Macs with the M1 chip do not support eGPUs

Apple today announced M1, the most powerful chip it has ever created and the first chip designed specifically for the Mac. Of note is that Macs with Apple’s M1 chip do not support eGPUs.

M1 is optimized for Mac systems in which small size and power efficiency are critically important. As a system on a chip (SoC), M1 combines numerous powerful technologies into a single chip, and features a unified memory architecture for dramatically improved performance and efficiency.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 delivers game-changing performance and the longest battery life ever on a Mac.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 delivers game-changing performance and the longest battery life ever on a Mac.

Matt Burns for TechCrunch:

Apple’s first Macs built around its self-developed SoC do not support eGPUs, Apple tells TechCrunch. It’s unclear exactly where the incompatibility begins; does the M1 chip itself not play friendly with eGPUs, or is it something else about the three new Macs announced today?

Consumers have long turned to these external graphics cards to give computers a dramatic boost in memory-intensive tasks. eGPUs allow laptops or underpowered desktops to punch out of their weight class. In particular, Apple’s past laptops were known for having substantial RAM and processing power but lacking in graphical processing power. Likewise, users have found that a past-generation Mac Mini with extra RAM and an eGPU can match a Mac Pro’s performance for a fraction of the price — that’s not currently possible with the just-announced Macs.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple today said that their M1 SoC delivers up to 6x faster GPU performance vs. the previous gen. Intel-based Macs. The GPU in M1 is in a class by itself. Featuring up to eight powerful cores capable of running nearly 25,000 threads simultaneously, the GPU can handle extremely demanding tasks with ease, from smooth playback of multiple 4K video streams to rendering complex 3D scenes. With 2.6 teraflops of throughput, M1 has the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer.

12 Comments

  1. Exactly why the new M1 MacBook Pro does NOT replace existing (same-looking) Intel model. It supplements the lineup. Customer can now configure their 13-inch MacBook Pro with either Intel or M1 processor. They choose based on the current needs of their profession. Same with Mac mini, with high-end 6-core Intel config (the darker one) remaining in lineup.

    During the transition period, “pro” customers can gradually adjust their workflows for Apple Silicon hardware while being able to buy new Intel hardware that fully supports their existing workflows.

  2. “Apple today said that their M1 SoC delivers up to 6x faster GPU performance vs. the previous gen. Intel-based Macs.”

    Technically they said that the M1 delivers up to 6x faster GPU performance of the Intel Integrated Graphics. I got the distinct impression they were not talking about Macs equipped with discrete graphics like the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M 8 GB, or eGPUs. I will be looking forward to some comparisons to nVIDIA and AMD equipped Macs and Macs with eGPUs and monster graphics cards installed.

    1. These were 13-inch MacBook Pros and Airs. A real pro probably isn’t using one of these machines for heavy lifting and few non-pros need more than 6x integrated graphics. The big screens will be the real test.

      1. “Real Pro,” “Heavy lifting” the highly subjective assumption being that pro means making pretty pictures again. Some “professionals” want the cheapest, fastest way to crunch numbers they can get. Some people just want to play a tier 1 game, and booting under Windows with an eGPU is a.common way to do so.

        The gates are closing around the Apple ghetto.

        1. Expect a lot more software to be funneled through the App Store now and Apple will force users into subscriptions for everything possible. User freedom is not an Apple value, they like lockdowns and proprietary face masks.

  3. The transition being “done” for Apple (defined as all spots in lineup filled with Apple Silicon Macs) is NOT equal to the transition being done for Apple’s customers and third parties in Apple’s ecosystem. Not even close. And the date Apple fills the final spot in lineup with Apple Silicon (probably Mac Pro) is not the same date Apple stops selling Intel Macs as new.

    Like current MacBook Pro… The customer can now choose either M1 or Intel processor for new 13-inch purchase. 16-inch will likely follow in similar fashion. Apple will fully support these latest Intel Macs for many years, with new Intel Macs being sold well after June 2021. So no, the transition is not done 6-7 months from now.

    I don’t plan on buying a new Mac until after June 2021, so the transition won’t be done for me.

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