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External Thunderbolt GPU for Macbooks?

RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11

Hey all,

 

Anyone out there have success with getting an external GPU to work with a macbook on a mac OS?

 

Any links/products/info would be helpful. I dont want to have to buy a complete gaming rig, just want an external thunderbolt GPU.

 

Thanks.

 

Ye who throws mud looses ground...

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,130

    Let's back up a bit:

    1)  Exactly what hardware do you have right now?  At minimum, give the exact CPU and GPU that you have.

    2)  Are you planning on playing games in Mac OS X, in Windows, or in both?  Apple writes the drivers for Mac OS X, and if you're trying to use a GPU that has no Mac drivers, it's not going to run.

    3)  Why are you looking for a GPU to install over Thunderbolt rather than building a proper gaming rig?  There are a variety of plausible answers to this, and what you should get depends strongly on what you're trying to do.

  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11

    Honestly I have a late 2010 MB Pro and would like to use an external thunderbolt GPU expansion system instead of going the whole total PC upgrade.  I enjoy not having to lug around an entire rig and the only time I game is at home.

     

    Thank you for the assist though.

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,130
    You didn't answer any of the questions.
  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11

    Ok, I can tell your ambition  to be a guide is very clear. The the reason and answers for your questions are presented in my response. 

    Thank you. 

    Signing off.  

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,254

    To answer your question, no for 2 reasons. 1st external GPUs are inherently weak, the portability degrades the response time and the bandwidth is lacking (1 GB/s verse 16 GB/s). 2nd its a Mac, one of the prices of a Mac is that you have the chuck the whole thing in order to upgrade. The GPU options also typically run 5 times higher than for PC.

    Your best option is a new MacBook if you are dead set of Mac Laptops.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,061

    Actually, it's very possible. There are several Thunderbolt -> PCI adapter, and with that, along with a power supply, you can pretty much run whatever GPU you want inside of that.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7987/running-an-nvidia-gtx-780-ti-over-thunderbolt-2

    If it's a good idea versus a new laptop entirely - that's a different matter entirely.

  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11

    Thank you all for the responses. This link finally led me to here: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpress3d.html

     

    I am thinking that the three PCIe slots backed by my MBP will be what I am looking for. Honestly I am glad that there is finally a solution for expanding laptops into the gaming world without lugging around a 10lbs computer.

     

    Thank you again.

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • coleman11bcoleman11b Member UncommonPosts: 60

    It's only going to set you back a hair under $1000. Seems legit. Classic example of solving a problem that doesn't exist. A thousand bucks plus the video card expense. You could do a very strong custom gaming rig build on that budget.

     

    In retrospect... the advertisement is strong with this one.

  • Electro057Electro057 Member UncommonPosts: 683

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    --Custom Rig: Pyraxis---
    NZXT Phantom 410 Case
    Intel Core i5-4690 Processor - Quad Core, 6MB Smart Cache, 3.5GHz
    Asus Sabertooth Z87 Motherboard
    Asus GeForce GTX 760 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0
    Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 16GB

  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11
    Originally posted by Electro057

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    I made that signature some 10 year ago and never really looked, but thank you, I will correct it. Always nice to know there are those who seek to make the world a better place one word at a time. (matching.)

     

    The benefit of it being that while the MBP is a good machine, it lacks the ability to perform at the gaming level for a lot of games out there. I enjoy the functionality and reliability of the machine. Honestly dont need the 100% full throttle capability, but just the ability to expand into gaming rig as needed.

    My computer is more a tool and I need to expand the tool, less a rig to run all.

    As for the sales pitch. Take what you like, I dont work for them.  VMware employee here.

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,130
    Originally posted by Raithier

    Thank you all for the responses. This link finally led me to here: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpress3d.html

     

    I am thinking that the three PCIe slots backed by my MBP will be what I am looking for. Honestly I am glad that there is finally a solution for expanding laptops into the gaming world without lugging around a 10lbs computer.

     

    Thank you again.

    Be warned that just having PCI Express slots doesn't mean you get full PCI Express bandwidth.  Thunderbolt doesn't offer nearly that much bandwidth.  The amount of bandwidth it claims is only 5/8 what you'd get from a PCI Express 1.0 x16 slot from 2004, let alone the PCI Express 3.0 x16 that today's cards want.  That said, some games use a lot more PCI Express bandwidth than others, so you might get 99% of the normal performance in one game and half of the normal performance in another.

  • Electro057Electro057 Member UncommonPosts: 683
    Originally posted by Raithier
    Originally posted by Electro057

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    I made that signature some 10 year ago and never really looked, but thank you, I will correct it. Always nice to know there are those who seek to make the world a better place one word at a time. (matching.)

     

    The benefit of it being that while the MBP is a good machine, it lacks the ability to perform at the gaming level for a lot of games out there. I enjoy the functionality and reliability of the machine. Honestly dont need the 100% full throttle capability, but just the ability to expand into gaming rig as needed.

    My computer is more a tool and I need to expand the tool, less a rig to run all.

    As for the sales pitch. Take what you like, I dont work for them.  VMware employee here.

    Then I suppose it'll suit your needs quite fine, however you'll likely end up running on low graphics often with most features turned off or at their lowest possible values. If that's acceptable and you feel it's worth the investment dive on in. 

    However why not just use the MacBook Pro for the portable moments and keep a rig at home? It's what I do currently, I have a 2012 Thinkpad that almost mirror's my PC's specs and use that for work. And then I've got the Maker's Forge which...really would only cost 800$ these days and I still run everything on ultra.

    In any case if that's what you feel is most appropriate to your situation then go ahead with it. I'm just worried you're getting ripped off is all. 

    --Custom Rig: Pyraxis---
    NZXT Phantom 410 Case
    Intel Core i5-4690 Processor - Quad Core, 6MB Smart Cache, 3.5GHz
    Asus Sabertooth Z87 Motherboard
    Asus GeForce GTX 760 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0
    Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 16GB

  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11

    So the truth is that I am a family man, and work on computers. So I am the family geek and really hate more than anything being on-call for the family when I leave work. I chose to ditch the Computer Fix-it suite at home and bought macs.  Since then the amount of time I spend fixing computers to about zero and when I do, it how do I get my iTunes to do x, and not why did my windows computer just corrupt the hardware profile again?!

     

    Thunderbolt is a really fine technology with the ability to expand well, and comes with Macs.  So one expansion bay, and all my family members get to use it, or at least that is what I am hoping for.

     

    Expensive, possibly deprecating the performance sure, but a single workable solution.

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • Electro057Electro057 Member UncommonPosts: 683
    Originally posted by Raithier

    So the truth is that I am a family man, and work on computers. So I am the family geek and really hate more than anything being on-call for the family when I leave work. I chose to ditch the Computer Fix-it suite at home and bought macs.  Since then the amount of time I spend fixing computers to about zero and when I do, it how do I get my iTunes to do x, and not why did my windows computer just corrupt the hardware profile again?!

     

    Thunderbolt is a really fine technology with the ability to expand well, and comes with Macs.  So one expansion bay, and all my family members get to use it, or at least that is what I am hoping for.

     

    Expensive, possibly deprecating the performance sure, but a single workable solution.

    They sound rather incompetent... It's going to be necessary to sit them down and explain the delicacies of such a setup, or any portable and external device for that matter. I've met many people whom do not understand they should not set their laptops at angles if they've not got motion stop HDDs. They also don't seem to understand impact damage, sudden falls, or that hardware is incredibly fragile. You might want to mention no liquids or fluids, jarring motions, or carrying it by the cord. Also no swinging it by the cord.

    I've worked in IT for a great number of years, I wonder on a daily basis how humanity has survived this long. 

    --Custom Rig: Pyraxis---
    NZXT Phantom 410 Case
    Intel Core i5-4690 Processor - Quad Core, 6MB Smart Cache, 3.5GHz
    Asus Sabertooth Z87 Motherboard
    Asus GeForce GTX 760 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0
    Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 16GB

  • RaithierRaithier Member Posts: 11
    Originally posted by Electro057
    Originally posted by Raithier

    So the truth is that I am a family man, and work on computers. So I am the family geek and really hate more than anything being on-call for the family when I leave work. I chose to ditch the Computer Fix-it suite at home and bought macs.  Since then the amount of time I spend fixing computers to about zero and when I do, it how do I get my iTunes to do x, and not why did my windows computer just corrupt the hardware profile again?!

     

    Thunderbolt is a really fine technology with the ability to expand well, and comes with Macs.  So one expansion bay, and all my family members get to use it, or at least that is what I am hoping for.

     

    Expensive, possibly deprecating the performance sure, but a single workable solution.

    They sound rather incompetent... It's going to be necessary to sit them down and explain the delicacies of such a setup, or any portable and external device for that matter. I've met many people whom do not understand they should not set their laptops at angles if they've not got motion stop HDDs. They also don't seem to understand impact damage, sudden falls, or that hardware is incredibly fragile. You might want to mention no liquids or fluids, jarring motions, or carrying it by the cord. Also no swinging it by the cord.

    I've worked in IT for a great number of years, I wonder on a daily basis how humanity has survived this long. 

    All good advice, if I seem the swinging their devices by the cord, then I guess I am off the hook for buying them any other devices.

     

    As for portable rigs, it's the life of students these days.

    Ye who throws mud looses ground...

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,130
    Originally posted by Electro057
    Originally posted by Raithier

    So the truth is that I am a family man, and work on computers. So I am the family geek and really hate more than anything being on-call for the family when I leave work. I chose to ditch the Computer Fix-it suite at home and bought macs.  Since then the amount of time I spend fixing computers to about zero and when I do, it how do I get my iTunes to do x, and not why did my windows computer just corrupt the hardware profile again?!

     

    Thunderbolt is a really fine technology with the ability to expand well, and comes with Macs.  So one expansion bay, and all my family members get to use it, or at least that is what I am hoping for.

     

    Expensive, possibly deprecating the performance sure, but a single workable solution.

    They sound rather incompetent... It's going to be necessary to sit them down and explain the delicacies of such a setup, or any portable and external device for that matter. I've met many people whom do not understand they should not set their laptops at angles if they've not got motion stop HDDs. They also don't seem to understand impact damage, sudden falls, or that hardware is incredibly fragile. You might want to mention no liquids or fluids, jarring motions, or carrying it by the cord. Also no swinging it by the cord.

    I've worked in IT for a great number of years, I wonder on a daily basis how humanity has survived this long. 

    This is what desktops are for.  Most people can figure out not to pick up a desktop and drop it.  If dealing with people who don't get that, try a bigger, heavier case.

    That won't help with people causing creative software problems.  I hear that VMWare offers virtualization tools to make it easier to clean up after such people, though.  :D

    (no, this wasn't a serious post)

  • Electro057Electro057 Member UncommonPosts: 683
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by Electro057
    Originally posted by Raithier

    So the truth is that I am a family man, and work on computers. So I am the family geek and really hate more than anything being on-call for the family when I leave work. I chose to ditch the Computer Fix-it suite at home and bought macs.  Since then the amount of time I spend fixing computers to about zero and when I do, it how do I get my iTunes to do x, and not why did my windows computer just corrupt the hardware profile again?!

     

    Thunderbolt is a really fine technology with the ability to expand well, and comes with Macs.  So one expansion bay, and all my family members get to use it, or at least that is what I am hoping for.

     

    Expensive, possibly deprecating the performance sure, but a single workable solution.

    They sound rather incompetent... It's going to be necessary to sit them down and explain the delicacies of such a setup, or any portable and external device for that matter. I've met many people whom do not understand they should not set their laptops at angles if they've not got motion stop HDDs. They also don't seem to understand impact damage, sudden falls, or that hardware is incredibly fragile. You might want to mention no liquids or fluids, jarring motions, or carrying it by the cord. Also no swinging it by the cord.

    I've worked in IT for a great number of years, I wonder on a daily basis how humanity has survived this long. 

    This is what desktops are for.  Most people can figure out not to pick up a desktop and drop it.  If dealing with people who don't get that, try a bigger, heavier case.

    That won't help with people causing creative software problems.  I hear that VMWare offers virtualization tools to make it easier to clean up after such people, though.  :D

    (no, this wasn't a serious post)

    You joke but I once had to instruct a woman to plug her printer into the outlet, she didn't understand that it required power to function. She literally had not grasped this concept as an adult yet.

    I could tell from her inflections and tonal mannerisms that she likely had platinum blonde hair and Oompa Loompa orange skin.

    --Custom Rig: Pyraxis---
    NZXT Phantom 410 Case
    Intel Core i5-4690 Processor - Quad Core, 6MB Smart Cache, 3.5GHz
    Asus Sabertooth Z87 Motherboard
    Asus GeForce GTX 760 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0
    Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 16GB

  • hail2dathiefhail2dathief Member UncommonPosts: 232
    Originally posted by Electro057

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    Wondering why no one also corrected him on the fact that his sig says looses instead of loses which is also another word entirely lol. 

     

    image

  • Electro057Electro057 Member UncommonPosts: 683
    Originally posted by hail2dathief
    Originally posted by Electro057

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    Wondering why no one also corrected him on the fact that his sig says looses instead of loses which is also another word entirely lol. 

     

    I didn't even catch that and I used the word lose in that very post, nicely done thief. 

    --Custom Rig: Pyraxis---
    NZXT Phantom 410 Case
    Intel Core i5-4690 Processor - Quad Core, 6MB Smart Cache, 3.5GHz
    Asus Sabertooth Z87 Motherboard
    Asus GeForce GTX 760 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0
    Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 16GB

  • hail2dathiefhail2dathief Member UncommonPosts: 232
    Originally posted by Electro057
    Originally posted by hail2dathief
    Originally posted by Electro057

    Just so we are perfectly clear you are aware that this won't really open your laptop up to the world of PC gaming? It won't make your macthing a portable gaming rig by any standards, especially if you don't already have adequate firepower. 

    Not to mention you lose countless channels/power through an external setup, taking whatever card you bought and pretty much turning it into a mockery of it's former self with a minute fraction of the power.

     

     

    ....You also spelt throw wrong in your signature, you used through which is another word entirely. 

    Wondering why no one also corrected him on the fact that his sig says looses instead of loses which is also another word entirely lol. 

     

    I didn't even catch that and I used the word lose in that very post, nicely done thief. 

    Lol, thank you sir, it's one of my pet peeves when i see the word loose or choose for lose and chose.

    image

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