Build a PC vs. eGPU for MBP?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by SirithX, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. SirithX macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2007
    San Francisco
    I have a 2016 15" MBP, 2.7Ghz with the Radeon 455. Obviously the Radeon doesn't cut it for games. I've been considering building a PC for a while, I haven't had a desktop in years, but the main reason I'd do it is because I want a system I can play games on and maybe get into VR with at some point.

    At the same time, I have a pretty great MBP and I could simply get an eGPU enclosure like the Akitio Node and a graphics card. I already have Windows 10 installed via BootCamp, and now with High Sierra I could even use it with macOS without issues.

    So the question is, are there any compelling reasons to build a PC rather than just use my MBP + eGPU? Seems like the eGPU is the smarter and more cost effective move, although there may be some obvious benefits to having a secondary stationary computer which could also double as a media server for example.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    1) Upgradability. PCs will be far easier to upgrade with graphics, RAM, PSU, CPU, etc.

    2) Price of eGPUs. They are quite expensive.

    3) Performance deficit of eGPUs. Around about 30% if memory serves.

    4) Drivers - Windows is frequently updated with newer drivers for modern GPUs. eGPUs won't be as prioritised.

    5) Windows - gaming development again prioritised on this platform.

    If you're serious about gaming I'd definitely suggest building a PC. Although the initial hit might be a little pricier, it'll be far more cost effective in the long run.
  3. old-mac-man macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2012
    As I understand it, eGPU support will not be made available to the public release until Spring 2018. And then there are games that will not make it to macOS.

    Personally, I like using macOS to play games, but I acknowledge that higher performance and greater choice is available via Windows.

    In the end, only you can decide what is most important to you.
  4. SirithX thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2007
    San Francisco
    Thanks! I likely will be using it only for Windows games in Boot Camp, but that said High Sierra supporting it will be a plus even if it's later on down the road.

    So eGPU performance does take a hit because it's external, and beyond that it seems like longer-term it's still more cost effective to build a PC over time than it is to just buy a eGPU it seems. Any other opinions?
  5. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    The only other thing really worth mentioning is you could make a Hackintosh out of the right parts, if you want OSX that much and aren't afraid of playing the troubleshooting game.
  6. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    Mind that apple will not officially support any enclosure with any GPU in it. They'll stick with some AMD options.
    A serious gaming machine is all about being able to choose and upgrade anything. For this reason I'd go with a PC.
  7. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Apple are providing built-in AMD drivers, nVidia are providing their own web drivers, so what problem? Enclosure will be supported by manufacturer, won't it?
  8. KGB7 Suspended


    Jun 15, 2017
    Rockville, MD
    If you don't mind the performance hit, stick with egpu. Also less clutter, cheaper. We should see better support and better performance as egpu becomes streamlined. But you might have to wait.

    If you want to play all games on ultra settings, than pc is a better choice today.

    Or get a console.
  9. JMacHack macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2017
    If you're absolutely serious about gaming, go for the PC. There's nothing that can play games like a custom-built PC, bar none.
    Especially considering that Nvidia GPUs are the most compatible for DirectX. AMD does not compare in this regard.

    Plus, Windows has DirectX, which pretty much every game in existence supports or mainly uses, and is OS priority 1 in game development.

    If you're just planning on playing around a bit as a hobby, I'd go eGPU. But even then that's iffy.
  10. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    That's why I started with "apple will not officially support" part. ;) They'll support only some of the AMD gpus and nvidia's drivers - since not blessed by apple - could break with any OS update. I'm not even sure why nvidia keeps bothering with apple platform anymore.

    Regardless, how the egpu support will play out in macOS, is currently anyone's guess.
  11. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    OP, do you have an external monitor, and if so what's the resolution - and what resolution do you plan to game at?
  12. SirithX thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2007
    San Francisco
    Don't have one yet, but I know eGPUs have some issues looping back to a laptop monitor so I'd still likely get one if I went with an eGPU. I haven't really thought about it, I suppose if 4k gaming is supposed to be the big new frontier then I'd try to do that.

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