MacBook Pro eGPUs gain full clamshell mode and hot-plug capabilities in Apple's macOS 10.1...

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AppleInsider testing has shown significant improvement in eGPU implementation in Apple's new macOS 10.13.4 beta, boasting a dynamic clamshell mode working as expected regardless of monitor configuration, and a new menu on the desktop allowing users to disconnect from a connected enclosure without necessitating a logout.




The new menu item at the right hand side of the menubar is simple -- it only has two options. Either there is no "removable GPU" or there is, and it can be ejected.



Under the new beta, an external GPU can be connected while the machine is running, and it will not pop up a notification to logout to enable the GPU. Rather, it connects automatically, and shifts to the previous configuration.

Before High Sierra 10.13.4, clamshell mode was partially implemented. If the displays were mirrored to begin with, if you shut the lid on a MacBook Pro it would turn off that display. However, if you had two workplaces, the workspace on the MacBook Pro's screen would remain active, even with the lid shut.

With the new release, Clamshell mode implements properly on lid-shut, even with a workspace spanning the MacBook Pro's internal display in conjunction with external displays.

AppleInsider has tested the improvements and new functionality on the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck with RX 560, the Sonnet and AMD RX 580 developer's kit that Apple briefly sold during the initial beta releases of High Sierra, and the Mantiz MZ-02 with a Vega 56 PCI-E card.

Apple's support for external Thunderbolt 3 enclosures containing a PCI-E GPU began following the 2017 WWDC. The feature, while present in all High Sierra builds, is still considered a beta. Apple has announced that support for external GPUs will be fully supported in the spring.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Looking forward to the nVidia support that won't require the kernel hack to use it with either a laptop or a desktop system.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,420administrator
    keithw said:
    Looking forward to the nVidia support that won't require the kernel hack to use it with either a laptop or a desktop system.
    I would very much like to see this as well, but I am concerned that there will be "blessed" configurations. Apple opened up 10.13.4 a very little with slightly wider AMD card support, and way better Vega drivers -- but there is nothing suggesting so-annointed nVidia card support, even with the web drivers that nVidia has for PCI-E cards.
    repressthis
  • Reply 3 of 18
    keithw said:
    Looking forward to the nVidia support that won't require the kernel hack to use it with either a laptop or a desktop system.
    I would very much like to see this as well, but I am concerned that there will be "blessed" configurations. Apple opened up 10.13.4 a very little with slightly wider AMD card support, and way better Vega drivers -- but there is nothing suggesting so-annointed nVidia card support, even with the web drivers that nVidia has for PCI-E cards.
    And that's the rub- they need to be "agnostic" about graphics cards- or at least vendors- the way Microsoft is.  Why should they care which EGPU somebody uses?
    I can and do use the nVidia web drivers as well as the kernel hack, but they need to be manually updated each dot release.
    cmka~+
  • Reply 4 of 18
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,037member
    It's nice to see support for this pushing forward steadily at last. 


    I'd really like to see in depth testing of Metal 2 with direct to display, vs DirectX 12 at some point, maybe even developer impressions. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,823member
    keithw said:
    keithw said:
    Looking forward to the nVidia support that won't require the kernel hack to use it with either a laptop or a desktop system.
    I would very much like to see this as well, but I am concerned that there will be "blessed" configurations. Apple opened up 10.13.4 a very little with slightly wider AMD card support, and way better Vega drivers -- but there is nothing suggesting so-annointed nVidia card support, even with the web drivers that nVidia has for PCI-E cards.
    And that's the rub- they need to be "agnostic" about graphics cards- or at least vendors- the way Microsoft is.  Why should they care which EGPU somebody uses?
    I can and do use the nVidia web drivers as well as the kernel hack, but they need to be manually updated each dot release.
    Yeah I accidentally ran the Security update on my 2012 Mac Pro and forgot I had the NVIDIA 970 installed. Had to revert back to the ATI Radeon 5770 it came with until NVIDIA releases an updated driver. This I cannot stand. You can't install the driver ahead of time because its not supported by the current OS and yet you video craps out once you do the installation until you install the updated driver. 

    I wish all video cards were natively produced for Windows and/or Mac, meaning they had full boot menu support as well as full driver support. 
    repressthis
  • Reply 6 of 18
    The problem with things like this is it has a little attention inside Apple now and will get rolled out.  Then, because of the way they're organized, nobody will be responsible.  It will not get any attention and two years from now you'll be lucky if it's still working because updates will be non-existent.  If Apple is such a large company, why do they have to use the excuse "focus on a few things?"  Why isn't there a VP for wireless networking responsible for making money on wireless routers.  Who's is in charge of Photos?  What's going on with iWork apps?  And last, how could the Mac platform be falling behind?  I'm a Tim Cook supporter.  Nobody else could've taken over after Steve.  But Apple is a giant company now.  Their organizational structure is holding them back. 
    repressthiscgWerks
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Apple needs to extend external GPU support to all the Macs kneecapped with Intel Vampire Video d.b.a. Iris and Iris Pro.

  • Reply 8 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,420administrator
    Apple needs to extend external GPU support to all the Macs kneecapped with Intel Vampire Video d.b.a. Iris and Iris Pro.

    High Sierra supports TB3 enclosures in TB2 machines with the TB2 to TB3 adapter. We've done testing on it in the past.

    I can't recommend it going back to TB1, but its doable.
    fastasleepcmka~+
  • Reply 9 of 18
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,078member
    If there are other ports on the eGPU like Ethernet or USB, do they function regardless of whether you 'eject' the GPU or not? It would be great if you could use the eGPU or not (i.e.: say you want quiet), but still utilize the extra ports. Though, I guess that would require video passthrough as well for an external monitor.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    cgWerks said:
    If there are other ports on the eGPU like Ethernet or USB, do they function regardless of whether you 'eject' the GPU or not? It would be great if you could use the eGPU or not (i.e.: say you want quiet), but still utilize the extra ports. Though, I guess that would require video passthrough as well for an external monitor.
    I have the Mantiz as well (with Vega frontier) and yes the ports work regardless of whether egpu is active (or even installed). same is true in bootcamp.

    Also, any word on whether the Vega fan speed issue is fixed?
    cgWerks
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,420administrator
    cmka~+ said:
    cgWerks said:
    If there are other ports on the eGPU like Ethernet or USB, do they function regardless of whether you 'eject' the GPU or not? It would be great if you could use the eGPU or not (i.e.: say you want quiet), but still utilize the extra ports. Though, I guess that would require video passthrough as well for an external monitor.
    I have the Mantiz as well (with Vega frontier) and yes the ports work regardless of whether egpu is active (or even installed). same is true in bootcamp.

    Also, any word on whether the Vega fan speed issue is fixed?
    Fan speed: it is, as long as your Mantiz firmware is up to date.
    cmka~+
  • Reply 12 of 18
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,078member
    cmka~+ said:
    I have the Mantiz as well (with Vega frontier) and yes the ports work regardless of whether egpu is active (or even installed). same is true in bootcamp.
    Thanks, that is an unsuspected, but pleasant, surprise!

    If the eGPU is inactive, then just the internal display (laptop) would work, correct? If you had an external display plugged into the eGPU, it would only operate if the eGPU is active (as the cable is plugged into the card in the eGPU)?
  • Reply 13 of 18
    cgWerks said:
    cmka~+ said:
    I have the Mantiz as well (with Vega frontier) and yes the ports work regardless of whether egpu is active (or even installed). same is true in bootcamp.
    Thanks, that is an unsuspected, but pleasant, surprise!

    If the eGPU is inactive, then just the internal display (laptop) would work, correct? If you had an external display plugged into the eGPU, it would only operate if the eGPU is active (as the cable is plugged into the card in the eGPU)?
    Correct, if eGPU is inactive it's just the internal display. The mantiz doesn't have any integrated display port like the Node Pro.

    Now if someone would just make a dual card dual TB3 Bus enclosure for the 15" MBP ;-)
  • Reply 14 of 18
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,078member
    cmka~+ said:
    Correct, if eGPU is inactive it's just the internal display. The mantiz doesn't have any integrated display port like the Node Pro.
    The Node Pro page talks about the display port for 2nd monitor. Do they mean second to the laptop screen, or like 1 monitor hooked to the GPU, one to the display port? Or, can it route the GPU-card's through that display port? If one could use an external monitor with the laptop and then just turn on/off the eGPU when necessary, that would be sweet.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,420administrator
    cgWerks said:
    cmka~+ said:
    Correct, if eGPU is inactive it's just the internal display. The mantiz doesn't have any integrated display port like the Node Pro.
    The Node Pro page talks about the display port for 2nd monitor. Do they mean second to the laptop screen, or like 1 monitor hooked to the GPU, one to the display port? Or, can it route the GPU-card's through that display port? If one could use an external monitor with the laptop and then just turn on/off the eGPU when necessary, that would be sweet.
    In all the enclosures I've seen with a port not associated with a graphics card, they are USB-C alt-mode DisplayPort or HDMI connectors that feed off the processing capabilities of the host device, not the PCI-E card in the enclosure. While I've tried USB ports on an enclosure without a monitor connected, I've never tried a display. Should work -- I'll poke it over the weekend.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 16 of 18
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,420administrator
    nkdonut said:
    I don't have the ability to check this at this moment, but can put a card in a bit later this evening. The Sonnet unit worked fine with the first beta.

    Edit: Nope, can confirm that beta 4 and the Sonnet RX 560 don't play nice. The GPU is detected and named properly, but external displays don't sync. I'll update to B5 later this evening and get back to you.
    edited March 2018 nkdonut
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Hey Mike,

    I think there have been reports that it still doesn't work on B5. Would you be able to try it on B6?

    Thank you.
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