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Gaming on a MacBook Air with External Thunderbolt eGPU

31 July 2013 1,709 views No Comment

It's very possible and affordable to pair an Apple ultraportable with an external graphics card — the MacBook Air and a Thunderbolt eGPU, squirting bits.

Cue up the booming reverb effect and, from your diaphragm, deliver a throaty “THUNDERBOLT!” It is now very possible and affordable to pair a consumer grade Apple ultraportable with an external graphics card — the MacBook Air and a Thunderbolt eGPU, squirting bits.

Two guys, a box of toys — current 11-inch MacBook Air, Sonnet Echo ExpressCard Pro, BPlus PE4L V2.1, Thunderbolt cable, 400W power supply, DIY eGPU Setup 1.X and a PCIe graphics card — and let the gaming begin!

It has become very clear that gaming is not only high-performance, but super practical on an 11″ Macbook Air. There’s so much going against it: this hodgepodge of adapters, it has a low voltage CPU, disaster of wiring and exposed sensitive parts, crazy boot-time chainloading software, Intel killing companies producing adapters and products left right and center via legal threats, etc. but somehow, with the right parts and some patience, it works spectacularly. And is quite cheap too! — kloper and nando4 via TechInferno

Frame rates and performance equal to a full on gaming PC. Although the specific implementation isn’t elegant, the results are stunning.

To do it yourself, and the boys spell out how they did it, you will need a PCIe graphics card and about $250 in parts. Is that cheap? At the very least, gaming on a MacBook Air with a Thunderbolt eGPU is very, very plausible…

What’s your take?

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