Custom compact PC for use with a TB display

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by SmileyDude, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. SmileyDude macrumors regular

    SmileyDude

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    MA
    #1
    I'm toying with the idea of building a custom PC for my weekly gaming sessions and I would really like to build something that I can plug into my TB display in place of my MBP. Another desired feature would be that it be as compact as reasonably possible. I realize that with any decent GPU that it's not going to be Mac mini sized (or even Mac Pro size), but would like to get something that I could just toss up on my desk for my gaming time and then stash it away in the closet or on the shelf for the rest of the week.

    Has anyone seen a decent compact gaming PC build that has Thunderbolt support? TB2 is all I need, since I only have the TB display to use with it (and I think that's actually TB1 anyway). But I do want to have a discrete GPU, otherwise I might as well stick with the MBP.

    Thanks!
     
  2. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #2
    The Thunderbolt Display cannot be connected to anything but a Thunderbolt port. Unfortunately, no GPUs exist with that connectivity. If I were you, I'd dump the TB display and get a non-Apple 27-inch 1440p monitor. There are tons of options with IPS panels and multiple inputs that will allow you to have both systems connected at the same time.
     
  3. SmileyDude thread starter macrumors regular

    SmileyDude

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    MA
    #3
    I realize there are tons of non-TB 27" 1440p monitors, but I would then be giving up two things that are super useful -- one is that I have a charging cable for my MBP coming out of the display, the other is the other integrated ports. I have my wired keyboard and mouse plugged into my display, along with an ethernet connection and an USB audio adapter so my sound goes through my existing stereo setup. I could certainly replicate some of this by getting a TB dock, but the cost of the dock, additional power supply and new monitor would start to add up fast compared to just getting a TB3 motherboard (there are some pretty decent looking ones coming out for Skylake, I've just only seen mini-ATX sized ones at the moment).
     
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #4
    A Thunderbolt 3 motherboard doesn't solve the problem of not being able to use a discrete GPU.
     
  5. monokitty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    #5
    Even if a PC build motherboard has TB ports, it's irrelevant - it's the graphics card that needs the TB port, not the motherboard. If you plug the TB display into a TB port on the motherboard, you're stuck with horrible integrated graphics built into CPU you choose, leaving a powerful, dedicated graphics card useless in the same build.

    As stated, there are no graphic cards with a TB port.
     
  6. SmileyDude thread starter macrumors regular

    SmileyDude

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    MA
    #6
    I understand that there would be no graphic cards with TB ports -- for one, you would need to have additional connections to the PCIe bus to properly handle TB and why would a video card vendor even do that?

    But on the Mac side, Apple supports discrete GPUs on Thunderbolt by passing through the video from the dGPU to the internal GPU which then sends it out over TB. Are you saying that nobody does this yet on the PC side? It doesn't seem like it should be a limitation of the chipset (i.e, Apple uses Intel chipsets and provides this functionality), so is it just a lack of demand causing this on the PC side?
     
  7. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #7
    MacBook Pros have a unique form of graphic switching that allows either the integrated or discrete GPU to drive the internal display. When an external monitor is connected, OS X bypasses the iGPU entirely. No signals are passed through it like they are on a Windows notebook with NVIDIA Optimus.
     

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