Macbook Pro Graphics Card Question

Hey all, I’m new to Blender and obsessed. I’m using the most current Blender 9.21.2. Noticing how slow cycles is getting in the viewport as my modeling gets more detailed. I was wanting to get an external graphics card setup but seeing a lot of conflicting notes on how/if this will work with Macs?

Anyone having success? Or know ways to speed up Blender? Any insight or setup would be most helpful!!!

My Specs:
Macbook pro 13-inch 2018
2.3 ghz inteel core i5
16gb memory
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 1536 MB
MacOS Mojave 10.14.6

You can’t. At the moment Blender Cycles doesn’t take any advantage of GPU computing. Your only option is either to hold your nose and get a PC, or to buy a faster CPU Mac like the Mac Pro or iMac Pro (or alternatively a Hackintosh if you’re so inclined).

An alternative would be to start using EEVEE for your renders. You can get very nice results from it and it’s fully compatible with Macs. Here’s a recent EEVEE test that I did with Quixel Megascan assets. I’m pushing several million polygons and using 8K textures as a way to stress the render engine as much as possible.

Grrrr. Thanks for shedding some light on the situation. I kind of assumed that was gonna be the case. Any tips on speeding up the performance for the CPU to maximize what i have?

You should find some good YouTube videos on how to optimize Cycles settings, most of the time you don’t need nearly as many samples as you think you do. One of the things I do highly recommend is to take advantage of the excellent denoisers available in Blender. Experiment to see which one you prefer, but both NLM and OpenImage can yield some good results.

Lastly, if you use the Subdivision Modifier on your geometry, enable the Cycles Experimental features so that you can take advantage of the Adaptive Subdivision function in the modifier settings (otherwise using the Supported Feature Set, it won’t appear).

As you get more and more into Blender, and assuming you’re as much of an OS X loyalist as I am, you really should look into upgrading the computer. The good news is that Blender is already running great on the M1 Macs, and hopefully Apple has even faster machines in store for us.

Amazing. Thanks for the tips. Also the render you posted above is sick!!! and not with cycles. wow!

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It does, just not on macOS…

Well, yeah. Duh?

Well duh he doesn’t have to get PC when he can install Linux or Windows on Mac…

You’re not a Mac user are you?

ComradeSunbeam is correct. You CAN install Windows or Linux on an Intel Mac. Windows through BootCamp (official way), and Linux through some hacks.

Running either of those, you will be able to use the GPU acceleration if you have a discrete graphics card on board