Node on macOS High Sierra

As announced at WWDC on June 5, 2017, macOS High Sierra brings support for external graphics processors to any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

Naturally, we are very excited about this announcement and our engineers quickly setup a test with the Node, our Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis for external graphics cards (eGPU), to see what happens.

"Yes, it works!", could be heard from our test lab almost immediately after connecting the Node and turning on the power.

Disclaimer: These are preliminary tests and macOS High Sierra is currently available only for developers. At this time, the Node is certified and validated to work only with certain Thunderbolt 3 PCs as seen at https://www.akitio.com/information-center/node-gpu-compatibility but the first test results look promising.

MacBook Pro (2016) with macOS High Sierra and the Node with an AMD Radeon RX 470 graphics card

Our Akitio team in Taiwan has recorded a short video to show what happens, without any modifications to the system or hardware whatsoever, when the Node is connected to a Thunderbolt 3 Mac running macOS 10.13. After connecting the Thunderbolt cable to the computer (0:25), the external GPU is detected and the user is prompted to logout (0:40). After logging in again, the GPU is ready to use (1:22). When disconnecting the Thunderbolt cable (1:30), the same procedure of logging out and logging in has to be repeated and that's all it takes.

 

How about a Thunderbolt 2 Mac with the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple?

Yes, this appears to work as well.

node macos high sierra tb2 mac 690

Does an external graphics card (eGPU) really make that much of a difference?

Yes, it certainly does, especially when compared to the built-in graphics card in a  laptop for example.

macbookpro amd 470 egpu

macbookpro amd 470 egpu vs noegpu

How about graphics cards from Nvidia?

No, according to the release notes (v1.0) for the external graphics development kit, only the AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card is supported. Other graphics cards are unsupported.

 

Last udpated: June 13, 2017

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