Broadcast Beat Magazine 2018 BroadcastAsia Special Edition - Page 30

another testing session, Morgan connected two Thunderbolt 3-to-eGPU (PCIe) card expansion chassis, each running a high-end GPU card, to an iMac Pro, giving it the horsepower of three GPU cards (counting the computer’s internal GPU). The testing showed a significant performance boost – up to three times the speed for some applications – over the iMac Pro running only with its internal GPU. 2 Evaluating Thunderbolt 3 External GPU Chassis Competing GPU expansion chassis are emerging on the market, so it’s important to choose the chas- sis carefully. The following criteria are important for ensuring that the chassis not only performs at an optimum level but also offers the flexibility to support any type of on-location workflow. • Certification for eGPU use. Thunderbolt eGPU chassis are a subset of Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion chassis, and not all chassis are suitable (or certified) for use with GPU cards. Intel and Apple specifically certify certain chassis that meet criteria for GPU card sup- port over Thunderbolt. Choosing a chassis that is not certified for GPU card use may result in performance and support issues. • Power supply. Can the box supply not only adequate processing power for the GPU card of your choice but also the GPU card you will need next year? After adequately powering the GPU card, can it also offer sufficient upstream power for charging your notebook? The most advanced GPU chassis on the market can now deliver up to 650 watts, enough to power even the air-cooled GPU cards and also overclocked cards with high peak-power requirements. the fan quiet enough for use in a noise-sensi- tive working environment like an on-location video production? The most advanced chassis offer the option of replacing active fans with water-block coolers, which are even quieter and enable higher overclocking. • Manufacturer Support. An eGPU chassis manu- facturer’s understanding of specific compat- ibility issues between computer models, GPU cards and applications can go a long way to minimize potential headaches and frustra- tions. Check the manufacturer’s product and support pages to get an idea of their knowl- edge and understanding. A Bright Future The idea of Thunderbolt 3 expansion for exter- nal GPU cards offers exciting potential for media professionals of all types and even gamers – and it’s just beginning to catch on. As GPU card manu- facturers continue to enhance their driver support for Thunderbolt, and as software becomes per- formance-optimized to take advantage of GPUs, the adoption of this new paradigm will acceler- ate – especially as video professionals continue to demand greater flexibility, mobility, and power from their pro-video applications and the ability to use them any time and from any location. • Card support. For maximum compatibility, the chassis should accommodate larger than double-width cards and support the latest Thunderbolt-compatible cards with popular GPU chipsets. • Adequate and quiet cooling. Does the chas- sis offer a powerful-enough fan to keep even the most hot-running GPU card cool, and is 2 Rob-ART Morgan, “What if the iMac Pro Had THREE Vega eGPUs?”,, Jan. 31, 2018 30 • Broadcast Beat Magazine • BroadcastAsia Official Online Video Partner