AMD Radeon RX 580 eGPU offers more than twice the speed of a MacBook Pro

GPU in macOS High Sierra About a year ago, Apple resumed the support it had been providing to photo and video editing professionals until now. At that time the Mac Pro, was giving some other problem to the professionals and also had to renew the Pro range, since the Mac Pro is from 2013.

Since then we have seen two MacBook Pros and the first iMac Pro. The second is a true machine suitable for the most demanding. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro, being a portable computer, cannot contain all the power of a stationary computer. The solution as of macOS 10.13.4 is external graphics or eGPU. 

That is, In the most recent MacBook Pro, we can connect an external graphic that is complemented with the GPU of the equipment itself by USB-C as if it were a memory disk. It is true that compatibility and handling is not fully debugged yet, but performance is more than guaranteed. 

The magazine Ars Technika, has made a test with the use of the AMD Radeon RX 580 eGPU, connected to a 2016 MacBook Pro and tests show more than twice the performance of individual computer graphics when applications run Metal:

We found that the external RX 580 generally provided a significant performance advantage over the internal Radeon Pro 460. … We were pleased to find that even running the eGPU on Thunderbolt 3 did not prevent us from seeing satisfactory gains.

Metal performance was at times more than twice as fast on the RX 580 compared to Pro 460. Sierra OpenGL performance increased by 20% to 75% depending on the application. For users interested in demanding applications like 3D modeling software and triple-A gaming on MacOS, this is great news.

However, not in all applications, performance behaves the same.

While the gains were impressive on most supported apps, some apps (like Civilization VI) just didn't show the kinds of gains that would be expected given the hardware gap between the RX 580 and Pro 460. Possibly due to limitations with Thunderbolt or anything else related to hardware.

In other cases, surprisingly, did not use the eGPU as in Final Cut Pro X. 

In any case, we are agreed that integration with all applications will be carried out in future updates.


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  1.   Citizen Juca said

    And the million dollar question, how much is it worth?