With the recent update to High Sierra, MacOS is able to officially support eGPUs. Would the current 10.4 Final Cut Pro X be able to take advantage of the an eGPU, or would the FCP team have to provide an update first to support it?
deweyt44 wrote: With the recent update to High Sierra, MacOS is able to officially support eGPUs. Would the current 10.4 Final Cut Pro X be able to take advantage of the an eGPU, or would the FCP team have to provide an update first to support it?
Even IF FCPX supported it right now, in most cases I don't see it as a big advantage -- today. The only machines that support it are late-generations Mac with Thunderbolt 3, e.g, 2017 iMac 27. The only cards supported are AMD up through the Vega 64.
I already have a top-spec 2017 iMac 27 and a 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro. So the iMP already has internally essentially the top eGPU. For many things in FCPX the iMP isn't dramatically faster than the iMac, especially on H264. The GPU (whether internal or external) isn't some kind of magic wand that makes everything go faster.
There are likely graphic-intensive workflows like VR, CAD, CGI or gaming that might benefit, especially if you're on a 2017 MacBook Pro. But this is an FCPX forum so the question is how would an eGPU benefit FCPX on Macs which are compatible -- meaning new Macs which already may have a pretty fast internal GPU.
I know for certain plugging the top eGPU into my 2017 iMac won't make FCPX much faster because I essentially already have that GPU in my iMac Pro, and it has no Thunderbolt communications overhead.
I think it's a good strategy long term and promises to enable GPU upgrades on closed systems, plus enable graphics-intensive use of MacBooks which can't host a large power-hungry GPU. If it's supported in FCPX and you're doing VR/360 video editing on a 2017 MacBook Pro, an eGPU might help.
Several years from now if you're still on a 2017 iMac or 2017 iMac Pro and by then a vastly improved eGPU is available, it might help or be cheaper than upgrading the entire computer.
You don't give your computer specs, so it is not possible to state if a eGPU would help. eGPU support is OS based AFAIK. One issue is that eGPU boxes are limited to 4 lanes of data bandwidth while internally the GPU is supported by 16 lanes. The real advantage currently is with lower end laptops that use only the Intel default chipsets. Being able to add full power desktop GPU can boost the performance of certain GPU intensive processes, but will not improve CPU performance.
Here is a test by BareFeats…
So, make sure that it will really work in your situation.
I currently have a 2016 MacBook Pro, so I would definitely be able to get use out of an eGPU. What I’m curious about is if there appears to be immediate benefits from an eGPU, or if the different teams, such as FCPX and Motion , have to provide an update to the host application to support the eGPU
For owners of MacBook Pros, I would find this to be fairly big news, but as Karasten mentioned, the information provided seems limited. From hearsay mentions during the beta, testers have mentioned improvement, but the information seems limited, plus anything mentioned is strictly from the beta, and nothing in regards to the latest version of Final Cut Pro X and Motion (unless I missed it , of course.)
Was curious to see if anyone engaged in a “Trial by Combat” with a crypto currency miner, bested them in a glorious fashion to obtain a GPU, and tested any of the mentioned host applications?
I need to walk back some on my earlier post after doing some research. I think people may see some real benefits to using eGPUs including even the latest iMacs and iMPs. However, there are some real limitations and issues, so do some research for your own setup/applications and the graphics card you want to use. Also, according to BF the bandwidth limitations for eGPUs on TB may not make that much difference, but it does exist.
Apple seems to be really messing with eGPU support right now in both good and bad ways The latest version of High Sierra 10.13.4 does add more and better support for eGPUs, but it also takes away eGPU support for all TB 1 & 2 ported computers and only allows eGPU support for TB3. So if you DO NOT have TB3, don't upgrade past 10.13.3.
Apple's pro apps, FCPX, Motion and apparently Compressor all can utilize eGPUs but so far only for playback and effects but seems to not use the eGPU for export except maybe Compressor??? Totally weird. Hope this changes.
BareFeats has several tests/comparisons done using eGPUs in various setups including adding 2 separate eGPU boxes and getting all GPUs to work. These go back a couple of years. BF mostly is using apps other than FCPX. BF likes DeVinci Resolve and Blender and some others as these allow better testing and control of GPUs & CPU, but there is one or two showing FCPX/Motion and yes there are better frame rates using eGPUs. The main gist from these is that you might indeed benefit from eGPUs. It was also interesting to see that the codec also plays a big role here and RED footage may not benefit at all. BF, however, has not done any testing of exporting from FCPX/Motion AFAIK.
Another good site is egpu.io and this thread…
This is a nice source for what cards and boxes are good/supported and it also has numerous hacks that you can use to get non-Apple supported hardware to work. Nvidia cards can be tricky to use and make reliable. (driver issues) If you have an eGPU box that is not working, check out this site for some possible solutions.
There are other forum threads specifically on Macs with some FCPX/Motion discussions. One interesting discussion point here is that the latest version of FCPX 10.4 is slower and doesn't utilize eGPUs as well as vs 10.3 does especially for export. Hope Apple addresses this in future updates.
Well interesting tickle of geek for me, but since I'm using an early rMBP and liking FCPX 10.4 then not likely going to get an eGPU box. I mostly shoot 1080p Multicam so no real slow down issues for me. Saving my $$$ for my next Mac.
Sorry for asking this question, but the use of eGPU and FCPX makes me ask this question...
What exactly is making FCPX slow? I know there is a problem with RED files playing back in native format, such as 8K, and with a bit of effort, you can create really great quality h264 files that seem to play very well as proxy.
So how would having something external make FCPX better? Or would a better coded FCPX itself help? Not sure I am making myself clear, but is having VR/360 part of FCPX not making FCPX a little bit bloaty???
Would having a user selected range of proxy files make FCPX better and really not have a need for a eGPU?? Sorry but I needed to ask!
VidGreg wrote: ...Apple's pro apps, FCPX, Motion and apparently Compressor all can utilize eGPUs but so far only for playback and effects but seems to not use the eGPU for export except maybe Compressor??? Totally weird. ..
Whether internal or external, GPUs are not generally useful for export or encoding to a long GOP format like H264 or HEVC/H265. The core algorithm is inherently sequential and cannot effectively harness thousands of lightweight GPU threads. The only way to accelerate decode/encode of long GOP formats is specialized hardware like Quick Sync.
Both nVidia and AMD bundle their own special-purpose encode/decode hardware on their GPUs but these are functionally separate, architecturally a "bag on the side". They require separate APIs and programming frameworks to access. nVidia's is called NVDEC and NVENC and AMD's is UVD and VCE. These exist in many different versions with various capabilities, which probably explains why they aren't commonly used.
Since Xeon doesn't have Quick Sync and lack of transcode acceleration would have been disastrous for the iMac Pro , Apple apparently started using AMD/s UVD/VCE logic beginning with the iMac Pro. I suppose in theory a 2016 or later MacBook Pro could use an eGPU for video encode/decode acceleration, but it already has Quick Sync which (thus far) works better.
For video editing, many tasks are CPU bound. Even effects which claim to be GPU accelerated are often not, or only to a limited degree. Nobody should think all FCPX effects will be greatly accelerated by an eGPU because many of those aren't fully leveraging the GPU anyway. The Thunderbolt 3 Macs compatible with eGPU often already have pretty fast internal GPUs -- to the extent needed for video editing. However if you had a 13-inch MacBook Pro which only had Intel Iris graphics, it might help that.
As GPU technology improves, several years from now a future eGPU might speed up a 2017-era Mac, assuming the workload was GPU-limited in the first place.
For workloads which are highly dependent on GPUs such as 3D modeling, CGI, gaming, etc, an eGPU might be of greater help, but this is an FCPX forum. What matters is how much improvement the eGPU would provide FCPX, not how many frames per second it improved a game or graphics benchmark. That said, someone doing VR/360 video editing on a 2016 MacBook Pro with integrated graphics might benefit from an eGPU.
All so complex, so really if Apple refuse to either code the app correctly so that it works with internal only cpu and gpu, or invents and flogs this external bag, basically we are left with a flabby bloaty app that really barely works on a $30 000 device????
All of the pro apps support eGPU fully, and has been confirmed to me by an Apple rep directly. That is half the reason why Metal 2 was incorporated into the pro apps, because the eGPU control is in Metal 2, to keep the conversation simple. Only certain functions are supported via eGPU by any app using Metal. It's mostly aimed at laptop users, gamers, 360 artists. But yes, 10.13.4 will give FCPX full eGPU access, for the features eGPU in Metal supports. It is what it is, it isn't what it isn't.
FCPX.guru wrote: All of the pro apps support eGPU fully, and has been confirmed to me by an Apple rep directly. That is half the reason why Metal 2 was incorporated into the pro apps, because the eGPU control is in Metal 2, to keep the conversation simple. Only certain functions are supported via eGPU by any app using Metal. It's mostly aimed at laptop users, gamers, 360 artists. But yes, 10.13.4 will give FCPX full eGPU access, for the features eGPU in Metal supports. It is what it is, it isn't what it isn't.
I would not class disabling egpu export in 10.4.x as full support for their pro software. If your Apple Rep believes otherwise then I and others will gladly help them resolve this ‘bug’.
Until it is resolved I’m stuck with 10.3.4 or DaVinci!
I don’t believe this is a metal 2 quirk. It appears deliberate just as blocking tb2 was in the last (final) release of HS and my vega 64 egpu works wonderfully with my 2016 13' mbp and fcp 10.3.4. Something that took 30+ mins to render now takes 3 minutes max.
Felt compelled to do a follow up update. After the latest update with Mojave, I decided to give a Sonnet 550W breakaway box with a Radeon 580 a go, and the difference is staggering with Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion 5. For example, I recalled using CoreMelt tracker plugins, and my 2016 MacBook Pro would struggle even with a Radeon 460. Now with a Rx 580 Egpu, tracking is a cinch, and even plugins like Neat Video. It's nice to not have to worry about my MacBook Pro igniting in a glorious flame
As a side note, I'm doing this without an external monitor, so there is some loss from overhead, but a TREMENDOUS improvement all the same. Definitely worth it if you use a MacBook Pro
Yesterday Max Yuryev posted an extensive review of the Black Magic eGPU, which uses a Radeon Pro 580. He tested it on various MacBook Pros, including the 2016 and 2018 15" models. His focus was video editing in various NLEs, although he also used various other benchmarks.
In short the results were very mixed, and it was generally not beneficial on the 2018 MBP. It was more useful on a 13" MBP without a discrete GPU, as you might expect.
In some cases the eGPU caused slower performance, even on the 2016 MBP. However there were a few cases where it was beneficial, so users will need to analyze if they fall into those scenarios.
The irony is you really need Thunderbolt 3's bandwidth to have a chance of making the eGPU beneficial, and the newer machines with TB3 usually have a faster internal GPU already. The 2016 MBP and any late-model MBP with only IRIS graphics are the best use cases, but even those must be evaluated.
In the future, faster eGPUs may provide more benefit. GPU performance in general is advancing faster than CPU, so if an eGPU in 2021 is 4x or 5 x faster, that could benefit a 2017 iMac.
Software developers are still learning how to best leverage GPU performance, but it's a slow march. There are lots of compute-intensive plugins like Neat Video, Imagenomic Portraiture and Digital Anarchy Flicker Free which supposedly are GPU enabled, but the % of GPU vs CPU contribution is often bottlenecked on the CPU.
With eGPUs there's the additional overhead of copying data between GPU and CPU, even at TB3 speeds. A good example of this is Lightroom which sometimes slows down when enabling GPU acceleration -- even when using an *internal* Radeon Pro 580 GPU on an iMac Pro. If developers cannot properly optimize a fast *internal* GPU, an *external* GPU will cause them even more problems. They will eventually figure this out or be forced out of the market, but in the meantime users should not blindly expect an eGPU will always provide better performance.