Apple Shares Recommended Graphics Cards and Chassis in New eGPU Support Document for macOS High Sierra 10.13.4

macOS 10.13.4, released to the public yesterday afternoon, introduces official support for eGPUs (external graphics processors) on Thunderbolt 3 Macs. Alongside the release, Apple has published a detailed support document that outlines how eGPU support works and provides graphic card and chassis recommendations for use with your Mac.

One or more eGPUs can be used with the 2016 MacBook Pro and later, the 2017 iMac and later, and the iMac Pro, so long as macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 is installed. Apple has added eGPU support for graphic-intensive operations like using VR headsets, 3D gaming, and developing VR apps.

sonnetbreakawaybox
Apple’s support document outlines all supported eGPU configurations, with Apple recommending only AMD Radeon cards. There are no supported Nvidia cards.

It’s also worth noting that Apple has eliminated support for some cards that were supported during the beta, such as the AMD RX 560.

It's important to use an eGPU with a recommended graphics card and Thunderbolt 3 chassis. And if you're using a MacBook Pro, the eGPU's Thunderbolt 3 chassis needs to provide sufficient power to run the graphics card while charging the computer.

Apple recommends AMD Polaris, Vega 56, and Vega 64 graphics cards, paired with a specific Thunderbolt 3 chassis. For the AMD Radeon RX 570, RX 580, and Radeon Pro WX 7100 cards (of which Apple recommends the Sapphire Pulse series and the AMD WX series), Apple recommends the following Thunderbolt 3 chassis:

  • OWC Mercury Helios FX3
  • PowerColor Devil Box
  • Sapphire Gear Box
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W

For the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 cards, Apple recommends the Sapphire Vega 56 and the XFX Vega 56 with the OWC Mercury Helios FX, PowerColor Devil Box, Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W, or Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W.

The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W is the only chassis recommended for AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, Vega Frontier Edition Air, and Radeon Pro WX 9100 graphics cards, while the only recommended all-in-one eGPU product is the Sonnet Radeon RX 570 eGFX Breakaway Puck.

For the MacBook Pro, eGPUs and accompanying TB3 chassis must be able to provide sufficient power to run the graphics card while also charging the computer. In the case of the 15-inch model, that means the chassis needs to support at least 85W of charging power.

Apple says eGPU support has been designed to accelerate Metal, OpenGL, and OpenCL apps that benefit from more graphics power, and not all apps will support eGPU acceleration. Apple says eGPUs will work with most of the following types of apps:

  • Pro applications designed to utilize multiple GPUs
  • 3D games, when an external monitor is attached directly to the eGPU
  • VR applications, when the VR headset is attached directly to the eGPU
  • Pro applications and 3D games that accelerate the built-in display of an iMac or MacBook Pro. (This capability must be enabled by the application’s developer.)

Multiple eGPUs can be used together, but Apple recommends users connect eGPUs directly to the Mac instead of daisy-chaining them through another Thunderbolt device or hub.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 does not support eGPUs in Windows using Boot Camp, when the Mac is in macOS Recovery, or when system updates are being installed.

Top Rated Comments

bladerunner2000 Avatar
45 months ago
WHY are Nvidia GPUs not supported???
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Regime2008 Avatar
45 months ago
Nvidia > AMD gpu's. Not a smart choice to disregard Nvidia support.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cougarcat Avatar
45 months ago
No nVidia support means I’m not holding my breath for nVidia options in the new Mac Pro.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ActionableMango Avatar
45 months ago
"Not supported" and "not compatible" are completely different things.

Most common Nvidia cards are compatible with Mac, they just aren't supported by Apple. You have to download the drivers from Nvidia. Nvidia continues to provide MacOS display drivers and MacOS CUDA drivers for their cards.

There are many people using "not supported" 980, 1080, Titans, etc. just fine...either internally (PCIe Mac Pro) or externally in a Thunderbolt enclosure.

There are a couple of cards that have poor compatibility, so do your research first.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lestdog Avatar
45 months ago
I don't get it. What is it with Apples bias towards AMD? Nvidia kills AMD in GPU rendering and 3D partical simulations. Cinema4D integrated pro render and frankly it just sucks.

Oh well, another Apple mystery.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ikir Avatar
45 months ago
Nvidia > AMD gpu's. Not a smart choice to disregard Nvidia support.
Totally untrue. AMD now beats Nvidia in many ways: eGPU support, macOS drivers especially Metal and OpenCL completely destroy Nvidia which Mac drivers are becoming a joke. Vega architecture is awesome.
And beside this it is Nvidia fault, also when they understood they are far behind, announced eGPU "support" partner ship with infamous software thief BizonBox for overpriced, unofficial, hacked eGPU. Nice Nvidia....
[doublepost=1522437633][/doublepost]
Does anyone know if having a eGPU gives any performance benefits to a brand new 5K iMac? I mean does the eGPU power the iMac screen at all?
Only Metal and OpenCL. OpenGL only is dev support it. eGPU is more for future Mac Pro, Mac mini and nowadays MacBook Pro. Anyway you can still use an external display with iMac and use 100% eGPU power.
[doublepost=1522437724][/doublepost]
Vega 64 barely matches GTX 1080. (Even my PC has a 1080 Ti, full disclosure.) We are still waiting for Nvidia driver for 10.13.4
Not true at all. Vega destroy 1080 ti even with the old beta bugged and slow drivers
http://barefeats.com/early_vega.html
Anyway Nvidia drivers for macOS are terrible and especially not stable
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...