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braun0

eGPU for Five (5) Monitor Setup?

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Hi everyone.

 

I am looking for some direction/advice on setting up an eGPU for my rMBP.  I am more of a software and cloud networking guy then a hardware/graphics guy - so I am out of my area of expertise here.  Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

 

NOTE: I have a multiple display/monitor addiction.  The more monitors the better - and that is the main reason I am here. 

 

My current setup:

Mid 2012 rMBP

2.3 GHz Core i7

8GB Ram

NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB integrated graphics

Two (2) 1080p 24 inch external monitors (one connected via thunderbolt port, and the other connected via HDMI)

One (1) 1080p 21 in external monitor (connected via the other thunderbolt port).

 

So yes, I am running three (3) external monitors off of my mid 2012 rMBP.  And, it actually runs fairly well.  Include the rMBP display, and I am running a four (4) monitor setup.  I can usually have youtube playing on one monitor and browsers on the other, while still maintaining decent performance.  I am actually really surprised at how well it works for a 4+ year old computer.  However, there are some apps that I run which require me to unplug one or two of the monitors, and the rMBP is almost always running hot.  And obviously, I can forget about doing any kind of high-end gaming (which I rarely ever do at all).

 

Where I am going:

My company is giving me a spec'ed out mid 2015 rMBP (which I should have in a few days).

Mid 2015 rMBP

2.8 GHz Core i7

16GB Ram

AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB (dedicated GPU)

 

I am very excited to get a nice spec bump over my 2012 rMBP, especially going from 8GB to 16 GB ram.  And I am sure performance will be that much better with my three (3) external monitors attached.

 

What I want:

More monitors!  4k monitors! Here is the setup I would like:

My new mid 2015 rMBP docked (probably using something like the Henge vertical dock station). 

Run five (5) external monitors - one vertical and 4 horizontal.

Monitor (1): Supplement the rMBP display (since it will be stowed in the dock) with a 24 inch 4k monitor.

Monitor (2): Another 24 inch 24 monitor

Monitors (3), (4), and (5) - these no NOT have to be 4k.  Will probably just use the three (3) external monitors I already have (mentioned above).

 

Priorities:

Gaming is NOT my priority.  If I can play GTA 5 in ultra mode - great! But I would consider that an extra benefit.  I rarely play new games.  I am more of a 16-bit, 2D platformer guy.  I have done some VR development, and if I could run the Oculus Rift or Vive - then that would be really nice.  

 

My main priority is to power all these monitors while removing at much load as possible from the rMBP - so that I can run virtual machines/edit video/have 50 chrome tabs open - all while playing and HD youtube video (you get the idea). 

 

Here are my questions:

(1) Will using an eGPU offload a lot of processing power so the rMBP can concentrate on running many apps at once?

(2) If games are not a priority, are there graphics cards that may be cheaper which are designed for running more monitors vs. powering games?  Or is it all one in the same?

(3) I notice that many GPUs only have 2 or 3 video out ports.  How can I go about connecting 5 monitors to the eGPU - if it is even possible?  Or, would I still need to run one or two monitors directly off the rMBP?

(4) Am I missing any details/information/questions that will be important?  What am I missing or not thinking of?

 

Thank you in advance for all and any advice.

Edited by braun0
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1. yes. the pixels in your extermal monitors will be pushed by the egpu instead of your mbp's gpu. However, the internal display is tricky to get running from your egpu especially since your new mbp has a dGPU included. Processing apps etc still run on the mbp's cpu, except for rendering scenes and videos etc, so thats that.

2. Workstation GPUs exist out there that focus less on gaming and more on professional setups. Using these as an egpu is less common and i dont know much so i will let someone else answer this.

3. If your egpu doesnt have sufficient ports, you could consider daisy chaining some monitors if they allow you to, eg the thunderbolt monitors. Its basically pluggin monitor A into the egpu, then plugging B into A,... It should work. Depends if your specific monitors allow that though. You may wanna consider looking for GPUs with more ports preferably since there are tons of brands out there anyways. My rather basic 1060mini already has 5 ports- 1 hdmi, 3 displayports and 1 dvi, and if you get something similar just hook up adaptors and run as many from the egpu

4. Some insight: gaming GPUs  are powerful too and also can run many monitors with ease. I suggest looking up reviews of such setups and what gpus they use. Take note of the various resolutions too; five 4K monitors is very different from 5 1080p monitors.

 

All the best!  

Edited by kxplus

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Most Nvidia cards have hard limit of 4 displays. (regardless of how many ports)

 

Might be able to use MBP to do 5th

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