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Best eGPU Graphics Card for MacBook Pro in 2020!

February 8, 2020


If you need a MacBook for portability but
the built-in graphics options just aren’t powerful enough for your needs, an eGPU is
the perfect answer. Simply buy an eGPU enclosure like this $300 Razer Core X and stick an AMD
graphics card in for a major boost in graphics power. Now the only question remains is which card
do you buy? Well, in this video, we’re comparing the eGPU performance of the top three AMD
graphics cards to see which one is the best option. For our test machine, we’ve got a 16”
MacBook Pro that’s almost fully specced out except for not having 64GB of RAM. And for the graphics cards, we’ve got the
Vega 64 which you can get for $385, the Radeon VII for $550 and the recently released 5700
XT for $370, and I’ve gotta say that some of these results are very surprising, so stick
around for all of the tests. We’ll have links to all of these cards down
in the description, so if this video helps you make a decision, you can use those links
for the best price for each one. MacOS just received an update that improved
the performance of one of these cards, as you’ll see in a minute, but we’re actually
using an older version of Final Cut Pro since the latest one is using a new Metal 2 engine
that isn’t yet optimizes for eGPUs, but there is a new version coming out soon which
should hopefully fix the issues. So with that, let’s get into graphics performance
testing. Starting off with Geekbench 5’s Metal test,
the Radeon VII comes out ahead, but not by that much considering the higher price tag. We were also expecting a bit more out of the
5700 XT, but it turns out that there are still some driver issues that don’t allow it to
reach full performance unless you connect multiple monitors at once. With various configurations, Macrumors forum
user bsbeamer was able to get Metal scores as high as 70,000 with the 5700 XT using headless
adapters, which trick the system into thinking there is a display connected, when there really
isn’t. We ended up connecting two displays and we
got a Metal score of 65,000, much better than we were able to get previously. So if you don’t have two displays to connect
to your eGPU, or if you don’t want to use external displays at all, you can order a
couple of those headless adapters using the links in the description below. This will get you better performance until
Apple updates the drivers for the 5700 XT. For example, in the BruceX benchmark in Final
Cut Pro X, using dual monitors with the 5700XT saved us 2 seconds over the card by itself
which was already surprisingly good. We then stabilized a 30 second 60p C200 RAW
clip, and once again, the dual monitors or headless adapter solution helped the 5700XT
beat out the rest of the cards by a few seconds. However, in our 5min 4K h.264 export test,
using dual monitors didn’t help at all, in fact, the Radeon VII was actually the winner
in this test. Now onto exporting a 5 minute Canon RAW 60p
clip, the 5700 XT finished the fastest, regardless of whether we were using dual displays or
not, so it seems like it’s a hit or miss on whether dual displays will help. We also tested the timeline playback of the
same Canon RAW clip, and this time, using two monitors gave us a massive boost in frames
per second, specifically 12 more FPS compared to the 5700 XT, which was already performing
the best. We then took that same Canon Raw clip and
imported it into Davinci Resolve 16 because it can harness eGPUs very well, as long as
you go into the preferences and manually enable the eGPU for rendering. And in this test, we got an extra 8 FPS in
the timeline using dual monitors with the 5700 XT compared to the other cards, which
shows that the benefits are not only limited to Final Cut Pro. But in exporting, once again, we didn’t
see any speed improvements with the extra display, but it’s still quite a lot faster
than the other cards. We then tested 4K Blackmagic RAW Noise reduction,
and the 5700 XT matches the Radeon VII for having the best performance. Now going back to Final Cut Pro, we exported
an 8K RED RAW into 4K, and this time, the Radeon VII was the clear winner, quite a lot
faster than the 5700 XT with a single monitor, but not too far ahead of the dual monitor
setup. The reason the VII performed so well in this
test is because it has 16GB of VRAM compared to 8 on the other cards, so it seems like
the only reason you should buy the VII is if you absolutely know you need as much VRAM
as possible. But even then, I would still recommend the
5700 XT because it was the winner in the rest of the tests, which is surprising considering
it’s the cheapest card out of the bunch. And finally, we tested Unigine’s Heaven
benchmark to simulate real-world gaming performance, and the 5700 XT beat out the rest of the cards,
yet again. The reason we think it’s faster is because
it’s using AMD’s latest Navi technology, which comes with a lot of improvements including
hardware encoders that encode video footage faster than the older cards we tested in this
video. On top of that, we have one major reason why
we think the 5700 XT is going to get even faster very soon. Apple is currently working on releasing the
W5700X graphics option for their Mac Pro, which is basically the same card as the 5700
XT. So that means that when they release that card for the Mac Pro, they’ll also update
the drivers as well, and the 5700 XT should get a decent performance boost, as well as
fixing the issues with the ports. Now the Radeon VII and Vega 64 cards are now
so old that we don’t expect Apple to improve the drivers on those cards any more. So with that, let’s answer the original
question, which graphics card should you buy for your eGPU setup? 100%, no doubt about it, buy the 5700 XT,
especially while it’s on sale for $370 on Amazon using the link in the description below.
And to deal with the driver issues until the upcoming update, we’ll have links to the
headless adapters as well. The 5700 XT will get you great performance
right now, and even better performance later. If this video helped you out, tap the like
button, click that circle above to subscribe, and check out one of those two videos right
there. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you in the next one!

72 Comments

  • Reply Liquid Valium January 31, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    These videos are so topical and awesome. Thx!

  • Reply Max Tech January 31, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Were you expecting these insane eGPU performance results? Comment below!
    Tap Like, Subscribe & Check prices on these Amazon links ⬇️
    This Card is by FAR the best option ➡ https://geni.us/oRrkUc
    Razer Core X eGPU Box ($300) ➡ https://geni.us/j9wW
    Headless Adaptor ($7) ➡ https://geni.us/BY31W0

  • Reply DavidMC January 31, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    GPUs are complicated and expensive but very good video!

  • Reply Hassan Fouroozesh January 31, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you for adding Resolve in your tests 🙌

  • Reply Liquid Valium January 31, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Would be cool to see the 5700xt in egpu on the 16 inch MacBook Pro benchmarks against the 5500M 8gb internal card on that same MacBook pro

  • Reply alexshdvideo January 31, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Very interesting… however how does the built in AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB compare in the same tests? Did you have a link side by side? The potential of the cards then getting bottlenecked with the external AGP vs the built in card?

  • Reply Sebastian Samus January 31, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I just don't understand why almost nobody benchmarking Cyberlink PowerDirector ??? It is evolved very much in the latest years… supports NVENC acceleration, amd, quicksync, stabilizing etc…

  • Reply Luke Smeby January 31, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    How do you make the graphs for the videos?

  • Reply FirePacer ___ January 31, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Hi, can the Radeon 5700XT with the Razor Core X eGPU Box boost performance of an iMac Pro standard config when compressing videos in compressor to HEVC 10 bit?

  • Reply Mattias Andersson January 31, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks! I was looking for exactly this information! Will buy together with a new 13/14" MBP 🙂

  • Reply Keith Walls January 31, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I'm getting 62092 on GB5 with my iMac Pro and Radeon VII eGPU. Not sure how that compares to what others are seeing. The internal Pro Vega 64 gives me 77271. I assume this is because of the TB3 connection and/or driver differences.

  • Reply GamerZer000 January 31, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Very informative… thank you 👍👍👍 I have the 2019 Mac Pro… and purchased the Radeon VII for it… but removed it due to the Fan / Sleep issue (fan throttles to max RPM!!!). I wonder if the new version of Catalina resolves this issue

  • Reply ifs January 31, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    buy the 5700 xt nitro +, super quiet with 3 fans and software bios switch in my hackintosh

  • Reply sail4horizon January 31, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    It would be nice to see the RX580 thrown in there for comparison so we know how well the old hardware still holds up since lots of us have them laying around. I would like to see how one peps up the base 16" too. Egpu enclosures are still crazy overpriced, sadly.

  • Reply josie kat January 31, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    What aboutt thunderbolt? should we wait for thunderbolt 4 egpu?

  • Reply elenchus January 31, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    wow i've got this exact same Macbook Pro configuration and I have this exact question

  • Reply Jason Van Patten January 31, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    The "dual monitor" vs "non dual monitor" tests actually make sense with the h.264 exports. When you're using the hardware encoder on the GPU, it doesn't matter what displays are connected (or not). Different part of the chip.

  • Reply Woo Audio January 31, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    waiting on new Mac Mini with dedicated GPU this year. Fingers and toes crossed…. ~ Mike

  • Reply Bosko Mirkic January 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Can you make video about egpu on 2016 basic macbook pro, with latest versions of FCP and Resolve? How much improvement is to be expected?

  • Reply Nikita Podobedov January 31, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Am I correct? that video files on the 5700 XT card in davinci resolve H264 on the timeline will play smoothly? As if we were mounting in ProRes? There is no such technology on vega 64 and Radeon VII? Or am I wrong?

  • Reply Jurgen Suppan January 31, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Do you see any difference which would matter for this type of use between the different versions of the 5700 xt? Would the nitro+ be the best choice because of the better cooling?

  • Reply Mark LoPresti January 31, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    No control? For tests

  • Reply Michael P. Schmidt January 31, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    interesting … I get different results in my tests tho' … tested 4k a7rII / FS7 footage (XAVC) in a 1080p FCPX project and with the 5700 XT I basically get the same export times (ProRes Master) than with my Vega 64 … the RadeonVII is still quite a bit faster … and all the with 2 Screens connected to the eGPU … having said that the difference is i'm using a 2018 MacMini i7 with 32 GB Ram, MacOS 10.15.2 and latest FCPX 10.4.8

  • Reply DuffMan January 31, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Would also be cool to see a direct comparison to the integrated graphics and to how the GPUs perform when plugged in directly into a PCIe port.

  • Reply Dru B January 31, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    I just bought the same 16" MBP, can't wait to start using it!

  • Reply Lorenzo Gerace January 31, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Very good! I’m about to receive the Razer Core X Chroma, I was wondering what card to put in, as my 2018 15” MBP has basic video card that just doesn’t cut it for 4k editing and struggles even with 1080 with multiple tracks… I’ll look into the 5700 for sure, thanx!

  • Reply Unexpected Maker January 31, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    I'd love to see a comparison between the 5700XT eGPU compared to the internal 5500 GPU on the 16" MBP… It still seems very hit or miss with regards to eGPU gains, especially when not all software supports eGPUs yet.

  • Reply Kimmy G January 31, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Great video as always! Bought a new MacBook Pro 16” online with Apple Australia a couple of weeks ago but it’s delivery has now been delayed by a month! I think it might have to do with the Coronavirus and Apple China shutting down temporarily. It might end up causing huge delays globally. It may end up being delayed for months! 😩😭😤

  • Reply Djk0t January 31, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Which heaven did you use

  • Reply Theo GT January 31, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Do the gpu in the macbook pro and the egpu work together, or does the egpu only work?

  • Reply Juston Brazda January 31, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Wish you would have show the results of the built in graphics as well.

  • Reply fried Sushi February 1, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Radeon vii is poorly made. The fans spinning causes a wonky wobble because the aluminum fan caps aren’t centered properly. Went through 3 returns so I’m assuming they just have terrible QC.

  • Reply Sn1per February 1, 2020 at 12:06 am

    Nvidia cards not working with this setup?

  • Reply DaCarnival February 1, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Since Thunderbolt 3 is a 2 meter cable tops, the question of which eGPU is quietest is really important – any ideas people?

  • Reply Maxwell Millermaier February 1, 2020 at 12:46 am

    Not sure why your Geekbench 5 score is so low for Radeon VII. I'm getting around 71-72k metal score but I do have it installed in my hack computer.

  • Reply Rob Anderson February 1, 2020 at 12:58 am

    I've be researching and researching this kind of comparison since the 16" MBP come out. This video was perfect! I had a gut feeling the 5700 XT was the way to go. Awesome video!

  • Reply JDW February 1, 2020 at 1:08 am

    So how much faster are these cards compared to the stock MBP graphics? (That wasn't present on your graphs in this video.)

  • Reply EvilE February 1, 2020 at 4:13 am

    I take issue with your unchallenged endorsement of the Razer Core X. While mine worked fine for about 9 months, the power supply stopped working and my experience with their customer support has been so terrible that I'm thinking I will replace it with an Akitio Node Pro. I also have the Node Pro and take it onto location every week and have not had problems with it despite my terrible treatment of it. Also it has TB passthrough, which I find Incredibly useful.

  • Reply mattyz2385 February 1, 2020 at 4:33 am

    Max Tech good video but didn't include comparison to MacBook integrated GPU

  • Reply Favian Silva February 1, 2020 at 4:35 am

    I'm curious if these cards work with Bootcamp and gaming or is it needed to specifically get nVidia cards for that?

  • Reply rawiyahsphere February 1, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Excellent! Just what I was waiting for!

  • Reply Wuth Wittawat February 1, 2020 at 6:22 am

    This is what i need !!!!

  • Reply Fearbace x bace February 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Would the RX 5700 XT work and still be the best option for my Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2019 Base model?

  • Reply Bob Osborne February 1, 2020 at 7:05 am

    don't bother for gaming its shit mine stuttered like a 90 yo man 5700xt

  • Reply noone nooo February 1, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Do gaming on MBP 16 on windows with egpu please!

  • Reply PKTV February 1, 2020 at 9:01 am

    if you want bang for bucks options the 5600 XT is a clear winner for performance and price if your getting an eGPU with it.

  • Reply gabriele gelfo February 1, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Could you test the Mac Book Pro 16 + 5700XT egpu VS Mac Pro 7.1 + 5700XT only (installed on a 16X pci-x slot) and Mac Pro 7.1 + 5700XT egpu only (internal gpu unplugged). I'd like to know if the Mac Pro pci lanes are better handled by the Xeon and faster than the ones available in the Mac Book Pro 16 and if the Mac can boot without the internal gpu, only the egpu plugged.

  • Reply Silverjerk February 1, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Strange that you missed the direct comparison to the MBP GPU, which is exactly what I came here to see. Kind of a large oversight there.

  • Reply Michael Byrd February 1, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    @Max Tech – Radeon 7 and Vega 64 – 295W TDP, 5700 XT – 225W TDP. Please comment on the heat coming from the eGPU under different loads. I can imagine the room getting pretty warm on long renders, or during a long gaming session.

  • Reply Xash February 1, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Can you do the exact same tests but in the Mac Pro?

  • Reply ` February 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    gaming

  • Reply Paul C February 1, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Max Tech, Is it possible to see the same comparison video using the Mac mini 2018? Only I'm tempted to upgrade from my RX570 as it will not boot up with my monitors connect directly to the EGPU. Hopefully this has been resolved with the new cards.

  • Reply Jhenu February 1, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    I have 2019 15” MacBook Pro maxed out. Should I exchange for 16” for keyboard and battery life.

  • Reply Jhenu February 1, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Just wait for 5900XT.

  • Reply Crafty Craff February 1, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Please do some gaming tests on windows boot camp ❤️

  • Reply theSUBVERSIVE February 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    or just wait for Big Navi GPU, they will bring both more memory and speed

  • Reply citogrid February 1, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    FYI, the Core X Chroma has a built in usb hub and ethernet port, that ethernet port does not work on Mac, disconnects / crashes constantly. Razer has been giving me the runaround with no solution even though it's been a well known issue for more than six months. Workaround they actually suggested was to throttle my bandwith to about 10% of true capacity.Oh yes, they'd like me to buy another one, and then they might refund the faulty one, but they forget to mention that it's a driver (software) issue. HORRIBLE customer service.

  • Reply CdHMainz February 1, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Are there any cheap eGPU Cases available? Why have to be such a case so expensive?

  • Reply Yoni A February 1, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    What dock do you use for your MacBook 16’’ in the video? I saw it stand vertically for a brief moment in the video.

  • Reply Prasun Kumar February 1, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Eww MacBooks. Get those filthy things away from me lol.

  • Reply Nicolas Giarrusso February 1, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Great video! The 5700 xt is also the best option for the MBP baseline 2019? Thanks

  • Reply Zyziolec February 2, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Just wait for 5900/5950 xt

  • Reply Djk0t February 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    I got a metal score on my mbp 13 2018 wiht a razor core x and saphire 5700xt of 52287 with on DP display

  • Reply James Howlett February 2, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I know different software utilizes eGPU's differently and some don't utilize them at all. This is the case for multiple cores with the new AMD chips with Windows. I just know raw horsepower is relatively consistent though when it comes to generalities with different computer setups. How is it the fastest AMD card wouldn't simply dominate on Mac's, being Nvidia is not an option for the Mac. I would honestly enjoy hearing experienced Mac users chime in on this and explain it to me, in an honest quest to educate myself on Mac + eGPU performance.

    I understand driver support is different on Mac than PC, but it's still confusing with all of these comparisons of the Vega 64, Radeon VII, and 5700XT. The Radeon VII actually retired AMD video card so I'd understand why Apple wouldn't continue any development for it, but so is a Vega 64. Stil many reviewers say the Vega 64 is a superior video card for the Mac.  

    And the 5700XT is clearly the slowest of the bunch, albeit the best value but personally would be my choice as it'll continue to have support for a while being relatively new. But Radeon VII's have consistently gone on sale as low as $500 towards the end of last year and is about $650 on Amazon the last time I checked. Vega 64's are priced stupidly high considering the card is so old, technically out of production and IS NOT as fast as a Radeon VII. That being said, I am always puzzled with most YouTuber's results on the Mac + eGPU setups. So many different results and opinions. Very few straight forward answers.  

    My only knowledge of video card performance in on the PC. It's exciting for Mac users to finally have access to the power of adding full desktop video cards to their systems. That being said the Radeon VII still performs about as good as an RTX 2080 on Windows 10, which is much faster than a Vega 64 or a 5700XT on Windows. The Radeon VII is clearly still AMD's fastest video card for the moment, dead or not.

    I look forward to some healthy debate, minus the trolls!

  • Reply Bruno Ribeiro February 2, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Love your videos bro! Exactly what I was looking for. Bought the same 16" MBP specs.

  • Reply Josh Nuttall February 3, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Hey, I thought this was a great video, definitely worth a like 👊 I just uploaded a video about my top 5 accessories for the MacBook Pro 😊 If you get the chance I’d love any comments or feedback you had on it! Keep up the great work ❤️

  • Reply Lukas Bratcher February 3, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    I'm loving your eGPU coverage. Keep it up!

  • Reply livingthedream February 3, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Does thunderbolt e-gpu work in bootcamp currently?

  • Reply Scott Belzner February 4, 2020 at 3:41 am

    Hi all. i have vega 64 in my razor egpu. where do i find the updates for mac for it. when i have 2 display ports connected it shits itself and reboots unless i connect the 2nd monitor once running..Cheers

  • Reply Ronja E. Nielsen February 4, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    you know that the 5700 XT is not supported by Razer Core X, the Razer Core X only runs with PCI Express 3.0, and the 5700 XT is made for PCI Express 4.0

  • Reply Joseph Springer February 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    You guys should check out Neat Video!

  • Reply Robbie Skaff February 7, 2020 at 1:05 am

    “Thicc 2”

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