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I work with machine learning and 3D rendering, both of them need powerful GPU, and my laptop completely lacks it. I had an idea to buy a PC with good GPU, but then I found several articles which says that using an external GPU (eGPU) may be possible for Macs, but there are different technical and software restrictions.

So, can I use eGPU for my MacBook Air? If so, what GPU, anyone or only some of them? And what other devices I'll need to combine, get everything work correctly?

Here are (the most important, I think) details about my laptop:

macOS Sierra
Version 10.12.6

MacBook Air 13-inch Mid 2012
Processor: 1,8 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 4 GM 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB

Thunderbolt Bus:
Firmware version: 23,4
Link Status: 0x101
Speed: up to 10 Gb/s x2
Receptacle: 1
Link Controller Firmware Version: 0.12.3

  • Possible, yes. With a ton of hacks. Supported (out of the box, that won’t break constantly, no. – NoahL Jun 7 '18 at 20:21
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For macOS Sierra or earlier, you can use automate-eGPU.sh to enable your eGPU.

For macOS High Sierra or later, you will require purge-wrangler.sh to get your eGPU up and running.

Regardless of a high success rate of these workarounds, it is recommended that you purchase an eGPU setup you can return for a full refund in case things don't work out.

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