Thunderbolt eGPU for Mac - 2017 Update - macOS Sierra
After much time spent comparing, I've finally found this post... And thank you for sharing!
Judging by the Heaven/Valley benchmarks, it looks like the CPU is not as much of a "bottleneck" as the ThunderBolt 3 PCIe x4 connection itself can provide.
Is it safe to say that in this scenario, the upgrade from the dual-core 13" model to the quad-core 15" model is not going to yield a higher eGPU performance?
Went out today and exchanged my 15" base model for the 13" with the i7-6567U with 16GB RAM - more comfortable form factor for the same eGPU performance.
I have an Early-2015 MBP 13" (Intel Iris 6100 1536 MB) and want to get an eGPU set up. Because my laptop does not have Thunderbolt 3 ports, I thought I was only limited to Thunderbolt 2 eGPU enclosures. But reading your post, TB3 enclosures (like the Akitio Thunder 3 and Node) seem to work with older Macbooks with TB2 ports with the use of Apple's TB3 to TB2 adapter. I was wondering if the Akitio Thunder 3 or Akitio Node would work for my Macbook Pro with the use of Apple's adapter. If yes, will other TB3 enclosures like the Razer Core work with the adapter?
Small update on UK stock, I ordered my Node on 12th Jan when it was out of stock everywhere in the UK and it has just showed up today (8th Feb) much earlier than I was expecting it.
Will do, waiting on my Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adaptor so I can connect the node to my MacPro, should be here tomorrow.
We still waiting for internal tests, i hope you will have time to make the test and update the table, it will be great!
ϟ AKiTiO Thunder2 + EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC Gaming (macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and Windows 10)
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
✪ mini eGPU ● PCI Express vs. Thunderbolt ● Mac CAN game ● Gaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU
Quick question, does the Akitio firmware updater work on Windows 7? On their website it mentions only windows 10, but I only have a windows 7 ISO. dont want to go through the process of bootcamp if it isnt going to work on 7.
Ok, I've hit a wall. My boot camp install won't see the node. Even with the Intel thunderbolt drivers. Is there something I'm doing wrong?
I'm using this version of the software. When I run the updater I just get a message telling me there is no thunderbolt software installed.
I'm not too worried, It seems that my Node was shipped with the most recent drivers anyway as I am able to get everything working in Mac OS. Akitio also more or less confirmed this to be true for most people getting the device now: https://twitter.com/akitio/status/833488962274545664
Thanks for all the support here! I have three questions:
1) Can I use the Node with a Nvidia GTX 1060 Card on macOS Sierra? I am asking because the mac driver situation doesn't seem to be clear but Nvidia now released their own drivers for mac, I think.
2) Would the same setup in bootcamp windows 10 work?
3) Is it possible to power the LG UltraFine 5K Display with this Setup? Do i just connect both (display and egpu) directly to my mac?
1) nope, no pascal drivers for macOS yet
3) ideally you would want to connect the display to the eGPU (because if you connect it to the laptop directly, the laptop's GPU will drive it)
I have a 2012 i7 Mac Mini running Sierra 10.12.4 and Sonnet IIID expansion chassis. And I have run the popular automated script. I've tried an older GT120 card...no luck...black screen. And no drivers for the 2 ATI cards I have. Wondering what GPU(s) might work for me and stay within the 300w of power limit the chassis has on board. Thanks!
Hello from Berlin and thank you so much for this post and the further insight in the comments. I am a documentary director, in our ongoing project we have just switched to 4K video (Sony a7s II) so my old "mule", the MBP 2011 2,5 GHz with 16GB Ram for the first time EVER reached its limits.
Until yesterday I felt stupid that I still had not bought the new MBP 2016 done it, decision to wait came from the RAM limitation of the current Apple CPUs. Today (April 4) Apple announced that they "will do more for Pro users, which is good to know finally but my film can't wait.
Now after reading all this here, I almost decided to go the eGPU way instead of buying any new hardware. I have just one question that might seem foolish but I want to ask it: I need my MPB to perform better in Final Cut Pro X and with 4K video in general. I know that as to the CPU (i.e. for proxy creation) there are no options to accelerate my "mule". But will an external eGPU card (inside of an Akitio Node) really boost my workflow? And if the answer is generally yes, what graphics card would you recommend for this?
VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR ANSWERS AND FEEDBACK!!!
Hi Dirk vdB,
While an external GPU with a powerful GPU such as R9 Fury/X definitely helps, Thunderbolt 1 connection on your 2011 15″ MBP may be a limiting factor. It does not hurt to try it though because the eGPU setup (AKiTiO Node + R9 Fury) can be used with newer Macs as well.
I tested the AKiTiO Node with both R9 Fury and R9 Fury X on a Mac mini 2011. The CPU in the Mac mini is a lot less powerful. You can see some benchmarks at this post to get an idea whether it’s worth a shot for your workflow.
Thank you ITSAGE for the quick answer. Have looked at the other post, but am not really able to compare the benchmarks there for my purposes (4K Final Cut Pro). I don't want you do have too much a burden to answer my questions - but could you maybe direct me to another website or forum where I could find answers? The R9 Fury costs about 600 -650 Euros in Germany, so together with the Akitio the investment would be around 1000 Euro… THANK YOU!!!
I did check the specs on the implementation's table, and found that you tested the MBP 2011 / 17" with a GTX 980TI. Now what I see on the web is that there are at least two versions (and tons of different types) of that card. I found one on Amazon Germany, it is the ASUS GeForce MATRIX GTX 980TI Platinum 6GB GDDR5 P (the 6GB version), here and a 4GB version here on eBay - now I am more than confused, to be honest, which one to pick…
Dirk VDB: From what I can tell, Apple's software, Final Cut especially, requires/prefers AMD GPUs for hardware acceleration.
I may be wrong, but you may want to look into this before going the nVidia route
Thank you for this great overview. I loved the idea of eGPU from the beginning!
Until now I was happy with my MacBook 15" Late 2013 with a 750m graphics card because I mainly do design stuff.
I recently started with 4k video editing in FCPX and use plugins which heavily rely on GPU power.
Question is: What is the best affordable eGPU for my system? I know that I can't use the internal display of my MacBook since i only have TB2. I use a Dell 4k display anyway.
Any recommendations for us 2013 mac "oldies" with TB enclosure + graphics card?
750M dGPU in these MacBook Pro laptops seems to be a pain to get eGPU going. I’d recommend reading our Mac Thunderbolt Setup forum.
Hi, I have a late-2012 iMac (thunderbolt 2) - is there any way I can connect my machine to thunderbolt 3? Would that be some kind of adapter? Will it work? I know it will decrease transfer speed but I just want to take advantage of the eGPU and I guess choosing usb-c is making the eGPU future proof. Let me know! Thank you!
Yes, TB3 enclosure connectivity using a TB2/TB1 host Mac is possible via the Apple TB3-to-TB2 adapter. See examples.
Just saw your July 17, 2017 update, and am very interested applying the eGPU to my 2017 iMac (27", i7).
Does the signal run from the iMac to the eGPU and back into 27" monitor or does the signal only goes to an extended 2nd monitor? I notice much of the discussion revolves around the Macbooks, but haven't seen much regarding compatibility and usability with USBC enabled iMacs.
I'm going to give this a try either with a Thunderbolt 1 mac mini (2011 / 2012). I intend to purchase the AKiTiO Node for this purpose, but it seems silly to pay too much for a GPU that is going to be throttled by the 10GPS Thunderbolt 1. Which budget graphics card would you recommend for the purpose? I do have a spare Thunderbolt Display that I'd like to use if possible - but otherwise a commodity monitor.
Thanks so much!