Apple details eGPU support in macOS 10.13.4 High Sierra, notes no Nvidia support

Posted:
in macOS
The release of macOS 10.13.4 brings with it official external GPU support by Apple, but the company is recommending specific enclosures/chassis and cards, excluding ones some people might hope to use.




In a support page posted on late Thursday, the company suggests several AMD video cards. These include the Radeon RX 570 and RX 580, the Radeon Pro WX 7100 and 9100, and finally the Radeon RX Vega 56, 64, and Vega Frontier Edition Air. Suggested enclosures come from companies like PowerColor, Sonnet, and OWC -- but others can work as well.

Support is not limited to any specific card vendor. As long as the card mostly complies with the reference specification, they are able to be used in an eGPU enclosure.

The list notably excludes any cards from Nvidia. Nvidia does have the "web driver" for its PCI-E that it updates after every macOS revision, but at present that isn't sufficient to run the cards in an enclosure, without third-party hacks applied, and even that can be problematic.

During the beta process, some cards that worked during Apple's initial testing of eGPU support are no longer supported, such as the AMD RX 560. Mac owners must also use Thunderbolt 3, since official support for earlier versions of Thunderbolt was also dropped in the beta period.

Apple notes that people can connect more than one eGPU, though people should use direct connections whenever possible instead of daisy-chaining. Apple's enclosure recommendations all have 87W of charging power available to the host machine, and 13-inch MacBook Pros from 2016 or later should always have eGPUs plugged in on the left-hand side to guarantee maximum bandwidth. Any VR headsets should be plugged into the eGPU.

To check whether cards are working properly, users should open the macOS Activity Monitor, then select Window and GPU History. Once a session is finished Apple notes that the new chip icon in the Mac's menu bar should be used to disconnect it.




The macOS 10.13.4 update also brought with it support for Business Chat in Messages, and a variety of bugfixes, such as for graphics problems impacting apps on the iMac Pro.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    deepinsider
  • Reply 3 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    Haplo
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    Yeah, I don't want blessed configurations either. Things are already shady enough with the ridiculous price markups on GPUs right now.
    dysamoriaHaplo
  • Reply 5 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    Yeah, I don't want blessed configurations either. Things are already shady enough with the ridiculous price markups on GPUs right now.
    If you needed a boot menu, could you just use the internal graphics card for that and then switch over to the eGPU afterwards or does it need to boot from the eGPU to work? If it doesn't need to boot from it, then I don't see any a blessed card would be necessary anyways. 
  • Reply 6 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    Yeah, I don't want blessed configurations either. Things are already shady enough with the ridiculous price markups on GPUs right now.
    If you needed a boot menu, could you just use the internal graphics card for that and then switch over to the eGPU afterwards or does it need to boot from the eGPU to work? If it doesn't need to boot from it, then I don't see any a blessed card would be necessary anyways. 
    On my MBP, the machine starts the boot process on the display, then switches over to the connected 4K displays. I was more referring to driver support and them not taking active measures to prevent the Nvidia cards from working.

    For instance, the RX560 worked fine, until about beta 4. Then it didn't, and still doesn't. TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    repressthis
  • Reply 7 of 39
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,179member
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    Yea, this point is really a bummer if using/considering a cylinder Mac Pro or pre-2016 MBP. I wonder if this will change again.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    Unfortunately, as MacOS now supports eGPU, support for USB-based displays has been lost. My company invested heavily in Targus USB docks which use DisplayLink to drive two external monitors (on top of Ethernet, audio, and other USB devices). It's a reasonable way to allow all the crappy HP and Dell laptops they provide as well as those of us who use Macs. As of 12.13.4, the DisplayLink drivers ceased to function (everything else with the dock still works, however). My understanding is that Duet and Air Display also no longer work (at least over USB; I haven't read anything about Wi-Fi yet).

    DisplayLink acknowledged the problem back when the first beta was released, but has not been able to provide a fix.
    repressthisivanhdysamoria
  • Reply 9 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    cgWerks said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    Yea, this point is really a bummer if using/considering a cylinder Mac Pro or pre-2016 MBP. I wonder if this will change again.
    Perhaps in 10.13.5, maybe it will come back to at least TB2. 
  • Reply 10 of 39
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,179member
    macxpress said:
    cgWerks said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    Yea, this point is really a bummer if using/considering a cylinder Mac Pro or pre-2016 MBP. I wonder if this will change again.
    Perhaps in 10.13.5, maybe it will come back to at least TB2. 
    Yea, hopefully it's a bug or oversight, not a purposeful exclusion!
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    cgWerks said:
    macxpress said:
    cgWerks said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    Yea, this point is really a bummer if using/considering a cylinder Mac Pro or pre-2016 MBP. I wonder if this will change again.
    Perhaps in 10.13.5, maybe it will come back to at least TB2. 
    Yea, hopefully it's a bug or oversight, not a purposeful exclusion!
    Pretty sure it's purposeful. The user experience on TB2 or TB isn't as speedy as Apple might like, I expect.
    edited March 2018 repressthis
  • Reply 12 of 39
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,791member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    This is only the first release, give it time!   I kinda doubt something this new is even mature on AMD hardware.  

    I have no love for NVidia so from that standpoint i dont care.  What i find strange is peoples obsession with NVidia.   Niether AMD nor NVidia produce perfect cards nor perfect software.   However AMD is far more open with their software which in my mind is a huge plus.  
  • Reply 13 of 39
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,791member

    cgWerks said:
    macxpress said:
    cgWerks said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    TB1 and TB2 worked in accordance with their max speeds -- until beta 5, and they didn't.
    Yea, this point is really a bummer if using/considering a cylinder Mac Pro or pre-2016 MBP. I wonder if this will change again.
    Perhaps in 10.13.5, maybe it will come back to at least TB2. 
    Yea, hopefully it's a bug or oversight, not a purposeful exclusion!
    Pretty sure it's purposeful. The user experience on TB2 or TB isn't as speedy as Apple might like, I expect.
    I suspect a lot is going on here.   TB 1 in my mind was a proof of concept and even TB 2 was of likited interest.   As such i see the USB-C port as Apples long term play with TB.  

    There are likely other factors with this exclusion of hardware, some of those are why i have an HP ENVY laptop right now.  In any event nothing would stop Apple from supporting older machines once the kinks are worked out here.  

    Now do i believe that Apple will revisit this old hardware?     Nope; in my opinion they have regressed to past behavior of screwing over the custome with high prices on outdated hardware.  Im actually hoping we see massive changes to the Mac line up real soon.   If not it could be sometime before i return as a Mac customer.  
    entropysavon b7
  • Reply 14 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    wizard69 said:
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    :( Apple should be supporting both manufacturers.... I think Apple is really limiting itself here. This I think could turn a normal 27" iMac into a decent gaming Mac and I think this would also allow Apple to do nearly any design they want and put whatever card they see fit in their Macs. If someone wants more, they can get an enclosure and a card. Most will opt not to do this, but at least the option would be there. But...were stuck on AMD's platform. 
    I'm not certain that it's entirely up to Apple. AMD has Xconnect routines, specifically allowing for the hot plug and unplug. Those shipped in September for the first time. 

    NVidia has something similar, but not identical.
    I understand...but it does seem like Apple wants nothing to do with NVIDIA at the moment. I know AMD is good and things NVIDIA isn't and visa versa, but I hope in the future both are taken into consideration. 
    This is only the first release, give it time!   I kinda doubt something this new is even mature on AMD hardware.  

    I have no love for NVidia so from that standpoint i dont care.  What i find strange is peoples obsession with NVidia.   Niether AMD nor NVidia produce perfect cards nor perfect software.   However AMD is far more open with their software which in my mind is a huge plus.  
    Its mainly a gaming thing. AMD cards tend to suck versus NVIDIA ones for gaming. I would love for AMD to have a true competitor to the 1080 or higher. I know the eGPU doesn't give you the true effect of having a physical card installed on the motherboard (logic board in Apple's case), but from everything I read and watch it does make quite a difference over what Apple chooses to put in whatever newer TB3 Mac you have. 
  • Reply 15 of 39
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,143member
    No NVidia support seems... unwise.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    alandailalandail Posts: 689member
    What can you do with VR headsets on the Mac?  I got a Vive to use with my iMac pro, but there doesn’t see to be any compatible software.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    I’d love to have Nvidia eGPU support for my Thunderbolt 2 2015 MBP (Retina)! It’s a great machine, but I could really boost my Matlab workflow through CUDA GPGPU acceleration! That’s way easier to get than hoping Mathworks to support Metal any time soon...
  • Reply 18 of 39
    alandail said:
    What can you do with VR headsets on the Mac?  I got a Vive to use with my iMac pro, but there doesn’t see to be any compatible software.
    Not much unfortunately. Most VR authoring tools and general applications/games are Windows/DirectX based and will be for the foreseeable future. Install bootcamp with windows10 and you can do whatever you like with your Vive. I sold my VR headsets as I don't want to work on Windows and the market is trending down.

    I think apple is only releasing eGPU support so it doesn't lose the VR video creators. Hooking up a highend AMD card to a macbook pro will probably give acceptable performance for some. Gaming over the eGPU is 'ok', some frame dropping will occur, but then again, there aren't that many games on the mac that stress the GPU that much, unless you force ultra quality on 4K.

    A lot of the Machine Learning tools use Cuda, so people buy Nvidia. But getting GPU support for some ML tools on OSX can be troublesome as well.
    Since 10.13.3 the Nvidia web drivers give a lot of issues. So that won't be resolved with eGPU support.

    Maybe eGPU support is a stopover measure like the iMac pro, until we get a decent modular Mac Pro again.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,179member
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    Pretty sure it's purposeful. The user experience on TB2 or TB isn't as speedy as Apple might like, I expect.
    Drat! I suppose I understand a bit for TB, but TB2 at like 80% is way, way better than most of the weak GPUs Apple puts in their products (some, by necessity).

    wizard69 said:
    What i find strange is peoples obsession with NVidia.   Niether AMD nor NVidia produce perfect cards nor perfect software.   However AMD is far more open with their software which in my mind is a huge plus.  
    CUDA support. Otherwise, I don't think most people would care all that much.

    wizard69 said:
    TB 1 in my mind was a proof of concept and even TB 2 was of likited interest.   As such i see the USB-C port as Apples long term play with TB.
    Yea, TB3 is really the first version that kinda fulfills the external bus promise. As nice as the cylinder Mac Pro is, it was too early a move in that direction by Apple... bleeding edge. I think if they had introduced the cylinder concept now with TB3 and some external GPU boxes, it would be more accepted, even by the real pros. I think most of them would still rather have a modern cheese-grater, though.

    I’d love to have Nvidia eGPU support for my Thunderbolt 2 2015 MBP (Retina)! It’s a great machine, but I could really boost my Matlab workflow through CUDA GPGPU acceleration! That’s way easier to get than hoping Mathworks to support Metal any time soon...
    Yea, this is the big dilemma I face right now. Aside from the iMac Pro (currently, out of my budget), Apple just has no TB3 machine I want. I was thinking of getting a cMP or 2015 MBP, but now this has me re-thinking that. I'm guessing the new Mac Pro (even if it comes soon), is going to be quite expensive. I'm not sure if Apple will really fix the MBP any time soon. Possibly, they'll update the Mini, but I doubt it will be quad-core.

    Apple just has nothing in the middle. They have really expensive high end (finally). And, then they have a bunch of coffee-shop jockey stuff. I need a reasonably powerful, hopefully somewhat quiet, prosumer machine that falls somewhere into Apple's non-pro pricing range.

    michelb76 said:
    Maybe eGPU support is a stopover measure like the iMac pro, until we get a decent modular Mac Pro again.
    Possibly, but I hope not. I think the eGPU concept is great to get the best of both worlds in many cases. I don't always need a hefty space-heater/wind-tunnel GPU running, but sometimes I do. Good eGPU support would be great for laptop people, system expansion, or just split use-cases. It's actually one of the few 'innovations' in computers I've been excited about for a while.
    ascii
  • Reply 20 of 39
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    It would be nice if Apple sold one of the supported enclosures in the Apple Stores. They probably already have a relationship with Sonnet due to using them for the dev kits.
Sign In or Register to comment.