So you’re playing the latest games on your iMac (such as Tomb Raider), but you’re noticing that it’s a little bit jerky at times.

Help is at hand, if you have deep pockets. That’s because the 2017 iMac (or later), and the 2017 MacBook Pro family (or later) support eGPUs, also known as external graphics cards. They look something like this:

The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box.

With an eGPU plugged into your Mac, you can:

  • Play the latest games with better graphics and frame rates.
  • Render CGI and 3D modes faster.
  • Connect additional external monitors into your Mac.
  • Use VR headsets plugged into the eGPU.
  • Connect more than one eGPU using the multiple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your Mac.
  • View the activity levels of built-in and external GPUs. To do this, open Activity Monitor, then choose Window > GPU History.

At the time of writing (June 2018), here’s a list of recommended eGPU chassis that you can use to power an external graphics cards with your Mac:

  • OWC Mercury Helios FX
  • PowerColor Devil Box
  • Sapphire Gear Box
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W

And here’s a list of recommended graphics cards that will work with these chassis:

  • AMD Radeon RX 570
  • AMD Radeon RX 580
  • AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
  • AMD Vega Frontier Edition Air
  • AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100

Each eGPU chassis and graphics card has its own installation method, but in short, you’ll need to insert the graphics card into the eGPU chassis, then plug the chassis into a Thunderbolt 3 port on your Mac. Next, open System Preferences, choose Displays, then choose the Arrangement tab. Next, drag the white menu bar to the box that represents the display attached to the eGPU. Now you’re good to go.
If you need to disconnect the eGPU at any time, simply click on the GPU icon in the upper-right corner of the menu bar, then select Disconnect “GPU name”.

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