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I'm interested in driving a 4k display by using an eGPU.

I've acquired a Sonnet Thunderbolt ePCI expansion chassis (see here) -- which will allow me to hook 1 double width ePCI card or two single width ePCI cards to my MacBook Pro via the Thunderbolt port.

Ideally I would like to hook an nVidea based GPU to this setup and then hook it to a 4k Monitor (so I can run CUDA stuff).

My primary need is screen real estate -- I do not need to be playing games -- but I do want a crisp display. I was thinking of a Samsung 40" 4K display like this.

Would appreciate if you answer addresses the following salient points:

  1. Is this setup possible -- my research seem to indicate it is?
  2. Is it stable -- does osx have bugs that make this setup non ideal.
  3. Would nVidea based chip set be preferred (I also want to do CUDA stuff)
  4. How do I find out if an nVidea card is supported by OSX
  5. Any limitations on running the 4K display

Thanks.

  • I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you but I'm curious why you would not just plug the display into your computer. Does it benefit to have it running straight from the eGPU? – user100225 Nov 11 '14 at 15:35
  • @gary, the mid 2012 MBPs not retina versions don't support 4Ks -- Thanks. – user1172468 Nov 11 '14 at 19:29
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Well, i guess you solved your problem by now, but I still wanted to answer, since I recently looked into eGPU options myself.

If your sole aim is to run a 4K monitor (and your GPU doesn't support it), you could probably also get a USB graphics adapter. You find a selection here. This certainly is a much cheaper option, but probably too slow to watch videos, etc.

If you are into some more horsepower and want to place a powerful GPU into your Sonnet case, I suggest you take a look at the TechInferno forum. There is a growing community building their own eGPU solutions. If you look at their table with implemented projects, you will also find a number of solutions that used the Sonnet housing.

However, be warned. It is more complicated than just placing a graphics card into your PCIe case. Usually these cases do not provide enough power to run a GPU, and you will have to provide an additional power supply. Since this is all non-standard solutions, you may even have to solder on rather expensive hardware. So proceed at your own risk...

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