UE4 + Macbook Pro 15" Retina Mid-2015 + eGPU + MacOS

I am just posting this here in case some of you might want to try this out.

I just build a eGPU using Akitio 2 and a Sapphire RX 480 8GB Nitro, for VR development. I will be using windows on Bootcamp of course, but here goes the results of running Unreal Engine on the MacOS side with an eGPU.
WITH eGPU (RX XXX = RX 480)**
You get 2x the FPS and Half the MS using this setup. Furthermore the macbook remains cooler, since all the rendering is done on the eGPU.
It’s not a great increase for the investment, compared to the discreet card, but if compared to the on-board Iris card, it will make a huge difference. AND since the Macbooks without the discreet video card are about US$ 400 cheaper, this setup makes sense.

WITHOUT eGPU (using the built in discreet card R9 M370X)

Im not sure of trolling … or … serious.

so your telling me, your external video card that is SUBSTANTIALLY better then the junk M370X has better frame rate? You dont say.

Its like me saying “when i use my 1080GTX, guys get this … i get more frames then my 540”. Well of course you will silly. Is it the MAC part that does it?

I paid $1200 for a 32GB ROG with a 1080GTX that is getting double your fps as your external card. How much was your mac setup? Just wondering …

He’s just saying that using an external GPU with a Mac works pretty well, it may be an option for people that have a Mac and want to have more GPU power, since many Macs don’t have a good GPU.

oooooooh ok, that makes 100% more sense. thanks for clearing that up, i was so confused!
Yah externals are 100% legit, even for the cost.
Anyone unfamiliar with eGPU :

The word here is portability.
I HAD a US$ 3000 desktop machine, 32Gb, latest GTX video card and all the goodies. I had to switch to a laptop, because I work on the road, traveling between several different cities and therefore cannot keep checking in my desktop + monitors every time I fly to another place. (I did try this and the airline damaged my case on the very 1st flight, and luckly it wasn’t on the motherboard side … and no refunds!)
Now, you are going to reply, “well why don’t you just buy a top windows laptop with 1060/1080 instead”. Well I need to have both systems, since I require to test builds, both on iOS/Android + Win/Mac configurations. So for now carrying a laptop and a shoe-box size case for the eGPU is as mobile as I can go.

So for prices, since you asked:
Macbook Pro 15-2015 == US$ 1500
eGPU Setup == US$ <500
So it’s around US$ 2000 for a Windows/MacOS Setup - VR Ready. So I guess it’s the same as having a Macbook + another windows VR Ready machine, but in this case I can swap the eGPU at any time.
It’s a matter of choice really. This means that next time around, I will not go for a MacBook Pro with a discreet card, I can just get a Macbook 13 or 15" with a Intel Iris card and save about 500 bucks on the whole system.

For the final words. The reason why I posted this is simply because I could not find any post showing this setup, MacOS + eGPU + UE4. It’s a “FYI” only.

yeah man, i was confused for the reason behind it was all. I thought it was cool seeing how far eGPU has come, but, i was wondering with the performance because your eGPU is about 500% better (in average benchamarks) then your internal … lol. Anyways - i see the point of it now :slight_smile:

@Angrytoilet. Yep. The results are a bit disappointing. I was thinking it would get to 120-180+ FPS, but no. Although it looks like it’s stuck at around 60FPS, no matter how complex the scene and the UE4 runs a LOT smoother. Also I am running this on the internal display, for what I understand it looses about 30% of performance, when compared to using it with an external display.

I will update this thread with this setup on Windows tomorrow and Windows + Rift in about a fortnight.

awesome, im excited to see if there is a boost (or, not, we dont know) in OS performance. I know i struggle some times with that “fine line” between my 1080GTX and my programmers 900 series. Same OS, but, the hardware differences are simply amazing. I wonder how bad it will be when i add the new RyZen5 in and hes still running his little intel chip lol.

anyways … i am excited to see the difference on your tests

Just to add an update:

The Setup running on external monitors on OSX runs just as smooth as when running the eGPU on Windows, solid 60FPS.

With the Oculus Rift on the same scene, on the same location as the image above, runs at 25 FPS on the Editor Preview.


hey guys, what you think about it?

The new metal 2 will increase the framerate on macs and ue4 will be officially optimized for macos!
VR ready + external card plugging.
Hooraaay ? will see)) cant wait

Hmm that just makes the mac a tiny bit more interesting for me.

It’ll just mean that you’ll only have to pay $3000 more instead of $5000 more to get equivalent PC performance on a Mac. Deal of the year!

Excuse me, may I ask , how is the Mac’s temperature when running ue4 project with eGPU? I build a eGPU using Akitio 2 and a RX 580 8GB , the Mac is always more than 70+ degree celsius.