At the WWDC this week Apple announced that it is bringing support for using an external graphics card with MacBook. You can use it on any Mac (iMac and MacBook) having support for thunderbolt 3 and running the latest MacOS.
Apple has finally decided to launch an external GPU as a part of the updated Metal 2 Graphics in the latest macOS High Sierra. By this move, Apple has made an amazing move to make way for VR gaming and VR development on light weight macs.
Now, Apple users will also be able to enjoy 4K gaming which used to demand really high GPU infrastructure.
This way Mac owners will be able to plug and play other external GPU’s available in market in future, which might launch by the mid of 2018 for regular customers, according to Apple.
Apps that use Metal, OpenGL, OpenCL can take use of the extra performance the external GPU brings to the MacBook. Valve also announced that there is support for steam VR for Mac is in Beta phase.
The external GPU will connect to the MacBook via the super-fast Thunderbolt 3 port.
The technology seems to be very similar to that one we saw with the Razor Blade Stealth, which is a thin 12.5-inch ultra-book, supported with external GPU named as Razor Core by the company.
The Razor Core connects to the Razor Blade stealth through the same Thunderbolt 3 Port.
In a similar step, there is a Apple approved enclosure available on the company’s website which is only available for the registered members of the Apple Development Program for now and might take an year to launch for regular consumers.
This is called as the External Graphics Development Kit, which comes with a Sonnet external GPU chassis and 350 W supply, connected via Thunderbolt 3 Port.
The GPU is powered by a AMD Radeon RX 580 8 GB graphics card which is a VR enabled GPU which will support all the latest VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
All those who buy the External Graphics Kit will also get a 100$ promo code towards the purchase of the HTC Vive headset. A belkin USB-C to 4 port USB A hub will also be a part of the kit.
The Apple External Graphics Card kit is priced at 599$ to all the registered developers in select countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, the Graphics card Kit to pair the Macbook is not available in India. Also, it will work only with the Apple’s latest Mac OS – High Sierra ( you can download the Beta version to use the external GPU Kit) , as the final version will be released in couple of months by Apple.
The step by Apple seems to be in the right direction as every company is moving in the direction of more VR creation and consumption.
The users always used to complain about the lack of GPU performance in the MacBook Pro’s since even the latest MacBook Pro 15 supports AMD Radeon Pro 560 which is not a VR enabled GPU.
By this move, Apple laptops can remain thin and light while still supporting the demands for those users who require huge GPU performance for gaming, VR, 4K editing and 3D applications.