external GPU ... Experiences...



  • I am looking to improve my MPB performance with an external GPU like Bizon Box or Wolfe ....

    Does someone have practical knowledge with izzy?

    Diether


  • Tech Staff

    @sommerdi

    Yes I have a BizonBox 3 with a NVIDIA GTX TITAN X, 12 GB. After talking to the support team of BizonBox telling them that I only have thunderbolt 2 connections on my MacBook Pro and if the thunderbolt 3 box works with an adapter they said yes. So I bought this Adapter https://www.apple.com/ch-de/sh... they have suggested.

    So first: Yes this box definitely boosts the performance of your MacBook Pro or your MacPro. For example using the shader https://www.shadertoy.com/view... without the box connected to my MacBook Pro it stutters quite much when using it with full hd resolution, after connecting the Bizon Box and setting the resolution to 4k the stuttering was hardly visible.

    Second: It is not just plug and play. Depending on your MacBook Pro model it can be a pain. Here is the story with my MacBook Pro, that uses the Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter that may be part of the problem (if you are using the thunderbolt adapter you have to install Sierra, TB3-TB2 supports only Sierra.) 
    I cannot start the MacBookPro with the BizonBox connected, it does something but the screen stays black.
    So what I have to do is, disconnect the BizonBox start the MacBookPro and as soon as I see the apple logo connect the BizonBox, if I wait a bit to long the BizonBox will not be recognised from the Mac. If I connect after the starting chime but before the Apple logo the screen stays black.

    This is not really ideal when you have to make a restart during shows or rehearsals, and especially if you are not there and some assistant has to run the show.
    Different story using the MacPro with Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, you just have to use thunderbolt port 5 or 6 for the BizonBox and you have to. But I had to get an extra terminal command form the support team for the old MacPro so it is visible for the activation process. 

    To summarize all, you get everything working at the end but depending on your Mac model you need to contact the support team to get everything working. I can imagine having the newest MacBook Pro with no extra thunderbolt adapter could work out of the Box.

    Best Michel



  • thanks for your feedback ....  it is'nt plug and play ...

    my MBP is running under 10.11 ...  & TB 2   and i need a stable system without tricks & problems.... 

    Bizon mention on their web the Box 2 or Box 2S for older MBP. Do you have had a discussion with them regarding TB2?

    Diether



  • @Michel,

    I got the feedback from Bizon:

    "The BizonBOX 2S with GTX980Ti or Titan X (Maxwell) will be working on your MBP on 10.11:
    https://bizon-tech.com/us/bizo...
    https://bizon-tech.com/us/bizo...

    the BizonBOX 2S uses native Thunderbolt 2 connection"

    Maybe this running more smoothly TB2 & 10.11

    Did you ordered the complete package from Bizon?


  • Tech Staff

    @sommerdi

    Well I bought the 3S because I wanted it to be future proof, I did not expect that it would be more hacky than the 2S version. I ordered the box including the graphics card, the adapter is from the Apple Store.

    Best Michel



  • In general, even with thunderbolt 3, the thunderbolt connection sped is substantially lower than the PCIe16x connection, and much much slower than the interconnects on the GFX card. In this case moving data to and from the card is an issue. If you are uploading vertexes and doing calculations on the card you may not notice so much, however uploading video frames is another thing and can benefit a lot from the PCIe speed. Apple are deliberately blocking native EGPU support so every kind of EGPU for OSX needs some kind of hack for the moment. Having said that, I saw some tests and comparisons that suggest you get 70-80% of the cards power in thunderbolt 3 vs PCIe 3.0 16x. Obviously this is reduced for thunderbolt 2.



  • .....TB is still a bottleneck ....  even more for high-end GPU cards.... am i right?

    Regarding Apple's blocking EGPU ....  Bizon must have driver or a workaround for using their system ... or?

    In the case i like to enhance my system with an "old MBP" the performance advantage of a high-end card compare to "normal" one is not so given, special with TB2 ..

    Thank for the info's

    Diether


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