April 7th Update: Mac_editor wrote a script, PurgeWrangler to unblock TB1/2 Macs from using external GPU in 10.13.4. Goalque also updated his automate-eGPU.kext to enable external GPU mode for more AMD cards. Last but not least, a collaborative effort is under way to enable Nvidia eGPU in 10.13.4.
March 30th Update: The final build of 10.13.4 arrived yesterday and officially reserves external GPU capability for Thunderbolt 3 Macs only. If you’re using a non-TB3 Mac with an eGPU setup, make sure to stay on 10.13.3 until further notice. Read our review of macOS external GPU in 10.13.4.
February 6th Update: 10.13.4 Beta 2 came out today and it broke compatibility with Thunderbolt 1 & 2 Macs. External GPU functionality now only works with Thunderbolt 3 Macs. Please stay tuned for further development. In the meantime, don’t update to this beta 2 of 10.13.4 if you have a non-TB3 Mac.
With the release of High Sierra 10.13.4 beta today, we noticed significant improvements for external graphics use. The first visual change is the addition of a top menu icon, dedicated to ejecting an attached eGPU prior to physically disconnecting it.
Another welcome enhancement is true hot-plug functionality. Prior to 10.13.4, hot-plugging an external GPU would bring a notification message to log out then log back in to use eGPU. This is no longer necessary. In 10.13.4, the eGPU will be activated almost immediately if you use a macOS-compatible Thunderbolt 3 enclosure in conjunction with a natively supported Radeon card (listed in the tables below). Hot unplugging needs more work because I encountered system crashes when removing the eGPU.
|AKiTiO HOT |
350 | 550 | 350D
| Asus XG |
XG Station 2
|Included GPU1||✖|| ✖ | ✖ | RX580||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||RX570|
|Price US$||$245||$249 | $349 | $699||$300||$300||$329||$399||$550||$500||$599|
|Max PCIe bandwidth||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps||32Gbps|
|PSU max power||400W||350W | 550W | 350W ||500W||500W||330W||550W||680W||500W||220W|
|GPU max power3||375W||300W | 375W | 225W||300W||375W||300W||375W||500W||375W||–|
|Power delivery (PD)4||15W||15W | 87W | 60W||60W||60W||15W||87W||100W||65W||45W|
|TB3 USB-C ports5||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Ports max bandwidth5||–||–||5Gbps||5Gbps||10Gbps||5Gbps||5Gbps||5Gbps||–|
|USB3.0 ports (+C type)5||✖||✖||4+1||4+1||0 ||5||4||4||✖|
|Other ports||✖||✖||✖||✖||USB-C 3.1 ||✖||USB-B 3.0||✖||3xDP,HDMI|
|Size (in/mm, LxWxH)|
[ visual comparison ]
|16.85 x 5.71 x 8.94|
428 x 145 x 227
|13.38 x 7.25 x 8.00|
340 x 185 x 202
|15.75 x 7.87 x 7.87|
400 x 200 x 200
|15.75 x 6.77 x 9.53|
400 x 172 x 242
|14.76 x 4..21 x 8.07|
375 x 107 x 205
|12.99 x 6.42 x 8.46|
330 x 163 x 215
|17.95 × 6.22 x 10.94|
456 x 158 x 278
|13.38 x 4.13 x 8.60|
334 x 105 x 218
|6.00 x 2.00 x 5.12 |
152 x 51 x 130
|Max GPU len (in/cm)||12.60 / 32.0||12.20/31.0||11.42/29.0||12.20 / 31.0||12.24/31.1 ||13.00 / 33.0||12.20 / 31.0||11.81/30.0||–|
|Weight (kg/lb)||4.90/10.78||3.20/7.10||5.50/12.10||~3.60/7.92||?? ||3.60/7.92||5.10/11.22||4.95/10.89||2.38/5.25|
|Updated firmware6||B1-25+4.3.3✔||25.2 | 25.2 | 25.1 ✔||25.25✔||25.101✔||✔||25.1✔||v25 ✔||26.1 ✔||25.1 ✔|
|TB3 cable length (cm)7||50||50||50||50||150||50||50||50||50|
Among the changes are proper identification of Radeon Vega and RX Polaris graphics cards in the table below. We received confirmation from forum members that clamshell mode works in this macOS [17E139j] build. The Displays tab in About this Mac now shows the correct handling of displays; dGPU powers the internal display while eGPU powers the external monitor. One finer detail is the Type column in System Information » Graphics/Displays. An eGPU is categorized appropriately as “External GPU” in 10.13.4.
For Radeon Vega eGPU users, this macOS update also resolves the high fan speed issue. The loud fan noise due to high idle speed was introduced in 10.13.2 and remains an issue in 10.13.3 for Vega graphics cards. Overall, 10.13.4 is shaping up to be a great software update to High Sierra. Let us know your eGPU experience with 10.13.4 beta in the comment section.
The typical development period for a macOS High Sierra update is around two months from the first beta to final release. Given it’s almost the end of January, Apple will likely introduce external graphics card functionality to the public with 10.13.4 in early spring 2018. My guess is Apple will not have its own eGPU enclosure at launch. There will be macOS-certified eGPU enclosures from vendors. Unless you buy a macOS-certified external GPU solution, AppleCare will not be able to provide technical support.
Many eGPU.io members have contributed their knowledge and findings about external graphics over the past year. Our forums have served as a makeshift support group during the development of Thunderbolt external graphics in general and macOS in specific. We remain committed to seeing eGPU go mainstream. Here are some valuable resources for eGPU users with unsupported graphics cards in High Sierra:
- Mac_editor: PurgeWrangler to use TB1/2 Macs in 10.13.4
- Goalque: automate-eGPU.kext to enable 17 AMD GPUs
- Yifanlu: NVDIAEGPUSupport to enable Nvidia eGPUs
- Mac_editor: purge-nvda to use AMD eGPU on Macs with Nvidia dGPU
|Natively Supported GPUs in High Sierra|
|Radeon Vega||Radeon Ellesmere||Radeon Baffin|
|Pro WX 9100||Pro WX 7100||Pro WX 5100|
|Vega Frontier Edition||RX 580||Pro WX 4100|
|RX Vega 64 Liquid||RX 570||RX 560|
|RX Vega 64||RX 480||RX 560D|
|RX Vega 56||RX 470||RX 460|
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