State of External GPU in macOS - High Sierra 10.13.4 Update  

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theitsage
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January 25, 2018 12:37 am  

Feb. 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. This button remains on the menu bar once you eject the eGPU, but its status shows “no removable GPU.”

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.

macOS Compatible
eGPU Enclosures

AKiTiO HOT
Node
Sonnet Breakaway
350 | 550 | 350D
HP Omen
Accelerator
PowerColor
Devil Box
Asus XG
Station Pronew
Mantiz
Venus

Asus ROG
XG Station 2
Razer
Core V2new
Sonnet Breakaway
Puck
Appearance
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 location-type2
internal-SFX internal-SFX internal-ATX internal-fATX external-AC internal-SFX internal-fATX internal-fATX external-AC
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
USB-C controller
TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83
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
Ethernet port5
SATA port5
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
Vendor page link link link link link link link link link
Review link link link user preview link link link link
Implementations
link link link link link link link link

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:

 

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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Edited: 7 days  ago

Numerous implementation guides


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mac_editor
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January 25, 2018 2:36 am  

If the eGPU is not ejected properly, it typically logs out like on previous builds. The crashes you might be experiencing may be resolved in subsequent builds of 10.13.4. I have not tested the ejection mechanism myself, but in general it’s a great sign. 

Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX480@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10
Purge-NVDA - Enable AMD eGPUs on NVDA Macs on High Sierra


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ikir
 ikir
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January 25, 2018 4:08 am  

That’s great!

eGPU.it | LG 29" curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2017 touchbar i7 3.5Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD + Mantiz Venus with AMD Radeon RX 580


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Eightarmedpet
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January 25, 2018 9:46 am  

I just updated to 10.13.2 and noticed the way login is handled when connected to my LG 5K Ultrafine is changed. Previously the login would appear on the MacBook screen and the LG would remain blank until desktop but now the boot loading bar and the login appears on the LG display, I wonder if this has an effect on eGPU usage? Might switch my 1070 out for my 580 to see…

Also, the backend of this forum/site is playing up, when I authorise reddit login I get someone else account, and it’s defo not a mistake my side.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + GTX1060@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070@32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10


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nanoBit
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January 25, 2018 5:02 pm  

Does anybody know if they also made some changes in bootcamp support of eGPUs yet?

Setup: MacBook Pro late-2016 13" non-Touchbar; macOS 10.3.3 & Windows 10 Bootcamp; Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350 with a Zotac GTX1080 AMP! Edition
(StarWars Battlefront 2 in 4k resolution and ultra high graphics on a device which has a lower Geekbench score than my iPhone, yay!)


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marcjoe
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Morv
 Morv
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January 25, 2018 7:50 pm  

I thought the RX 550 wasn’t supported on macOS? I was being told this in the thread over here https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/hp-omen-boot-from-ext-ssd/ and therefore bought an RX 560…

Macbook Pro 15" 2016 + HP Omen Accelerator(coming shortly) + RX 560 4G


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theitsage
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January 25, 2018 7:51 pm  

I will test Boot Camp Windows this weekend and report back.

Numerous implementation guides


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jefniro
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January 25, 2018 8:44 pm  

“a small step for a man a giant leap for mankind” someone from another planet said this if I remember well… :o))

 

My XFX RX480 Black edition now is official on my system, MacBookPro Late 2016 + Akitio Node!!!

 

rx480

 

Now it’s plug&play…almost..

EUREKA!!

late-2016 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + XFX-RX480@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS & Win10


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mac_editor
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January 25, 2018 9:05 pm  
Posted by: Morv

I thought the RX 550 wasn’t supported on macOS? I was being told this in the thread over here https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/hp-omen-boot-from-ext-ssd/ and therefore bought an RX 560…

It was not supported until macOS 10.13.4 B1 released yesterday. 

Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX480@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10
Purge-NVDA - Enable AMD eGPUs on NVDA Macs on High Sierra


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Morv
 Morv
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January 25, 2018 9:24 pm  

Ah ok. Thanks.

Macbook Pro 15" 2016 + HP Omen Accelerator(coming shortly) + RX 560 4G


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Thiago Bolinho Laranjeira
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January 25, 2018 9:32 pm  

do you guys think that by the end of this release Nvidia will be fully supported as the amds?


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Rycco
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January 25, 2018 10:21 pm  

That would be a dream coming true. I believe going forward Apple will want to achieve this. Considering GPUs are being used on AR, deep learning, AI, crypto mining and gaming, Apple probably don’t want to limit their eGPU support to AMD only. Specially with Nvidia being ahead on GPUs architecture. Consider that they went from “we don’t recognize eGPUs” to “here we have a poor AMD eGPU support and it is getting better on spring 2018”. But this Nvidia support could take a while. If we’re getting AMD support this year, I would predict Nvidia support for next year.

mid-2017 15" Macbook Pro RP555 + GTX1080i@32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS & Win10


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mac_editor
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January 25, 2018 11:03 pm  
Posted by: Thiago Bolinho Laranjeira

do you guys think that by the end of this release Nvidia will be fully supported as the amds?

I personally don’t expect any official NVIDIA support with High Sierra. At the earliest, perhaps macOS 10.14 (with broken support as with 10.13 w/ AMD) I think. 10.13.4 is a relatively major release, and the next few builds should just be refinements if the past is any indication.

Edited: 4 weeks  ago

Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX480@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10
Purge-NVDA - Enable AMD eGPUs on NVDA Macs on High Sierra


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Thiago Bolinho Laranjeira
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January 26, 2018 1:02 am  

by the way its possible to accelerate both screens internal and external by using a headless hdmi dummy plugged in the egpu (aorus 1080) for accelerate the internal screen using the spetacle app trick and also with the DisplayPort cable connected both on egpu and external screen.

that way I could power and accelerate on both screens with the egpu? Mac 10.13.2


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January 26, 2018 9:39 pm  

I’m on the new BETA with Sonnet Breakaway and RX 580. I see the icon but still not showing on the About Mac screen… Do I need to run any scripts? 2017 MBP 13″ Touch Bar


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theitsage
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January 26, 2018 9:44 pm  

@mikey_schreurs Does it show “Eject GPU” when you click on the icon? If so your RX 580 eGPU is working. The reason it’s not showing up in About this Mac » Overview is due to the internal GPU powering the display. Hook up an external display and set that as the primary display and you’ll see the RX 580 eGPU in About this Mac.

Numerous implementation guides


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(@mikey_schreurs)
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January 26, 2018 9:52 pm  

@theitsage It does show Eject GPU. About Mac still not showing but under displays it does show the RX 580. I have the laptop lid open. And… trying to figure out how to attach a pic in the post to help.

 

Cinema4D is showing the card and After Effects is showing it but with 0 MB.


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(@mikey_schreurs)
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January 26, 2018 9:55 pm  

Hot damn it just updated and it shows now. I mirrored the displays goofing around and then turned off mirror display – there it is. Thanks for helping! Should’ve said that earlier.


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theitsage
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January 26, 2018 9:56 pm  

My guess is many apps don’t have support for eGPU in macOS yet. Run GeekBench 4 to confirm whether your RX 580 eGPU is functional.

Numerous implementation guides


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goalque
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January 26, 2018 10:13 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

My guess is many apps don’t have support for eGPU in macOS yet. Run GeekBench 4 to confirm whether your RX 580 eGPU is functional.

True. Apps need to be updated too.

“Understand how external GPUs take macOS graphics to a whole new level and see how to prepare your apps to take advantage of their full potential.”

Start watching at 28:30

https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/603/

automate-eGPU.shapple_set_os.efi
--
late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + Vega64@32Gbps-TB3 (Netstor HL23T) + macOS & Win10
late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + GTX980/RX580@32Gbps-TB3 (Netstor HL23T) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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jonwatso
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January 27, 2018 4:45 am  

Ahh! Finally! Such a superficial thing, but It will be nice to see my graphics card reporting correctly.

2017 15" MacBook Pro RP560 i7 3.1Ghz - 16GB RAM
Akitio Node + Sapphire RX480 8GB (Reference Card)
Dell 4K DELL P2715Q Display


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dvogiatzis
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January 27, 2018 2:40 pm  

How is the Aorus Gaming Box 1070/1080 performing under the update 10.13.4 beta?


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theitsage
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January 27, 2018 3:24 pm  

@dvogiatzis Nvidia has not been making web drivers for beta builds in a while. We will have to wait until the final release of 10.13.4 to find out. My guess is Nvidia eGPU in macOS remains the same; requiring a workaround in conjunction with web drivers. 

Numerous implementation guides


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drwnsm
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January 28, 2018 11:56 am  

I’m encountering black screen on the external display using an RX 560 and Akitio Node Lite on an MBP 2017 :/
But eject GPU, and device infos are working fine. Anyone else facing this issue?


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theitsage
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January 28, 2018 4:25 pm  

@drwnsm I experienced black screen on the external monitor with this build too. It’s the first beta so there are plenty of bugs.

Numerous implementation guides


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jya
 jya
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January 28, 2018 4:26 pm  

Went to the beta as I couldn’t stand the noise fan with the Vega 64.

All working perfectly here. And no more noise.


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ikir
 ikir
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January 28, 2018 7:17 pm  

Try to reboot without unplugging it

eGPU.it | LG 29" curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2017 touchbar i7 3.5Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD + Mantiz Venus with AMD Radeon RX 580


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rawweb
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January 30, 2018 4:00 am  

@theitsage, any changes with internal acceleration? Those of us on thunderbolt type displays/imac’s etc…


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Mymantiz_John
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January 30, 2018 6:25 am  

I’ve tested the Vega 64, Vega 56, RX580, 570, 480, 470 with 2016, 2017 MBP 13 and 15″ w/o any issue.

Fan is not noisy and eject Bottom didn’t cause any system freeze.

even more, it had been solved the Vega 64 HDMI audio output issue. 

The only issue is the performance of the Vega 64. should be have further tuning in next release. 

Mantiz: ShopFacebookTwitter


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theitsage
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January 30, 2018 5:03 pm  

@rawweb No internal display acceleration by eGPU in this build.

Numerous implementation guides


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(@dmitry_matora)
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February 1, 2018 5:33 am  
Posted by: mac_editor
Posted by: Morv

I thought the RX 550 wasn’t supported on macOS? I was being told this in the thread over here https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/hp-omen-boot-from-ext-ssd/ and therefore bought an RX 560…

It was not supported until macOS 10.13.4 B1 released yesterday. 

How do you know?

I’ve installed 10.13.4 B1 and I don’t see any mention of 0x699F1002 in kexts


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(@adrian_robison)
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February 1, 2018 6:27 am  

I have a mid-2017 iMac max spec with a Radeon 580 8GB GPU inside. I want to buy the Sonnet Breakaway Box and run an eGPU in tandem with my iMac. Ideally I would get the same Radeon 580 for my eGPU and theoretically get twice the power out of my GPU (running internal and external GPU’s in parallel). I confirmed this with customer Sonnet’s customer service but then I saw a YouTube video of someone who works at Sonnet saying something completely different. He says that when you plug in the Breakaway Box, the internal GPU shuts down and the eGPU takes over. Check out the video at 4:35 here:

So which is it?!? Will adding an eGPU give me half the render times on Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve? Or will adding an eGPU just make my computer’s internal GPU shut off rendering the entire investment pointless? (because I would be shutting down one Radeon 580 to switch to an external Radeon 580)

So confused right now…. Can someone shed some light on this?

Thanks,
Adrian


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psonice
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February 1, 2018 9:22 am  

@adrian_robison Both GPUs will work – generally, if you have an external monitor connected to the eGPU the internal GPU drives the internal display and the external GPU drives the external one. If not, the external GPU is just sitting there, available to software that can use it, but otherwise not doing much.

For software, it’s possible to select one GPU or the other, or to use both. However, most software will just use the default GPU, support for multiple is rare. If Premiere and DaVinci support rendering on multiple GPUs then you should get a performance boost.

It might not be 2x though! Software overhead means it’s rarely 2x in practice, and bandwidth over thunderbolt is much lower than PCIe. It depends heavily on workload, and how bandwidth sensitive that workload is, so actual results may be close to 2x faster, or it might be less than 1.1x if the GPU spends most of its time waiting for data to transfer.

So, you’ll need to do some research 🙂

Also note: if those apps support multi-GPU rendering but require CUDA for it, that setup won’t work, you’ll need an Nvidia GPU (in which case only the eGPU will be used). 


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theitsage
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February 1, 2018 2:18 pm  

This is my oversight. There’s no PCI ID 699F like you said so RX 550 is out of the table.

Numerous implementation guides


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mac_editor
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February 1, 2018 3:24 pm  
Posted by: Dmitry Matora
Posted by: mac_editor
Posted by: Morv

I thought the RX 550 wasn’t supported on macOS? I was being told this in the thread over here https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/hp-omen-boot-from-ext-ssd/ and therefore bought an RX 560…

It was not supported until macOS 10.13.4 B1 released yesterday. 

How do you know?

I’ve installed 10.13.4 B1 and I don’t see any mention of 0x699F1002 in kexts

That’s my bad, I thought @itsage confirmed it – apologies… it seems that is not the case as you have correctly pointed out.

Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX480@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10
Purge-NVDA - Enable AMD eGPUs on NVDA Macs on High Sierra


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