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eGPU tests show AMD Radeon RX 580 more than twice as fast as top-end MacBook Pro GPU

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We noted in our latest Back to the Mac feature the mixed state of play when it comes to the official external GPU (eGPU) support added in macOS 10.13.4.

But new benchmark tests show that, while there are still plenty of issues to be resolved, the gains available from a high-end eGPU are substantial …

ArsTechnica benchtested the AMD Radeon RX 580 against the top-end MacBook Pro’s own Radeon Pro 460. The enclosure used was the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W.

The site found that some metal apps ran more than twice as fast.

We found that the external RX 580 usually provided a significant performance advantage over the internal Radeon Pro 460. The RX 580 is a markedly faster GPU, so that might not seem like a surprise, but we were pleased to find that running the GPU over Thunderbolt 3 didn’t stop us from seeing satisfactory gains.

Metal performance was sometimes more than twice as fast on the RX 580 compared to the Pro 460. OpenGL saw performance boosts ranging from around 20 percent up to about 75 percent, depending on the application. For users interested in demanding applications like 3D modeling software and triple-A games in macOS, this is great news.

Ars did, though, note that performance varied significantly by app, often without any obvious reason.

While the gains were impressive in most supported applications, some applications (like Civilization VI) simply didn’t show the kinds of gains you’d expect given the hardware gap between the RX 580 and the Pro 460. We don’t believe this was because of limitations with Thunderbolt or anything else hardware-related, though.

Hitman, an app the site typically includes in its benchmarks, didn’t run at all.

Unfortunately, this is not the only time we encountered crashes while trying different applications with the eGPU. You never quite know what you’re going to get when you launch a demanding application. Usually, you’ll get strong performance improvements. Sometimes it’ll work, but you won’t see big gains. And other times, you’ll experience crashes and other problems.

One surprising fact is that Final Cut Pro X didn’t use the external GPU.

We intended to run comparative benchmarks with Final Cut Pro, but found that it still relies on the internal GPUs to perform demanding tasks. For example, we created a five-minute, 4K video with several effects applied and exported it to an H.264 video file. The GPU in the external enclosure wasn’t touched when performing this task.

It’s both surprising and disappointing that the Apple-made application that could most benefit from this technology doesn’t seem to use it

Senior reviews editor Samuel Axon echoed our own Jeff Benjamin’s view that eGPU support is still in its infancy.

eGPUs might be publicly supported now, but they’re still not ready for primetime. The experience is too unstable, support isn’t robust enough, there are too many caveats and limitations, and Boot Camp support will be necessary for eGPUs to be attractive to many consumers.

If you’re a fan of eGPUs, have you taken the plunge already, or are you waiting for now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Writer, DJ and coffee lover currently living in Chicago. Interests include getting random tattoos, eating ice cream and getting what I want. I also have wayyyy too many pairs of sneakers.

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Amazon Now Taking Pre-Orders For Microsoft’s Surface Go Tablet

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A couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched their latest Surface tablet in the form of the Surface Go. Shortly after the launch Microsoft started taking pre-orders for the device via the official Microsoft Store, but in case you prefer doing your shopping on Amazon for whatever reason, Amazon has also started to accept pre-orders for the tablet as well.

In terms of pricing, there is no difference from the Amazon listing and the Microsoft listing. This means that the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will retail for $399, while the 8GB RAM and 128GB memory option will retail for slightly more expensive at $549. Some might wonder why shop through Amazon when you can buy it from Microsoft directly, but there are some advantages depending on where you live.

For example some reports have pointed out that over in Spain, Amazon Spain is giving a 25% discount on the higher-end model where instead of it being priced at 599 EUR, it is now priced at 449 EUR, so for our readers in Spain, you will be able to take advantage of this discount. However the downside is that the tablet will only begin shipping to you on the 28th of August for those living in Europe, versus the US where it is set for a release on the 2nd of August which is this coming Thursday.

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Mowgli Movie Will Now Release On Netflix In 2019

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Mowgli is a live-action Jungle Book adaptation that director Andy Serkis has been working on. Netflix has now purchased the rights to this movie and it will, therefore, be released on the online streaming network. The release date has been moved to 2019 as a result of this development which will now see this movie being released on Netflix first. This movie is different from Disney’s live-action adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic which the studio released in 2016.

Rohan Chand stars in the lead role with Christian Bale playing Bagheera, Cate Blanchett playing Kaa, and Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the role of Shere Khan. Andy Serkis himself will be playing Baloo.

This movie was actually supported to be released in 2016 as well but it has been delayed multiple times since then. The first trailer was released recently which mentioned October 19th, 2018 as the theatrical release date.

That was before Netflix had decided to acquire the rights to Mowgli. EW reports that with this acquisition, the release has been delayed yet again. Netflix is going to premiere Mowgli on its platform at some point next year.

Serkis has said that the decision to move the film to Netflix will help avoid a direct comparison with the Disney movie. The platform will also enable the director to have more creative freedom and explore darker themes, going so far as to explore the violence between animals.

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New iPad Pro Lineup Might Ditch The Headphone Jack

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Ever since Apple ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on recent iPhone models there has been speculation that the company will do this for its other mobile devices as well. A new report has surfaced which claims that the upcoming iPad Pro lineup is not only going to be slightly smaller than its predecessor but will also ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The iPad Pro lineup due next year will reportedly see its dimensions being reduced a little for both the 10.5 inch and 12.9 inch models. The report also reiterates earlier rumors that the new iPad lineup is going to feature FaceID. A recent iOS 12 beta also revealed that there’s a big possibility that this biometric access control system might arrive with the next generation of Apple’s tablet.

The new iPad Pro models might be designed for vertical use as FaceID will reportedly not work when the tablet is in landscape mode. It may also adjust the positions of the Lightning connector and the smart connector for the keyboard for this purpose.

It is as yet unclear when Apple is going to unveil these new tablets. There have been a lot of reports and rumors about them in recent months and they will likely continue in the days to come.

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