Would this be theoretically possible?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by StuMcBill, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. StuMcBill macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2011
    Aberdeen, Scotland

    I am currently thinking about getting a MBA or a MBP after running a Hackintosh for a few months, but I have a question about the MBA.

    If it does get Thunderbolt technology in the Refresh, and has an Intel HD3000 chip instead of a AMD or Nvidia variant, would it theoretically be possible to have an external GPU (if these even exist), and connect it via the Thunderbolt port to give better Graphics performance?

    I am looking forward to seeing what the MBA refresh brings (and the rumoured MBP refresh in August) before making my mind up.

    3G connectivity would be a MASSIVE bonus! Seems unlikley, but you never know!


  2. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I feel that that very thing will be Apple's solution to the Intel IGP problem. The Intel IGP in the next MBA will be a gigantic step backwards from where Nvidia is and could be.

    I believe Apple will build-in GPUs into ACDs and that way people will connect with Thunderbolt to the ACDs GPU, and Mac minis, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and 13" MBPs will all be able to do more with their Macs than they could with the Intel HD 3000.

    This has to be on Apple's mind, as it's exactly what I was thinking when Thunderbolt was being designed. Then Sony introduced a similar solution with its latest Z. That one is a media dock with a GPU built in and uses a Thunderbolt technology to link.

    I believe the future MBPs will be just like current MBAs, and Apple will use ACDs to bridge the gap in loss of GPUs from Macs themselves and just move them externally to make the Mac a notebook on the go and a powerhouse when at the desk.
  3. awshux macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2007
    There was a fair volume of speculation posted when the last Vaio came out a couple of weeks ago about whether thunderbolt could be used for an external video card. The consensus (I think) was that while the bandwidth was partly there, the number of channels weren't to make performance better. I am probably mangling what is accurate, but search thus forum for Vaio for a better explanation.
  4. da3dl3us macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    This is what we're all hoping will happen. Sonnet has shown some products that might be able to do exactly this. When this happens, the mba will rival the m11x as the portable gamer laptop of choice. Few issues though:

    1. Internal Display. Current DIY egpu usually output to external monitors. There are some methods to reroute to the internal monitor, but it compromises bandwidth. However, the bandwidth issue might be helped with TB's in and out total of 20 mbps.

    2. Drivers. Will OSX be able to change the display drivers? But if bootcamping to win7, this shouldn't be a problem.

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