27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

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Larr2000

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27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostFri Mar 20, 2020 6:16 pm

Greetings All,
I run Resolve on my 27" iMac with a lot of noise reduction, stabilization and added LUTs. Considering upgrading to BM Studio and the Black Magic Pro eGPU. Has anyone done a review? Most reviews are for the laptops.

Thanks in advance..


DaVinci Resolve Free, 16.2.0.054
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017), 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7,
Memory 64 GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Graphics: Radeon Pro 580 8 GB
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Uli Plank

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 1:27 am

I did one, but it's in German.
What do you want to know in particular? Noise reduction is getting considerably faster.
Resolve Studio 16.2 and Fusion Studio under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
iMac 2017 Radeon Pro 580 8 GB VRAM and 32 GB RAM
Mac mini 16 GB RAM plus eGFX Breakway Radeon RX 580
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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 2:13 am

I think that the Blackmagic external GPU is extremely bad value for money, and that people are much better off purchasing an enclosure and upgrading as new GPUs become available.

There is a thread about external GPUs on MacRumors that I started in November 2018 that might interest you. I just checked it for the first time in months. It's still current (people posting today) and is up to 32 pages and 88,000 views. The thread is here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ex ... s.2154653/

I started the thread as someone who knew very little about external GPUs. A lot of very knowledgeable people contributed posts. The tone of the discussion, at least for the first several months (as I say, I haven't looked at the thread for a long time), was extremely civilised and helpful. The result is a crash course in external GPUs, with just about everything one needs to know about choosing and using one.
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Uli Plank

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 2:46 am

As you can see, I'm not using the eGPU by BM. Actually, my breakout box was a refurb and my GPU second hand. Runs every inch as well as the eGPU and it's upgradable.
Resolve Studio 16.2 and Fusion Studio under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
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Larr2000

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 4:24 am

robedge wrote:I think that the Blackmagic external GPU is extremely bad value for money, and that people are much better off purchasing an enclosure and upgrading as new GPUs become available.

There is a thread about external GPUs on MacRumors that I started in November 2018 that might interest you. I just checked it for the first time in months. It's still current (people posting today) and is up to 32 pages and 88,000 views. The thread is here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ex ... s.2154653/

I started the thread as someone who knew very little about external GPUs. A lot of very knowledgeable people contributed posts. The tone of the discussion, at least for the first several months (as I say, I haven't looked at the thread for a long time), was extremely civilised and helpful. The result is a crash course in external GPUs, with just about everything one needs to know about choosing and using one.


HI Rob Edge,
Thanks for the threads - - good info. After much consideration, here is my conclusion:
1. Yes the BB eGPU Pro is expensive and cannot be updated; but
2. That expense is for an integrated system that does play well with DaVinci 16, and does not require the purchase of a Mac Mini, exterior housing and only a 8GB video card.
3. In my PC days - any conflicting/integration issue is always met with finger pointing from both vendors....No One takes ownership of the system and that is what you are paying for with the BB eGPU Pro.
4. I did a little research on the "Best eGPUs of 2019" and if you put almost any of the higher units into an external box, I am well over $2K - BB eGPU Pro is not a bad buy.

Again thanks for the links and advise, was not an easy decision with your well-stated view.
DaVinci Resolve Studio, 16.2.0.054
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017), 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7,
Memory 64 GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Graphics: Radeon Pro 580 8 GB
AMD Raedeon RX Vega 56 eGPU, Apple BlueSnowball mic
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Uli Plank

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 1:45 pm

Well, I tested the BM/Apple eGPU too, and it's very well made, sturdy and silent. But my eGPU is working just as well and it was cheaper. But what makes you think you need a Mac mini? Of course, I can use it with my iMac too, and I do that for heavy rendering. The Mac min plus eGPU is my second station.
Resolve Studio 16.2 and Fusion Studio under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
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robedge

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 5:02 pm

Larr2000 wrote:2. That expense is for an integrated system that does play well with DaVinci 16, and does not require the purchase of a Mac Mini, exterior housing and only a 8GB video card.
3. In my PC days - any conflicting/integration issue is always met with finger pointing from both vendors....No One takes ownership of the system and that is what you are paying for with the BB eGPU Pro.
4. I did a little research on the "Best eGPUs of 2019" and if you put almost any of the higher units into an external box, I am well over $2K - BB eGPU Pro is not a bad buy.


As Uli suggests, this has nothing to do with the Mac mini. I started the thread in the Mac mini section of Macrumors because I happened to have purchased a mini. You will find posts in that thread about other Mac models and indeed about Windows. There are also posts specifically on using an external GPU for video editing and still photography and what an external GPU will and won’t do. Good posts on gaming too :)

There aren’t any “conflicting/integration issues”. Either you can use your iMac with an external GPU or you can’t. If you are considering a Blackmagic GPU, your iMac must be new enough that you can.

Your belief that the Blackmagic Pro is cost-competitive is just factually wrong. As you say, the Blackmagic is also not upgradable in a market where regular improvements are made to GPU performance. Bluntly, from a market perspective your Blackmagic Pro will be obsolete in a couple of years and you’ll likely lose your shirt if you try to sell it. You will be further ahead financially if you do what most people do, which is purchase a good enclosure and a card that can be sold reasonably quickly and upgraded.

Just for your info, personally I’m currently using an Asus XG Station Pro enclosure and an Asus Arez AMD Radeon Vega 56 GPU. I also use the card for X-Plane; it’s more powerful than I actually need for video editing. Uli is using a Sonnet enclosure and an RX 580. Having used an RX 580 myself, I agree with him that it’s quite up to the task.

All that said, if the Blackmagic Pro is what you want, it’s your money.
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Uli Plank

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 5:00 am

Thanks, Rob.
BTW, the Sonnet was even recommended by Apple to developers when the one from BM (now sold by Apple) was not available yet. But if you decide to go for it, don't limit yourself by buying it with the smaller power supply because it is enough for your current card. They offer choices and I'd not skimp on it since faster cards may need more power.
Resolve Studio 16.2 and Fusion Studio under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
iMac 2017 Radeon Pro 580 8 GB VRAM and 32 GB RAM
Mac mini 16 GB RAM plus eGFX Breakway Radeon RX 580
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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 2:14 pm

Uli Plank wrote:Thanks, Rob.
BTW, the Sonnet was even recommended by Apple to developers when the one from BM (now sold by Apple) was not available yet. But if you decide to go for it, don't limit yourself by buying it with the smaller power supply because it is enough for your current card. They offer choices and I'd not skimp on it since faster cards may need more power.


Good point about choosing an enclosure with regard to its power. That issue also came up in the Macrumors thread, partly because several people were interested in the Asus enclosure and there was a question whether it could support the Vega cards. Asus confirmed that it could.
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johndaughtridge

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostFri Mar 27, 2020 3:02 am

I tested eGPU’s with a 2018 iMac....



Can’t say I’d really recommend it...
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Uli Plank

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostFri Mar 27, 2020 6:40 am

I can confirm that the use of an eGPU with a machine that already has a decent one is a mixed bag.

The difference in my case was that the iMac already has the same GPU. Nevertheless, while I didn't experience a penalty from using both, neither with Metal nor with OpenCL, I couldn't see much gain for functions like Optical Flow, Stabilizer or Tracking. Fusion didn't profit either, using both of them only at around 50% load. Temporal Denoiser, though, was getting 85% faster in the final rendering. Automatic Dirt Removal (better) was getting 70% extra, Aperture Diffraction 94%, Film Grain 82%, Lens Blur 40% and Deflicker 14%.

This all applies only if you are using a 'light' codec (ProRes in my case) or hardware decoding for H.264/265. If you have a codec with heavy load on the CPUs, like some professional RAW codecs or unsupported long GOP formats, the GPU(s) don't get enough 'food' in time and you see no gain. I also took care to render from one physical medium to another one to create no bottleneck there.

A machine like my Mac mini, though, is simply getting usable for Resolve with an eGPU.
Resolve Studio 16.2 and Fusion Studio under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
iMac 2017 Radeon Pro 580 8 GB VRAM and 32 GB RAM
Mac mini 16 GB RAM plus eGFX Breakway Radeon RX 580
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Larr2000

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Re: 27" iMac and Black Magic Pro eGPU

PostSat Apr 04, 2020 4:57 am

eGPU Test 02 3Clips CG 1080.jpg
eGPU Test 02 3Clips CG 1080.jpg (431.44 KiB) Viewed 34 times
Update After Purchase - -

Well Guys, I made the big plunge and went for the STUDIO version of Resolve AND purchased the BM eGPU. So for the last 3 days I have been doing some testing to prove out my theorem - "The Apple BM Radeon RX Vega 56 eGPU is WELL integrated and provides sufficient speed to render 4K with a 3rd Party Noise
Reducer".

So here some results:
This is 1080 @ 30 frames of a 3 clips shot in 4K but rendered to 1080. The Vera 56 did pick up the bulk of the rendering with the AMD 580 keeping th4e rest of DaVinci running. I did find BM AMD Raedeon RX Vega 56 eGPU extremely quiet and barely noticeable, even with my microphone setting within a foot. 5 Stars.

Ok, here is a nit....with my 27" iMac and being right handed, the only space I have left is on the left side of my monitor, so the cable that comes is barely 10" long requiring the monitor to sit at an angle until my longer cable comes in....YES THIS A NIT!!

I have more snapshots during rendering and can post more if you need them.
Again thanks to all who responded
DaVinci Resolve Studio, 16.2.0.054
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017), 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7,
Memory 64 GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Graphics: Radeon Pro 580 8 GB
AMD Raedeon RX Vega 56 eGPU, Apple BlueSnowball mic
OS Lib: 2.12 SSD - Projects:2.12 SSD

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