Apple Silicon M1 Macs do not support eGPUs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2021
While Apple was touting the improved graphical capability of the new Apple Silicon Macs, they neglected to mention during the event that the M1 chip does not support eGPU technologies.

A MacBook Pro with an external GPU.
A MacBook Pro with an external GPU.


AppleInsider has confirmed that the new Apple Silicon Macs based on the M1 processor will not support any external graphics processing units. This means the new Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro will solely utilize their own on-processor GPUs.

This confirms a previous suspicion after developer support documentation appeared to imply that support for all non-Apple GPUs would be dropped. The current developer document primarily refers now to what it describes as "Apple family GPUs."

Furthermore, Apple has removed its preferred solution, the Blackmagic eGPU, from the list of compatible accessories for the Mac mini, the MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon chips.

Apple has only comparatively recently supported external GPUs. At times, though, it has also seen failures in that support, with certain combinations of Mac and GPU card causing problems in macOS Catalina. And, Nvidia support is lacking in its entirety.

It's not known whether future Apple Silicon processors, such as the previously-rumored "A14T" option, will restore eGPU support.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    This makes you wonder if Apple Silicon Mac Pros will also prohibit eGPUs. Or even internal GPUs on expansion cards.
  • Reply 2 of 80
    Hmm, I guess this isn’t a surprise, but it is interesting all the Macs that don’t support discrete GPUs were the ones updated today, implying in the future they will either introduce a chip with a much better GPU or otherwise are still trying to work with AMD to maintain their graphics options in later models.
    gregoriusmrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 80
    So it sounds like that there was a headache with GPU support and that they decided to drop it.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 80
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 80
    eGPU’s will go the way of the “arithmetic co-processor” eventually as technology improves. 
    williamlondonrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 80
    I dare say it is because these are low-end macs with a processor that doesn’t deviate too far feature wise from what is already designed for iPhones and iPads. 
    I would expect down the line that Apple’s performance silicon will have a wider support for hardware as this is essential for pros.
    gregoriusmwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 80
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Well one of the main concerns was for most MacBooks, anything close to high end AMD GPUs wasn’t an option, we’ll just have to see how these perform to see if an eGPU option is really necessary (again, most pro users would save the eGPUs for the MacBook Pro or iMac or something that’s not today’s introduced Macs, so it’s a low bar).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 80
    Neglect is a funny choice of word. 
    Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 80
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Well one of the main concerns was for most MacBooks, anything close to high end AMD GPUs wasn’t an option, we’ll just have to see how these perform to see if an eGPU option is really necessary (again, most pro users would save the eGPUs for the MacBook Pro or iMac or something that’s not today’s introduced Macs, so it’s a low bar).
    Given the (limited) data that we have now for performance, the integrated GPU in Apple Silicon with eight GPU cores is about the same as a RX 590.
    edited November 2020 curtis hannahwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 80
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,611member
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Well one of the main concerns was for most MacBooks, anything close to high end AMD GPUs wasn’t an option, we’ll just have to see how these perform to see if an eGPU option is really necessary (again, most pro users would save the eGPUs for the MacBook Pro or iMac or something that’s not today’s introduced Macs, so it’s a low bar).
    Given the (limited) data that we have now for performance, the integrated GPU in Apple Silicon with eight GPU cores is about the same as a RX 590.
    Huh? Apple said the onboard GPU in M1 is good for 2.6 TFLOPs. Intel Iris Xe in Tiger Lake is 2.1 TFLOPs. Radeon RX 590 is 7.1 TFLOPs
    edited November 2020 mdriftmeyerpulseimagessphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 80
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,396member
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Integrated Graphics are fine for the average consumer surfing websites, etc. But discrete graphics have always crushed them and likely always will. I do wonder what reason they could have to remove support for External GPU's? I suppose it doesn't matter for something like the MacBook Air, I doubt many if any people used one on that machine anyway, but they need to offer this for their real "Pro" machines.
    mdriftmeyerwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 80
    saarek said:
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Integrated Graphics are fine for the average consumer surfing websites, etc. But discrete graphics have always crushed them and likely always will. I do wonder what reason they could have to remove support for External GPU's? I suppose it doesn't matter for something like the MacBook Air, I doubt many if any people used one on that machine anyway, but they need to offer this for their real "Pro" machines.
    It's not really fair to say Apple "removed support for eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs" since Apple never supported eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs. Nobody has lost anything. It's entirely possible that this feature will be added later. In fact, we're fairly confident other GPU support will be added, if only for the Apple Silicon Mac Pro.
    randominternetpersonRayz2016williamlondonDetnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 80
    eGPU’s will go the way of the “arithmetic co-processor” eventually as technology improves. 
    You tell yourself that.
    elijahgwilliamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 80

    saarek said:
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Integrated Graphics are fine for the average consumer surfing websites, etc. But discrete graphics have always crushed them and likely always will. I do wonder what reason they could have to remove support for External GPU's? I suppose it doesn't matter for something like the MacBook Air, I doubt many if any people used one on that machine anyway, but they need to offer this for their real "Pro" machines.
    It's not really fair to say Apple "removed support for eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs" since Apple never supported eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs. Nobody has lost anything. It's entirely possible that this feature will be added later. In fact, we're fairly confident other GPU support will be added, if only for the Apple Silicon Mac Pro.
    No one is going to buy a Mac Mini M1 who wants to work in the Audio/Video/Graphics worlds. They're forcing people to go iMac/Mac Pro or whatever this phantom Mac Pro Tiny crap will be.

    You don't release a beast [albeit should have been Threadripper based/EPYC ROME based] Mac Pro with all the MPX options for GPGPUs, Afterburner, third party OEM add-ons and less than a year later you shat the bed and knee cap everyone that is not a mere Consumption owner nor a Mac Pro production creative person, but Apple just did.
    elijahgwilliamlondonrezwits
  • Reply 15 of 80
    I wish Apple would shit or get off the pot when it comes to supporting pros. Integrated graphics don’t cut it, period, especially since major pro software packages are built to take advantage of real GPUs. They aren’t going to rewrite their stuff for the small Mac market. It’s exhausting being strung along by Apple. 
    elijahgflyingdpwilliamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 80
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,634member
    I suspect the desktops will have a different CPU (M2? D1?) than the laptops. Presumably some iteration eventually will end up in the Mac Pro, with PCIe support, and with it PCIe GPUs. Either that or Apple will just abandon the iMac Pro and Mac Pro, I wouldn't be hugely surprised.
  • Reply 17 of 80
    mazda 3s said:
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Well one of the main concerns was for most MacBooks, anything close to high end AMD GPUs wasn’t an option, we’ll just have to see how these perform to see if an eGPU option is really necessary (again, most pro users would save the eGPUs for the MacBook Pro or iMac or something that’s not today’s introduced Macs, so it’s a low bar).
    Given the (limited) data that we have now for performance, the integrated GPU in Apple Silicon with eight GPU cores is about the same as a RX 590.
    Huh? Apple said the onboard GPU in M1 is good for 2.3 TFLOPs. Intel Iris Xe in Tiger Lake is 2.1 TFLOPs. Radeon RX 590 is 7.1 TFLOPs
    Most people are ignorant of how powerful GPUs are.

    The new Radeon RX 6800 for instance:


    elijahgmazda 3sCheeseFreezegregoriusmwilliamlondonrazorpitviclauyycrezwitsphilboogie
  • Reply 18 of 80

    elijahg said:
    I suspect the desktops will have a different CPU (M2? D1?) than the laptops. Presumably some iteration eventually will end up in the Mac Pro, with PCIe support, and with it PCIe GPUs. Either that or Apple will just abandon the iMac Pro and Mac Pro, I wouldn't be hugely surprised.
    They abandon their pro lines they might as well stop selling Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X, because the entire creating markets will abandon them.
    edited November 2020 CheeseFreezewilliamlondonviclauyycphilboogie
  • Reply 19 of 80
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,634member

    saarek said:
    Maybe it was just an embarrassment to Apple to support external GPUs that had slower speeds than their internal one.
    Integrated Graphics are fine for the average consumer surfing websites, etc. But discrete graphics have always crushed them and likely always will. I do wonder what reason they could have to remove support for External GPU's? I suppose it doesn't matter for something like the MacBook Air, I doubt many if any people used one on that machine anyway, but they need to offer this for their real "Pro" machines.
    It's not really fair to say Apple "removed support for eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs" since Apple never supported eGPUs on Apple Silicon Macs. Nobody has lost anything. It's entirely possible that this feature will be added later. In fact, we're fairly confident other GPU support will be added, if only for the Apple Silicon Mac Pro.
    No one is going to buy a Mac Mini M1 who wants to work in the Audio/Video/Graphics worlds. They're forcing people to go iMac/Mac Pro or whatever this phantom Mac Pro Tiny crap will be.

    You don't release a beast [albeit should have been Threadripper based/EPYC ROME based] Mac Pro with all the MPX options for GPGPUs, Afterburner, third party OEM add-ons and less than a year later you shat the bed and knee cap everyone that is not a mere Consumption owner nor a Mac Pro production creative person, but Apple just did.
    I wonder if the "Mac Pro Tiny" is just the Mac Pro with a highly clocked M* chip or two and no PCIe. Marketing will focus purely on CPU speed and tell everyone it's just as good as the old Mac Pro, and as everyone that uses the current MP becomes concerned for their livelihood, they will be labelled here a "hater," as usual.
  • Reply 20 of 80
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,634member

    elijahg said:
    I suspect the desktops will have a different CPU (M2? D1?) than the laptops. Presumably some iteration eventually will end up in the Mac Pro, with PCIe support, and with it PCIe GPUs. Either that or Apple will just abandon the iMac Pro and Mac Pro, I wouldn't be hugely surprised.
    They abandon their pro lines they might as well stop selling Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X, because the entire creating markets will abandon them.
    Well honestly I'm not sure they really care, because I don't think there *are* many creatives left using Macs. Apple is so ditzy when it comes to pros (and their software, FCP X for example, Shake, Aperture, etc) that plenty of businesses that rely on pro software have switched to Windows where they can be sure they aren't going to be abandoned at the drop of a hat. The BBC for example used to do most of their editing on Macs, but they switched to Windows and Avid a number of years ago. Not sure what they're using software-wise now.
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