Video games and Mac computers are a match made in hell. We’ve all seen the memes poking fun at people trying to play video games on a Mac. It seems like winning an Olympic gold medal is an easier task than trying to play the latest AAA titles on a Mac device. This gives birth to the need for an external Graphics Card with Mac.
As far as the hardware is concerned, don’t let the industrial build of a Mac fool you. Macs have the same internal hardware as a high-end PC, but with the most crucial element missing, an upgradeable graphics card. Apple has ensured that users can’t open their devices to upgrade them, unlike a PC. This creates a lot of frustration for individuals who want to play games on their Macs.
Luckily there is a solution, and no, you don’t have to make a blood sacrifice. It will cost you a bit of money, but nothing too extraordinary. You will need to buy an external GPU.
Apple has now made it easier for gamers to upgrade thanks to their new high-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing users to connect an external GPU or eGPU. The eGPU has enough power to boost the graphics processing power of a Mac enough to run the latest titles pretty comfortably. And best of all, it doesn’t require you to “crack open” your Mac. Through Thunderbolt 3 port, you can add the best graphics card available on Amazon to your Mac device.
How can eGPUs help you?
An eGPU is a simple empty chassis that houses a PCI expansion slot for a graphics card and a power supply to run the graphics card. Pretty simple.
External GPUs are great for laptops since all the extra load is taken off the machine, and the eGPU does all the hard work. Most eGPUs are compatible with Windows PCs that have Thunderbolt 3 as well. Best of all, they are portable enough to be carried around with you in a laptop bag.
Keep in mind that the prices vary on the graphics cards you can buy along with the eGPU case (I would recommend you to buy the case and the graphics card individually). According to Apple, to use an eGPU, you need a Mac that is equipped with Thunderbolt 3 and running High Sierra (macOS 10.13.4) or later (macOS Catalina or Big Sur). High Sierra is a stable macOS version that solves the compatibility issues with eGPUs.
Potential Mac gamers should also ensure that the power supply that comes with the eGPU has enough power to run their preferred graphics card. Before buying, read the device’s description and make sure the GPU is compatible with it.
If you are a fan of open-world RPG games such as The Witcher 3, you should go for a GTX 1070 or 20XX series to get good framerates. If you like playing games that require moderate graphics, such as cartoony shooters like Fortnite or Overwatch, then you will be good to go on a GTX 1060 or 20XX series, which can easily run over 60 FPS in max settings. It is still a great graphics card, even by today’s standards.
You might also want to set up your external graphics card processor with a high refresh rate monitor. Since gamers need the highest frames per second possible, it is best to use an external monitor rather than the ones that come with the Macbook.
How to add an external GPU to your Mac?
Here is how you can add an external GPU to your Mac:
Connect with Thunderbolt 3 port
Luckily an eGPU makes it extremely easy for users to connect their Mac, monitor, and the eGPU. Your eGPU will come with a USB-C cable that connects one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports on your Mac device to the Thunderbolt 3 port on the back of the eGPU’s casing. Once you have connected these, you can then use a standard HDMI or DisplayPort cable to connect the graphics card to your external monitor.
Find the icon
After the chain has been correctly established, your Mac will automatically detect the eGPU and display a new icon for it in the main menu bar. If it does not, you will need to check that all the wires are connected properly, restart your Mac, and ensure that the eGPU is getting enough voltage from the power supply. An icon displays that the connection was successful. If you click the icon, macOS will display an option to unplug the eGPU, which is a neat feature when you need to rush with your Macbook to a meeting after a session of intense gaming.
Now that you’re all hooked up, you will be shown two screens – one will be the MacBook display, and the other will be the external display of the eGPU. You can run the two displays simultaneously, but it will affect the GPU’s graphics performance and put extra load on it, so do not unnecessarily copy the display output unless you want two renders. The macOS will allow users to drag apps onto the external screen to run the more intensive programs. This allows your Mac’s own screen to be used to run moderate power-consuming programs on its internal graphics processor.
Macs are designed for the cool hip graphic designer, the creative and charismatic music producer, or the visionary video editor, but not specifically for gamers. This is the reason where external GPUs come into place. The operating system is built with simplicity in mind. Apple ensures there are no vulnerabilities in the macOS, as these vulnerabilities can cause viruses. The relative simplicity is designed to provide an intuitive and uncomplicated user experience.
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