Apple macOS 10.3.4 High Sierra Finally Adds External Graphics Support

Apple has announced that the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update is now available for customers to download. It brings a slew of features that fans will appreciate, with one of the new features being something that gamers will flip for. That new feature is support for external graphics processors or eGPUs. If you have a Mac and you want to get in on the eGPU action, Apple has published information on what external graphics gear will work with your Mac.

mac external graphics

First, you need a Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac running this new update. You need a MacBook Pro launched in 2016 or later or an iMac from 2017 or later. The eGPU does allow you to do more than just play games, Apple says with this new support you can:

  • Accelerate applications that use Metal, OpenGL, and OpenCL
  • Connect additional external monitors and displays
  • Use virtual reality headsets plugged into the eGPU
  • Charge your MacBook Pro while using the eGPU
  • Use an eGPU with your MacBook Pro while its built-in display is closed
  • Connect an eGPU while a user is logged in
  • Connect more than one eGPU using the multiple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your Mac
  • Use the menu bar item to safely disconnect the eGPU
  • View the activity levels of built-in and external GPUs. Open Activity Monitor, then choose Window > GPU History.

You will need a supported AMD Radeon GPU including a Radeon RX 570/580 or Radeon Pro WX 7100, RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, Vega Frontier Edition Air, Radeon Pro WX 9100, or the Sonnet Radeon RX 570 eGFX Breakaway Puck. For the cards that need a Thunderbolt 3 chassis, the recommended options are OWC Mercury Helios FX, PowerColor Devil Box, Sapphire Gear Box, Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W, Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W, or Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W depending on the GPU. 
It should be noted that NVIDIA GPUs aren't officially supported with this update, although that doesn't mean that they won't work. Apple has a cozy relationship with AMD, so it should come as no surprise that its GPUs would be well-supposed in this initial release. In addition, adding an eGPU won't magically give you extra performance in your favorite app or game; support will have to be specifically added by the developer.