Gaming with eGPU on MBP 2014 15 inch?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Pineapples23, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. Pineapples23 macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2015
    So my MBP has the 750M card. I'd like to play future PC games and I heard about adding an external GPU to plug in when I want to play something.

    Can this be done with this MBP? I'm not computer saavy, but is it doable? I'd rather do this than buy a whole computer for about 800-1000. I have bootcamp and windows.
  2. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    I've seen a video on youtube with a macbook air doing this. I guess as long as there's a thunderbolt port, it is doable. But not a good solution, nevertheless, for plenty of reasons compared to a dedicated gaming PC.
  3. Janichsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 23, 2006
    It's doable, but as far as I know under OS X very finicky to pull off, since you have to edit kernel extensions. It's apparently easier under Windows, but given the price of the required external PCI card housings, you'll probably be better off with a reasonably priced dedicated Windows gaming PC, as antonis said.
  4. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I would be in agreement also that the external GPU option is not really worthwhile. Technical considerations aside, the expense is so high that building an upgradable gaming PC would be a much better investment over the long haul.
  5. Pineapples23 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2015
    What makes the cost so high? Can I just buy a videocard for couple of hundred?
  6. Janichsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 23, 2006
    The problem is that the external Thunderbolt enclosure costs another couple of hundreds. With that, you easily come in the price range of a complete midrange Windows PC.
  7. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Yes, totally doable. I'm using one for gaming and works pretty well. Do keep in mind you need something like the Akitio Thunder2 enclosure plus a power supply and cabling. About $250 plus GPU card.

    Go read up on this site.
  8. lewdvig macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    South Pole
    Most people with soldered GPUs in their gaming laptops would happily pay $500 to upgrade if they could (LOL new Alienwares), and i7 laptops are really not that much of a bottleneck if you get a card like a 960 GTX. So I think this is a nice option to have.

    I am happy people are finding a use for TB. Apart from mDP functionality I never use mine.
  9. Pineapples23 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2015
    500 sounds fine. I prefer not to pay like 800-1000 for whatever it is for a new comp.

    Im concerned is it tough to set up for an averge computer user? Is there a lot that can go wrong?
  10. flr macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2013
    You should read the TechInferno forums. An eGPU can be great under Windows to play games. Depending on the type of GPU that you use it might also work under OS X. But it is not a cheap solution. My eGPU costs about the same as a dedicated game PC. I also used a mini-ITX computer case to hide all the components. You can check it out here. The CPU in my 13" rMBP is a bottleneck because it is only a dual-core chip.

    Take also into account that an external screen is sometimes necessary. Especially if you buy the rMBP with dedicated graphics card (AMD or Nvidia).
  11. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
  12. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If it ever becomes truly viable, it will be with Thunderbolt 3 and beyond and not with the Thunderbolt 2 you have on that system. That said, you can build a Windows system viable for gaming for not too much more than what an external GPU would cost you and frankly, it's a neater solution than having to Boot Camp.
  13. SnowLucas macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2015
    So I've been looking at this for exactly the same MacBook Pro. I have a setup I really like with an LG 34um95 and a caldigit TS2 dock. One thunderbolt cable (plus the power cable) connects me to the screen, Ethernet, a mouse, keyboard and an external drive.

    I can play games on this setup and it's fine but I generally have the settings low and the resolution set below the true screen resolution. An eGPU would be a dream if it was plug and play and a reasonable price but having looking into it the cost is high, it limits you to dated gfx cards in macOS and looks like it could be troublesome to get working.

    As an alternative I'm considering a headless Steam in home streaming server running windows and hiding that out of the way in another room. The advantage is it's much easier to upgrade, zero limits on what parts I can use and I can continue to use my setup as I like it now... Uncluttered and portable when required.

    Again the cost of building a dedicated gaming PC is high, I'm looking at about £1,000, but spending around £600 to £700 on an eGPU is a bigger risk as far as I can tell. I also have an Nvidia Shield under a TV so a dedicated PC would open up that for proper gaming as well.

    I do think eGPU with thunderbolt 3 has huge potential. I just can't see Apple being keen anytime soon.

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