weird and has to be a bug. I'm 100% positive it was running off of the Vega 64.

Anyways, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. As I mentioned, I was out of town for work and then I was sick when I got back. I was going to give this another go the other day, but I foolishly upgraded to Mojave and it broke my Boot Camp install. I just rolled back to High Sierra last night, so now I need to set up Windows again and pray that I can get the configuration working once more. I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime I chose to go with the RX 570 and the Zotac AMP box mini. On Windows it works pretty well, and can give me between 60-80 fps (depending on how intensive the current scene is) on 4K resolution with high-ish settings (that is, most things are set to high, but some ultra and some medium). On Linux I'm having some trouble with it but managed to get it more or less working.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

Nice choice of parts, I was going to offer to test on my 570 but that's not needed now. Have you posted a build guide with set up pics yet? Would love to hear more about hw the 570 performs (mines currently not in use, its a spare).

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

Nice choice of parts, I was going to offer to test on my 570 but that's not needed now. Have you posted a build guide with set up pics yet? Would love to hear more about hw the 570 performs (mines currently not in use, its a spare).

Thanks man!
I haven't posted a build guide just yet. On Windows it was pretty much just plug-and-play straightforward to set up, and if you use the GPU's display output it offers an expected level of performance. I mean, running SC2 in 4K at 60-80 fps on high settings is pretty cool IMO, from a card that is not meant for 4K gaming. I haven't tried other games, nor any methodological benchmarks yet. (I have no desktop PC to which I could compare.) But if you're interested I will see what I can do about it. (Maybe my brother will let me experiment on his PC.)

On Linux (which I prefer to use) it seems eGPUs still need some work, so the past few days I was mostly busy figuring out how to make it more or less work on Linux.

To be honest I'm not very fond of the hardware, the RX 570 is noisier than I anticipated (maybe because I bought it used) and the Zotac box is needlessly big (the card would fit in 2/3 of the volume), and it doesn't even charge the laptop. I only chose it because this is what was available where I live. Still pondering whether or not to keep this setup or just return it now and wait until something better is available.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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 chx
(@chx)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

This of course only shows "from a card that is not meant for 4K gaming" is nonsense. If you are running a non demanding 2010 engine on a 2017 graphics card, well, surprise.

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 -- GALAX SNPR TB3 1060 -- Lenovo Graphics Dock -- Benq BL2411PT - - two PackedPixels - Dasung not-eReader backer


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(@timur_kristof)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: chx

This of course only shows "from a card that is not meant for 4K gaming" is nonsense. If you are running a non demanding 2010 engine on a 2017 graphics card, well, surprise.

Yes, you are correct.
What I meant is that of course this isn't the best possible setup, but for what I'm using it, it's pretty much good enough. I would not expect it to run the current AAA titles in 4K, but I also don't play AAA games, so that's not a big issue. 🙂

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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