CES 2012: MSI Shows Off Thunderbolt-Connected External GPU

Last August, we reported that Village Tronic was working on a Thunderbolt version of its ViDock PCI Express expansion chassis that serves as a docking hub complete with external graphics card for high-end performance. With Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals making a big splash at CES this week, it should come as no surprise that progress on the expansion hub concept is continuing.

msi gus ii thunderbolt gpu hub
AnandTech reports that MSI is the latest entrant into the category, showing off an early demonstration model of just such a product with its GUS II. While the external graphics card (GPU) featured in the demonstration currently works only under Windows, AnandTech suggests that Mac support should be easily achievable for those GPUs supporting the platform.

The external chassis features a Thunderbolt interface and an internal PCIe slot. Despite running on a MacBook Pro there is currently no OS X support for the solution, but it does work under Windows. Presumably if there's OS X support for the GPU inside the enclosure it would work under OS X as well.

The only limitation to the GUS II is the internal GPU has to be powered by PCIe alone (there are no aux PCIe power connectors inside the chassis).

A release date and pricing for the GUS II have yet to be announced, but it certainly seems as though the Thunderbolt standard championed by Apple and Intel is gaining momentum as it seeks to lead the next generation of multi-purpose connectivity technologies.

Top Rated Comments

FSMBP Avatar
129 months ago
It would great if Apple simply included a GPU in its Thunderbolt Display. That way, you have your portable MacBook Air be great on the road & have it be 'decent' graphics machine when you hook it up to the display.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D.T. Avatar
129 months ago
*This* is where I think Thunderbolt could (and will eventually) really shine. Highly portable machines with low power consuming GPUs for "on the road" (like an Air), with high performance outboard GPU at your desk.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pgiguere1 Avatar
129 months ago
It would great if Apple simply included a GPU in its Thunderbolt Display. That way, you have your portable MacBook Air be great on the road & have it be 'decent' graphics machine when you hook it up to the display.
I've been saying that (https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1206075) for a while.

Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Elijahg Avatar
129 months ago
Also, that's PCIe slot powered so say goodbye to high-end GPUs (MSI claims 150W but PCIe slot is limited to 75W. That's confusing.)
It'd be easy enough for MSI to include a power cable inside the case for beefy graphics cards. Hell, you could hack your own together without much bother if you had a powerful enough PSU sitting around.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redscull Avatar
129 months ago
Hence the reason it would make a lot of sense to incorporate it into a display like the ATD.
Until 1-2 years later when that integrated card would be considered a dinosaur yet the display itself is still perfectly awesome. If the card can't be swapped, it's really not a good deal. Monitor lifetimes are a lot longer than video cards.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SockRolid Avatar
129 months ago
Thunderbolt could be the reason why Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro in a year and a half. Soon there won't be any need for a big all-in-one tower. For ultra-high-performance, you'll be able to build a cluster of Mac minis, with an external GPU and storage. All connected with Thunderbolt.

Just a crazy theory, but it could happen. Especially after optical Thunderbolt is available.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airtag in hand

Apple AirTag Linked to Increasing Number of Car Thefts, Canadian Police Report

Friday December 3, 2021 7:10 am PST by
Apple's AirTags are being used in an increasing number of targeted car thefts in Canada, according to local police. Outlined in a news release from York Regional Police, investigators have identified a new method being used by thieves to track down and steal high-end vehicles that takes advantage of the AirTag's location tracking capabilities. While the method of stealing the cars is largely ...
telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Reveals the Most Downloaded iOS Apps and Games of 2021

Thursday December 2, 2021 12:05 am PST by
Along with naming its editorial picks for the top apps and games of 2021, Apple today shared charts for the most downloaded free and paid apps and games in the United States across 2021. The number one most downloaded free iPhone app was TikTok, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. The top paid iPhone apps included Procreate Pocket, HotSchedules, The Wonder Weeks, and Touch...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
m3 feature black

Macs With 'M3' Chips Expected to Use TSMC's 3nm Chip Technology With Test Production Reportedly Underway

Thursday December 2, 2021 7:36 am PST by
Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC has kicked off pilot production of chips built on its 3nm process, known as N3, according to Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that TSMC will move the process to volume production by the fourth quarter of 2022 and start shipping 3nm chips to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of...
apple view concept right corner

Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report. Concept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is...