Apple clarifies which PCI-e GPU cards are suitable for which eGPU enclosures

in General Discussion edited July 2019
Updated support documents from Apple add new specific recommendations for eGPU enclosures and graphics cards, plus some new notes on usage.

Razer Core eGPU
Razer Core eGPU

Apple has updated its list of recommended eGPUs and chassis for specific graphics cards. More than a list of supported products, Apple's recommendations include some suggestions for what each item is suited, plus how different apps may utilize them to a greater or lesser degree.

In the category of Thunderbolt 3 all-in-one eGPU products, Apple has now added the Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box. When AppleInsider reviewed this in May 2018, we noted that it is a particularly small eGPU that was powerful but couldn't be upgraded.

Apple now also makes a note about which machine the Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box is suited for, saying that "these chassis provide at least 85 watts of charging power, making them ideal for use with 15-inch MacBook Pro models."

The existing other recommendations for all-in-one eGPU products remain the Blackmagic eGPU, Blackmagic eGPU Pro4, plus the Sonnet Radeon RX 560 eGFX Breakaway Puck

Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box
Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box

Apple's recommendations for graphics cards are listed in order of their power supplies, arranged from least to highest. Unless you know the power considerations, you can end up with a costly eGPU that either doesn't work, or is unstable.

Apple points out that the highest powered cards require an enclosure with an appropriate power supply, and points out that low-powered enclosures may need the user to connect the computer to a power supply.

"If you use Akitio Node with a Mac notebook," continues Apple, "you might need to connect your Mac to its power adapter to ensure proper charging."

The Razer Core X enclosure is recommended for the AMD Vega 64, and cards requiring similar power such as AMD WX. The PowerColor Game Station, HP Omen and Akitio Node are also recommended for these cards, but require more power.

Similarly, the Razer Core X and PowerColor Game Station are recommended for AMD Vega 56 cards such as the Sapphire Vega 56 and XFX Vega 56. The Razer Core X is also a new recommendation for AMD Vega 64 cards such as the Sapphire Vega 64, XFX Vega 64, AMD Frontier Edition air-cooled, and AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100.

Apple doesn't list explicit Radeon VII support, but it has been available to macOS users for some time. Similarly to the recommendations for the Vega 64, the Radeon VII works in the Razer Core X and similarly powered enclosures.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,633member
    Just a shame Apple's childishness won't allow superior Nvidia cards in Mojave.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    rnb2rnb2 Posts: 51member
    Radeon VII works, but has issues: fans run at high speed during sleep and sometimes shutdown, depending on system type. It sounds like AMD isn't in a hurry to address the issue (at best), and it will require updated firmware to fix.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    elijahg said:
    Just a shame Apple's childishness won't allow superior Nvidia cards in Mojave.
    I wouldn’t say it is childish, though I agree with the overall assessment. Besides Nvidia cards can use CUDA, and a lot of scientific computing software packages (ahem... Matlab) only support GPGPU acceleration through CUDA.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,203member
    elijahg said:
    Just a shame Apple's childishness won't allow superior Nvidia cards in Mojave.
    What nonsense. You have no idea what the reason is, and I personally very much doubt it has anything to do with being childish. It's much more likely either a business issue, or a technical disagreement.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    SuperN0vaSuperN0va Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    its pretty common knowledge Apples hissy fit with Nvidia. there is NO excuse for it. Many of Apples loyal users prefer it. The whole idea of the Mac Pro was user choice and flex... at ALL levels... they can prefer and recommend... but to exclude? And I love Apple... this is a long running bull crap tantrum. To say thats nonsense is naive and respectfully shows that you havent followed the years this has gone on very closely.
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