One of the biggest debates in the new Mac Pro is its graphics power. Yes, the notebook is very powerful, but at the same time it’s very professional-oriented. And people who want a MacBook Pro for things like gaming have to pay a huge price to get hardware that’s nowhere near the latest.
Is there a solution to this dilemma if that person does not want to have to resort to a Windows PC? Well, yes, there is, and it’s a trend that is becoming more and more apparent: eGPU . short for External Graphics Processing Unit , this accessory can provide the power that gamers or any other user may need.
Professional gaming quality with an external box
The eGPU are simply external boxes in which you can place graphics cards in the same way that you can connect internal hard drives inside external boxes. They connect via high data transfer ports, mostly with the Thunderbolt interface.
Our colleagues from Xataka describe one of the most popular eGPUs: the Razer Core. Inside this Razer box we can introduce a PCI-Express x16 compatible graphics card, which will replace the laptop GPU to generate the graphics itself . The 40 Gbps of the Thunderbolt 3 connection is more than enough to avoid creating a bottleneck in the laptop.
At the moment, the big disadvantage of eGPUs is their price: the Razer Core costs $500, and that’s without a graphics card
In fact, the Razer Core also provides extra USB 3.0 connections and an Ethernet port . The 500W power supply also provides charging for the notebook and parallel power for the graphics card we insert. The advantage is clear: nothing like a state-of-the-art desktop graphics card to move as many graphics as you want without hurting your laptop.
And we’re not just talking about games: video publishers can benefit from this graphic power as well without any problem.
The disadvantage of this type of external box is, for the moment, its price . The Razer Core costs about 500 dollars, it is not sold in Spain and to that price you have to add the price of the desktop graphic card you are going to use. If you want something quality, you can get it for about 800 dollars. There are other cheaper models on the way, but they don’t have all the features of Razer Core.
Are GPUs compatible with MacBook Pro?
Officially, no. Apple doesn’t mention them as accessories you can use at any time. But the guys at Appleinsider already proved a little over a month ago that you can connect an eGPU like the Razer Core to the MacBook Pro and make it work . And while the MacBook Pro with the most powerful integrated graphics gets 1.6 teraflops of performance, connecting the Razer Core equipped with an Nvidia GTX 980 gives the computer 4.t teraflops. That’s almost three times the graphics power. Not bad, huh?
Jugar a todo trapo en un portátil pronto será coser y cantar
The bad news comes now: to make Razer Core work, you have to modify certain parts of macOS with the terminal . In addition, you have to install an application called TB3 enabler that lifts a limitation on macOS that prevents precisely using certain accessories. And as if the process were not sensitive enough, you have to disable the system integrity protection. The Apple Developer guides explain how to do this.
In other words, you have to fiddle with the system to such an extent that, if something happens, Apple will surely wash its hands of you and not repair your computer, since by doing these protections you are leaving yourself in charge. These limitations are not there simply because Apple does not want you to install eGPUs, but surely for protection.
In this profile of the macOS system we can see an AMD RX 470 connected to the Mac through an eGPU.
Another alternative is the one discussed in The Next Web: simply, install Windows on the Mac . Windows 10 is a completely ready to use those eGPUs without complications, and Boot Camp supports it. Fortunately, if you don’t want to hear about Microsoft’s system, the MacRumors forum gives us hope: the 10.12.2 beta of MacOS Sierra includes some improvements that make eGPUs work better.
So yes, power, you can do it. But if you’re not an expert who knows what to do, we don’t recommend it at all . Maybe in the future Apple will launch its own eGPU or update macOS to be compatible, but for the moment we have to do some hacking if we want to have the power of a Gaming PC in the MacBook Pro.