I have a task to build a few high-end PCs for video rendering, what I was wondering it might be better to have an eGPU so whenever anyone needs to do rendering they can process via eGPU. The local environment is mixed Windows 10 and Mac, Adobe cloud.

My question

  1. Multi-card slot eGPU ..?

  2. Best practice when deciding for eGPU

Any suggestions..? or advice would be much appreciated.

  • I have not seen a multi-GPU enclosure for Thunderbolt before, most people using an eGPU just need one GPU. You can use multiple separate eGPUs on one system though. Another solution that may work for you: Rather than carrying around external GPUs, you could build a rendering server with those GPUs and render on it over the network. (Which is supported by Adobe CC) – Romen Jan 8 '20 at 20:26
  • What specific laptop[s] are you plugging it into? Do you have a budget? Size requirements? Any interest in additional I/O, such as ethernet or SATA? Do you need a graphics card as well, or just the eGPU enclosure? Are you willing to buy used? – JMY1000 Jan 13 '20 at 19:08

Apple recommends their own Blackmagic.

However, the Razer Core X Chroma and ASUS XG-Station-PRO are very good options at a more reasonable price but please note that these are only enclosures. You will need to purchase the GPU separately. This gives you the ability to put any PCIe card in them so you can choose the card that fits your situation and upgrade later.

You should make sure that both your computer and your enclosure support Thunderbolt 3.

MacOS only officially has support for AMD video cards. Apple Support: eGPU is a good read to prepare yourself.

You can purchase multiple slot enclosures but you are likely to run into bandwidth issues over the Thunderbolt connection.

As suggested by @Romen, you could purchase duplicate enclosure/GPU sets. These could be used separately by different users, or together on one computer (if you have multiple Thunderbolt ports).

  • 1
    You absolutely can see a benefit from a second or multiple GPUs when rendering video, depending on the software (I believe Adobe CC does use multiple GPUs). Thunderbolt 3 is also a PCIe 4x (32Gbps) connection, which is plenty of bandwidth for video rendering and may have no impact at all vs a card installed in a 16x slot. Again, the performance impact depends on the specific content being rendered & software. – Romen Jan 8 '20 at 20:19
  • This would drop you down to PCIe 2x for each card assuming that the software supports it and the cards support it. I cannot recommend the extra expense of a 2 slot enclosure and a second GPU for the tiny benefit that you might receive in a very limited situation. – Alphy13 Jan 8 '20 at 20:28
  • Do two slot enclosures even exist? You could just use two separate enclosures on two separate thunderbolt ports. PCIe 1x may even be enough performance, as the relevance of the bandwidth between CPU & GPU depends on what is being rendered and how. It is more likely to have an impact of high bandwidth jobs like re-encoding 4K video, as opposed to GPU-processing jobs like rendering 3D scenes or effects where the high bandwidth task would be loading the scene data to the card at the start. – Romen Jan 8 '20 at 20:31
  • Two slot enclosures do exits but I must admit that I had not considered using two separate enclosures. I suspect there would be a lot of bugs with such a configuration, but it may be a good idea for rendering. However, multiple Thunderbolt ports on one computer are somewhat rare. – Alphy13 Jan 8 '20 at 20:34
  • Two separate enclosures vs one two-slot enclosure would expose the PCIe devices to the OS in the same way. Separate enclosures may even be ideal as you can hot-plug them separately and if one fails it doesn't affect the other. – Romen Jan 8 '20 at 20:36

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