Graphic card and Thunderbolt MDP. external possible?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mobius 1, May 20, 2011.

  1. Mobius 1 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    so, we know that thunderbolt theoretically can be connected to a ext GPU

    the problem is, can i mount a GPU on one of those?

    i will be using a 6750 1GB GDDR5 or do i have to use a Mobile version of 6750?


    thanks,

    13" btw
     
  2. innominato5090 macrumors 6502

    innominato5090

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  3. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    on the yellow [oled] brick road to tech nirvana.
    #3
    very nice would love an external GPU


    wonder if sonnet will release a TB expresscard to add a second TB port

    oh yes there is TB to crappy FW800, we need a usb3 adapter!
     
  4. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #4
    It is possible as another poster had mentioned. Just gotta make sure the card fits in the case.
     
  5. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    #5
    And gets rid of the heat generated.
     
  6. retrorichie macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2011
    #6
    That is awesome. I think whatever reservations I had about buying a refreshed MBA are now gone.
     
  7. Mobius 1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    And no word on support for GPUs at all. If you look at the product site, it only talks about capture cards, RAID cards and stuff. People think external GPU is simple as getting that thing and then slamming any GPU in it and then it would somehow magically boost your graphics performance. It's far from that.

    First off, it needs extensive software support. Your internal display is still connected to the internal GPU(s) (if you have 15/17", then it is connected to the iGPU and dGPU). You will probably need something similar to CrossFire to push the load from the internal GPU to the external. Since Sonnet does not mention anything about this, they probably are not developing it for this purpose. Connecting an external display to the ext GPU might be easier from a software standpoint as USB GPUs have existed for quite awhile (even for Macs). That would eliminate the need for getting the int and ext GPU play along.

    Secondly, Macs don't use standard PC GPUs. Macs use EFI which means the GPUs have special firmware in it. This would force you to use the GPUs that Apple offers, unless flashing works for the external GPU as well.

    Thirdly, Thunderbolt offers only 10Gb/s while PCIe 2.0 x16 offers up to 64Gb/s. 10Gb/s should be sufficient for some GPUs but higher-end GPUs would most likely take a hit from the limited bandwidth. That might make this whole thing obsolete as 6750M could ens up being faster.

    All in all, it's nowhere near as simple as some people make it sound like. That Sonnet box is a good start but you will need more than that.
     
  9. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a

    Macsavvytech

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    #9
    As i have previously posted, i dont expect powerful ext GPUs till optic thunderbolt.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    Even then it may not be enough. Several sites have reported that Thunderbolt 2.0 will deliver 50Gb/s and will be available sometime around 2015. PCIe 3.0 will make its debut in 2012 along with Ivy Bridge. x16 slot will then provide up to 128Gb/s. While it will take time for GPUs to really utilize the extra bandwidth, high-end GPUs may already require way more than 50Gb/s when TB 2.0 hits.

    External interfaces have too many features they need to support, that is why they will never achieve the bandwidth of PCIe (well, TB controller is connected to PCIe slot so that is one reason alone).
     
  11. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a

    Macsavvytech

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    May 25, 2010
    #11
    Hadn't read about TB2.0 I personally expect that Thunderbolt 2.0 100Gb/s wich is faster then PCIe 2.0 however as you say by then there will be PCie 3.0
    I can see it being possible however, maybe using multiple TB ports?
     
  12. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #12
    Well, here's the upside. Intel and Apple produced an interface that has native support for PCIE. Then, they endowed it with 10Gbits bandwidth which is quite a lot. So, thats equivalent to a PCEI 2.0 x4 slot which is nothing to sneeze at. The points made earlier about the difficulty of routing an external GPU's output to a laptop's internal display are valid. But, many of us use our MBPs as desktop replacement with external displays. So, there's some hope this can be resolved with some clever engineers and creative licensing. Considering the current state of laptop GPU's even a gimped desktop GPU would be much more powerful than what we've got now.

    I'm optimistic that over the next yet we'll start to see some external gpu options pop up.
     

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