eGPU with a 2011 late 17'

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bolyki0, May 28, 2016.

  1. bolyki0 macrumors newbie


    May 22, 2016
    Hello guys,

    Currently I have a late 2011 machine with a 6770M card. The machine rocks with the i7 and 16gb ram.

    However, I do a little gaming too and I would like to run games on higher or ultra settings, but remain in full hd resolution or maybe try 2560x1440. Currently I'm running OS X on 2560 but Windows and it's games are set to full hd only.

    I'm more after having great settings rather than high resolution on my external monitor, even though it's capable of 4K.

    Now, I am new to this, I do see the point and the workflow of this egpu project.

    I still would have a few questions:

    Now, this machine is thunderbolt 1 only. Would the settings of a game affect the performance of what it can produce in full hd? As far as I understand, the limitations of thunderbolt 1 and it's speed is mainly a resolution problem over full hd. Am I wrong?

    If I would get one of them razer cores or some egpu chassis put a GTX 980 in it, would I be able to run games or high setting?

    Reason of all this is, that the only machine coming with a non mobile gpu is the Mac Pro which hasn't been updated in a while and even if they will, it carries a hefty price for this purpose only. I also use final cut and after effects on OS X so it wouldn't be just overkill for me, but I would still like to solve this from a smaller budget.

    Neither I would like to replace or sell my 17 as I really love this machine and apart from the gpu it's still more than enough.
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yeah, the bandwidth limitations of thunderbolt 1 are going to severely limit the performance you can get from your video card (15%-30%), even thunderbolt 2 is not getting the full benefits and its one of the reasons oems have waited for thunderbolt 3 to offer a complete eGPU solution (and yes this means you can't use a razor core it runs on thunderbolt 3 you would need an enclosure that runs on thunderbolt 1).
    If you want a gaming mac the iMac is pretty good with most games on windows if you get the better graphics cards (it'll outdo a mac pro), but unfortunately they just don't last for gaming as you can't upgrade the graphics card so you only get 2-3 years realistically for top end games at high settings and framerates.
  3. bolyki0 thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 22, 2016
    If I understand well, razer core can run on TB1 too, as it's backward compatible. I have just watched a few videos on YT and I can see that people with late 2011 machines are able to run most games with 60FPS in maxed settings with a nvidia 980.

    iMac is not an option, I have a huge 4K screen already and there isn't any place where I can fit that, not to mention I would never use it's screen.
  4. Hellhammer Moderator emeritus


    Dec 10, 2008
    Is building a gaming PC an option? For the price of Razer Core, you can put together a pretty good PC that will handle gaming better than your MBP with eGPU would. I would also wait for NVIDIA GTX 1070/1080 to become available in the next few weeks as they provide a huge improvement in performance and power efficiency.
  5. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    In reality, not so much.

    The bigger problem with pre 2013 machines is that the EFI in the older Macs doesn't play nicely with thunderbolt e-GPU setups. It can be hacked to work, a friend has done it with a 2011 MBA, but...


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4 May 28, 2016