State of External GPU in macOS - High Sierra 10.13.4 Update
@john_petrucci It's not looking good for Thunderbolt 1 & 2 Macs. My guess is there are too many variables to ensure a smooth launch so keeping eGPU functionality to only Thunderbolt 3 Macs will take the pressure off tech support.
@itsage it could be unintentional too. Regardless of how we look at it, a computer should not crash on boot if any device is plugged in to any port. If Apple is indeed removing support completely, that should not happen. Only the next builds will tell haha.
Unfortunately, the handwriting has been on the wall with this change. I don't believe it was accidental.
Apple has a strong business interest (and arguably a stability interest) in not supporting Macs with these older Thunderbolt ports. The more they do this the fewer people will upgrade their Macs, opting instead to spend money on GPUs (for which Apple gets no cut) and a $50 adapter (which probably nets them about $35 in profit).
There's every reason to think this is an intentional design limitation. It's a bummer for a lot of people (myself included as I have a TB2 Mac in addition to TB3 Mac), but also not unexpected or hard to understand when you look at it from a business perspective.
Thunderbolt 3 Macs, Sonnet and OWC eGPUs, 4K Displays, etc
Also why not remove the support (TB1 and TB2) already at the first release of High Sierra, why remove it at the end of the final support of Egpu.
@chippy-mcchipset You make fair points, no doubt. It is the traditional Apple way to drop support on older devices. The reasoning behind my thinking that this is unintentional is as follows:
- If Apple wanted to disable older TB devices, it is not complicated to accomplish - a simple override/checks for the Thunderbolt interface would do it. There should not be a kernel panic regardless of the device plugged in to the any Mac. If it is completely disabled, then such panics would not occur.
- Logs clearly show that attempts to mount the GPU and load AMD drivers and its Framebuffer were made - again not a sign of purposefully disabling support.
- 10.13.4 B1 actually improved support on older TB Macs in a sense, and fixed a ton of issues relating to graphics management (my Mac is a prime example).
Point is - it is too unrefined or roundabout way of "disabling" stuff. That's not how it should be done. This is of course only a beta, and perhaps they will works things out and properly disable eGPUs on TB2 or older - or fix it (lol).
"Logs clearly show that attempts to mount the GPU and load AMD drivers and its Framebuffer were made – again not a sign of purposefully disabling support."
@mac_editor: True, hot plugging initiates accelerator successfully. However, then immediately writes "IS BEING DETACHED".
Keep in mind that beta is beta. Let's discuss more when the public build is available.
This is reported in the Release-Notes-DevKit! "PDF APPLE"
"The External Graphics Development Kit is designed for testing high-performance
Metal and VR applications on Mac computers running macOS High Sierra beta. It
can be connected to any Thunderbolt 3 enabled Mac with the included cable, such
as MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 and iMac with Thunderbolt 3. The kit may
work with Thunderbolt 2-enabled Mac computers via a Thunderbolt 2 to
Thunderbolt 3 adapter, but this is an unsupported configuration."
I understand that in the future it will be removed.
Very bad news!