Waiting for Thunderbolt 4 thread (eGPU folks, this might interest you)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Riven, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Riven macrumors newbie

    Riven

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #1
    With Apple making external GPUs (eGPUs) a reality in macOS 10.13, I've decided to wait as long as I need to until Apple releases a computer with Thunderbolt 4, specifically on a MacBook Pro. (32 GB DDR4L RAM might come as well by then.) If you look at my short post history, you might doubt me because at first I thought I was going to buy a Razer Blade Pro after Apple's dismal showing of rMBPs (imo) and then just today I said I was going to wait for the Mac Pro. In my mind native support for external GPUs on macOS was an absolute pipe dream. But then I ran across the external GPU Development Kit, and I'm absolutely locked into Apple for my next computer because of this.

    Currently, the Alpine Ridge TB3 controller has 40Gb/s throughput per port, and while there is enough bandwidth to run a GPU decently, think about the compute-heavy/high-end GPUs like the GTX 1080 or any workstation GPU – they will certainly run into the TB3 bottleneck. (I haven't done enough in-depth research to know how much a GPU's performance will be affected.)

    Since bandwidth has doubled with every iteration of TB, it's sensible to think TB4 will have 80Gb/s throughput per port. With that, I'll finally be able to run a gaming or workstation-class GPU from a laptop and have the setup of my dreams - portability when I need it; and graphics, compute power, a docking station, and charging when I need it at home, all through one cable.

    If you've been waiting for external GPUs, or something like this, wait for TB4 because high-end GPUs might still be significantly bottlenecked - I remember reading a long while ago that TB2 could run a GTX750 at only 85% of max performance. I'm willing to wait up to 3 years from date of posting. Perhaps it might come out earlier, who knows.

    Thoughts? Comments? Estimations on % of GPU performance lost due to TB3/hypothetical TB4 bandwidth constraints?
     
  2. Kiro macrumors member

    Kiro

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Location:
    Germany, Leipzig
    #2
    Maybe it works with two TB3 cables for 80gb/s ?
    I think that I've read that TB3 should be enough for a 1080ti.
     
  3. anton_usa macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    #3
    Not necessarily. TB1 to TB2 didn't double the bandwidth. TB2 simply aggregates the two channels of TB1, which is the same total bandwidth.

    Also:
    2011 - TB1
    2013 - TB2
    2016 - TB3

    Which shows exponentially increased time between releases, so you might be waiting 4+ years for a consumer product with TB4.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    Unless you are running two graphics cards in you eGPU in SLI then currently the bandwidth of TB3 is way more than enough for you. As it will take 4 years for AMD and NVIDIA to upgrade their architecture again then I doubt there will be anything that won't run on a TB3 eGPU before TB4 comes out anyway, you really are waiting for no good reason.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    What's the timetable for tbolt 4?
    Two years?
    Three years?
    How "long" are you willing to wait?
     

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