How to Use NVIDIA Cards with your Mac eGPU (Easiest Method)
With High Sierra, Apple has finally given native eGPU support to Macs and MacBooks. If you’re not familiar, eGPU is short for an external GPU (graphics processing unit) and refers to the ability for a computer (usually a laptop) to be able to use a GPU or graphics card in an external housing as if it was built into the computer. This means, with a supported eGPU housing and a GPU plugged in, you can get desktop-like graphics processing from your less powerful laptop.
This is a feature that’s been built into Windows 10 for a bit now, but Macs and MacBooks haven’t been able to enjoy this feature until recently with the release of MacOS High Sierra 10.13.4.
The only issue with this is that Apple has decided, for whatever reason, to only allow the Mac to use a limited number of AMD-made cards. Here are the supported cards according to Apple.
- AMD Radeon RX 470, RX 480, RX 570, RX 580, and Radeon Pro WX 7100
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, Vega Frontier Edition Air, and Radeon Pro WX 9100
Now, these are fine cards honestly. But what if you want to use NVIDIA and not AMD? Maybe you already have an NVIDIA card or maybe you just prefer the brand. Regardless, all is not lost thanks to a crafty developer from egpu.io.
Fr34k from the forum on that site has created a super easy to use script that will enable NVIDIA GPU support on any MacBook or Mac running High Sierra. So really quickly in this video, I’ll show you how to use it.
Get an eGPU Housing
Firstly, we need an eGPU housing. I’m using the Razer Core X as it’s a larger container that’s pretty future-proofed even if you want to upgrade cards later on, it natively supports Mac, and it is competitively priced. You can use any number of eGPUs though, just make sure they fit your GPU and they say they support Mac.
Get an NVIDIA GPU
Next, we need a GPU. Now, again, you can grab any of the AMD cards listed above and just plug them in and they’ll work so long as you’re on High Sierra 10.13.4 or higher, but if you want to use NVIDIA we need to use the mentioned script.
You can find plenty of NVIDIA cards to choose from here (I recommend going with a 9 or 10 series as they will give you the most bang for your buck, but up to you).
After that, we need to disable SIP which is a security protocol that blocks this.
To do that, simply turn off the computer.
Turn it back on by holding down command and R at the same time while it’s booting up and keep holding it until you get the recovery screen.
Then select Utilities at the top and select Terminal.
In Terminal, type the following with hitting enter at the end of the line:
csrutil disable; reboot
After that, the computer will reboot into regular MacOS
Run the Fr34k Script via Terminal
Next, we can run the script via Terminal. This will close all open programs, so save your stuff and close everything before beginning. Make sure that your eGPU is not plugged in at this point as well or it could damage the system (the script will tell you when to plug it in).
Go to Applications > Utilities and open Terminal.
Type the following into Terminal and hit enter at the end of the line:
bash <(curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/learex/macOS-eGPU/master/macOS-eGPU.sh)
Hit Y and enter to confirm when prompted.
Type in your computer password and hit enter when prompted.
Plug in the eGPU when it says it’s giving you 20 seconds to do so. It’ll then try and get your GPUs info automatically.
Otherwise, you can manually tell it the info it needs when prompted.
Wait a while after that and it’ll eventually tell you its rebooting the system (this time and every time going forward, make sure the eGPU is not plugged in when turning on the computer as it can cause an issue with booting up).
Once it reboots, you can plug in the eGPU with the NVIDIA card inside and an external display plugged into one or more of the output ports of the GPU and it should turn on the monitor and be recognized automatically.
If you get a black screen but can still see your mouse on the computer or external monitor, just select Log Out and then log back in and it should work after that.
You’re all set, just make sure that you don’t ever unplug the eGPU while the computer is on (hotplugging is not supported at the moment). Shut it down first and once the eGPU fan stops spinning, you can unplug it.
There you go you now have your NVIDIA card working on your MacBook or Mac running High Sierra. If this helped you, please give thanks or donate to the developer of the script as he and others worked hard to get this to work so seamlessly and be sure to check out the forum thread for some common issues and solutions.
Also, if you guys want to see a video on gaming on the new MacBook Pro 15″ Intel i9 2018 version, check out my buddy BooredAtWork’s video here on YouTube.
Hope this helped some people and let me know how it went!