State of External GPU in macOS - High Sierra 10.13.4 Update
Really frustrating how support for some tech advances falls off so quickly. Long live usb 2.0!
eGPU is one of the very few selling features of Thunderbolt. Apple has committed to Thunderbolt since 2011. So have a lot of Mac users in the past 6 years. If macOS external GPU feature was to exclude Thunderbolt 1 & 2 Macs it would leave a very bad taste in loyal customers' mouths.
It's beta software, there's nothing anywhere saying it's depreciated/unsupported (I've read the release notes). I'm putting it down to "It's beta software, things are broken".
I don't buy the "business reasons" either. Potential backlash from angry customers vs. selling a few upgrades? If they wanted to sell more upgrades they'd find a reason to drop support for more old macs rather than supporting stuff sold 8 years ago. There are a lot more 8 year old macs than TB1/2 Macs with an eGPU.
Guys, please keep in mind that supporting eGPU in any OS requires a lot of effort. It is the effort of implementing such support, and ongoing cost of supporting ALL the platforms a company declares as supported. We all expect companies to continue to innovate, but all companies have limited resources (even rich ones like Apple). If they to support everything under the moon, that will definitely slow down progress at best and in some cases is not even possible.
If you look at both graphics vendors, at some point the remove older GPUs from the current drivers and provide only legacy drivers (fairly static)
With that said, you guys can certainly appreciate that AMD XConnect (Windows 10 only) will work on TBT1/TBT2 even though it is not officially supported (assuming that you can get Bootcamp to work)
I understand people's thinking in the sense of if we asked ourselves, "when would be the purely logical time to disable TB and TB2 host support," the answer would be, "in the 10.13.0 public launch release of High Sierra." However the cycles are not synchronized here, the "1.0" version of Apple's eGPU support hasn't happened yet. I think of eGPU as being a "product within a product," like APFS was when it was first introduced. Looking at it that way, disabling this feature now isn't any more or less logical than any other time prior to official release.
itsage: IMO the speed of Thunderbolt storage devices and the ability to carry video signals natively at the same time (vs. other connector types) is easily the #1 selling point and the main "purpose" of TB existing in general. eGPU is certainly an important one going forward but Apple has never had a problem doing stuff that makes customers angry. They do it all the time and without apology, because they can. If we were talking about an iPhone feature I would say you have more of a point, since that's where most of the money flows from.
But whether you're talking about Final Cut Pro, the trashcan Mac, the Finder, or any number of other things, the phrase "Apple knows best," sticks around for a reason. When it comes to niche stuff like this, they simply don't care if a bunch of people get ticked off. The reason the replacement for the 2013 Mac Pro might not show up until 2019 (!!) exemplifies that perfectly. And we STILL don't know that it will actually be what all those angry people wanted from the 2013 model; would anyone be that surprised if Apple built a solution that still limited people's hardware choices somewhat?
To bring this back around to my original point, it's that 2013 Mac Pro that probably drives some of this decision to support (or not) TB2 Macs... because if they give trashcans users eGPU, they take away the #1 incentive to buy the next Mac Pro. They effectively solve the biggest problem for customers and at a much lower cost. And they definitely wouldn't disable TB2 on only one Mac, but leave it active for all the others (talk about creating a backlash). So at best I think they might allow TB2 support for 1 release cycle and then take it away when the new Mac Pro arrives (IOW offer it as an interim solution).
I should be clear that I have no inside info, this is just one man's opinion. And it may happen that next beta build some people with TB2 Macs might be able to use it again, but eventually I think this is going to be a wholly TB3 solution. If I'm proven wrong by Apple, that would be great news.
Bring peace to your computing life: stop trying to understand Apple.
Public beta 2 and updated Developer Beta 2 is out. TB2 or older users on eGPU should avoid it. No changes with this new build on those configurations.
Updated to public beta 2, I will test this weekend but no new issue so far
Reporting in here, TB2 enclosure via TB3 adapter on a 2016 MBP still works great, as far as hot-plugging is concerned.
Unchanged from beta 1 where attempting to "properly" eject the eGPU causes a kernel panic. I've had more luck simply closing apps that are known to be running on the eGPU and then hot-unplugging the thing.
Annoyingly, plugging the eGPU to the laptop with its lid already closed and asleep causes the internal display to initialize as well. It requires opening the lid and then closing it again to disable the internal display.
Filed bug reports for all of these already as well.
There's an update to 10.13.4 Beta 2 yesterday. The first one on Feb 6th has build number 17E150f. The one came out yesterday is 17E150g. Anyone has time to try it out with a non-TB3 Mac and report back?
@p-mac Thank you for letting us know TB2 enclosure «» TB3 Mac still works. The compatibility issue in this build then lies with the non-TB3 Macs.