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2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues

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Marc Weakley
2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 10, 2020 at 4:14:45 am

Hi team. I just purchased a fully loaded 13" MBP:

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
32 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4

I’m hoping someone out here with far more tech knowledge than me might have some suggestions on an EGPU problem.

I do a lot of producing/writing so hence the 13" over the 16". Logic being that if I then add an EGPU I get the best of both worlds – great portability and then grunt to edit 4K videos at home.

So I ponied up and bought the US$800 Radeon Pro W5700 card, and housed it in the standard Razor Core X enclosure.

I'm working on a Premiere Pro project with multiple 4k streams of .MXF footage from the Sony FS7. Okay the good, in fact, fairly great news - it flies along when hooked just into the MPB. Rendering is twice as fast without it.

The bad - as soon as I plug in an external monitor (HP 32" Dreamcolor - connected via DP from W5700), the playback stutters around as if the EGPU was never attached. It won’t smoothly play one 4k stream at ½ res – I need to drop it to ¼ res – even the Proxies don’t play smoothly.

Another side issue is when I plug in and boot up with the EGPU attached it hangs on start-up and two hard resets later it finally gets through start-up – now I’m pretty sure that’s not normal.

Any suggestions welcome, cheers.

Marc Weakley
Cereal TV
NZ


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Chris Wright
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 11, 2020 at 5:50:49 am

I didn't see your gfx listed as supported. I think you need the RX 5700, not WS5700
https://support.razer.com/articles/1588399231
https://support.razer.com/articles/1524913211

I don't have that setup but you can do a few things to isolate the problem.

1. run a 3d benchmark tool with and without the external monitor to see if the operating system is switching to internal graphics. some 3D cards can force them to be used for specific applications.

2. try changing the order of plugging in the card before or after booting up the OS or NLE or restart computer entirely before using NLE. or just logoff/log back in may be enough.

3. try setting the external monitor's refresh and resolution to its native settings or try HD to see if its a signal problem.

4. try a separate display port connector to see if its a bad passthrough or limitation of your motherboard's internal thunderbolt or bus speed.

5. try upgrading gfx drivers


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Marc Weakley
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 12, 2020 at 9:12:15 am

Hi Chris, appreciate the ideas so I'll address them one-by-one:

First off yes - this is a new card and, although it does not mention compatibility on the Razer sheet, there are quite a few users on he web who are using this card + box with their MBPs. And the Core X is compatible with every other card for Mac so I was confident it would work - others have pointed out the same thing as you and had zero issues.

1. Yes tried this and no noticeable change using CineBench (no idea what I'm doing but numbers look about the same).

2. testing shortly.

3.. The HP Dreamcolor Z32x is operating at the preferred 4K UHD 60 hz. No option to change to HD.

4. Yes tried every config I can think of: different ports, cables, no change.

5. Mac's don't require updates - it is built in to OSX and it recognises the card in the MBP menu bar.

Interestingly, when I take the monitors out of the equation the MacBook Pro flies along. Plug in an external monitor (either direct through MBP or through W5700) everything grinds to a halt. So does this mean it's the machine and nothing to do with the card?

So frustrating, but will keep trying new things. Cheers again, Marc

Marc Weakley
Cereal TV
NZ


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Andy Ford
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 12, 2020 at 2:54:53 pm

Do you get the same issue when you set the external monitor to the same settings (Res, Refresh, etc) as your laptop screen is set to?

-------------------------------------------------
Video Producer / Digital Marketer / Reviewer / Author
http://www.AndyFordVideo.com
-------------------------------------------------


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Marc Weakley
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 12, 2020 at 10:26:48 pm

Hi Andy, just checked and all three monitors (2 x HP, laptop) are set at 60 hz so yes. Physically cannot match the res as they're different sized screens. Anything else you can think of? Cheers, Marc

Marc Weakley
Cereal TV
NZ


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Chris Wright
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 12, 2020 at 11:12:03 pm

just for fun, can you set all screens to 1920x1080(or lower if that isn't supported) 60 hz just to rule out a software bug ?


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Marc Weakley
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:16:24 am

Hi Chris. Apologies for the delay. I have literally spent 40+ hours on this and I have had to squeeze some actual work in. Yes I tried your suggestion to no avail. It seems to play well, they it doesn't. For example I am working on a PP project now - one stream of 4k video with basic Lumetri grade and it won't even play stutter-free at 1/8th res - so disappointed.

I'm wondering if it has something to do with the machine simply not starting up with the EGPU plugged in. I have to start up, then plug in.

FYI I have included a screenshot of the 'Activity Monitor' while playing the timeline - it says 'Utilisation 100%' but it's spluttering away at 1/8th. Also note the 'Max Bandwidth/sec 5GB' when TB3 is 40TB throughput. Cheers again, Marc



PS: I tried reaching out to AMD for tech support and they washed their hands of me pretty fast when I said it was in an EGPU - something about only supporting the card in an actual desktop - I guess they're not there to make friends right.

Marc Weakley
Cereal TV
NZ


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Chris Wright
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:25:21 am

try 24fps vs 60fps videos. is it worse, better, or same?

there used to be a bug where if you had premiere ui windows that overlayed across two monitors, premiere couldn't playback fast. try removing all windows or playing back fullscreen.

you could also try the free davinci resolve and do a little debugging in there just to see if its Premiere only or the actual eGPU drivers.

have you asked adobe if they have any ideas?


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Marc Weakley
Re: 2020 13" MBP + EGPU = issues
on Jul 22, 2020 at 4:52:27 am

Hi guys, quick update. I didn't mention that my MBP was open - so I could use the monitor along with the two external monitors being driven off the EGPU. Once I closed the MacBook things seemed to go a lot more smoother. I'm guessing the MBP driving its own monitor was influencing the operation of the EGPU.

I'm still somewhat disappointed with the performance, but a whole lot better. Cheers for your input, Marc

Marc Weakley
Cereal TV
NZ


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