MSI's external thunderbolt GPU and MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by arctic, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. arctic macrumors 6502a

    arctic

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    #1
    I heard they're gonna be available next week or so. Last time at the trade show, MSI used a MBP as a demo and not an MBA. I wonder if there will be limitations on using those EGPUs with the Air's. I surely hope they'll work. Should be killer.
     
  2. amarcus macrumors 6502

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    London, UK
    #2
    The most limiting factor is likely to be driver support. I'd set your expectations to only being able to use the external GPU with Windows. I guess if your strictly gaming then this shouldn't pose too much of a problem, but if you were hoping to use it to accelerate professional tools running on OS X e.g. photoshop, FCPX etc. then your out of luck.

    Adam
     
  3. EthanNixon macrumors 6502a

    EthanNixon

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    #3
    I can't wait for this personally. Once this comes out, I will never leave the MacBook Air form factor. :p

    I don't see there being any driver issues as long as you use a GPU that is supported by Mac. Thunderbolt is basically an extension of PCI-e lanes. So it will read it as a GPU regardless.
     
  4. NutsNGum, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012

    NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    #4
    I was under the impression that any use of an external GPU with the Air would be limited in terms of power due to the lack of bandwidth over the PCI-e connection within the Thunderbolt cable?

    I'd love for that not to be the case, however.
     
  5. bogatyr macrumors 65816

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    Mar 13, 2012
    #5
    They run eGPU cards over ExpressCard 1.0 slots and get great results. Thunderbolt is quite a bit faster. There is a large thread about eGPUs over on Notebookreview Forums.
     
  6. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    #6
    Thanks for the info, man. This sounds pretty interesting!
     
  7. minnus macrumors 6502

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    Aug 12, 2011
    #7
    The main concern is CPU speeds. I have the 13" base, and I can only maintain around 1.9/2GHz per thread after throttling. CPU will be a huge bottleneck.

    Thunderbolt can support a 4x lane...which I believe provides like 85-90% of the performance compared to a 16x lane.
     
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #8
    You won't get full performance, correct; but you'll still get WAY better performance than any mobile GPU Apple currently offers.
     
  9. mac26 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #9
    So what timeframe do you think it'll come around (or when have they said it'll release)

    How much do you guys think it'll cost? I hope it's not more than $350.

    I don't mind if it's a bad GPU as long as it is 25-50% faster than HD3000 and can maintain a low cost.

    Now take my money MSI!
     
  10. Oli3000 macrumors regular

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    Apr 20, 2009
    #10
    They were saying ~$150 at its demo at CES.
     
  11. mac26 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #11
    HOLY *****, thats a crazy good price for TB! I am so buying that if it's available for mac, does this include a GPU or do I get to put my own in? If I can that will make the top of my to buy list!
     
  12. amarcus macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thats including a TB cable as well... not sure on the GPU though...

    Adam
     
  13. the-doctor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #13
    MSI GUS ii

    I have been waiting since the thunderbolt announcement for a viable eGPU based on thunderbolt, the wait is almost at it's end! Most sources agree that it will be available by the end of the month! I have read on some sites that it might ship with a HD6770 (it was demoed with one a few months ago), see this site for some benchmarks.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=sapphire_hd6770&num=1

    The real advantage to this product is that the card is interchangeable and ever ready for an upgrade. While it is true that there will be between a 20% - 25% loss in performance due to x4 vs x16, I see the biggest problem is the lack of power.

    This box only allows 150 watts(75 on the bus and 75 on a six pin supplemental connector), while most high end cards will draw around 200 - 300 watts. It should be possible to hook a standard pc power supply( just connect green to ground to turn it on) to the card and supplement the built in power supply to drive even the highest end card. That will only work on cards that use the sub PCIe 2.1 power standard.(in version 2.1 the available power on the bus was raised from 75w to 150w, and the GUS only supplies 75w) Though that does not eliminate all 2.1+ card as most will source extra power from the supplemental connectors, not the bus to preserve backwards compatibility with older motherboards.

    I can't wait to get my hands on one of these little guys, I will finally be able to drop my desktop and use my MacBook Air full time!
     
  14. mac26 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #14
    Docking peripherals (ATD, MSI GPU) + MBA = :apple: bliss
    I love the future of computing, maybe we can drop our windows gaming rigs with this GPU!
     
  15. Old Smuggler macrumors 6502a

    Old Smuggler

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    Sep 8, 2006
    #15
    This would be awesome if it works for the MBA
     
  16. aleni macrumors 68020

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    Jun 2, 2006
    #16
    wow it's like a dream comes true.

    future computing is small form factor macbook air like, with thunderbolt display at home connected to the external GPU. this would be sweet!
     
  17. Peacemaker macrumors member

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    Jun 8, 2009
    #17
    I don't want to get everyone disappointed but I just receive a reply from MSI Rep saying that " We still have no ETA on this product( MSI GUS II) from HQ
     
  18. mac26 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #18
    Aww... :( I guess I shouldn't throw out dedicated consoles/ gaming rigs......
    yet ;)
     
  19. aleni macrumors 68020

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    Jun 2, 2006
    #19
    well i'll be damned!
     
  20. arctic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    arctic

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    Jun 18, 2008
  21. minnus macrumors 6502

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    Aug 12, 2011
    #21
    Who did you contact? I was given "by end of April" when I inquired.
     
  22. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #22
    Not really.

    Video cards have GPU ram for a reason: even 16x PCIe is crap (compared to local memory on the card). So they just pre-cache all textures to the local (to the card) video ram.

    So, the thunderbolt card will maybe take a little longer to load the textures into cache (i.e., the card's onboard RAM), but once they're in cache performance will be little different...
     
  23. Peacemaker macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #23
    I emailed MSI pre-sale marketing dept. I just got another reply stating that "We should get more information from our Head Quarter end of this month. thanks"
     
  24. minnus macrumors 6502

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    Aug 12, 2011
    #24
    I hope information is released during PAX East!
     
  25. denaliOnDubs macrumors regular

    denaliOnDubs

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    CO
    #25
    When I was purchasing my 13" MacBook Air that was my first thought as well. To be honest I have been pretty disappointed in the selection of thunderbolt peripherals. I imagined having a thunderbolt external GPU and a thunderbolt display with a thunderbolt external ssd. I've been watching for a ViDock, GUS II, or the echo... I really hope they get this out to the market soon. Preferably around the time of Diablo 3 would be great.... Anyone heard any news about this?
     

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