2018 MacBook Pro purchase

We have to replace the current MacBook Pro (late 2013) we’ve been using with mimoLIve and we're hopeful for some advice in selecting features for the 2018 model. In particular, we're confused as to which graphics card to select. There are 3 options:

Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (standard)

Radeon Pro Vega 16 with 4GB of HBM2 memory (+$250)

Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory (+$350)

Should we be more concerned with the cpu?

2.6GHz i7 (standard)
2.9GHz i9 ($300)

Or the memory?

16GB (standard)
32GB ($400)

I would guess the advice would be to max out in all areas, but I don’t want to spend the money if it’s not necessary. Any guidance or shared experiences with the 2018 MacBook Pro would be welcome.



  • @alternativeplan Happy New Year! We're looking forward to hearing your feedback on mimoLive in 2019!

    It remains very difficult to make a definitive recommendation as to your MacBook Pro and the "max out" option is certainly the easy way out.

    mimoLive normally doesn't tax the GPU very much except for decoding some types of video sources. The biggest performance bottleneck is the video memory and I suspect that the HBM2 memory is a slight advantage over the GDDR memory, but I would prefer more memory over faster.

    I would generally recommend to max out the CPU in relations to your budget, because this keeps the value of the machine high for longer and provides head room for future uses. Also, if you're using video sources that need to be decompressed in software such as NDI or mimoCall, a faster processor will help.

    We've rarely seen mimoLive use more than about 4GB of memory, but since you can't easily upgrade the memory later on, go for the biggest option.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you need to watch for thermal throttling which we have seen in some MacBook Pro configurations more severely than others. Make sure that you're keeping an eye on environmental temperatures and direct sun light. Use the Intel Power Gadget to monitor this "feature" of the MacBook Pro.

    I hope this helps!

    Best regards,


  • yeah, that's unfortunately the worst thing about getting a new MBP, none of those are up-gradable in the future, including the SSD. Now, with the advent of Thunderbolt 3, this is someone mitigated as you can add on really fast drives and eGPUs for more storage and graphics power, but I don't know what ML supports on the eGPU boxes. @"Oliver (Boinx)" could you let us know what the eGPU support is for ML, if any? Thanks.

  • @kmac1036 mimoLive is currently using Quartz Composer for rendering the graphics. This is currently not supported by Apple on eGPUs. It might be supported in a future OS update. Also, long term we will move to technology based on Metal which is supported by eGPUs.

    That said, the benefit of using an eGPU for mimoLive compared to the internal GPU options wouldn't be that great currently anyways.

  • ah ok, thanks for the info.

  • Speaking of the Thunderbolt 3 ports, may we assume this will increase the number cameras we can input? I know one port must be used for power. Is there an adapter that provides power and a pass-through port that will permit us to use 4 cameras at a time?

  • @alternativeplan which cameras and how are you hooking them up (converter boxes, etc)? There are a couple of TB3 docs that have enough power to run the MBP and allow passthrough. Elgato just announced a new one at CES, I think OWC/macsales.com has one & I think Belkin, if I remember correctly.

  • @alternativeplan We've been using 8 HD SDI cameras with the Blackmagic Design Quad card housed in a Sonnet PCIe Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.

  • edited January 10

    Thank you for your responses. @kmac1036 , Thank you for your suggestion for TB3 docs. We will research. Currently we're using blackmagic HDMI to SDI converters, to go in via thunderbolt 2. As there are only 2 thunderbolt ports, we've been limited to two cameras. We have used an iPhone as a third cam thru USB, but only as a lockoff on the scoreboard. I suppose we'll have to add a thunderbolt 2 to TB3 adapter to the string. Here's an image of the flow: http://altplaninc.com/images/stream_workflow.png

  • @alternativeplan The TB2 to TB3 adaptors can do what you want, but the MBP doesn't have enough power on the TB3 ports to power more than 3 adaptors.

  • @alternativeplan yeah, you might be better served with getting what @"Oliver (Boinx)" mentioned - native TB3 expansion chassis & multi channel capture card.

  • I couple things I noticed over the weekend doing work on my setup:

    Oliver is correct, the VRAM is really important. I have 2 HDMI captures & an iPhone X plugged via USB, with a 2 up preview (had no more than 2 sources live) 2 mics (via Scarlett 2i2) and capturing audio output via HDMI (laptop), it was idling at 950MB VRAM. I also noticed via Activity Monitor that ML seems to only use 1 thread per core (early 2011 17" MBP, 2.2Ghz i7). My capture and output is 720p30 fps. I tried going to 60 fps and it couldn't keep up, it was dropping frames.

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