macOS High Sierra launches with official External GPU support

With the launch of High Sierra, millions of Thunderbolt Macs are now capable of hosting an external graphics card. Apple has indicated this feature will be available for mainstream use beginning Spring 2018 for Thunderbolt 3 systems only. However, many Mac computers can make use of this exciting technology today.

 

AMD Radeon eGPU

Officially the Radeon RX 580 is the only supported GPU in High Sierra for external graphics use. This AMD GPU shares its device ID with a few other Polaris siblings (RX 470/480/570), so those GPUs can also work natively as external graphics cards in macOS 10.13. We recently learned Radeon RX Vega cards have native eGPU support in High Sierra as well. This broadens the graphics card selection to at least 8 cards rather than only one. Given the high price and limited availability of RX series cards, many were hoping for High Sierra eGPU compatibility with older AMD graphics cards.

macOS High Sierra External GPU Detected Notification RX Vega 56 macOS High Sierra eGPU support

 

Luckily Goalque, the author of the renowned automated-eGPU script, has been following High Sierra development. He found a workaround to enable external graphics support on an RX 460 in 10.13 through a direct Thunderbolt 3 connection. This same workaround can potentially be replicated on Radeon R9 series GPUs.

Some of the Radeon cards we have been testing are HD 7870, HD 7970, R9 285, R9 390, and RX 460. The Thunderbolt Macs we tried include a 2011 17″ MacBook Pro, 2013 13″ Mac Book Pro, 2013 Mac Pro, 2015 15″ MacBook Pro and 2015 11″ MacBook Air. At the moment, Thunderbolt 2 enclosures work best for Thunderbolt 2 and older Macs. We’re providing early access to Goalque’s workaround to forum members. Please list your eGPU components in the comment section if you’d like to test Goalque’s automate-eGPU.kext for 10.13.

Update: Goalque has released automate-eGPU BETA v0.1.0 for all. This kext workaround enables 17 more AMD graphics card for external graphics use in macOS High Sierra 10.13.

 

Nvidia GeForce eGPU

For Nvidia eGPU users, do not upgrade to High Sierra yet. We’re waiting on Nvidia to release its web drivers and on Apple to enable eGPU support for Nvidia graphics cards. Having the drivers for Nvidia graphics cards in High Sierra is not enough. In order to use a graphics card externally in a Thunderbolt enclosure, macOS has to be able to identify the GPU as IOPCITunnelCompatible amongst other requirements.

From what we gathered, macOS High Sierra native eGPU support for Nvidia cards may take a while. One of our active developers in the eGPU community, Ratasfabi, has been working on his eGPU-enabler app. We’re hoping he can find a workaround for Nvidia eGPU in High Sierra.

Update: Nvidia has released its 10.13 (17A365) compatible web drivers. As we suspected, this has not changed Nvidia eGPU incompatibility in macOS High Sierra.

 

Compatible Enclosures & GPUs

With regards to Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures, the Apple eGPU development kit isn’t the only way to add a compatible external graphics card to your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac. The prerequisite for macOS High Sierra compatibility is an enclosure with the TI83 controller. We prepared this table of compatible eGPU enclosures as well as their pricing and features extract from eGPU.io’s Buyer’s Guide:

 

Thunderbolt 3
Enclosures
AKiTiO
Node
Sonnet Break – new
away Box 350 | 550
HP Omen new
Accelerator
Netstor new
Hercules HL23T

Mantiz
Venus

Appearance
Price US$-release
$276  &  &
$269  & | $349-Q3
$300  &
$342 $399  &
Included GPU
Max PCIe bandwidth 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps
PSU location-type
internal-SFX internal-SFX internal-ATX internal-fATX internal-SFX
PSU max power 400W 350W | 550W
500W 300W 550W
GPU max power
375W 300W | 375W
300W 300W 375W
Power delivery (PD)1
15W 15W | 87W 60W 15W 87W
USB-C controller
TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI83
TB3 USB-C ports45 1 1 1 2 1
Ports max bandwidth5
5Gbps 10Gbps 5Gbps
USB 3.0 ports5
4 5
Ethernet port5
SATA port5
Other port5 USB-C 3.1
Size (in/mm, LxWxH)
[ visual comparison ]

16.85 x 5.71 x 8.94
428 x 145 x 227
13.38 x 7.25 x 8.00
340 x 185 x 202
15.75 x 7.87 x 7.87
400 x 200 x 200
14.60 x 4.30 x 7.87
371 x 110 x 200
12.99 x 6.42 x 8.46
330 x 163 x 215
Max GPU len (in/cm)
12.60 / 32.0 12.20/31.0 11.42/29.0 12.60/32.0
13.00 / 33.0
Weight (kg/lb) 4.90/10.78 3.20/7.10 5.50/12.10 2.70/5.94
3.60/7.92
Updated firmware6 B1-25+4.3.3 ✔ 25.2✔ 25.25 25.1✔ 25.1 ✔
Vendor page link link link link link
Review link link link link link
Implementations
link link link link link

 

Next is to pair the appropriate graphics card for your eGPU build. Radeon RX Polaris 10/20 are a safe bet due to their native support in High Sierra. Drivers for the Radeon RX Vega series are currently under development thanks to the iMac Pro. These powerful graphics cards need an enclosure with at least a 550W power supply. At the moment, we recommend the RX Vega 56 over its more power-hungry brother, the RX Vega 64.​

RX Vega RX Polaris
RX Vega 64 Liquid RX 580
RX Vega 64 Silver RX 570
RX Vega 64 RX 480
RX Vega 56 RX 470

 

Closing Thoughts

The release of external graphics support in macOS 10.13 is a welcome and much-anticipated change in strategy from Apple. While we wish Apple had enabled support for more graphics cards, we understand there are resource constraints and compatibility challenges with older Macs and GPUs. macOS High Sierra is a pivotal release. It sets the foundation for further development of many exciting technologies on the Mac platform in the coming years.

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92 Comments on "macOS High Sierra launches with official External GPU support"

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Eightarmedpet
Member

Thoroughly excited by this… just ordered a breakaway box as I have decided I don’t like the messy cables and external PSU of my mini eGPU set up in a Thunder3 (that and the Ti82 issues).

It’s too much to ask for, but bootcamp support would be a nice little surprise…

ikir
Member

Yeah party time! Now lets hope the RX Vega driver mature enough to be usable 😀

Aggiestudd07
Member

Does anyone know when nvidia will release web drivers for High Sierra 17a365?

simonasher
Member

About to update to High Sierra, running a pretty high performing Akitio Node + 1080ti  CUDA setup running Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve mostly. Any likely performance boost or hurdles I would run into upgrading? Egpu may be detected easier, but might need to wait for Nvidia to release a web driver update, or is that a distant and unfortunate wish?

goalque
Admin
Posted by: ikir Yeah party time! Now lets hope the RX Vega driver mature enough to be usable 😀 In the mean time, you can pick up a card from older AMD families. Apple has quietly improved them over the last couple of years, and you will be surprised how mature they are.  Posted by: theitsage We’re providing early access to Goalque’s workaround to forum members. Please list your eGPU components in the comment section if you’d like to test Goalque’s automate-eGPU.kext for 10.13. automate-eGPU.kext makes most of old AMDs “hot pluggable”, showing “External GPU Detected” notification. Surprise removal works… Read more »
Guest

imac 5k late 2014, i7, m295x, Sonnet Breakaway box 35 regular, Saphire HD7970 reference
I want to try it before buying a vega

ikir
Member

@goalque
awesome thanks!  I don’t remover if macOS has drivers for R9 270 290 too
ps: which version of Hotman use Metal and have an integrated benchmark?

vesper8
Member

ah shoot.. so you mean to say my R9 Nano won’t work out of the box on High Sierra? =/ I thought it would
For some reason I was never able to get it to work in Sierra either.. but it works perfectly in Windows 10
I guess I’ll upgrade anyway.. it should be supported sooner or later

P.S. I would like to test the new automate-eGPU.sh
My specs are MBPr 15in late-2013 w/ 750m + TB3-to-TB2 adapter + Aorus Gaming Box w/ R9 Nano

Adgar
Member

Hi, my setup is mac mini 2012, atikio thunder2 and AMD ITX RX 570. Can I upgrade to High Sierra or wait for future updates? egpu works very well with Sierra 12.10.6 and I would not miss this benefit with high sierra. Sorry for my English 🙂

Guest

i have mac mini 2011. I upgrade to High Sierra. eGPU can works? what to buy graphic card?Please to make tutorial to full setup in Youtube. Sorry for my English.

goalque
Admin

The kext works also through Apple’s TB3-TB2 adapter, so you should be able to use TB3 enclosures listed on the first post but this has not been tested comprehensively.

R9 Nano is not supported but there are other cards that can be added.

@ikir:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/236870/HITMAN

“Please note: HITMAN for macOS will launch with support for AMD graphics cards only. We hope to announce more details regarding support for Nvidia and Intel graphics cards shortly.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_(API)

Invoker
Member

Why Asus ROG XG Station 2 is not on the list?

alfyrx8
Member

Hello, I would like to test the new automate-egpu.sh as well.  
My set up is a 2017 Imac 5k , I7, RP 580, and my EGPU is a 1080ti in a Sonnet T3 box. 

diogodasilva
Member

Any news about internal display acceleration on High Sierra ?

goalque
Admin
Posted by: diogodasilva Any news about internal display acceleration on High Sierra ? What do you mean by “internal display acceleration” technically? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ19jDGRFBA The pixels on your internal screen are displayed by either iGPU or dGPU.  What if the user wants to run the game accelerated by the iGPU/dGPU while he waits for eGPU rendering task to finish in the background? macOS can’t switch to eGPU automatically as it does between the iGPU and dGPU. In the Metal world, the programmer has to make a decision which GPU to use, and once selected, it doesn’t change on the fly. MTLCreateSystemDefaultDevice()… Read more »
diogodasilva
Member

I Mean for example: use the eGPU for working in Davinci Resolve/ Final Cut/ Premiere on a MacBook without having and external display connected and have the software use the eGPU for processing power instead of the dGPU.

goalque
Admin
Posted by: alfyrx8

Hello, I would like to test the new automate-egpu.sh as well.  

My set up is a 2017 Imac 5k , I7, RP 580, and my EGPU is a 1080ti in a Sonnet T3 box. 

Sorry, only older AMD cards will be accepted. And it is automate-eGPU.kext 🙂

vesper8
Member

R9 Nano is not supported 

Is it because it’s too old? Was it supported in Sierra? Do think it’s only a matter of time for High Sierra?

goalque
Admin
Posted by: vesper8

R9 Nano is not supported 

Is it because it’s too old? Was it supported in Sierra? Do think it’s only a matter of time for High Sierra?

It was already supported by the script, but not with full CUs. The acceleration part seems to be missing in High Sierra. Will let you know, if there is a workaround.

Keep in mind that my kext is just a workaround for older AMD cards, Apple can change this at any time. I guess Apple will tell us, when more cards are officially supported.

goalque
Admin

Yep, this is a common issue with many apps because developers have not updated their apps to be eGPU compatible. They should offer an option to choose eGPU in the settings. Some apps offer this option, others stop looking further when they see that a dGPU is already present.

Guest

@goalque
Will the automate.sh still help getting my eGPU recognised and working in Bootcamp if I have High Sierra?

Enclosure: Akitio Thunder2
GPU: EVGA GTX 1050 Ti
Bootcamp: Windows 10
MacBook Pro 13″ 2015

Also is it true that eGPU works better with Windows 8.1 than 10?

Rycco
Member

Posted by: Ramael Odisho
@goalque
Will the automate.sh still help getting my eGPU recognised and working in Bootcamp if I have High Sierra?
Enclosure: Akitio Thunder2
GPU: EVGA GTX 1050 Ti
Bootcamp: Windows 10
MacBook Pro 13″ 2015
Also is it true that eGPU works better with Windows 8.1 than 10?

In bootcamp it still works. MacOS is the problem here.

alfyrx8
Member

Posted by: goalque

Posted by: alfyrx8
Hello, I would like to test the new automate-egpu.sh as well.  
My set up is a 2017 Imac 5k , I7, RP 580, and my EGPU is a 1080ti in a Sonnet T3 box. 

Sorry, only older AMD cards will be accepted. And it is automate-eGPU.kext 🙂

NP at all, and thanks for all your hard work. 

goalque
Admin
Posted by: alfyrx8

NP at all, and thanks for all your hard work. 

Thanks. I am in the process of making a GUI installer.

Eightarmedpet
Member

If you need any help on visuals for the GUI installer feel free to give me a shout as I am a UI Designer (clients have included: Sony, Samsung, Redbull, HSBC) and would love to contribute to the community in some way.

ikir
Member

Posted by: goalque

Posted by: alfyrx8
NP at all, and thanks for all your hard work. 

Thanks. I am in the process of making a GUI installer.

You’re great! Can you also publish a list of supported GPU? Maybe I can get one cheap off eBay and use it until Vega drivers mature

Mkluvin1515
Member

@goalque Any hope for an RX 560? Works like a charm w/ my Akitio Node in Sierra(10.12.6). I was extremely disappointed when I upgraded to High Sierra only to find a black screen. I bought it in June when Apple announced Polaris card support for egpu

goalque
Admin
At this stage it’s an experimental, unsigned kext and the installer is just a component package without a logo. I will be in touch if I need help, thanks! A download link to early access build will be sent to a selected group of members on this thread, probably in the beginning of the next week. Impossible to say for sure which cards will work. HD 7970, HD 7870, R9 285, R9 390 and RX 460 are already confirmed to work with a TB2 Mac and if you happen to have one of these, you will be selected. Some cards… Read more »
Mkluvin1515
Member

@goalque appreciate it! Just wanted to check in on your progress. Anything I can provide to help?

goalque
Admin

@tbl777: As the news article explains, the RX 580 is officially supported by Apple. It is hot pluggable.

tbl777
Member

goalque
I mean tb3 with macbook(tb3) is officical supported by apple, but tb2 with macbook(tb2) also supported by apple with hot-plug?
 
tb2 is different with tb3 in various softwares and hardwares…

goalque
Admin
Posted by: tbl777

goalque

I mean tb3 with macbook(tb3) is officical supported by apple, but tb2 with macbook(tb2) also supported by apple with hot-plug?

TB2 Macs/enclosures are not officially supported, but your configuration with a RX 580 is hot-pluggable.

tbl777
Member

@goalque
Thanks!
I will try tomorrow and post pictures~

dkgeorge
Member

Please, could anyone confirm if any of the supported enclosures can fit a Liquid Cooled RX Vega 64 with no major workarounds to get it all in it?

tbl777
Member

You need purchase a third-party tb3 enclosure such as akitio tb3 and diy a metal-box with a 12cm-fan in the front or the up.

tbl777
Member

Hi @ goalque
I encountered a serious problem. My macbook(10.12.6) with your script is okay with RX580.
But My macbook(10.13.1beta) with native driver is not okay with RX580, because it can’t output image to external display no matter whichever solutions.
PS. I test the power consumption of RX580 in the heaven 4.0 with 10.12.6, it’s very cool(48C.MAX) and stable.
theitsage
Can you contact with goalque at current?
I have a asus rx580-o8g, which can’t be reloaded in the high sierra. I heard goalque had a beta script and I want try.
I must return this card tomorrow morning for whole refund.

Tyschri123
Member
Interesting challenge here (n00b here): I have a Mid-2015 15″ MBP TB2> TB3 Asus XG Station with XFX Rx 580 Graphics (I’ve read these can be trouble) Here’s the situation, I have encountered many successful implementations with similar hardware but I acquired the XG station 2 through a friend (for free!) after updating my MBP to High Sierra. I have installed proper intel thunderbolt drivers after installing Win10 with bootcamp. Then installed the ASUS hot plug tool needed to detect the device…and here’s where my problems start. I am unable to update the XG Station Firmware and receive “0x21e” error… Read more »
igerard
Member

I gave up for a Vega 56, because of cost : card + power unit update for the Node 
I bought the Asus RX 580 8G (3 fan) 320€
I wonder if the things is going to work with my early 2011 MBP 17 ? I have also a 2015 though
My 2011 setup with the 980 Ti work well with Sierra and my external 34 inches curved Asus display 🙂
I receive the card tomorrow, I will give update.

Mattlechops
Guest

Hi @Goalque’s
I have a 2014 Mini and an Akitio Thunder2 with a RX 560. Can I get the automate-eGPU.kext for 10.13. please?

Appreciate the good work, thanks!

raha613
Member

Hi all, thank you for your help in advance. 
 
I have –
Macbook pro 15 (early 2011) high sierra 
OWC Mercury Helios TB1
HP B4J92AT NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 DP Graphics Card 2GB DDR3 SP 702084-001 
 
I had this working in Sierra with automate-egpu to run 1x Thunderbolt Cinema Display and 1x LED Cinema Display which apple says you can not do. I would connect the LED Cinema Display to the GT630, the Helios to the Thunderbolt Cinema Display then to the computer. Any way to get this working in High Sierra at this point? Any hope for the future?

Guest
Hey guys ! I have a Macbook Pro 15′ (Retina, mid 2015) with Intel Iris Pro (TB 2 port) running High Sierra 10.13.1 Beta (17B25c) and a Akitio Node Thunderbolt 3….. I’m using a TB3 > TB2 adaptor and a TB2 cable to plug into my thunderbolt 2 port…. My mac recognize everything, with my Radeon R9270x: AMD Radeon HD 7xxx: Modelo do Chipset: AMD Radeon HD 7xxx Tipo: GPU Barramento: PCIe Largura de Banda PCIe: x4 Fornecedor: AMD (0x1002) ID do Dispositivo: 0x6810 ID da Revisão: 0x0000 Metal: Compatível, conjunto de recursos OSX_GPUFamily1 v2 I’m connecting a HDMI cable… Read more »
goalque
Admin

@Daniel Chaves: You did not mention what is your card. Device id seems to be 0x6810 which is R9 270X, correct?

Please provide the details, and you will be added to the list who get early access to the new automate-eGPU installer. The installer does not support any beta builds, only macOS 10.13.

Guest

@goalque,
Yes, it is the R9 270X !
Now I’ve installed High Sierra (10.13), but still in the same scenario…

tbl777
Member

Posted by: goalque
@Daniel Chaves: You did not mention what is your card. Device id seems to be 0x6810 which is R9 270X, correct?
Please provide the details, and you will be added to the list who get early access to the new automate-eGPU installer. The installer does not support any beta builds, only macOS 10.13.

 New automate-eGPU installer can make macbook (GPU_nvidia) work with eGPU(such as RX580)?
At current, I temporarily use mac_editor’s script to make iGPU boot under the 10.13beta4.

goalque
Admin
Posted by: tbl777

@goalque

 New automate-eGPU installer can make macbook (GPU_nvidia) work with eGPU(such as RX580)?

At current, I temporarily use mac_editor’s script to make iGPU boot under the 10.13beta4.

Your problem is the Nvidia framebuffer which conflicts with an AMD eGPU. Workaround is to force Iris Pro to be active always/disable Nvidia system kexts/remove their device ids but I guess it’s not perfect solution.

Unfortunately I can’t test with the 750M model so would be difficult to implement this workaround.

It does work with the Mid 2015 15″ MBP (M370X).

tbl777
Member
Posted by: goalque Posted by: tbl777 @goalque  New automate-eGPU installer can make macbook (GPU_nvidia) work with eGPU(such as RX580)? At current, I temporarily use mac_editor’s script to make iGPU boot under the 10.13beta4. Your problem is the Nvidia framebuffer which conflicts with an AMD eGPU. Workaround is to force Iris Pro to be active always/disable Nvidia system kexts/remove their device ids but I guess it’s not perfect solution. Unfortunately I can’t test with the 750M model so would be difficult to implement this workaround. It does work with the Mid 2015 15″ MBP (M370X). yeah, it’s not perfect solution, has… Read more »
igerard
Member

Well, Asus 580 8GB received this morning, replaced my liquid cooled 980 Ti with it… worked without a glitch out of the box connected to my MBP early 2011 17 inches under High Sierra (test partition) in TB1 to the Akitio Node.
I am now installing High Sierra onto the main partition and I will run the bench with this configuration… later on the MBP 2015 in TB2.
The good thing is that the card is very silent, I will have to change the fan of the PSU now.
Great

raha613
Member
Posted by: raha613 Hi all, thank you for your help in advance.    I have – Macbook pro 15 (early 2011) high sierra  OWC Mercury Helios TB1 HP B4J92AT NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 DP Graphics Card 2GB DDR3 SP 702084-001    I had this working in Sierra with automate-egpu to run 1x Thunderbolt Cinema Display and 1x LED Cinema Display which apple says you can not do. I would connect the LED Cinema Display to the GT630, the Helios to the Thunderbolt Cinema Display then to the computer. Any way to get this working in High Sierra at this point?… Read more »
Guest

Hi @theitsage !
My Mac is a MacBook Pro mid-2015 15′ with Intel Iris Pro….
My card is a AMD Radeon R9 270X
and I’m connecting using an Akitio Node Thunderbolt 3 (using an original TB3 t TB2 adaptor from apple)
Thanks !

goalque
Admin

You’re lucky, I can test with the R9 270X. Due to macOS 10.13 supplemental update 17A405, I have to delay the release. Each macOS build requires a new compilation of the project. I hope it still works.

Please specify the exact model and vendor of the card, for example:

Asus R9270X-DC2T-2GD5 would be sufficient.

Guest

Hi @goalque,
The model of my card is AMD Radeon R9-270X-EDJR (4Gb GDDR5) (http://www.xfxforce.com/en-us/products/amd-radeon-r9-200-series/amd-radeon-r9-270x-double-dissipation-edition-r9-270x-edjr)
Do you need more informations ?
Tks ! 🙂

tbl777
Member
Posted by: goalque Posted by: tbl777 @goalque  New automate-eGPU installer can make macbook (GPU_nvidia) work with eGPU(such as RX580)? At current, I temporarily use mac_editor’s script to make iGPU boot under the 10.13beta4. Your problem is the Nvidia framebuffer which conflicts with an AMD eGPU. Workaround is to force Iris Pro to be active always/disable Nvidia system kexts/remove their device ids but I guess it’s not perfect solution. Unfortunately I can’t test with the 750M model so would be difficult to implement this workaround. It does work with the Mid 2015 15″ MBP (M370X). Can you work out a workaround… Read more »
mac_editor
Member

Posted by: tbl777
Can you work out a workaround to solve the mac_editor‘s script power consumption problem?
The problem is when moved the nvidia reference driver, the AGPM(applegraphicspowermangerment) doesn’t work and nvidia without driver consuming 10-watt more per hour than normal with driver.
Maybe modify AGPM or something can solve this problem.

Pretty sure @goalque could work it out if he wanted to, because that’s what automate-eGPU did. That’s beyond my expertise with Unix at the moment. Basically, modifying the XML tree for the mac’s board ID > GFX0 maximum power state – should be set to 3 (lowest, 0 = max).

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