Saturday, 22 Sep 2018

macOS running NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti graphics card via external GPU enclosure

Recently, NVIDIA released macOS drivers for graphics cards based on their Pascale architecture, and the people at have installed one of their graphics cards in an external GPU enclosure, and released an exciting benchmark.

For those not in the know, external GPU enclosures are essentially small boxes that house a graphics card. They’re connected to the computer (usually a laptop) with a Thunderbolt connection. The purpose is of course that the laptop includes a simple, energy-saving graphics card. But when the user sits down at his desk, he hooks up via Thunderbolt to have a power-hungry but very fast graphics card; for example for gaming purposes.

AnandTech devoted an article on the release of macOS drivers by NVIDIA, calling it “surprising”, asking “why is NVIDIA releasing a Mac driver to a market that, officially speaking, is essentially dead?”

MacBook connected to Mantiz external GPU enclosureThe article then continues to answer that question, stating that NVIDIA must be aiming at custom-built hackintoshes, very old pre-2013 Mac Pros, or most likely: external GPU enclosures.

Officially, macOS does not support external GPUs, so some system files need to be changed for that. There’s an open source developed script for that.

The people at have now released a benchmark where they test the Mantiz Venus Thunderbolt 3 external GPU enclosure with a GTX 1080 Ti, hooked up to a Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro. It includes a short demo where they run the Unigine Valley benchmark on quality Ultra, with an excellent 50 frames per second.