External GPU enclosure developer Mantiz posted a Tweet on Thursday of the new AMD Vega PCI-E video card working in its enclosure, connected to a MacBook Pro — and that likely means that the card will work on Apple's last PCI-E Mac Pro as well in High Sierra.
The Tweet featured two pictures — one of the new card inside the Mantiz MZ-02 eGPU enclosure, and the second a picture of the System Profiler showing the card inside the system.
Vega RX 64 is on High Sierra Beta 5 pic.twitter.com/kEn6GOT4Yc— Mantiz eGPU (@Mantiz_John) August 10, 2017
No benchmarks of performance were published by the enclosure developer. However, the card appears to be functioning, and identified as a Vega card by macOS High Sierra's latest beta release.
AMD is on the cusp of shipping a trio of cards based on its Vega architecture. The card is either the RX Vega 56 or RX Vega 64 — both of which have been slated to make an appearance in the iMac Pro.
The $399 RX Vega 56 has 56 compute units, with the GPU running at 1156MHz at base speed, and 1471MHz in boost. HBM2 memory in the Vega 56 allows for 410GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 has 64 compute units, and clock speeds of 1247Mhz and with a peak speed of at 1546Mhz, with 484GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The RX Vega 64 retails for $499.
At the time of announcement, it wasn't clear if the cards could be used in an eGPU enclosure, or the last Mac Pro tower with PCI-E slots. However, at present, the Vega PCI-E card in High Sierra seems to work through Thunderbolt 3, and the Mac Pro 5,1 is listed as one of the machines that supports the operating system so it should work fine there as well.
In both iterations of the Vega GPU, half-precision 16-bit calculations (FP16) such as that used for some image and graphic processing, ray tracing, artificial intelligence, and game rendering can be optimized to hit a peak of 22 tflops, exceeding that in the Nvidia GTX 1080. But, the advantages of FP16 for the consumer aren't quite clear, or easily comparable, to Nvidia cards as of yet.
The $379 Mantiz MZ-02 eGPU enclosure has five USB 3.0 type A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 2.5-inch mounting plate for a SATA drive in addition to the PCI-E slot for a graphics card. It can accommodate GPU cards demanding up to 375W, and provides a full 87W of charging power back to the connecting computer, assuming it hasn't been adapted to an older version of Thunderbolt.
AppleInsider reviewed the Mantiz MZ-02, and found it to be a solid, stylish choice for users needing eGPU functionality, for not much more than a Thunderbolt 3 dock's retail price.