Ex­ter­nal graph­ics pro­ces­sors

Mac|Life - - REVIEWS -

When Ap­ple de­ployed macOS 10.13.4, sud­denly Macs with Thun­der­bolt 3 ports gained new up­grade op­tions thanks to sup­port for ex­ter­nal graph­ics pro­cess­ing units (eGPUs). At the time that was lim­ited to the Mac­Book Pro and iMac, but the su­per­fast con­nec­tion is now avail­able on the Mac mini and the Mac­Book Air, too.

When you con­nect an eGPU to a Mac, dis­plays con­nected di­rectly to the eGPU ben­e­fit right away. Any in­ter­nal dis­play on the con­nected Mac is still han­dled by the com­puter’s built–in graph­ics pro­ces­sor. How­ever, some apps — like video tool DaVinci Re­solve — are de­signed to lever­age any suit­able GPUs they find con­nected to the com­puter. Some apps — games, in par­tic­u­lar — have been found to have is­sues when run­ning through an eGPU. If you en­counter such trou­ble, con­tact the soft­ware’s pub­lisher/de­vel­oper to find out if a fix is forth­com­ing.

In the per­for­mance charts on page 43, note that the DaVinci Re­solve test shows the im­pact on ren­der time of con­nect­ing a Razer Core X with a Vega 64 card to our Mac mini review unit with a Core i3 pro­ces­sor. That card is near the top end of the range that Ap­ple rec­om­mends for use in this way.

See Mac|Life #145 for a review of the Razer Core X, an en­clo­sure into which you in­stall your choice of macOS– com­pat­i­ble card (see bit.ly/ap­plegpu) and Mac|Life #147 for the ready–to–go and in­cred­i­bly quiet Black­magic eGPU.

Black­magic’s eGPU ($699) and eGPU Pro ($1,199) also add four USB–A ports.

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