the eGPU way

Now that Apple finally has launched its possibility to connect external graphic cards by way of the thunderbolt 3 port and the egpu cases, I’m considering to extend my MacBook Pro touch (currently onboard iris 540) with this set up. However , is blender optimized to benefit from this GPU upgrades ? Apple states that apps need to be egpu ready.

To my knowledge, as soon as an eGPU is recognized, Blender can make usage of it.
Here a quickly searched article from Blendernation from the year 2014.

Cycles can profit a lot from external GPUs, just do some search on the net and in the forum first.

a quick search for eGPU and Apple shows this from 2017 and it seems to work well and makes rendering much quicker;

eGPU is just another buzzword. External gpu’s work for a long time now. There are PCIe, expresscard and now Thunderbold variants.
Just keep an eye on bandwidth. While for gpgpu tb2 speeds may be sufficient ( content once loaded into gpu, no more bus traffic ),
with opengl aka gaming/ blender-viewport it can be more relevant.
I personally would prefer PCIe solutions, as they also have enough bandwidth for the now established use of system memory for rendering. Try first to maxout your machine in a senseful way.
For Gpu underpowererd laptops and mini computers its clearly the only way to get more gpu power, but its prizey.
Keep in mind an external gpu can only drive an external screen.

That said testing such solutions where all somewhat satisfying as the benefit was always significant over “basic gpus”.
Tested atm with cycles and luxcorerender on linux and macos,


Isn’t NVIDIA currently not even supported officially?

As far as I know you can make NVIDIA work but those are modifications and do not allow using all cards.
But I could be quite wrong too.

Hey, the world is not only turning around apple :spin:

In fact apple removed tb 1+2 support and does not officially support nvidia via TB breakout.
Who cares, there are already some workarounds ( see ) and/or other OS’es :cool:
And PCIe solutions are unaffected by this arbitrary stuff.

As always opencl on apple needs some tricks to work on unsupported gpu, but i made for example nvidia work just fine with luxcore again ( part of recent investigation to speedup nvidia ocl-kernel compile factor 300 ).
For cycles i would not consider doing this work as we have the cuda choice anyway.

The Apple eGPU way: again limited, overpriced, not giving the users top notch gpu, like volta, tesla, etc.
I recommend rather go the network rendering way here :wink:

Linux or win users can start with a simpler/cheaper pcie based solution to get experience with "e"GPU.
( Amfeltec for example ), but there are also PCI-e cards ( ASUS for ex. ) that provide Thunderbolt3 for
Linux/Win pc’s if you wanna jump into this direction.


They’re all PCI-E. Either they had an express card in a slot, or now tied into PCI-E via the integrated Thunderbolt 3 controller that also ties into PCI-E.