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Apple Adds Support for External GPUs in macOS High Sierra and Releases VR Development Kit

If this was not clear from yesterday's keynote, now we can be sure: macOS High Sierra Mac's official gateway to the world of virtual reality (virtual reality, or VR). Along with the announcement of the new version of its graphics engine, Metal 2, Apple is bringing, for the first time its line of computers, support for eGPUs External graphics cards that connect machine via Thunderbolt or some other interface.

In practice, Apple's only intention is to allow developers in the VR universe to use Macs to roll their creations and eventually embody Apple's line of computers in their releases. As is well known, today's Macs have, at best, discrete graphics cards that do not allow for very heavy work, that is, to mess with VR today, even on a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, almost impossible. the external GPUs come in.

Apple External Graphics Development Kit for Virtual Reality (VR)

To encourage the start of this development, Apple itself has taken the first step and has begun selling its developer site on its website, called External Graphics Development Kit, or External Chart Development Kit. The set includes a Sonnet GPU drawer with Thunderbolt 3 connection, an AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB memory card inside, and a Belkin USB-C four-port USB-C hub.

The “black box” connects to any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 input and any Metal, OpenCL or OpenGL based applications / games can take advantage of the extra graphics power provided by it. However, it should be noted that, at least for now, the solution has some limitations: there is no support for on-screen graphics acceleration of the iMac or MacBook Pro itself, for example, so it is necessary to connect the machine to an external monitor; On the other hand, the case does not yet support USB-C monitors, so the LG UltraFine recommended by Apple is also left out. Also, there is no mode support clamshell or audio via HDMI these are problems that certainly Apple and the community will try to solve over time.

The kit costs $ 600 (~ $ 2,000) and to purchase it you must be registered in the Apple Developer Program or in Apple Developer Enterprisein the following countries: Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Singapore, Sweden or Your. That is, at least for now, if you're based in Brazil, you'll have to wait to make your graphic creations on Mac.

To further encourage developers to jump headlong into the virtual reality universe, Ma's kit also includes a promotional code that gives the buyer $ 100 off a purchase of a HTC Vive VR device, which costs $ 800 an offer, meanwhile. It is valid for a limited time and is subject to the duration of stocks.

Remember that the Apple kit is nothing more than a solution offered by Ma itself for developers who want the simplest and quickest way to start speeding up their Mac graphics without having to worry too much about setting up their own eGPU solutions. Those who prefer to get their hands dirty, however, can already do so. AppleInsider tested a similar kit card and plugged in the PowerColor Devil Box drawer, and everything worked perfectly without the need for any hack or something. How NVIDIA is already offering drivers of their Mac boards, hers can also be used without problems in theory, of course.

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Accompanying the news, the Valve already tried to launch your virtual reality platform SteamVR in beta in macOS. The trial version of the software is already available to the public. Of course, when we talk about “public” here, it's very likely that very few of us are included.

SteamVR

I say this because running SteamVR on the Mac requires a machine running macOS 10.11.6 or higher, a GPU that supports VR (as above) and an HTC Vive device. Overall, we are talking about a joke in the thousands of dollars.

Of course, of course it would be impossible to assume that anyone could suddenly enjoy virtual reality in Apple's ecosystem. No: This is just the first step for Macs to one day offer the same VR capabilities as many Windows machines. They are already fast reaching. And as a preliminary initiative, we are already very well served.

via The Verge