MacBook Pro 2011 15" + eGPU
I have a MacBook Pro 15″ early 2011 (2.0 GHz) running OS X El Capitan. Recently my discrete gpu died, but I fixed this by forcing my mac to use intel integrated gpu at all times (see: Macrumors forum post). By using the integrated gpu, my mac can not be used with external displays. I am therefore considering buying a sonnet eGPU to fix the problem, but i am not sure if it is worth it or what components will work with my setup.
GPUs I am considering: AMD RX580, GTX 1070/1080, GTX 980ti.
How I plan my setup to function: Mac ——(Thunderbolt 1)——> Sonnet eGPU ——(DisplayPort)——> Monitor
Question 1) In terms of compatibility with macOS: should I buy AMD or will NVIDIA work fine with minor tweaks? (note: I have removed all AMD drivers to deactivate my dedicated AMD HD6490m GPU, and this could probably make a RX580 not work properly?)
Question 2) Will I be able to run NVIDIA Pascal cards (10xx) with El Capitan, or do I have to upgrade to macOS Sierra or High Sierra?
Question 3) Can I run NVIDIA Maxwell cards (9xx) with El Capitan (by using NVIDIA Web Driver)?
All responses will be appreciated, feel free to reply with any experiences you might’ve encountered! Thanks in advance.
Answer 1: The RX 580 drivers are available from Sierra onwards I think. I am well aware of the stuff on that forum by the way, and have written stuff there as @mac_4eva (with regards to the same application to NVIDIA cards). On the other hand, if you plan on using El Capitan only – an NVIDIA eGPU should work fine for you with automate-eGPU.sh (see the Software section on the forum), but read on here.
Answer 2: Only Sierra 10.12.4 or later support Pascal drivers, so no.
Answer 3: I believe there is support, yes. The script should manage this for you.
Hmm I won’t consider nVidia card unless You need Cuda. AMD cards are supported out of box, no need to install any drivers. In not too distand future next Mac OS update will officially support AMD egpu’s. First question – how it will work with older TB1 and TB2 macs. And other question – will eGPU work with your workaround thing that forces to use iGPU. There could be possibly be some software conflict (don’t know just guessing) I have tried nVidia eGPU on my 2015 TB2 mac and each time I had to log out before my eGPU started working. Other downside for nVidia card – after each update you need to update drivers.
MBP 15' mid 2015
Thanks for the responses!
I am aware that AMD might be better compatibility-wise in general for Macs. However I am worried that there will be problems with an AMD card in my eGPU because I need the AMD drivers to be deactivated for my mac to function. In this case an NVIDIA card might be the safest bet here, although my workaround solution to use iGPU all the time can cause conflicts with eGPU no matter what card brand I use, I am not sure if an eGPU will work at all (not even in windows perhaps?).
I will try to avoid updating my OS version, as this can brick my computer again. I do therefore believe a 9xx card is the best choice for me since there are drivers for them in El Capitan. I will do some more research on this, and if I can update safely to OS X Sierra I will consider buying a 10xx card.
It has come to my attention that a Core i7 2635QM clocked at 2.0 GHz might bottleneck the rather powerful GTX1080. Would you believe that the 1080 would deliver a noticeable improvement over the 1070 with my setup? (Is it worth the 100$ Premium?)
I plan on using 3440×1440 resolution and programs like X-Plane and FCPX.
As the retailer have a 1070 box in stock, I am considering to switch to the 1070 and get it instantly rather than waiting 1+ months for the 1080 box and it will be cheaper.
What would you recommend, 1070 or 1080?