MacOS Mojave was released on Monday and one of its lesser publicised features is easier external GPU support. Michael P Schmidt burnt the midnight oil testing out an eGPU with Final Cut Pro X. Prepare for a performance boost!

External GPU support doesn't really sound like a big deal, but it is probably one of the biggest processing changes to FCPX in a while. When Final Cut Pro was rewritten, Apple had the opportunity with X to move away from CPU calculating of tasks and move the pixel processing operations to the more efficient graphics card.

Thank the teenage gamers in their bedrooms who demanded instant renders of millions of polygons in their shoot-em-ups. This demand has since been overtaken by Bitcoin mining greed causing a shortage of the most powerful cards on the market.

Seven years on and our favourite NLE is still happily crunching pixels on the internal GPU. 

So when it was announced that High Sierra would support eGPUs, because FCPX followed the OS rules exactly (unlike Premiere that hacks its own way to the GPU), it became a prime candidate for harnessing this extra power. Render speeds were better, but users also reported problems, some tasks not happening on the GPU and other annoyances.

Michael P Schmidt had been testing eGPUs with FCPX and it seemed that with Mojave, although the external GPU was used for playback, the internal GPU was still being used for rendering. 

So why should the release of Mojave be any better? Well, with the release of Mojave, Apple published a short information page on using Final Cut Pro X and an eGPU.

Michael got to work straight away again and after spending the early hours of this morning testing and recording his new YouTube video, he came up with some interesting findings. And more importantly, how easy it is for FCPX to use an external eGPU. It is just a one checkbox.

So with Mojave, FCPX can now 'prefer' the eGPU for nearly all the tasks that require a GPU, so there is a performance gain to be had. FCPX will now go as fast as the card you have attached. Want to work faster? get a faster card! 

Could this be a hint at what the new 'modular' Mac Pro might contain? By modular, do Apple mean that they will have their own custom external GPU case? Who knows, but this update means that users can now get a significant performance update to their existing machine. (Possibly not our iMac Pro at this point) This will be especially good for users who need a portable solution such as a MacBook Pro, but need more grunt when they get to the office or back home.

So what do you need? First of all you need a Mac that supports Thunderbolt 3, have Mojave installed and of course an external GPU like the new Blackmagic model. Then find that checkbox!

Apple has a list of recommend GPUs and enclosures here. It looks like the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W would be the one to go for.

A big thank you to Michael for doing the testing for the community.

Interesting times. 



Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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Dinky's Avatar
Dinky replied the topic: #112387 28 Jan 2021 14:29
Hi Peter,
I am running FCPX Trial 10.5 and the GPU option you are referring to does not exist. So either the trial version does not support an external GPU or my NVIDIA GTX 680 is not supported ?
peteramwiggins's Avatar
peteramwiggins replied the topic: #112392 28 Jan 2021 15:46
The post is from 2018, I think a lot has changed since then. Certainly Big Sur/10.5 won't support an external GPU