eGPUs are becoming increasingly needed.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by -LikesMac-, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. -LikesMac- macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    With the latest update, I noticed that most of Apple's computers have abysmal graphics (for anything beyond surfing the internet or basic editing). Intel HD 4000 on the rMBP 13. That is extremely bad given the price of the laptop. :(

    I'm hoping for eGPU solutions such as VillageTronic's ViDock G4 to come out soon. It's really needed now. Anyone else agreee? :D
  2. Purant macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2012
  3. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    I think the point is that Apple looked at their options and decided that the HD4000 has plenty of power, and the efficiency makes up for the lower power than a dGPU. The Haswell chips will be even better so by this time next year there won't be any need for eGPUs.

    If you think all of Apple's current computers have "abysmal graphics" that tells me you probably haven't even used one. The MBA is now powerful enough to be used as a main/travel computer by visual media pros.
  4. nando4, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013

    nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    HD4000 is OK and can play some games but any iGPU will be totally eclipsed by a NVidia/AMD eGPU. See the example i5-3320M 2.6 + GTX660@x1.2Opt DIY eGPU here using a slower expresscard link.

    Use a x4 2.0 Thunderbolt eGPU link will given even greater gains. So could have a portable notebook with a 35W i5/i7 CPU and a Thunderbolt eGPU dock as a a legitimate gaming box.
  5. whiteonline macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2011
    California, USA
    eGPU is very niche market. Apple won't spend time/money to develop a device that will be purchased on small scale (relative to Apple sales volume).
  6. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    you can already buy the sonnet echo express.

    and yes if thunderbolt gets a revision with broadwell more capable egpus should be achieved, not that currently they are bad, thunderbolt has much more bandwidth than expresscard
  7. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    If you are referring to poor GPU for gaming, then I would suggest buy NON MAC gaming platforms with better GPU's.

    Probably, and this is a guess, most people DONT do serious gaming on the Mac, so the current GPU configuration is GOOD. I play games, but not on my $2000 MBP, I use Xbox and PS3 or my Desktop i7 996 QC with a $400 graphics card and 2G Ram (which is not an expensive one, BTW)!

    Use the device for what it was intended!
  8. UpOver macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2012
    Top of the world..
    Don't be so quick to judge. Not everyone can afford or wants to buy more than one computer / console. If the OP wants to use a MBP for gaming they are perfectly entitled to.

    To answer the OP's original question, yes it would be nice to have some eGPU options on the market that are worth a dime. However the current copper Thunderbolt implementation is short on the bandwidth required for decent eGPU performance. Look for better options to become available once the full optical solution is implemented. Given Apple was first to market with the copper option, they may well be first to market with the optical variety. Time will tell.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The 13" always had integrated graphics, and its current generation is significantly faster than it ever was. Its on par with the dedicated GPU in the MBP 2010 model.

    Anyway, why would you buy a ultra-portable machine (which by definition doesn't have a good GPU) if you care about GPU performance? These things are still more or less mutually exclusive. BTW, the 15" rMBP has very nice GPU and is also very portable.
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    There's just not enough space in a 13" to put a discrete GPU in. Mind you, even if Apple somehow managed to get a dGPU in, there's still heating problems to deal with.
  11. Purant macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2012
    I understand that.

    BUT, what I would have preferred is: a thicker 13inch with dgpu (surely there would be enough space then), or even less battery (since most of the space is taken up by battery).

    I realize that I'm in the minority wanting that though.
  12. 0x000000 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2011
    DIY eGPUs seem to be rather expensive in the end and only compatible with Windows? Most gamers would rely on Windows anyway... but how expensive is it? I suppose getting together all of the required stuff and you're close to 600 bucks? I guess could just as well buy a dedicated gaming PC, I guess?

    In the end both are way too much hassle for me, so I'll just not play games or stick to the Xbox........ :confused:
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Great point, sacrificing battery would do because I figure most of these people who want a dGPU would leave their Macs plugged in all the time :)

    What about the heat problems then? The MBP's going to need more fans to keep the insides cool, and making it thicker to put in another fan is probably going to make it real thick :p
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I really can't understand the desire for an eGPU for a portable machine. It seems to me that people would want to remain as portable as possible. I've seen a DIY setup on YouTube and it just seems like it's something Apple wouldn't want to develop. Who is using these? Why not just buy a desktop that is powerful enough to handle whatever they need to do?
  15. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    I wouldn't buy a VW if I need a truck. Buying a Mac for gaming is rediculous. I've looked at eGPU and they are way expensive. If you REALLY need to play games, then don't buy Mac, and for sure don't buy Mac's with integrated graphics .

    I find it hard to believe that so many people are complaining about the integrated graphics on the 13 Mac. If it doesn't fit your needs, move one. Buy something that meets you specific requirements and quit complaining.
  16. zipur macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2011
    The great state of Texas
    kinda harsh are you not. The OP is just saying that you should be able to do Anything on a premium machine at this price. you should not have to purchase two laptops just to play games. He is not the first nor the last to says that.
  17. m00min macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2012
    I can sort of understand it. I use an MBA 11" for web design and development. Having one computer that's ultraportable but with three connections can be run on my desk is awesome. I bought an extra power supply to cut down on having to bundle up the cable repeatedly. Plug in the monitor and USB hub (keyboard, DVD burner, printer, sound card to cut down on plugging in the 3.5 jack) and off I go. I'm much happier doing this than running two machines. Having to make sure all my website logins are synced across a laptop and a desktop was a pain in the harris.

    If I played a lot of games I could see the advantage of adding an eGPU.
  18. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    Because the cost for an eGPU is less than a desktop. At home you have your large monitor and peripherals connected to the eGPU. When you travel - you just take your laptop, when you go home - one wire and you're set for high power gaming. Best of both worlds without having two different computers.
  19. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    Hah! The HD 4000 is still miles better than the Intel X3100 in my last MacBook!

    I've got a 15", but I usually run it on 'integrated only' unless I'm playing a game. I can get up to 9 hours of battery on it. I get about half of that with the discrete card powered.

    External GPUs are needed less today because Intel's graphics are finally capable of doing useful things. I can't see any difference in UI fluidity or whatever between them.
  20. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    ^ that makes sense. I docked my powerbook for years and it drove my 30" ACD. I used it for college but it was more than powerful enough to run whatever I wanted to do in my spare time. I just think the external GPU is a total PITA.
  21. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    The whole notion of macs being bad for gaming is getting old. They are fine for gaming. Yes, I agree, do not buy one with an integrated GPU (like intel chip) for gaming, but any mac with dedicated is fine. That goes for the iMacs and the rMBP 15 inch.

    I play Starcraft 2 with native resolution with graphics at medium to high and it looks and works JUST FINE. I have the 15 inch pro, base unit with no upgrades.

    Maybe some games are slightly more demanding, though I doubt that they'd be unplayable if ran at 1440x900 or something with medium settings (using the dedicated GPU) in a worst case scenario.

    So in conclusion, macs are fine for games just get one with dedicated GPU.
  22. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I don't see them catching on unless they somehow become popular on Windows. The people gaming in bootcamp probably do not have enough leverage to really provide a market for such things. The only egpu boxes we've seen so far are just extremely expensive. Some are $700 + before you include the cost of a card, and you're still somewhat bandwidth constrained (cards can run on fewer lanes, but it's not 100% ideal in every situation). If anything the need is phasing out as integrated gpus will ship on an ever increasing percentage of machines due to potential improvements on the low end.
  23. CrimsonStrider macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2012
    Probably not very feasible, but I think it'd be nicer if laptops in general could just upgrade their graphics cards as time went by.

    I also want to add that while people don't buy a Mac to game hardcore, the difference between a core 2 duo and an i5 is much less limiting than the 8600M and whatever GPUs the MBP line has now. I can still do everything a 2012 MBP can except play certain games. It makes sense that people would *want* a really high quality GPU in a premium priced computer to future proof it more than anything else or at least have the option to pay for one.
  24. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    because you can take that with you are on trip? and eventually we return to our houses thus a need for 2 pcs is just wasteful in terms of material
  25. dmorgan macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    I have the 15" with the 650m GT and I play Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2 and Diablo 3 all on high (on OSX too) with AA and it's as smooth as butter. Sure, these aren't the latest beautifully looking games, but it's far from abysmal. It is a laptop after all.

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