External Video Card - MacBook Pro

marshzd

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 11, 2011
29
25
Hey guys, I have a pretty awesome laptop and I don't necessarily want to buy a brand new one (I'll wait until the new ones come out next month to make a final decision). My current machine is pretty decked out, core i7, 16gb of RAM, dual SSD's (removed the optical drive).

My problem is that I have only one thunderbolt port and it's sort of annoying. I'd like to have a couple monitors hooked up, but I'd also like to boost the video card capabilities, and also take advantage of CUDA, and since my current machine has a 5770m it's not exactly the most elite nowadays for what I want to do.

With that background, here's my question. I've heard of people hooking up video cards over thunderbolt. What hardware are they using and is it worth it?

If it's sub-$1000 for the setup, I'll probably definitely do it. If not, I'll probably sell my laptop used and get the next gen Macbook Pro when they release it. Assuming they continue to stick with the nVidia cards.

Thanks in advance!
 

0983275

Suspended
Mar 15, 2013
472
56
I've heard about some external graphics solution working on few Windows laptop but I can't recall any that works on OS X/MacBook line up.

There are chassis (Sonnet and Magma makes them, I'm sure there are others) that takes PCI-e cards and uses Thunderbolt interface but most of them are designed to use with RAID card, capture card and well, pretty much any non graphic PCIe card.

With a bit of hacking and tweaking, it could probably work.
 

Zeov

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2011
634
113
Odense
Closest to a working setup is currently ViDock (which only works for express card slot, but luckily theres a thunderbolt adapter for that).. but to be honest, it's nowhere near a finished product, but people have gotten pretty impressive FPS using a Mac Mini. Heres a picture: https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/733946_10151330422794135_699414124_n.png

but as i said, it's not really a "solid" product, and from what i've read it's far from the dream setup (where you basically just plug and play with gaming monitors etc.) .. theres a lot of tweaking and pain, and from what other people have written it's more pain than gain, sadly.

I keep myself pretty updated on the subject, and it really irritates me that nobody makes a good setup for this.. because people talk about it ALL the time! and it would make great setups for people.. imagine having only ONE computer to fit all your needs? Hell, people are just like you, willing to PAY A LOT OF MONEY for this.

Sadly it's not happening quickly enough.. and thats why i'm looking at what Alienware (+ others) will launch when haswell and Nvidia 7xx release their lineups. And maybe some day, someone, will create a dock with everything we need.


PS. if you're getting a setup like this, it will most likely require Windows.. theres simply no drivers for OSX as far as i know.
 

Mr MM

macrumors 65816
Jun 29, 2011
1,116
1
Closest to a working setup is currently ViDock (which only works for express card slot, but luckily theres a thunderbolt adapter for that).. but to be honest, it's nowhere near a finished product, but people have gotten pretty impressive FPS using a Mac Mini. Heres a picture: https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/733946_10151330422794135_699414124_n.png

but as i said, it's not really a "solid" product, and from what i've read it's far from the dream setup (where you basically just plug and play with gaming monitors etc.) .. theres a lot of tweaking and pain, and from what other people have written it's more pain than gain, sadly.

I keep myself pretty updated on the subject, and it really irritates me that nobody makes a good setup for this.. because people talk about it ALL the time! and it would make great setups for people.. imagine having only ONE computer to fit all your needs? Hell, people are just like you, willing to PAY A LOT OF MONEY for this.

Sadly it's not happening quickly enough.. and thats why i'm looking at what Alienware (+ others) will launch when haswell and Nvidia 7xx release their lineups. And maybe some day, someone, will create a dock with everything we need.


PS. if you're getting a setup like this, it will most likely require Windows.. theres simply no drivers for OSX as far as i know.
that is so very far from the truth.

OP given that you have a 6770m, there was a way to get switchable gpus in it, thats your best shot to make it work.

there are several thunderbolt enclosures out there right now, mlink, CUBE, owc one, sonnet echo express, and so forth.

is it worth the effort and the money for you? dont think so.
 

Zeov

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2011
634
113
Odense
that is so very far from the truth.

OP given that you have a 6770m, there was a way to get switchable gpus in it, thats your best shot to make it work.

there are several thunderbolt enclosures out there right now, mlink, CUBE, owc one, sonnet echo express, and so forth.

is it worth the effort and the money for you? dont think so.
interesting. You have any idea how much Watt the mLogic consumes? and what cards does it support?
 

Mr MM

macrumors 65816
Jun 29, 2011
1,116
1
interesting. You have any idea how much Watt the mLogic consumes? and what cards does it support?
till the 650 or 7750, anything higher you need a larger case and support for 12v, its the same case for the sonnet, owc, and others

the CUBE is the cheapest option for real high end gpus, i dont remember the wattage of the psu, but they sell a very expensive combo with the 680 already

the other real plug and play model (that has space and has the 12v) is the magma 3t

though you can get a desktop psu if the chassis is large enough and plug the necessary 12v rails in the gpu, its a less elegant solution but it works