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Don Kotlos

eGPU for video processing on a laptop – Does it make sense?

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Thanks for the info. 

I have been recently looking for a new setup as I'm on thunderbolt one tech and getting sick of the slow transfer speeds. But when i looked into the latest MacBooks i was not impressed with the specs. One benchmark tests my 2013 iMac with the top specs still competes with the top spec 15 inch MacBook Pro. 

I'm kind of sick of having many different computers. (2013 MacBook Pro with top specs at the time, 2013 iMac and big iPad Pro). Think laptop with and a bunch on thunderbolt 3 devices. 

The 13 inch is a good size but specs are not great. But maybe eGPU helps with that. 

How are you finding it now after using it for a few weeks? 

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I use a 12" Mac/FCPx for travel purposes - I only edit from the internal SSD to keep things as fast as possible - and XAVC 4k files bog it down more than Fuji's 4k files despite being the same bitrate. Wish I could bring my 4ghz iMac with the 4gb video card on the road, but that would take a travel budget far larger than mine. Any recommendations on how to speed things up?

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Here's article on this top regarding us with older Mac Book Pros  https://egpu.io/thunderbolt-egpu-for-mac-2017-update-macos-sierra/

I was thinking about the getting the Akitio Node Thunderbolt 3  https://www.akitio.com/expansion/node

I wanted to pair it with the ADM RX480 and my 2014 iMac, but it is not clear to me that it will work or secondly that it will be that much faster than the 4 mb AMD 295x GPU already in the iMac...

Anyone using and iMac with and Thunderbolt eGPU?

Thanks!

 

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5 hours ago, thefactory said:

The 13 inch is a good size but specs are not great. But maybe eGPU helps with that. 

How are you finding it now after using it for a few weeks? 

I tested it for few days and after I was convinced that an eGPU can be beneficial for video editing, I returned it but only to preorder the Mantiz Venus case that offers ethernet port, 90W charging, USB3 ports and internal sata, for $80 off the list price :)official site, review). 

If you have the late 2013 15" version with the TB2 ports, then you are set with an eGPU solution since the performance gains are very close to the TB3. Even the 13" should be fine. Definitely worth trying it out. TB1 of the earlier models should also be good but look around at https://egpu.io/forums for details. 

Few notes:

1. With FCPX an AMD card makes more sense but back when I did the testing AMDs were not working. Now I read they are working again and people report great results with FCPX. In my case with the GTX titan, it helped with effects/motion, but not so much for transcoding. The AMD will be better at everything (https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/best-amd-card-for-fcpx-compatibility/#post-6010). 

    Davinci Resolve performs admirably with NVIDIA GPUs and a dual core laptop with a good GPU should be enough for most projects. 

    Premiere's effects are accelerated as well, but most other things are bound to the CPU speed so not a good solution for a dual core laptop. 

2. There is no hot-plug capability so the computer needs to be off while plugging/unplugging. 

3. Make sure you buy the correct enclosure depending on the TB port

4. These solutions are not certified by Apple so there is always the chance an update will fuck things up ...

4 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I use a 12" Mac/FCPx for travel purposes - Any recommendations on how to speed things up?

Definitely proxies. Yes, it takes time to create them but if you work for long on your projects then it is worth it. Depending on your workflow you might find that disabling automatic rendering can help but there is not much else that you can do. 

As you saw in my original post the performance gain (at least for transcoding) when moving from the 12" to the 13" is much greater than going from the 13" to the 15". I found throttling very problematic, even after scrubbing through proxie footage so I knew I had to get something faster. If you have the budget and you need portable video editing but a small package then the 13" is your best bet. 

3 hours ago, majoraxis said:

I wanted to pair it with the ADM RX480 and my 2014 iMac, but it is not clear to me that it will work or secondly that it will be that much faster than the 4 mb AMD 295x GPU already in the iMac...

Anyone using and iMac with and Thunderbolt eGPU?

For FCPX, the 480 is probably better but really not that much of a difference worth spending so much money on. But if you use Resolve or Premiere then a GTX10xx will be miles better :) 

You will find plenty of threads with iMacs and eGPUs here: https://egpu.io/forums/?wpfd=0&wpfob=date&wpfo=desc&wpfs=imac&wpfin=titles-only 

 

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I wonder how far behind a MBP late 2013 would be? I really don't use a Mac enough to justify a newer one. I am sure it is not as good, but good enough, or a waste of my time?

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21 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

I wonder how far behind a MBP late 2013 would be? I really don't use a Mac enough to justify a newer one. I am sure it is not as good, but good enough, or a waste of my time?

With the eGPU solution you are essentially upgrading to a desktop GPU which greatly benefits most NLEs. From the late 2013 and onwards macs had the TB2 which is really close to the TB3 of the latest version. The CPUs haven't really changed that much. For example, the I7-4960HQ the top end CPU of the late 2013 15", performs about the same as the I7-6920HQ of the latest generation. 

So yeah with a late 2013 15" is totally worth getting an eGPU for video editing and not upgrading to the latest model :) 

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Just now, Don Kotlos said:

With the eGPU solution you are essentially upgrading to a desktop GPU which greatly benefits most NLEs. From the late 2013 and onwards macs had the TB2 which is really close to the TB3 of the latest version. The CPUs haven't really changed that much. For example the top end CPU of the late 2013 15" was the I7-4960HQ performs about the same as the I7-6920HQ of the latest generation. 

So yeah with a late 2013 15" is totally worth getting an eGPU for video editing :) 

Sweet, sweet sounds like a plan.

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On Windows with many gaming notebooks available with either a GTX 1070 or 1080 that have basically the same perf as the desktop counterpart card an eGPU doesn't make too much sense. If you buy a notebook is for the portability so these new gaming notebooks allow you to edit on the road with no issue at all. I have a ASUS 15'' i7 7700HQ with a GTX 1070 with 8 GB Vram and I can do real-time editing and grading on a 4k timeline is Resolve.

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4 hours ago, gt3rs said:

On Windows with many gaming notebooks available with either a GTX 1070 or 1080 that have basically the same perf as the desktop counterpart card an eGPU doesn't make too much sense.

Correct, if a gaming laptop was an option then the eGPU would offer minimal performance gains. But I needed a small portable laptop that I can easily carry with me every day on the bike without loosing the ability to do complex color grading while I am sitting on a desk. 

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Here is the eGPU enclosure that I have on preorder in case anyone is interested.

I will try to install 2x 8TB 3.5" drives with a tiny raid controller in RAID1 for backup inside this little box. In few weeks I will tell you how that went. 

 

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20 hours ago, gt3rs said:

On Windows with many gaming notebooks available with either a GTX 1070 or 1080 that have basically the same perf as the desktop counterpart card an eGPU doesn't make too much sense. If you buy a notebook is for the portability so these new gaming notebooks allow you to edit on the road with no issue at all. I have a ASUS 15'' i7 7700HQ with a GTX 1070 with 8 GB Vram and I can do real-time editing and grading on a 4k timeline is Resolve.

Just like laptop CPU's the GPU's run a lot slower than their desktop counterparts due to heat issues but generally these gaming laptops do look like they offer certain advantages over normal 'business' laptops. I have to ask why anyone would want to do any serious editing with a laptop in the first pace even if it's performance is boosted with a  good GPU. I use a laptop for rough edits, reviewing footage, transferring camera files to HD's while on location etc but for any serious editing or grading I'd wait until I got back to the studio and had a desktop PC and multi screen setup.

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On 5/3/2017 at 2:33 AM, Shirozina said:

 I have to ask why anyone would want to do any serious editing with a laptop in the first pace even if it's performance is boosted with a  good GPU. I use a laptop for rough edits, reviewing footage, transferring camera files to HD's while on location etc but for any serious editing or grading I'd wait until I got back to the studio and had a desktop PC and multi screen setup.

Because with the eGPU I don't need to have a second computer. I can do the rough cuts while on the road and then connect the eGPU with as many monitors as I wish while on a desk and not have to worry about transferring files, projects etc... While definitely not the solution for everyone, it is great for those who need to use a laptop.  

Moreover, for mac users it is currently the only solution if you want to upgrade your GPU, whether you use a mac pro / imac / macbook pro. For example, you want to use these new pascal cards from NVIDIA in order to make Resolve way faster? No problem :) 

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On ‎5‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 9:33 AM, Shirozina said:

Just like laptop CPU's the GPU's run a lot slower than their desktop counterparts due to heat issues but generally these gaming laptops do look like they offer certain advantages over normal 'business' laptops. I have to ask why anyone would want to do any serious editing with a laptop in the first pace even if it's performance is boosted with a  good GPU. I use a laptop for rough edits, reviewing footage, transferring camera files to HD's while on location etc but for any serious editing or grading I'd wait until I got back to the studio and had a desktop PC and multi screen setup.

We have done comparative tests with Resolve between a desktop i7 6800 6 cores with a GTX 1070 8 GB Vram and a 15 inch 2.3 Kg gaming notebook 4 cores  i7 7700HQ with a GTX 1070 8 GB Vram both equipped with an M.2 SSD and the difference is not that much basically in order of a few fps. The new NVidia GTX 1070/80 for notebooks are not that much slower than the desktop counterpart just google to see various benchmark, it is not like the old Mobile versions.

I'm a lot on the road and having everything with me and being able to edit and grade quickly is very important, naturally at the desk with a great 4k monitor is better but no need to move hdd, cables, sync software settings etc.. Also being able to do changes in an efficient way at customer side is also quite valuable in the way I work.
Considering that a gaming notebook is not that much more expensive than a desktop counterpart for Windows / Resolve user is not a too bad option. The notebook has a 512 M.2 and I have added an internal 2TB SDD so no need of external enclosure etc.. once in the office I backup and archive on an external raid system.
Buying both a desktop and a powerful enough notebook is also quite expensive and without a good GPU Resolve is really bad in perf. Also if need to deliver something at customer side and you need to render 4k in resolve with less than 4 GB vram good luck..

Naturally if you are editing or grading multicam 4k or Raw or 8k then a powerful dual cpu and gpu workstation is another story but also price range. Also if you always edit grade in your studio then a powerful desktop is the best option. The good news that there are solution for every type of work today either desktop, notebook or egpu....

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I use a 2012 15" macbook pro retina, 2.6ghz i7, 16gb ram and GeForce GT 650m. DaVinci Resolve absolutely HATES this. Adding a key and mask here and there with a layer of Noise Reduction (neatvideo ofx) on 4k r3d causes my computer to explode on export. Just pure static of excellent rainbow coloured varieties.

Now after throwing an Akitio node with a GTX 1070 in there... It exports very smoothly. So in that regards, it is a complete necessity for me, giving my 2012 laptop a few more years of overachieving! Also, for those using a program like Catalyst Browse for GH5 10-bit workarounds, the eGPU makes a huge difference there too.

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Once some people connected to me are privately asking me about : ) following this thread, here is on topic:

https://www.howtogeek.com/232144/what-is-an-egpu-and-why-should-i-want-one/

On 02/05/2017 at 11:35 AM, gt3rs said:

On Windows with many gaming notebooks available with either a GTX 1070 or 1080 that have basically the same perf as the desktop counterpart card an eGPU doesn't make too much sense. If you buy a notebook is for the portability so these new gaming notebooks allow you to edit on the road with no issue at all. I have a ASUS 15'' i7 7700HQ with a GTX 1070 with 8 GB Vram and I can do real-time editing and grading on a 4k timeline is Resolve.

Very true.

http://www.ultrabookreview.com/10939-laptops-nvidia-1070-1080/

 

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