External Graphics Card (Macbook Pro)?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by turtlebunnie, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    #1
    I currently have an Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13 inch. I have Windows 7 on bootcamp and I am looking for a way to raise my FPS on games like Borderlands 2


    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB
    Memory 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    Processor 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7
    Hard Drive 500GB Serial ATA; 5400 rpm


    Is there such a thing out that can raise my graphics? Or do I need to upgrade something else?

    Thanks in advanced
     
  2. slu
    macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Pakaku

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    #3
    Yes there is: a new laptop. Maybe consider a non-MacBook or even a tower if you want a proper graphics card...
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #4
    Yes, obviously.

    Since the intel hd 3000 shares ram, use 8gb of ram instead of 4.
    The result? 512mb intel hd3000.
    You can even put 16gb ram, although I believe 512mb for the iGPU is the maximum.

    Bro tip: Buy and install an SSD for much faster overall performance (like 10x faster). This has nothing to do with FPS, but it will load everything much faster (like games), boot much faster, give better battery life, less heat, less failure rate, etc. Inform yourself about this.

    Ignore those ignorants before my post that didn't even tried to help you.
     
  5. slu
    macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #5
    While you are not technically wrong (albeit a bit rude), what you suggest will increase overall performance, but nothing you suggested will raise his FPS, which was the OPs orginal question. So your suggestion will cost significant money and likely decrease the overall amount of storage available on the machine and won't solve his problem.
     
  6. macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    Thunderbolt can only provide PCIe 4x support. This doesn't really help when most graphics cards are PCIe 16x. So, no on external graphics cards, at least not today and not with what you have.

    Otherwise, yeah, as far as graphics go, your only option is to replace that computer with another one (that has discrete graphics) or to get another computer that you use for gaming. What I'd do in your situation, if I had the money, I'd build a gaming machine. Doesn't have to be balls to the wall; you can get away with spending $800, and you'd end up with something that will likely give you more oomph than your 13" Early 2011 MacBook Pro would've been even if it had discrete graphics.

    Really, your 13" MacBook Pro is new enough that it still has a lot of life left in it, barring gaming and higher-end graphics stuff, and unless there are non-gaming things that you want to be able to do in OS X, it really will serve you for quite some time before you'll want a replacement. For any kind of gaming, you don't get better than a desktop PC that you build yourself. It'd be a pretty killer combo, if you ask me.
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #7
    There are such devices, and they work reasonably well (PCIe 2.0 x4 is actually plenty fast for all but the absolute highest-bandwidth-needed applications,) but they're expensive. You're looking at $600+ for the external chassis itself! Sonnet Echo Express, Magma ExpressBox 3T.

    Then, on top of it, OS X doesn't properly support video cards connected through Thunderbolt.
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2012
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #8
    couldn't you read the 8gb ram upgrade?

    That will make the iGPU share 512mb instead of 384, for better gaming performance (more FPS).
     
  9. macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #9
    Merely moving from 384 MB to 512 MB of graphics RAM will not noticeably increase the framerate. It may allow you to play with higher quality settings at reasonable framerates, but it won't make a game that was at 30 fps all of a sudden do 45 fps, much less 60.
     
  10. slu
    macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #10
    Still rude and still wrong. Thanks for playing though.
     
  11. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    #11
    Pot, meet kettle.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #12
    external graphics card on mbp early 2011!

    hey m8s!I got the same problame!Can i use external graphics card or what ?:/
     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #13
    External graphics works fine. I have the same macbook pro that you have and I have a nvidia 660 connected to it using the thunderbolt port. FPS boost is HUGE, I'm talking over 500%-1000% improvement in many games. Works in Windows and OS X.

     
  14. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2012
    #14
    EpicBlob, you say your setup is working with OS X. What external TB housing do you have to run your NVidia 660 card?
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #15
    I use a ViDock and a sonnet echo TB/expresscard adapter to plug it into my mac mini.
     
  16. The-Pro, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #16
    thats very interesting
    was it you who posted a link to selling the exact same setup on ebay in another thread?
    its quite an expensive setup though :( you can buy a mediocre gaming pc for the same price

    its a pitty the sonnet echo adapter costs much, and i couldnt find an adapter with the same function from another company.
    im considering this setup. its great

    what I dont understand is the people saying the 10gbps from thunderbolt isnt enough, but then your setup is limited to 5gbps due to the express card yet you have massive performance improvement.

    .....

    just read that village instruments, producers of the vidock, are now developing a vidock thunderbolt. that would be great :) gets rid of the expresscard adapter and adds 10gbps I guess
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #17
    Yeah, people keep saying that since pcie 2.0 x1 is 1/16th of full bandwidth, it will be 1/16th as good. Which isn't even close to true lol. Also if you have a sandy bridge cpu or newer and nvidia graphics card, you can enable Optimus which pretty much puts it at pcie 2.0 x2 link. And it allows you to use your internal screen. I've brought my macbook and ViDock to friends houses for lan parties and it works great.

    Nah I'm a different person but that is the same setup I have. I'd buy it if I didn't have one already though haha.

    I mean honestly, as of now its niche enough that buying a similar priced desktop will yield better results, but it's such a cool setup to have. Before I had my Mac Mini I just had a macbook pro I needed for school so I had a portable laptop for the road then plugged it in at home to turn it into a desktop.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #19
    Sounds great.
    Well im in germany, so im not buying from ebay in the US :D
    Ill wait for the vidock thunderbolt to be released. The 650M in my 15" is plenty for everything at the moment but in 2-3 years, I wouldn't mind having that external :)

    Yeah I know what you mean. I would get this over a gaming PC aswell. I like my macs, dont own a PC and not getting one either :D An external GPU like that does make it extremely powerful and still stay portable.
    If I would have know about this external option couple months ago, I might have gone with a 13" Air and gotten the external GPU with it, instead of spending so much more for my 15" cMBP.

    -- Could you post a picture of your GPU. Is there an external power prick or just a cable?
    Cheers
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #20
    There are many pictures in the forums, it's a big box (sonnet) with external power supply.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #21
    My Mac Mini ontop of my ViDock. Barely takes up any space. And yeah I have one external power supply outside. It's about the size of a xbox 360 power brick.
     

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  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #22
    looks pretty good actually.
    WOW, thats a pretty big powerbrick. xbox 360 powerbrick is about the same size as the vidock itself right?

    Do you have vidock 3 or 4?
     
  23. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Location:
    Mid-West
    #23
    I've got a 200w power supply powering it which is 7inches long. I have the ViDock 4+ and that measures bit over a foot long so it can accommodate larger cards. VillageTronic actually released a newer power supply (the one I have) and the main reason it is bigger is because it holds 50 more watts and includes a built-in fan to last long which is nice.
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #24
    Thats not too bad.
    Certainly considering this, thanks for all the help
     
  25. macboyroy, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    #25
    what about me as well

    Hi everyone just got off from the earlier poster who asked about his options on a macbook pro with 384 MB or something of ram well I have 512 MB of ram and for the most part it plays 2D games very well but hardly if not at all plays 3D games what are my options as far as external PCIe slots or cards thiga magijs.





    macbook pro Mid 2012 > 2.5GHZ, i5 > 512MB graphic memory >8GB ram > 64GB ipod touch 4th gen
     

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