Experiences with latest Macbook Pro 16" and the Radeon 5600M?


Hi there,

has anyone had the chance to run VDMX through the hoops with the latest MBPR 16" with the Radeon RX 5600M card? It seems to get really good reviews and benchmarks with exclamation points from graphics rendering, video editing and gaming users. I find our work sometimes triangulates between these three fields, but other times we’re very particular, so would be eager to hear if someone here splurged on this and what you think of it.

Particularly I’m concerned with heat and throttling and consistent performance capacity over time under stress, all the youtubers seem to be only benchmarking the system to the max in short batches of renders or playbacks. I think their wedding movie projects made in airconditioned studios won’t collapse if their system throttles for a few pretty minutes here and there so they’re not concerned with that. Like many of you I will be pushing this to the max for hours, often in very dark and warm and noisy places. With my current 2017 model I spend half my waking and performing life battling system temperatures. I’m sure my in my dreams too.



I have an early 2020 mbp 16” with the Radeon 5500. Generally happy with the performance and, before the world collapsed, I used it for several vdmx vj gigs without incident. The case still does get hot but not as bad as the 2019 15” model with the Vega card (which I finally got Apple to exchange for me when I showed the bottom case hitting >118 degrees).

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I’m planning on getting this set up too next month. I’m hoping they give the CPU an update as it’s pretty old now, but that GPU sounds like a monster. I’ve read up on it a bit in Mac forums and that GPU seems to run a lot more efficiently and cooler than the other GPU options offered right now. Seem to crush benchmarks compared to the other GPUs offered right now as well. I haven’t read any issues about it needing to be throttled. Would also love to hear anyone’s real life experiences with VDMX on it.

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You are all happy? I have the feeling my old 2014 was way snappier. Got the best GPU (8 GB VRAM) and 32 GB ram. But can‘t say anything good about that combination. Feels slower than a Laptop with 8 GB and 512 MB GPU VRAM.

Really hoping that Big Sur will improve things.



seriously? Is it really that bad?
I’m going to switch from my old 2012 16gb ram/GT 650M 512 MB gpu mbp to the 5600M next week. I wouldn’t like to see it perform slowly…

I could make some benchmarks for you guys, but i dont know how to do that: could you suggest me what kind of tests i should put the machine on?



I suppose my performance issues can‘t be measured through benchmarks.

For example: The onboard intel gpu is buggy/produces micro lags but if I use the Radeon GPU fans are always audible (annoying). Hyperthreading / Turboboost same … without it sucks and with, fans start really early and get annoying. When the system gets hot it will throttle quickly and it feels like it‘s 1996 again performancewise.

The Radeon GPU itself is not really good as well… here is my benchmark Diablo3 which is quite old and still can‘t be set to a good resolution with a adequate FPS.

VDMX runs okay‘ish but also not perfectly. But that might be because I recently switched to using a lot of ISF. So that comparison might be not fair.

To be honest… for that price you get a notebook with a 2080(TI) from other brands. Of course without macOS. Not even hackintoshed due to NViDIA. Cruel world.

Not too happy with it. New drivers for the (onboard+external) GPU might change that.Ö



But you got the 5500M or 5600M?



Oh just looked it up - I have the 5500M. Sorry for that! Thought it was 5600…



Thanks for all insights and comments everyone. Looking forward to hear the experiences @dinobear.

It is challenging to come up with a “benchmark” that makes it possible to compare systems between us sensibly, all of us has very individual expressions and setups to facilitate those, and our ambient settings also frequently change. I think possibly the simplest solution is to share our improvement notes; i.e what system(s) did we use before, what was the load and experience on that, and how is the load on the new system.

For example my current system is a 2016 maxed MBPR with the AMD Radeon Pro 460. An average project of mine, always in 720p, is 4 realtime cameras (2 x 720p, 2 x 360p), all cams toned, graded, chroma masked, assisted with a layered system of up to 10 playback HAP Alpha encoded 720p/360p files, all of this being triggered in matrixes every few seconds (creating different “scenes”), and different groups of these layers are further postprocessed with sfx and grading.

This is the “max load” of my current system, and it works generally fine and stable with around 30 fps when ambient temperature is in the low 20s C (low 70s F). VDMX is then using generally around 50-75% of the systems capacity. Camera decoding also costs a bit. CPU is around 75%, GPU is 100% utilized.

However when like this summer, ambient temperatures are about 10 C higher, the system is unusuable. The system throttles frequently (FPS 1 to 5), when not throttling frame rates is still generally half of my normal 30 fps, and everything is UNSTABLE, things are crashing all the time. Now, this week is back in low 20s, its like magic, everything is super stable and efficient again, the machine is like a psycopath “what issues? there are no issues here i’m super fine, always was”.

This instability is my prime concern - because temperatures on stages and in venues often flucutate and can easily go well into 30s - and my prime hope that the new system + 5600 card will be powerful enough to both increase my resolution + making it consistently stable. I also saw the comments and reviews mentioning much improved thermal handling. I’m hoping that with generally more power, the system is on average stressed less, and even when stressed, the temperatures will be properly managed.

( PS I also saw some numbers on how much improvement I would get on for example various FCPX processes, like Stabilization was insanely much faster on the 5600 compared to all other cards, and this will save me SO MUCH RENDERING time when prepping visuals, so there are more benefits than more mature platform.)



This year I updated from a 2016 machine (Radeon Pro 460) to the 2020 model (Radeon Pro 5500M), and though I have not done any specific benchmarks, I can say that it is quite a lot faster in every regard!

I haven’t tested it in the same high heat situations as you, but with my 2016 machine, simply plugging in my 4k external display caused my fans to kick in… that isn’t the case with my 2020 machine. But when I start to push it to its limits, yeah it can still get hot and the fans go on.

And it is great to actually have a working keyboard again :sweat_smile:



Hey guys, bumping this as I’m curious to hear your experiences with the 5600.

@Kaniak and @dinobear, have you got your systems, any experiences so far, perhaps compared to your previous systems?




So as far as now I’m pretty happy with it (but I just received it and had only 2-3 gigs with the new baby), so I don’t feel it’s fully tested yet.
It’s true that it can get quite loud when vents crank up but this isn’t a big issue for me as the gigs are louder by themselves. I think they changed the cooling system to be better than in previous models.
The major issue I’m having is with the dongles (usbc to hdmi/VGA etc): it’s my 1st usbc mac and we’ll I’m learning the hard way that you should be buying more expensive dongles and still don’t really know how to recognize a good one vs. Bad ones. I’m using a OWC tb3 dock tho which is working well (tested it with good results on a triplehead (dp edition) and an intensity shuttle usb3.0 (gonna test with multiple of those later on))

If you want me to test something special, I could do that for you, just let me know! I’m curious of its performance also

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Mine is currently being built to order. 16" MBP, 64GB ram, 2TB SDD, 5600m GPU. Should have it in my hands next weekend. I’m pretty excited about it!

I’m upgrading from an 8th gen 13" Macbook pro which means I’ve been running installations off integrated graphics. I got by pretty well, but was very conscious of how I set everything up to make it run well. Powered by the 13" MBP and using 2 projectors, I’ve been selling this art installation to events around Miami: https://vimeo.com/383688838

So that setup consists of a lot of pre-rendered animations which I render out at 720p. Not much happening in terms of real-time effects actually. But even with this I lose some frames and gets choppy for a second or two, especially if I try to use syphon recorder to bake out the mapping.

With the 16" I’m going to develop something new using 4 projectors at once. The specs on Apple’s website say the laptop can run 4x4k monitors so 4x1080 projectors should be smooth. Looking to get into more live real time effects. So I know I’ll feel the difference in power with the upgrade.

Happy to run benchmark tests at the end of the month if you have any ideas or specifications you want.

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StarTech is my goto brand for usbC > dp / hdmi / etc… they always work as expected, including 4K@60fps.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences! Super helpful!

I thought about sensible tests, and I’ve made a VDMX project here:

It’s about 8 GB. I explain why below. This is dumbed down version of my typical performance project that uses four cams in a multitude of layers:

Front masked overlay, 720p HAP Alpha
Front creatures 2, 720p HAP Alpha
Front creatures 1, 720p HAP Alpha
Artist cameras montage, 1080p, because sometimes zoomed in
-Artist cam 1, Blackmagic Atem Mini 1080p
-Artist cam 2, Logitech C920 webcam 720p (or lower if needed)
-Artist cam 3, NDI network cam 360p
-Artist cam 4, NDI network cam 360p
Back creatures, 720p HAP Alpha
Background, 720p HAP Alpha
Insertions for screens in background, 720p HAP

The dropbox has a simplifed version of this, including test HAP media, total size 8 GB. The media is just multiple transparent videos filled with noise with titles and timecode running. The reason for 8 GB media is because the stresstest is to force VDMX to read unique individual files with lots of information, and alpha layers to see them all. The project on average loads six of these in many scenes of different montages. Press any random key to load a “scene”. It looks like a ridiculous mess in this project but the point is to test responsiveness and CPU cost.

For sure keep the video files on internal or external SSD disk. The project will autofind them. Don’t panic when it claims hundreds missing,its just the same files used multiple times. Add your Facetime cam to the input boxes upper right part (the input sources are available in the workspace)

Performance alone:
Without cameras, or with only the internal Facetime camera, my 2016 MBPR system can load all these pretty much instantaneous. You can tell, by seeing the scene load without anything coming in “late”, and you should see timecodes are pretty much always in sync. For me VDMX uses 80-100% CPU, VTDecoderXPCService about the same, of a totalt available 400% CPU (4 cores). VDMX output framerate is 60 fps when running a scene, when loading a scene, 30-45 fps. This is all good.

Performance with cameras:
Then, my problems start when I add cameras. When this project uses four cameras, the CPU use increases massively, and the latency of loading of scenes takes a serious dip. Then, I can very very visually see each scene being “drawn”, it takes sometimes up to a second for all clips, layers and positions to load, and the illusion of a “cut” is broken, the audience can see the scene being built. I also have problems with clips drifting out of time, masks then being out of sync, if multiple layers are built with synced movement. VDMX goes up to just under 300%, and the rest is completely taken by VTDecoderXPCService, so system at 400% constantly. Framerate down to between 15 and 25 fps. So, doable, but under duress and I have frequent crashes. This is not good.

Frame rates:
I also have zero issues with camera frame rates when using one camera. But when using four cameras, frame rates drift, and particularly USB 3 cams seem to lag randomly when sharing bus, even with just dumb UBS devices like a mice, that uses pretty much ZERO bandwidth.

Improvment to this loading and weird framerate drifting is what I hope that a new 2020 MBPR model with the 5600 graphics card will help me - probably because it is just generally “stronger” in total, but i’m not sure!!! Maybe the issue is actually somewhere else!

So if you have multiple cameras you can somehow connect, and see how the project responds THEN, that would be super helpful.

I am probably going to go for the computer anyway, because of the general gains I will get from a model that is 4 years newer than my old one. I will for sure get a lot of boost when prepping clips and rendering the videos before performance. But it is such a immense investment for me, I kind of seek some extra data to emotionally convince myself that its going to be worth it!

Thanks if you read this far and have time to test this!