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I'm wondering whether an external GPU can be (almost) as efficient as the same internal GPU? I need to have a fast computer even when I have a lot of windows open on many virtual desktops and when I run resource intensive application on two 4K displays.

Is macOS able to use an eGPU for its own needs (system animations, etc.)?

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Yes. Using an external GPU with your Mac (with support for eGPU) can give your computer a performance boost.

Refer to the Apple support article, Use an external graphics processor with your Mac.

An eGPU can give your Mac additional graphics performance for professional apps, 3D gaming, VR content creation, and more.

eGPUs are supported by any Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac running macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later.

For a list of Thunderbolt 3 equipped Macs and to check if your Mac support eGPU, refer to the Apple support article, Adapters for the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB-C port on your Mac or iPad Pro

These Macs have Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports:

  • iMac Pro

  • iMac models from 2017

  • Mac mini (2018)

  • MacBook Pro models from 2016 or later MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)

  • Thanks for your answer. How does an eGPU perform in comparison to a GPU? Can an eGPU improve the graphical performances of the system itself? – Philémon Bouzy Nov 20 '18 at 9:25
  • @PhilémonBouzy Depends on the technical specifications of the eGPU in comparison to the GPU. Yes, the graphical performance of the system sees a boost. – Nimesh Neema Nov 20 '18 at 9:29
  • Let consider the same GPU (for example a Radeon Vega 56). How does it perform as an eGPU? Is it 80% as fast as the same internal GPU? – Philémon Bouzy Nov 20 '18 at 10:58

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