With the eGPU starting to take off, there a external GPUs popping up from every major manufacturer, and this can make it confusing on which eGPU is actually best fit for your needs. Today we are rounding up the best eGPUs for Macs in 2016. We will help you find the perfect eGPU for your thunderbolt Mac, whether it be your MacBook, iMac or even Mac Pro!
What you need to know in a nutshell about eGPU and Mac compatibility
- Current generation Macs only offer up to Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, so its best to look for a eGPU which uses Thunderbolt 2 technology
- Many eGPUs out-of-the-box do not currently work with Mac, but (DIY) workarounds are out there – for example using Thunderbolt 3 > 2 adapters
…So, what is the best eGPU for Mac?
Top 4 External GPUs for Mac (UPDATED)
1. BizonBox Thunderbolt 3 eGPU (New Entry)
BizonBOX have recently announced the BizonBOX Thunderbolt 3 eGPU, claimed to be the first Thunderbolt 3 eGPU compatible out-of-the-box with the new MacBook Pro (although the marketing picture above is rather deceptive as that is clearly not a new MacBook Pro with thunderbolt 3!)
The BizonBOX 3 eGPU is certainly a big step up from its predecessor, the BizonBOX 2, which uses Thunderbolt 2 technology offering only 20gb/s of bandwidth compared to double that number (40gb/s) with Thunderbolt 3. This is a big step up in terms of theoretical performance when hooking up your Mac to an eGPU, but the only problem at the moment is the lack of Macs bearing the new Thunderbolt 3 port. Currently, the only Mac that can be hooked up to the BizonBOX 3 is the new MacBook Pro released in late 2016.
Other specifications to note is that the BizonBOX 3 supports full-length, full-height and double width cards, as well as an included 200W PSU. There is the option to upgrade that to a more beefier 400W PSU, good for those who want to hook this up to a high-end card such as the GTX 1080 or Titan X.
We will be getting our hands on one of these in the next few weeks so stay tuned for that.
Our initial thoughts about the BizonBOX 3
- First Thunderbolt 3 eGPU compatible with the 2016 MacBook Pro out-of-the-box
- No need for additional drivers and modifications to get the BizonBOX 3 to work with Macs
Find out more about the BizonBOX 3 eGPU here
2. Razor Core
The Razer Core is Razer’s take on the eGPU market, offering a ‘true plug and play’ Thunderbolt 3 connectivity with the help of AMD’s XConnect technology.
The Razer Core is compatible with both AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, with plenty of room in the aluminium enclosure to fit a full-length, double-wide PCIe discrete GPU. There are 4 USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port as well as a single Thunderbolt 3 port to connect all your devices to the Razer Core, also allowing the possibility of daisy chaining the devices.
The Razer Core comes in at $499, which is certainly not cheap. Although we do think it is the best looking eGPU on the market right now, and its aluminium housing gives it a super solid feel.
We are not ranking the Razer solution higher (for now) until Driver and BIOS updates improve the compatibility of the Razer Core with a number of notebooks. There is a pretty spotty support for non-Razer systems right now. However, the Razer Core currently works best with the Razer Stealth Ultrabook, Razer Blade Notebook, and also a number of other notebooks such as the Dell XPS 15.
To view a full list of compatible laptops for use with the Razer Core, click here.
What we like about the Razer Core
- Great design
- Solid build quality
- Thunderbolt 3 connectivity (will need Thunderbolt 3 > 2 adaptor to work with Macs)
- AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce compatible
- Customisable with Chroma
What we didn’t like about the Razer Core
- The price ($499)
- Lack of BIOS and driver support for many Notebooks
- Not out-of-the-box compatible with Mac
To find out more about the Razer Cores specifications and reviews, click here.
3. The Wolfe
The Wolfe a great concept to try and bring the eGPU market to the masses with a lower price point compared to the Razer Core, and also providing Mac compatibility right out of the box.
The Wolfe utilises Thunderbolt 2 technology (and potentially Thunderbolt 3) so it works with the latest MacBooks bearing the Thunderbolt 2 port. This eGPU will be compatible with the top Nvidia GeForce video cards, so it will be possible to get Mac Pro levels of graphics performance on your MacBook! Pretty cool. The Wolfe supports
You can buy The Wolfe as a standalone eGPU, but you can also buy ‘The Wolfe’ prebuilt with either a GeForce GTX 950 (The Wolfe) or a GTX 980 (The Wolfe Pro), which is great for those that want something working out-of-the-box and doesn’t require installation of the GPU.
The reason we are not ranking the Wolfe higher yet is that it is not available to buy right now! The Wolfe eGPU is currently being crowdfunded over at KickStarter, heres a link to check it out. Release date of The Wolfe is currently set for Q1 of 2017.
What we like about The Wolfe
- Great Price ($269)
- Designed for Macs
- AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce compatible
- Fits a full-length, double width PCI-express x16 graphics card
What we didn’t like about The Wolfe
- Lack of USB 3.0 Ports
- Not available until Q1-2017!
To find out more about ‘The Wolfe’, visit their Kickstarter page by clicking here.
4. Echo Express III-D
The Echo Express III-D is hands down one of the best external graphic card enclosure you can buy today for use with Macs. Bearing Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, this eGPU offers bandwidth of up to 20Gbps, ability for daisy chaining and compatibility for a full-length, double wide PCI express x16 graphics card, plus one single-width GPU! UPDATE: The BizonBOX 3 has just been released and utilizes Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and can be used out-of-the-box with the new late 2016 Macbook Pro.
The Echo Express III-D by Sonnet is both AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce compatible, although for use with Macs we would recommend to go for the Nvidia GeForce option for increased reliability and performance for OS X use.
The Echo Express has quite a basic design, definitely failing to rival the Razer Core on the looks-front, however right now it is the best eGPU for use with Macs in 2016. This does come at a price, however… The Echo Express III-D eGPU retails at $899. This certainly is steep, however thats the price you pay when it offers the best reliability, connectivity and performance on the market for use with Macs (with PCs, its a different story).
What we like about the Sonnet Echo Express III-D
- Thunderbolt 2 connectivity
- Great build quality
- Works with Macs out-of-the-box with Macs with a Thunderbolt port
- Fits a full size, double-width GPU, plus one additional single-width GPU
- AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce compatibility
- 5 Year Warranty
What we didn’t like about the Sonnet Echo Express III-D
- Simple design
- Very expensive!