I don’t want to derail the thread, so I’ll type some of notes here and perhaps create new threads for my experiments with ProRender times and Hardware Open GL using an external monitor) rendering for Mac people to learn from my purchase.
I got the Razer Core X eGPU enclosure. It only works on Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.4 or higher, so I had to update from Sierra. That was a 2 hours down the drain, but it all works now.
The Razor Core X is exceedingly well built and packaged. I talked to a few other eGPU owners and they said the Sonnet GPU is quieter, but Razer was $100 cheaper for a 650 watt unit and was so well constructed I’m happy with it. It was a pleasure to install. My power supply bracket inside was a bit bent, but it affects nothing from what I can tell. It comes with two 8 pin power connectors, which the Vega 64 required. The eGPU gets noticeably loud when under full load. That would be the case if I had two of these in a PC tower, too. But this eGPU isn’t crammed in with my CPU, which heats up quite a bit while “compiling shaders” and “updating scene.”
Mac mini users looking to save $100 for eGPU enclosure vs Sonnet 650 can’t go wrong. No weird lights or anything. Just a smooth black metal box with rounded curves and a nice locking handle to slide the whole tray out. It will charge over TB3 for laptop users.
My only complaint is the laughably short TB3 cable it came with. It’s like 6 or 8 inches long!
If you use supported AMD hardware, it really just shows as an item similar to an internal disk at the top of the Mac menu bar in the finder. Neat.
The ProRender speed up was pretty significant vs my RX 580 GPU, but the thing that cripples it was the “compiling shaders” and “updating scene” portion. Once it actually started rendering, I was getting great looking global illumination renders from the C4d example scenes in 1 min - unheard of for my 7700k iMac. But sometimes the scene prep was 30-45 seconds before I saw anything in the picture viewer. 45 seconds of scene prep with 1 minute to render? I hope that isn’t the case with animation!
I have heard from the Cineversity and the R20 new feature videos that PreRender only needs to compile shaders once. But I feel like I would see that message when using ProRender in the preview and then the offline renders almost no matter what.
I had prorender crash on me 3 times while I was tweaking stuff - probably when I switched on Apple Metal support in the Pro Render c4d prefs (metal is supposed to be 10-20% faster, right?). Once I made a simple scene with no shaders, a sphere, ground plane, light, and physical sky and it got stuck on “compiling shaders” for 1:30 before I forced it to quit.
Performance in the IPR/ProRender viewport was still choppy - creating a light and moving it would result in very stuttery performance. I thought once or twice it crashed when I just created a new IPR light and something needed to compute before ProRender would resolve it - I could see the controls for it in the ProRender viewport, but it didn’t show the actual light for another 10-20 seconds.
ProRender is still noisy in complex scenes, but for my work (small vids for social media and ads) it might be a chance to use global illumination for really short animations if I keep it simple. In simple scenes it resolves much more quickly now.
I’m optimistic about getting to learn ProRender, but my lofty expectations have been brought back to reality. I’m still pleased with my purchase but I imagined something wicked fast. Probably because I see the Octane IPR/Redshift in tutorials all the time.
Waiting on Otoy to get Octane on Metal, while hopefully we see some more ProRender updates. There are features in ProRender in the other plugins that haven’t made it to C4d yet, like the denoisier. Here’s hoping for an update in the new year before R21 is out.