egpu with mac

Can you use an external graphics card on a MacBook?

Last Updated on July 1, 2021 by paularo

The use of an external graphics card or what everyone likes to refer to as the eGPU is a dream that has become reality for most gamers and video editors, especially with the use of thunderbolt.

Can you use an external graphics card on a MacBook? Yes, an external graphics card could be used on a MacBook, with as little as a thunderbolt connection, your MacBook is sure to be able to connect with an eGPU.  The external graphics card provides your MacBook with a way better visual performance if it doesn’t already have one, and with an external graphics card, you’re sure to be able to play high-end games because your graphics will be improved. You could also edit videos 3D animations and basically anything that involves rendering.

Before thunderbolt was created, most people had to build their own external GPU and while that sounds like fun, it might have been a stressful job for some. With a thunderbolt connection, you could easily connect your MacBook to an external graphics card or an external graphics processing unit.

The external graphics card isn’t the only thing you’ll need in order to see the difference, in some cases, you might need to plug an external monitor into the enclosure to see or notice any differences. While the external graphics card does a great job of visually improving your MacBook, it is said that it doesn’t function with all games or video editing apps, so the external monitor might be of certain help.

Using an external graphics card on your MacBook is highly beneficial and there are some things you’ll have to look out for before buying one, the most important thing being compatibility. You don’t want to get a graphics card that isn’t compatible with the Mac OS, you’ll need one that fits perfectly and works smoothly with your MacBook Pro.

In order to make use of an external graphics card, you will need an enclosure that fits perfectly with your MacBook, you will also need a thunderbolt 3 MacBook. The Thunderbolt 3 connection is highly useful these days as it provides an easy connection from your graphics card and enclosure to the MacBook itself.

You could buy a thunderbolt enclosure and a graphics card that is compatible with the MacBook together or you could easily buy them separately, most of the graphics card that works well with MacBook are said to be of the AMD brand, and they are one of the best graphics card manufacturers available.

Compatible Graphics Card For MacBook

Most of the graphics card that is used in eGPU enclosures that are compatible to the MacBook or Mac OS are AMD graphics cards, below is a lot of Apple graphics card suggestions based on the different levels of power watts the eGPU enclosure should provide. eGPU with 350W of power or more

  • AMD Radeon RX 470
  • AMD Radeon RX 480
  • AMD Radeon RX 570
  • eGPU with 550W of power
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
  • Sapphire Vega 56
  • XFX Vega 56
  • eGPU with 650W of power
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
  • AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100
  • Vega Frontier Edition Air

Recommended Thunderbolt Enclosures For Your Mac

Razer X Chroma

The Razer X has quite a number of expansion slots, but that is not the only reason why it seems to be one of the top picks for eGPU enclosures used by mac owners. It also delivers great power and it is essentially a quiet enclosure that doesn’t exude any kind of distracting noises. 

A great graphics card to attach to this would be the AMD Radeon, the two put together will be sure to deliver the best image pro6, video rendering and all-around great gaming. The device has about four high-speed USB ports as well as LED lights and a gigabit Ethernet port.

BlackMagic eGPU

Asides from the fact that this was manufactured with the help of Apple, it also has a Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. Another great advantage of using this enclosure is the fact that it also offers several additional ports to use. Its ports include a thunderbolt 3 port as well as HDMI 2.0 port and four USB 3.0 ports.

This is a standalone enclosed that provides ease when it comes to the set-up, all you have to do is take it out of the box and connect the necessary cable to the applicable port. There will. Be no installation or confusing processes after, just an easy plug and play feature.

Akitio Node Titan

The Akitio node is a very reliable enclosure that provides all the best features that an enclosure should have. The Node titan is one of the most high-end enclosures from the Akitio brand and it offers a lot of advantages to MacBook users that need an external graphics card connected to their system. 

It has a 650w power supply that will match perfectly with top-notch graphics cards, the power supply is noted to work favourably with the MacBook Pro. It has a thunderbolt port and it offers amazing performance to the MacBook and its compatibility is known to be great as well.

Benefits of using an eGPU with your mac

  1. With an eGPU, you could add external monitors and displays if you want to.
  2. With a great power supply eGPU, you could easily charge your MacBook.
  3. Your MacBook has a number of thunderbolt ports, so you can connect more than one eGPU to your mac
  4. Even with its built-in display being closed, you could use your MacBook with the help of the external GPU.
  5. External graphics card provides better visuals for your MacBook as well and that is one of the best benefits of connecting the external GPU.
  6. The eGPU can accelerate the performance of certain apps like 3D games, pro apps and VR apps.
  7. The menu bar could also be used to successfully disconnect the eGPU.

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