Apple Silicon ARM Macs and Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 eGPU
 
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Apple Silicon ARM Macs and Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 eGPU  

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joevt
(@joevt)
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@mac_editor, Rosetta 2 will not run kexts.

 

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@joevt, ah you’re right - this probably means we might indeed be losing AMD support.

 

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John Keates
(@oneplane)
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@mac_editor, seems to be odd that they would have eGPU support but then not support AMD (or Nvidia). Perhaps they will add drivers later? Unless eGPU support now means Xe and Apple Silicon GPUs but that seems a bit wild and unlikely (and we probably would have seen some binaries to support that).

This post was modified 1 month ago

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@oneplane, well, they might just drop eGPU support is what I was alluding to. Otherwise external Apple GPUs do make sense. But again, will they create an x86 driver for their GPU so Mac Pro 2019 could use it? Man this is tricky. I do know that NVIDIA has ARM64 drivers for Linux, and AMD doesn’t do ARM64 drivers AFAIK. I don’t know anymore.

 

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joevt
(@joevt)
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If Thunderbolt can't be used for eGPU for Apple Silicon, there is still the possibility of using other types of accelerator cards like the Apple Afterburner card. And on second thought, if a eGPU cannot be used for displays or gaming, maybe it can still be used to accelerate some tasks.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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I suppose one way forward may be to allow for GPU drivers to be created for the platform via DriverKit - but this would be in stark contrast to Apple's recent aversions to NVIDIA (since Mojave).

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joevt
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@mac_editor, keyword being "allow". Apple "allowed" AMD and Nvidia to make drivers via kext, then Apple stopped allowing Nvidia to make drivers via kext. Now Apple stopped allowing AMD to make drivers via kext for Apple Silicon. No stark contrast here. Just more of the same.

Apple has never made public all the api's required to make a graphics driver (with acceleration). Would they do that for a DriverKit graphics driver api? If not, would Apple at least give the necessary info to AMD and Nvidia? The contrast you speak of would only occur if they gave the info to Nvidia.

 

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@joevt, not sure you understood what I said there. By "allow" I meant creation of 3rd-party GPU drivers. The drivers included in macOS should not be considered 3rd-party at all. So it would be in contrast to existing behavior (which is not allowing 3rd-party drivers) if they allowed it later on via DriverKit.

Posted by: @joevt

Would they do that for a DriverKit graphics driver api?

No one knows except Apple.

Posted by: @joevt

The contrast you speak of would only occur if they gave the info to Nvidia.

NVIDIA did build 3rd-party drivers with full acceleration pre-Mojave. With Mojave, either:

  • NVIDIA wasn't able to build the drivers because Apple redacted information.
  • NVIDIA built the drivers but they weren't approved by Apple.

With respect to the first-party AMD Drivers in macOS, Apple could:

  • Work with AMD on ARM64 drivers (unlikely based on WWDC).
  • Apple could "allow" (same context above) GPU makers to create their own drivers via DriverKit (public API or lend info - whatever).
  • Drop it forever (meaning no eGPU support).

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John Keates
(@oneplane)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

@joevt, Allow is a bit of a strong word. You can always develop your kexts as much as you like. What you mean is that Apple didn't sign the kexts anymore and thus the public would have no easy way of loading them. Doesn't mean you can't write and release driver binaries. Just means that you have to disable kernel protections to load them.

 

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iron_breed
(@ironbreed)
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But wouldn’t focusing on Apple only GPUs kill their professional oriented Mac division completely?

Even if they manage to release a solid GPU, in no way it would be able to compete with AMD and definitely not with Nvidia in their current state.

 

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