Anybody ever ran an external gpu to their imacs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Zellio, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Zellio macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2012
    My iMac basically does everything I want it to do, but running three monitors and doing some ios programming really pushes it graphics wise. The only thing I trust about Apple nowadays is their ability to raise prices. So I think I'll be keeping this thing for a good while and add an external gpu if things get really bad. Does anybody have any experience with them?

    I use thunderbolt 2, so yeah, I'd get much less bandwidth, but even a rx 480 would outperform the ****** m290x this thing has. It's not like I need a dedicated graphics card for much else, my main pc has a 1080, and I only make ios applications, but what I do already pushes this thing too far.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think people are waiting for TB3 to use external GPUs
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
  4. padams35 macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2016
    I'm running an RX-460 eGPU on my mid-2011 iMac. It isn't much, but it did double my frame rate vs the aging 6770M for GPU limited applications. The reduced thermal load on the iMac was an added bonus.

    I had originally intended to use my eGPU with a 2015 MacBook Air but discovered the eGPU was significantly more stable on the iMac. (The Air would crash on startup if an external display was connected during boot and would crash again if allowed to enter hibernation.) I'm not sure if the difference is desktop-sleep vs laptop-hibernate or dGPU vs iGPU on the host.

    The old standard was to mod an Akitio Thunder-2 PCIe enclosure. Half-length slot-powered cards are easy, but accommodating the more interesting GPU cards requires work. Using a newer dedicated TB3 eGPU with a TB2/TB3 adapter holds promise but I haven't used one of those.

    For more information there is an active eGPU community over on
  5. varian55zx macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2012
    San Francisco

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