Apple M1 MacBooks can detect Thunderbolt 3 eGPU – Report

Apple’s new M1 MacBooks have received a ton of positive reviews so far. Though the performance from the first-generation Apple Silicon MacBooks has exceeded users’ expectations, the lack of support for eGPUs is still disappointing.

The new laptops make use of the on-processor GPU and aside from the lack of support for eGPUs, there’s no support for dedicated graphics either. However, a new report from Mac4Ever suggests that although Apple’s latest MacBooks do not support eGPUs, they can still detect eGPUs.

Apple M1 MacBooks can detect Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

Test by Mac4Ever revealed that the new laptops running on macOS 11 can identify the eGPU enclosure and the PCI-E card inside. The Mac mini is also able to support an XDR screen plugged into a Blackmagic ePU inserted into a Thunderbolt 3 port.

This recent discovery leads to the possibility that Apple may reintroduce eGPU support in the future. It would have to arrive as an update to macOS Big Sur or with a new M-series chip launch.

As seen in the image above, the Radeon 580 GPU is also identified but it’s not being used by the Mac for any sort of graphics acceleration. This is due to the lack of any drivers that are needed to use the external GPU. AppleInsider also corroborated this report by conducting their own tests:

“Additionally, AppleInsider has seen the Razer Core X, and the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box identify itself properly to macOS with an assortment of cards, including the RX 590, Vega 64, and Radeon VII. However, monitors connected directly the cards do nothing.”

If the Cupertino tech giant does decide to announce support for eGPU on these new MacBooks. it’s likely to arrive with a new macOS update or with the next-gen of Apple silicon chips. However, for users who require support for external GPU, they might be better off buying the Intel-powered MacBooks.

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