With the release of automate-eGPU.sh v1.0.0 script last week, eGPU for macOS has become a much easier process for all Macs with Thunderbolt connectivity. The next big hurdle was to get the external graphics card to accelerate the internal display in macOS.
One of our forum members, enjoy, showed a clever way to accelerate his MacBook Pro’s internal display with an eGPU in Windows. This trick inspired us to replicate a similar process for macOS. We have great news. You can now force the eGPU to accelerate the internal display in macOS thanks to Goalque’s instructions.
The idea is to have a ghost external display attached to your eGPU. You launch your app on this ghost display and then switch to the viewable internal display using keyboard shortcuts.
A hardware adapter attached to your eGPU’s HDMI or DVI port is required to create a ghost display. The required adapter can be purchased, like the ones we found to work: fit-Headless GS and 4K, NewerTech HDMI Headless, or Headless Ghost; or built like what enjoy did.
macOS eGPU-Accelerated Internal Display How-to:
- Download and run Spectacle
- Download and run DisableMonitor
- Go to macOS System Preferences -> Dock -> Position on screen -> Left (if you arrange your ghost display to the right of the internal display)
- Plug the ghost display adapter in and set it as the primary display
- Set the resolution to match internal screen in DisableMonitor*
- Launch an app such as Valley benchmark from the Dock (there you see its child window)
- Switch “Next Display” or “Previous Display” with a keyboard shortcut (CONTROL OPTION COMMAND LEFT or RIGHT ARROW).
* Spectacle switches apps between displays in both Windowed and Fullscreen mode. Matching the ghost display’s resolution with the internal display using DisableMonitor is therefore recommended.
I’ve had great success replicating Goalque’s process on my Late 2016 13″ MacBook Pro using the fit-Headless GS 4K adapter. Performance takes a hit when the eGPU feeds its signal back into the internal display through the same Thunderbolt 3 connection. However, it’s well worth implementing this solution if having an external display is a no-go for you.
Here’s a youtube video showing this configuration in action:
Here are a couple of screen captures showing Unigine Valley and Heaven running on a Late 2016 13″ MacBook Pro at 1440 x 900 full screen using an AKiTiO Node + GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU.
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