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Thunderbolt eGPU

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  • Thunderbolt
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
May 21, 2012 3:34:27 AM

Hey everyone, I've read these forums for a while, finally decided to make an account.

I have a 2010 Unibody Macbook (specs posted at bottom) with Windows 7 installed. Everything about my system is par except for the graphics card, a NVIDIA GeForce 320 M, which is pretty low on the list of graphics cards.

Because it is a laptop, I know that there is no way to change or upgrade the card, but I have stumbled across a giant, 1000 page forum about a work-around called an external GPU, or eGPU. (Brand name is ViDock by Villagetronic)

When I first saw it, I thought my problems would be solved, except that, of course, Apple hardware makes things complicated.

I have one ethernet port, two USB ports, and one Thunderbolt Port.

Rumor on the street is that Villagetronic is working on a Thunderbolt version of the ViDock, but they are Apple has some sort of exclusivity to the technology, or something along those lines, so it is still out of question.

My request to the good people of Tom's Hardware is CAN we create a DIY Thunderbolt ViDock?

2010 Unibody Macbook

Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4 GHz


Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)

NVIDIA GeForce 320 M (256 MB VRAM)

Hitachi 250 GB HDD

More about : thunderbolt egpu

May 21, 2012 3:36:41 AM

Also, I do note that it probably makes more economic sense to build a computer from scratch, and I have considered doing so. This may possibly be the deciding factor.
a b U Graphics card
May 21, 2012 3:45:01 AM

how much do you have to spend?

Spending loads to game on a MAC just seems stupid. I'm sure your mac served a purpose, but you would be much better off building a mid-range gaming PC for games, and letting the mac do whatever it does best.

you can build a pretty decent PC for about 500 dollars. better if you have some old parts you can recycle.
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May 21, 2012 3:48:41 AM

I have enough to build a rather strong PC, but if this could work, there would be no need to build a whole new PC. Everything in my system is strong enough to run with the best except the GPU

I was just wondering why there is a 1000 page forum on making these eGPUs using a PCIe port, but nobody has posted any success using a TB port. Surely it's possible.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
May 21, 2012 4:09:36 AM

Even if there was, it would be above, you me and 99% of the other people here. An if you wait for it to ome out then everything will be outdated anyhow and youll be right back to where you are now. Be better off to purchase a desktop capable of gaming how you want rather than wait for something that may or may not come out or even exist.
a b U Graphics card
May 21, 2012 12:02:32 PM

tbh, your system is nowhere near able to 'run with the best of them'. its a very old dual core that will struggle to feed a decently powerful GPU, not counting the obvious bottleneck of the connection.
Coupled with the fact that the only way to play most games on a mac would be via Bootcamp, which will also cause a large hit in performance, and you end up spending a lot of money for average performance (at best)

for 500 dollars you can build a PC that I would stake money would outperform your mac and its external graphics.

May 22, 2012 9:36:48 PM

Best answer selected by i8myhippo.
July 10, 2012 1:37:18 PM

Not sure if this post is closed, but hooking up a Vidock to your macbook using the sonnet echo thunderbolt-to-expresscard adapter works. Im using an Nvidia 560. But are you sure you dont mean the 2011 macbook pro model? Because the 2010 model does not have a thunderbolt port.

Also to everyone saying an e-gpu would barely affect the performance, I beg to differ. On my 2011 13inch i5 2.3ghz, Im playing battlefield 3 at 30fps with high settings and 1080p, crysis 2 on max settings at 50fps, compared to unplayable at low settings with my standalone laptop. An e-gpu turns a laptop into a decent gaming rig.
a c 332 U Graphics card
July 10, 2012 3:58:51 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey