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eGPU and Vectorworks Testing

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I have been playing with an eGPU off and on for a couple of years now.   Due to some updates to tools that enable this on TB2 macs,  I decided to try again the other day.  (I have a 2013 nMac Pro which doesn't "officially" support them) but I have gotten my NVIDIA GTX 980TI to work fine.   I realize that card is several years old,  but it shows a MASSIVE improvement in Cinema 4D versus my FirePro D700s in OpenGL,   but I can't really notice a difference in Vectorworks,  and I'm not sure why that is.  It seems like the 980TI should rail the D700s in VW too.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯    Maybe I'll temporarily try pulling my Titan X out of my PC and see if that changes anything.

 

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Edited by Wesley Burrows
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1 hour ago, Wesley Burrows said:

it shows a MASSIVE improvement in Cinema 4D versus my FirePro D700s in OpenGL,   but I can't really notice a difference in Vectorworks

This could come down to which is the limiting factor in Vectorworks, the hardware itself or our OpenGL implementation, which is much better than it used to be but still not highly efficient when measured against others like C4D

I have also found some more strangeness in HOW I connect the eGPU that affects performance. The great performance in my test case is only possible when the connection is:

Mac Mini >(USB C)> eGPU >(HDMI)> Monitor

If I connect it:
eGPU >(USB C)> Mac Mini >(HDMI)> Monitor 

 

which from what I can tell is a supported configuration, the performance in Vectorworks and the Cinebench OpenGL score are far, far worse than even the integrated Intel UHD 630 performance which makes no sense to me. I have tried manually specifying that Vectorworks and Cinebench both use the eGPU in this configuration as well as checking to see if the eGPU is driving the primary display, but the controls for doing the latter can't be seen unless more than one monitor is connected.

I will poke at this further, but let me know how you have your hardware configured and if you have similar results if you have time.

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32 minutes ago, Jim Wilson said:

I have also found some

I really really really appreciate someone at VW blazing a trail on this

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I have had far less success improving the GPU performance of a Macbook Pro 13" both when using the internal integrated display as well as an external one connected to the eGPU directly. In some tests, I got scores even lower than the integrated card. I will test this further to see if its a configuration issue. It does not appear to be related to the RAM or CPU of the host machine as neither of these were anywhere near maxed out in Vectorworks or in Cinebench.

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16 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

I have had far less success improving the GPU performance of a Macbook Pro 13" both when using the internal integrated display as well as an external one connected to the eGPU directly. In some tests, I got scores even lower than the integrated card. I will test this further to see if its a configuration issue. It does not appear to be related to the RAM or CPU of the host machine as neither of these were anywhere near maxed out in Vectorworks or in Cinebench.

 

Is the eGPU driving both displays?  Or just the external,  with the integrated driving the internal display?

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5 minutes ago, Wesley Burrows said:

 

Is the eGPU driving both displays?  Or just the external,  with the integrated driving the internal display?


According to System Report I have the internal display driven by the dedicated GPU and I still get very weak performance vs expected. However, you're supposed to be able to Get Info on the app and set it to use the dedicated GPU, which it does seem to do as the performance rises slightly over the internal card when going only to an external display and I have the integrated one disabled, but nowhere near the performance that I get from that card installed natively in a windows machine, or when I use it in the eGPU enclosure with the Mac Mini. I'll be poking at this more, I really hope I've just configured something improperly.

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3 minutes ago, Jim Wilson said:


According to System Report I have the internal display driven by the dedicated GPU and I still get very weak performance vs expected. However, you're supposed to be able to Get Info on the app and set it to use the dedicated GPU, which it does seem to do as the performance rises slightly over the internal card when going only to an external display and I have the integrated one disabled, but nowhere near the performance that I get from that card installed natively in a windows machine, or when I use it in the eGPU enclosure with the Mac Mini. I'll be poking at this more, I really hope I've just configured something improperly.

 

Gotcha,  I think I must have misread your original post.  Reading it again it sounds like you've had the same lower performance under both configurations..... eGPU driving external display,   and it just driving the internal display.  

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4 minutes ago, Wesley Burrows said:

Reading it again it sounds like you've had the same lower performance under both configurations..... eGPU driving external display,   and it just driving the internal display.  

Correct, which is what is very odd. I would have expected perfectly fine performance with the Macbook > eGPU > Display configuration, though I'm going to try it lid shut today and see if thats enough to disable the internal display being the primary.

Supposedly when you move the menu bar to another menu in the Arrangement pane of the Display preferences it is supposed to do this, but the performance results I'm getting disagree. More poking.

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Jim,

Thanks for this.  Our IT guy suggests:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HMQT2VC/A/blackmagic-egpu-pro

or

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HM8Y2VC/A/blackmagic-egpu

 

As a principal, and a hardware novice, these come with enclosure.  Would they be comparable to the tested eGPU's?

 

What other eGPUs would work?

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3 minutes ago, Rob Glisson said:


Those should both work quite well, however they are quite pricey even though their price includes the GPU. The others supported by Apple officially are listed here along with the GPUs they're recommended for:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

And if you have an IT guy handy that can install the GPU in the enclosure, you might save some solid cash. However, what Mac are you going to be using this with? I've seen eGPU at the moment working very well with the Mac Mini, but very poorly with a Macbook here in testing so far even though it should be just as good.

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Sure, any advice is appreciated as, here at ROJO, we have always used top of the line iMacs.  We have never used an eGPU.  Since no new iMacs came out, we need to upgrade several machines.  I have 3 that are Late 2012 that I have been waiting to upgrade.  So, I am accepting best options!  Currently, we are thinking the new Mac minis.

 

The reason I mention the other ones is that seemed less expensive than the ones you mentioned ........ I must not have looked very hard!

 

We also have 2 Late 2014 iMacs and 3 Late 2015.

 

Need a best bang for the bucks options!

 

Thanks for all your help!

 

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8 minutes ago, Rob Glisson said:

I have 3 that are Late 2012 that I have been waiting to upgrade.  So, I am accepting best options!  Currently, we are thinking the new Mac minis.

 

The reason I mention the other ones is that seemed less expensive than the ones you mentioned ........ I must not have looked very hard!

 

We also have 2 Late 2014 iMacs and 3 Late 2015.


Well now make sure to check this: I do not think all of those machine will have Thunderbolt 3 connectors, which is the connection standard that I think most or all of these enclosures use. It's the one that uses the USB C port rather than the smaller Mini Displayport that they used to include. Thunderbolt 1 and 2 I THINK can be made to work with these via a series of adapters, but the performance benefits would likely be limited in these setups. 

 

Also, since iMacs have their own included display, the issue where eGPU performance improvements didn't appear other than on an external display, and even then in a reduced fashion may occur.

At the moment, I would only personally recommend an eGPU for the MAc Mini, where I saw immediate and very positive performance gains with little to no extra configuration. I'll keep testing with any other models I can get my hands on. I even have an iMac Pro here I'm going to test it with, not that it needs GPU improvement but just to see if I get the expected performance from the eGPU.

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Sure, I just mentioned my iMacs so you knew where we were and have some insight to tell us where to go!  🙂

 

I have already ordered a bunch of monitors (there was a flash sell on nice 4K monitors) so it is looking like Mac minis with an eGPU.

 

For me, it is more a cost analysis thing.

 

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I just ordered a Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box, and a Radeon Pro WX9100. 

 

System:

MBP 15, 2018

i9 2.9GHz Processor

32 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 Ram 

Mojave OS

 

I am working on an LG Ultrawide 34"

 

I will let you know how it goes with C4D R20 Studio and Vectorworks 2019 Designer SP2

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On 11/20/2018 at 12:57 PM, Jim Wilson said:




I even have an iMac Pro here I'm going to test it with, not that it needs GPU improvement but just to see if I get the expected performance from the eGPU.

1

Thanks for all your hard work @Jim Wilson...I look forward to hearing about your iMac Pro tests.  We recently purchased one and quite impressed by the performance. 

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On 11/20/2018 at 8:40 PM, Jim Wilson said:


Those should both work quite well, however they are quite pricey even though their price includes the GPU. The others supported by Apple officially are listed here along with the GPUs they're recommended for:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

And if you have an IT guy handy that can install the GPU in the enclosure, you might save some solid cash. However, what Mac are you going to be using this with? I've seen eGPU at the moment working very well with the Mac Mini, but very poorly with a Macbook here in testing so far even though it should be just as good.

I bought one of these Blackmagic eGPU’s.  Would have rather a cheaper version, but it was the only GPU that outputted on USB-C (I have an LG 5k display which is USB-C in only)

 

I couldn’t find a GPU card (that I could fit in an eGPU enclosure) that was USB-C out to the monitor 

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22 minutes ago, Andrew Davies said:

I couldn’t find a GPU card (that I could fit in an eGPU enclosure) that was USB-C out to the monitor 

 

That's another stupid Apple thing (most great displays/GPU's are DP not T3) but I got one of these cables on Amazon to use with my iMac Pro and BenQ 4k display, and it works great: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075V27G2R/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I'm sure there are even more options available today.

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16 hours ago, Mark Aceto said:

 

That's another stupid Apple thing (most great displays/GPU's are DP not T3) but I got one of these cables on Amazon to use with my iMac Pro and BenQ 4k display, and it works great: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075V27G2R/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I'm sure there are even more options available today.

I tried a similar adapter but it didn't work.  Display Port out of the GPU and into my USB-C monitor.


Think the difference is my monitor is 5k so had to be Thunderbolt 3?  But not 100% sure.

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From the Sonnet Support Page:

1. “How can I use the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box to accelerate games on the MacBook Pro or iMac internal video?Apr-02-18

Internal video acceleration for games is not currently supported under macOS. To accelerate games, the game display must be connected to the external graphics card.
Professional graphics applications use of an external GPU is typically independent of which display is used. Check with the application supplier to determine”

 

2.  “Will the Breakaway Box or Puck accelerate internal video on a Mac?Aug-02-18

This capability is coming with the release of Mojave (macOS 10.14). Beginning with Mojave beta 5, the internal display in a Mac can be accelerated by the GPU in a Sonnet Breakaway Puck or Box.”

 

3. “My display is not being detected on macOS.Mar-21-18

Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Displays. If your Mac doesn't recognize a display you've just connected, hold down the Option key to make the Detect Displays button appear, then click that button”

 

4. “Does the Breakaway Box or Puck support the LG UltraFine 4k Display sold by Apple?Sep-04-18

The DisplayPort output of a graphics card is not compatible with the Alt Mode DisplayPort input of the LG UltraFine 4K Display. Beginning in macOS 10.14, an eGPU can be used to accelerate the LG UltraFine 4K Display, but both the eGPU and the Display must be directly connected to the Mac”

 

Hope this helps. The answer to multi-vendor solutions are never simple. The system OS, software and hardware *eGPU and GPU) all have to be considered. 

 

Edited by rjtiedeman
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While it is not as in-depth as some benchmarks, I did see an improvement in both Vectorworks and Cinema 4D with the eGPU installed.  I definitely do not regret the purchase at all.

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On 11/25/2018 at 11:09 AM, Kevin Friddell said:

While it is not as in-depth as some benchmarks, I did see an improvement in both Vectorworks and Cinema 4D with the eGPU installed.  I definitely do not regret the purchase at all.

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This is terrific. Have you tried testing rendering previews with a complex file with a lot of textures and image effects turned on? See this post inset up is Best Imac pro setup? Rendering setup is very tedious in VW. It would be great to have a portable that could handle all the swell features that we have available in VW. The document "steve kitchen 3d v2019" takes hours to preview and longer to render. Would be interesting to see what a new MBP-i9 laptop with a eGPU would do with this.

 

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4 minutes ago, rjtiedeman said:

The document "steve kitchen 3d v2019" takes hours to preview and longer to render


That would be affected very minimally by the addition of an eGPU. At the moment, all of our Renderworks modes are CPU based renderings, which means the processor and not the GPU would speed up render times. 

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I just sold my totally maxed out Mac Pro while there is still value left in it. I am buying all the components to build a screaming fast PC. I will still use my MacBook Pro for travel & office work, but I’m personally tired of waiting for Apple to release decent pro level hardware. The new PC will be super fast (all the latest components including the i9 9900k processor, 64gb DDR4, HBM2 drive) all for a grand total of 3.2k. I will pull my AMD Vega Frontier edition out of my eGPU and use that for the time being, until the RTX NVidia cads come back down to earth. It’s unfortunate but time to go dual platform.

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4 minutes ago, dbrumbach said:

I am buying all the components to build a screaming fast PC.

 

You're halfway to a hackintosh if you'd like to stay on a single platform.

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3 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

 

You're halfway to a hackintosh if you'd like to stay on a single platform.

I have thought of that and may explore in more depth once i have all the parts. I am starting to do more 3d scanning, and the processing software is PC only.

 

if my components work as a hackintosh I would be very happy.

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