Where are these "plug and play" external GPUs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Yixian, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Yixian macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I've heard people on these forums saying that there's no need to worry about disappointing GPUs in future MacBook Pros and Airs because with Thunderbolt 3, there are finally going to be viable external GPUs. They also said that these exist already and that they won't require dangerous hacking to make work, including on OS X.

    Is this the case? Because I can't find them anywhere...

    I really want to believe it's true, it would basically solve the issue of the GPU being the only major bottleneck to consumer Mac performance.
     
  2. itay macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Thunderbolt 3 requires Intel's SkyLake chips which are expected to be released in 2015, so now there are no external GPU
     
  3. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Jeez, lost track of how long we have been waiting for this tech now.

    Thanks, I thought it sounded too good to be true.
     
  4. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #4
  5. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    This should really just be a plug and play box with no hacking or engineering required by now.
     
  6. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #6
    You have to remember that companies need to make money. This would cause people to buy laptops instead of desktops. Why do you think Intel hasn't made this easy lol
     
  7. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #7
    You say "should". Who would manufacture it? Companies barely even validated gpus for the old mac pros where hardware used in the PC cards could be reused. If they did what you're asking for in a tidy box, it would likely be a $400 mediocre card that wouldn't attract enough interest to recoup R&D.

    That makes no sense. It's not in intel's interest to dissuade people from buying laptops. Mobile chips have solid markups, and intel hasn't pushed desktop chips in a number of years.
     
  8. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    When it comes to Mac users your get portable grade performance whether you buy a desktop or a laptop so it doesn't really make any difference.

    If Intel were to integrate this into their chipsets, make it proprietary and provide the boxes exclusively themselves I reckon they could make some decent $.
     
  9. Freyqq macrumors 601

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    #9
    While it works just fine with the proper hardware today, I've read that Intel does not approve of the use of thunderbolt for external GPUs. So, you probably won't be seeing many vendors selling the enclosures you would need to put an external GPU together. Nevertheless, I've read reports of people doing it successfully, so the technology is apparently ready to go. I mean, it makes perfect sense that it would work. Thunderbolt is PCIe, and GPUs are on the PCIe bus. If you plugged a GPU into Thunderbolt, the motherboard sees it as if it were plugged in directly to a PCIe slot.

    I'd really like to see this as a fully supported option one day. My rMBP's CPU is probably enough for my needs for a long time, but having a really powerful external GPU at home would be great. It could also basically act as a partial docking solution, with one thunderbolt cable handling multiple external monitors.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    It's totally plug and play with Windows 8.1 (UEFI).

    I did a GTX 780 Ti setup, in a Sonnet IIID and it's plug and play for me. It's the same as Squinks' posts in the TI forums.
     
  11. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #11




    I know it doesn't at first but Intel makes a lot of money in the desktop scene. Think about it.. Intel makes one thing for laptops... CPUs (with GPUs) on the desktop side, Intel makes CPU, SSDs, Network Cards and so on. Also, if Intel started making this easy, manufactures would stop using thunderbolt on laptops because they wouldn't want their desktop market to suffer.



    The performance I get from a 780Ti is amazing even over Thunderbolt 1 on my Windows laptop. I see why they are scared, Windows 8.1 solved all the issues we has with these eGPUs and if you have 1500 bucks laying around to get a Sonnet enclosure and a 780Ti then it requires ZERO hacking and is truly plug and play. The issue just comes down to cost I think.

    EDIT: yeah! what the poster said above me.. exactly

    ----------

    It's already "integrated", All the issues actually lie within the OS and not the hardware as most people think. Mac OSX will need a lot of re-configuring because as of now, Mac OSX doesn't support an external screen on an eGPU where as Windows doesn't care at all and even supports optimus over eGPU so you can use your internal screen. It's truly amazing and I can't wait till this tech gets cheaper.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    Optimus doesn't work on rMBPs with discrete GPUs, because the EFI will disable the iGPU in Boot Camp, so Windows won't see the iGPU at all.

    Optimus works well on Macs without discrete GPUs, however.
     
  13. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I was talking about on a Windows PC, optimus works great even if the Windows has a dGPU (such as mine) I just disable it and re-enable it when I'm not using an eGPU.

    I think that's why I left my Mac behind lol
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #14
    Intel makes their highest margins from sales related to servers, as you can find in their 10K filing. I don't have a good way to link a section of it, because it's in pdf form. They make some amount off workstation parts too due to margins and hardware overlap with some server parts. When you say desktop, are you referring specifically to mainstream desktop parts? Those top out in wholesale pricing lower than mobile cpus, and their volume has diminished quite a bit. It seems to go up and down a little, but apart from that SSDs are a relatively small part of their business if I'm not mistaken. I don't know where you even got network cards. Assuming we are on the topic of non-workstation hardware, networking ports are part of the chipset. The people paying for 10G ethernet are not gamers.
     
  15. ha1o2surfer macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I guess when I say desktop I also mean servers. Everything that's not a laptop so workstations, servers and desktops. As far as network cards go, a lot of severs/workstation use Intel chipsets for their networking hardware. Most are 1gb network ports. The networking chip is not built into the chipset, it has it own dedicated chip attached to the PCie bus. I would assume Intel charges for this use of their networking hardware. I'm no expert though lol
     
  16. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #16
    Do-able today

    Hack 3 files

    Use the Sonnet III for lots of $$$

    Or get the cheaper Akitio and run the power.

    2012 rMBP with a GTX970 (fits in the Akitio Enclosure but will need mods to enable airflow). Yes, it is strangled by the TB1 connection, but it is still WORLDS BETTER than 650M.

    The reason that there isn't a "go buy it and plug it in" answer is that Apple and Intel want to bleed you dry.

    I went to that site (eGPU DIY), I ordered some parts, and did their hacks.

    I have already posted there that they have needlessly complicated their instructions and given better advice.

    Was really easy, and my 2012 rMBP isn't even an ideal candidate.

    Again, I guarantee that plenty of vendors would love to sell you a simple solution, Apple and Intel in their INFINITE GREED (1 Block down from Infinite Loop) have kept them from you.

    So in order to further enrich people who already own islands, they want you to suffer through crappy GPUs, so they can buy a 2nd island. (islands aren't cheap, FYI)
     

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  17. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #17
    With a Sonnet IIID and Windows-Boot Camp in a UEFI installation, no file hacking is necessary. It's purely plug and play.

    I did it with my GTX 760, purely plug and play, downloaded drivers from NVIDIA's site and turned my 15" rMBP into a gaming rig.
     
  18. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    #18
    It would be really great to have an Apple Retina Thunderbolt Display with a GPU inside it! :cool: :D
     
  19. andeify macrumors 6502

    andeify

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    #19
    So basically a 5k iMac without logic board and drives, it would be like £1600+ ($2000+)
     
  20. zoffdino macrumors member

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    #20
    While we sit here dreaming (or complaining about the lack of) an external GPU, a company from the Dark Side has done it: Dell just released their Alienware Graphics Amplifier. You can just plug a GTX 980 straight in and super-charge your graphics performance. It uses a proprietary external PCI-e connector so only works with a specific line of Alienware laptop for now.

    At just $300 I'm seriously lusting after it. To me this is the right price point (compared to $1000 for the Sonnet III-D). I'm scanning the web each day for benchmarks. Thunderbolt 3 apparently will support PCI-e 3.0, which is what top-end cards use right now. So let's hope someone make it for Thunderbolt. (Asus: do you smell the money?)

    For once, I, a Mac user, am feeling envious of a Dell/Alienware user :(
     
  21. BigBuns macrumors newbie

    BigBuns

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    #21
    Wow, that thing looks amazing! I wish there was another Mac-compatible alternative for $300 :( I'm feeling some serious envy looking at that.

    The more companies that begin to create housing for external GPU's, the better off the world will be :D
     
  22. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #22
    I'm curious how Dell got that external adapter to work because the Alienware 13 also has a dGPU in it (GeForce 860M). Perhaps that is the need for the proprietary plug - it has something in it that disables the built-in dGPU completely.
     
  23. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #23
    Well at least if you have a Sonnet IIID you can show off to other people that you can afford it :D

    Not too different from whipping out an Amex Centurion out of your wallet :)
     
  24. zoffdino macrumors member

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    #24
    I haven't seen any review for the unit yet, but that looks very promising. A site mentioned that it's pretty much plug and play if you use external monitor. For the built-in screen, you need to do a restart.

    Thunderbolt is essentially an external PCI-e bus. How Dell can beat Intel to the task is a mystery to me.
     
  25. vbedia macrumors regular

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    Jan 25, 2014
    #25
    Why would you want to have Optimus when a computer is plugged in an outlet? I don't understand that.
    If the rMBP was running on the battery it would make sense. I understand the way Optimus works is to save battery and be more efficient, but when the rMBP is plugged in what's the point of that.

    I prefer the rMBP with the dGPU over the iGPU at this point. I myself have a rMBP with a 750m. Of course eGPUs may be something to consider in the future, but I am not going to pay over 1k $ for an external solution + graphic card. I don't see it reasonable.
     

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