At eGPUs are already a reality in the Apple world. With the launch of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, Apple’s desktop operating system has finally gained compatibility with some models of external video cards – in the case of notebook computers, Apple simply opened up a range of possibilities for those who want graphics power without giving up. mobility.
THE Ars Technica decided to test the board AMD Radeon RX 580 using a Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W chassis and compared the results with those of a MacBook Pro 2016 with the GPU Radeon Pro 460. It is good to note, however, that the current top-of-the-line model of the MacBook Pro (2017) comes with a Radeon Pro 560.
In summary, they concluded that some apps using the framework Metal had a performance more than 2x superior when using the eGPU; using OpenGL, earnings vary widely (from 20% to 75%, depending on the application).
Even though the news is very good and can excite a lot of people, the site noted that some apps or games simply did not win (with no clear reason for that to happen). This was the case with the Civilization VI game, which simply did not have the expected gains due to the hardware difference between the RX 580 and the Pro 460. The Hitman game, for example, did not even run (it gave a problem in the first attempt and then simply not opened anymore).
The most surprising – at least in my opinion – was the test with Final Cut Pro X. Apple’s professional video editor simply did not use the eGPU, limiting itself to running tasks on the MacBook Pro board itself. The idea was compare exporting an 4K video full of effects to an H.264 file, but the eGPU was not required by the software at any time – which is frustrating, since we are talking about software from Apple itself that can benefit a lot from this type of solution.
The consensus – and it could not be otherwise – is that, although promising, the use of eGPUs in macOS is not yet ready for the general public because it offers a very unstable experience, because the support is not yet robust enough and because it still has many limitations (including lack of Boot Camp support).
If Apple pays due attention to the feature, however, its future could be very promising!