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The RX 580 GPU on its own as installed in a linux or Windows box would be fine. Being used as an eGPU... not sure. It would depend upon the bandwidth and data transfer speed available to it. If possible, see if you can get a hands-on demo using Firestorm before purchasing one.

How well it works would also be greatly influenced by the quality of drivers used in the proposed system. Linux and Windows systems have drivers for that GPU comparable to each other as far as performance is concerned (generally speaking; particular use cases vary). From what I remember of my experience with macOS, their drivers for AMD GPUs left a lot to be desired. If it is possible to load an AMD-provided driver as some sort of kernel extension in macOS, the eGPU config may have a chance at performing somewhat near expected levels. If not, then the chain is at the mercy of Apple's drivers.

Edited by DilliDallagio
Added thoughts on drivers.

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1 hour ago, DilliDallagio said:

From what I remember of my experience with macOS, their drivers for AMD GPUs left a lot to be desired. If it is possible to load an AMD-provided driver as some sort of kernel extension in macOS, the eGPU config may have a chance at performing somewhat near expected levels. If not, then the chain is at the mercy of Apple's drivers.

Thanks for your reply.

 

The BlackMagic should come with dedicated drivers for macOS, as it's made for Apple and sold only at Apple stores. Data between MacBook and the eGPU is through a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable.

Edited by Nihil Saenz

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Having spent an hour or so reading and viewing reviews of the eGPU, if it were me, I would not get the BlackMagic unit if performance is the only goal. I would instead investigate alternative eGPU arrangements using much newer GPUs and probably at much less cost. The BlackMagic unit is not upgradeable, so it must be entirely replaced when the need for stronger graphics is warranted (or the unit dies). The cost of the unit in question is many times more than the cost of the RX 580 by itself, though one can assume the additional cost consists of the engineering of a commodity GPU into a non-upgradable premium Apple-only device add-on.

Yes, the BlackMagic unit is Apple-ready plug-n-play, but is that worth its cost? One can assemble their own eGPU using recent video cards and cases, or even assemble a complete low-budget PC that can be better performing for Firestorm that costs less than this BlackMagic eGPU unit. In so doing, the GPUs can be swapped out as warranted or desired (provided there is OS support for the upgraded GPUs).

Performance-wise, yes it will be a noticeable improvement over the Intel iGPU HD 650-ish graphics of the Macbook. But when compared to Macbooks of the same era that have the inbuilt Pro 580, the eGPU only has marginal improvements in performance. So marginal that many reviewers suggested it is not worth the cost of the BlackMagic unit and users should spend money elsewhere (most suggested ideas were assembling or procuring other less expensive eGPU options).

Apparently macOS Catalina has native support for eGPUs so at least no special driver add-ons are required (or so the reviews suggest).

All being said, it is your machine and your decision. Best of luck to you.

Edited by DilliDallagio
grammar-ish edits
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Thank you Dilli. I had some second thoughts about buying this unit and you confirmed my doubts. I'll check macOS Catalina and see if I can find some other solution.

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2 hours ago, DilliDallagio said:

From what I remember of my experience with macOS, their drivers for AMD GPUs left a lot to be desired.

At least Mac's ship with AMD GPUs and have driver support. Do not try running nVidia,  still far too much bad blood between them and Apple.

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