Apple MacBook with eGPU vs Gaming PC?! YES!

July 30, 2019 posted by

In my last video, I highlighted the fact that
gaming on a Mac through an external GPU in 2018 is actually a really good option for
a lot of people. A common question I got as follow-up was this:
Quinn, I already own a MacBook Pro and I want to get into PC gaming but I don’t want to
spend a ton of money. Should I just buy an eGPU for my MacBook or
should I build a dedicated budget gaming PC instead? Today, we’re going to find out. In one corner, I have my $1,300 2017 base-model
13” MacBook Pro. Really, nothing special. It has an Intel Kaby Lake dual-core i5-7360U
processor with a TDP of just 15W and the machine packs 8GB of low-power DDR3 RAM. I’m also using an Akitio Node eGPU enclosure
which runs for about $260 online. It has an internal power supply with power
headers for the graphics card itself, and it connects to the MacBook via an included
(but very short) Thunderbolt 3 cable. On the PC side, I’m using the same build
I used in my budget hackintosh from a few months back. It has a cheap, barebones Gigabyte H110M motherboard,
an Intel Kaby Lake i3-7100 dual-core CPU with a 51W TDP, we’ve got 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a
cheap 450W modular power supply, and a junky 120GB SATA SSD. The total PC build cost without the GPU or
case with fans is about $70 more than the MacBook’s eGPU solution. But, it’s also an entire computer—not
just an extension of your laptop. I jammed all of the hardware into a sexy modified
Apple PowerMac G4 case (which I’ll be using again in an upcoming hackintosh build), so
definitely get subscribed and enable notifications for that one. The GPU we’ll be using for testing is an
NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition. This GPU is incredibly overkill for budget-style
gaming rigs at a whopping $699—and that’s MSRP. The cryptocurrency apocalypse drove the price
of this GPU to well over $1,000 new; however, it looks like the dust is finally starting
to settle and hopefully prices will come back down soon. So yeah, this GPU is excessive for both of
these systems; however, I wanted to ensure that the GPU itself was never a bottleneck
in my testing. On the PC side, all I have to do is insert
the GPU into the PCIe slot on the motherboard, install the Windows drivers, and I’m done. Easy peasy with guaranteed compatibility. The MacBook Pro is also relatively easy, but
not bulletproof. You see, Apple doesn’t officially support
eGPUs in Boot Camp yet like they do in macOS. Now, my MacBook actually does boot into Windows
just fine with the eGPU connected; however, the internal display on the laptop itself
doesn’t work. The fix is super easy and I explained more
in depth of what the trick actually does in my previous video; regardless, 5 minutes and
an old flash drive will make everything work perfectly. Okay, so we’ve now got the two systems running. The question is, which one provides the better
gaming experience? The results surprised me. I was nearly certain that the PC was going
to crush my puny MacBook. After all, it’s running a weak low-power
netbook CPU and is connected to the GPU over an external dock. Regardless, the results are neck-and-neck
on nearly every game I played. In the new Far Cry 5, the MacBook actually
edges out the PC at 1440p with a higher FPS average, and the same holds true in Deus Ex:
Mankind Divided. The PC finally gets the upper hand in an older
game, GTA V; however, the crown gets taken back by the MacBook in Wolfenstein II. So yeah, surprisingly, the MacBook eGPU combo
reigns supreme. Now obviously, if you spent another $300 or
so on your PC towards a more respectable CPU and more RAM, you’d blow both of these machines
out of the water. But that’s not the point. If you already own a MacBook Pro, or you’re
looking to get one as your primary computer but you also want the opportunity to play
new AAA PC titles at home, you’ll get better performance dollar-for-dollar buying an eGPU
rather than building an entirely new computer. That is, assuming you don’t want or need
a second computer. If you enjoyed this video, please give it
a thumbs up, if you didn’t, that other button works okay too. Check out some of my other crazy videos here
and get subscribed for exciting new content I have coming soon; however, most importantly,
and as always, stay snazzy.


100 Replies to “Apple MacBook with eGPU vs Gaming PC?! YES!”

  1. Snazzy Labs says:

    My apologies for the slight audio issues—they'll be fixed for the next video. Oh, speaking of that, I'm going to be pulling apart a $5,000 iMac Pro. Don't worry, though! I won't drop it like Linus.

  2. cyronader says:

    me: mid 2012 macbook pro 15inch w/nvidia 650m + Nvidia eGPU GTX 1050ti ==> Bootcamp windows 10 works great!

  3. Louper says:

    Out of curiosity, how dependent is this performance on the Thunderbolt 3 connection? I'm currently running a decently specced out MacBook Pro that I bought just before Thunderbolt 3 was added to MBPs, thus it has the slower Thunderbolt 2. Would adapting a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 be viable? Or am I pretty hooped and need to look into a new machine if I want to rock a laptop with more powerful GPU performance?

  4. Steven Gordon says:

    So I understand the point of the video, but I don't understand the point of the computer. If you're going to spend $1500 on an Ultrabook, why not get something like a higher end XPS, razor stealth, and do away with the one thing that Apple does better, garage band?

  5. Mauro Sanna says:

    Unfortunately you are comparing an i3 to an i5. Apples vs oranges (apples… See what I did there? LOL).

    Next time you might want to get a PC with an i5 cpu.

    Nice video nonetheless. 🙂

  6. Gowtham Kudupudi says:

    One doesn't have to buy an e-GPU for one's MacBook, If the one already has a PC with Thunderbolt 3 port and powerful GPUs installed. One can connect one's MacBook to PC with Thunderbolt 3 and utilize its GPUs. One needs a Windows/Linux driver though. I am working on the Linux driver. I hope you guys soon find it on the Internet.

  7. Sebastian Baldini says:

    The problem with this is that he’s trying to compare a budget build to a garbage 1300 dollar Mac. Then he argues that if you put more money into the pc you would get more power after already buying said Mac.

  8. O!Technology says:

    The problem is the new i3s are Quad cores that performs better and costs the same as that crappy old dual core i3

  9. Tempo Sabel says:

    This does't account for upgrading. In the future you can just buy a better cpu and plop it in the pc. That isn't the case for the mac.

  10. ATejkl Gaming says:

    Oorrrrr, you don’t buy a MacBook in the first place, and but a $1800 desktop that would blow any MacBook out of the water, especially in gaming, and heavy multitasking.

  11. Cabalistic says:

    I didn't realise MacBooks could support Nvidia GPUs at all. I guess i forgot about bootcamp… X3

  12. Cabalistic says:

    I didn't realise MacBooks could support Nvidia GPUs at all. I guess i forgot about bootcamp… X3

  13. Pushparani65 Rpravindharan says:

    motherboard is the bottle neck

  14. Adrian says:

    If you want to play games don't get an apple pc of any kind at all…

  15. Claudiu Gardelli says:

    I can't understand why no using GeForce now?

  16. sidewalkere says:

    You got the 7100 limping with memory in single channel.
    Don't actually know if it would make a big diference in games, but it might…

  17. Jacob says:

    Will my fan still struggle?

  18. mexicanmanjohn says:

    Buying a dual core cpu in 2018?

  19. Charles Ramilla says:

    Can this work on a MacBook Air?

  20. PC Perf says:

    What about older MacBooks Pro with Thunderbolt 2? Will it work with an eGPU?

  21. Owen Kanaway says:

    You know if MacOS had a more open platform, it would save us a lot of headaches, and most of wouldn't even bother with Winblows or Linsux. The internals of MacOS is much better than Windows and Linux because it's BSD-based, it takes all the things from BSD (FreeBSD and NetBSD) and makes it better, but because of Apple's closed platform, consumers are not getting the advantages of MacOS.

  22. William Barclay says:

    AMD's integrated graphics is far more powerful for the same price. A Ryzen 2200g would be much better for a low budget PC (if you are going to use integrated graphics).

  23. Oskar Bravo says:

    I really hope you're going to do a video on how you modded that Powermac G4 Case! That looks awesome!

  24. AsusPander says:

    Probably paid by some lol

  25. g. martinez cabrera says:

    Would a egpu help a 15 In mcp that already has a dedicated graphics card? I’m asking for video editing in Premiere.

  26. Derrick Psaros says:

    Great video, thanks! Did you have any issues with using either USB-C port?

  27. Nyzma Kumala says:

    when you run WINDOWS on ur Mac it become a pc not mac anymore

  28. Israel Galivjan says:

    I actually did expect that result… you compare an i5 to an i3 that's already not fair is it? but yeah maybe the external unit made most people lose their thoughts on that the mbp would win.

  29. Coroshia says:

    I have my doubt about how the performance will keep under a stress gaming section, like after month of hours of gaming, I feel as the macbook will have more problem with the cooling and perhaps loose some performance/health of component like battery

  30. iCrafterChips says:

    You should have similar specs for both computers! You did this to give the MacBook an unfair advantage!!!!!!! I mean the MacBook had an i5 while the PC had an i3!!!!!!

  31. Carlos Alvarado says:

    How does this guy not have over a million suscribers yet.

  32. John-Paul C says:

    Can people buy that case somewhere? I love that…

  33. Serj Star says:

    wheres the link to the fix ?

  34. Bill says:

    why not use an rx 560 or a gtx 1050?

  35. Jack Faradjian says:

    could this speed up rendering times in premiere pro?

  36. Panthera Uncia says:

    I wanted to get a PC just to play games, but I think this is actually better, to get me the eGPU enclosure and decent GPU.

  37. Jacob Tran says:


  38. john doe says:

    Question, would having one of these fitted to a 2010 mbp 17" help with such things as lightroom or photoshop?

  39. OnlyDom says:

    I'm so glad you used a base model MacBook Pro; not a lot of people do during eGPU testing and it's hard to gauge whether or not it's right for me.

  40. Damian_Jack says:

    Option 2 sell your Mac piece of shit and use that money to build a proper machine instead of spending more money on pretentious Apple crap to make you feel smug and special.

  41. Neil Cahill says:

    yeah cause the cpu has very little impact on gaming performance

  42. Matt Parkin says:

    I need help! I get a "Code 12" error with my egpu in bootcamp. For a few weeks it all worked perfectly with my Node Pro with my new 13" 2018. I did nothing special to get it all to work other than wait until the windows logo at boot up to plug the gpu in. Then suddenly it stopped working I have tried all the solutions out there, including the one mentioned in this video.

    I'm at a complete loss.

  43. Bryan says:

    I’m in this exact situation now. I have a 2016 mbp15 and want to start gaming more. With a budget of $1000. An egpu + 1080ti sounds like the way to go. If thunderbolt is the bottleneck Did you test other cards in the egpu to see the cost to performance ratio? I’d also be interested in seeing at which gpu model does the frame rate stop increasing significantly.

  44. Null says:

    PC Gamers have become the pretentious and arrogant assholes that they have been labeling Apple fanboys for years now. Funny how the tables have turned.

  45. Axel Heubeck says:

    This is no f-ing gaming hardware either way….

  46. Petr Holusa says:

    Nice video! So you say with some twaking mac I can use Akitio with Nvidia card? Reason is i would use it for cinema 4d rendering (gpu rendering) using CUDA which is only on nvidia. Thanks.

  47. Bill says:

    How the hell is that even possible

  48. Casper Svendsen says:

    Nice comparison, but I think a GTX1060 would have been a more viable solution. It would be the card a whole lot of people should buy for 1080p gaming on max settings. Furthermore the 1080TI is bottlenecked seriously by the thunderbolt connection so my guess would be that it evens out the gains of the 1080TI compared to the 1060.

    A followup video would be cool with a 1050TI, 1060, 1070 ? Just to see how they fare with the thunderbolt restriction and as a good consumer advice, which to get 😀

    Personally I would have gone with the eGPU and a GTX1060 if I already owned a Mac back when I was shopping for a gaming setup.

  49. fazil sha says:

    Does mac pro early 2009 support GTX 1080ti?

  50. NonsensicalVids says:

    damn my thunderbolt 2 MacBook Pro

  51. Sats Sehgal says:

    can you use this egpu with a macbook? not pro

  52. PC Jeff says:

    Should have done equal pricing, a $1300 mac with the egpu 1080ti, should have made a $1300 PC then add a 1080 ti to that, then see how it plays out

  53. Bernd Kiltz says:

    Hey, how loud is that egpu if you are just surfing the web etc?

  54. TheFreezeChill says:

    > Wants the GPU to not be a bottleneck
    > Sets the game to 1440p Ultra
    > Mhmm…

  55. Hunter R. says:

    Was this test 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 "1440p"? Pretty big difference, and I saw you using an ultrawide so I'm assuming the latter?

  56. stevey500 says:

    Yo… If you've still got an eGPU hanging around, I've got something for you to scratch your head about.
    I have been thrilled with running a Vega 56 in an Aorus TB3 eGPU with my 2018 13" i7 Macbook Pro until I found out that 4k video playback SUUUUCCCKKKSSS. 4k30 video playback in chrome is very okay until I took a glance at Activity Monitor to see almost 80-90% eGPU usage. When playing back 4k60 youtube video, it occasionally stutters and slows down the whole UI of the machine with pegged eGPU usage. Playing back 250mbps 4k h264 60fps files and 50mbps 4k 60fps h265 files in quicktime and VLC is unacceptable. Unplugging the eGPU from the mix and plugging straight into my 4k monitor, all these tests worked fine and didn't push the iGPU past 60-70% utilization in any of them.

    Rebooting into Windows 10 on the same macbook and egpu setup, all these files play beautifully through the same exact egpu hardware. What gives, here? Can you reflect the same behavior? Mac OS GPU video playback performance ain't so snazzy.

  57. thatboisolo says:

    Tutorial on how to build that case!

  58. Juan Carlos Araujo S. says:

    What about using an AMD Graphics card as a eGPU on MacOS?

  59. James Barnes says:

    Id like to see this but with an actual non-budget PC and see how it puts Apple to shame

  60. penguin10916 says:

    Definitely glad you posted this. My curiosity spiked with the new Macbook Air, which boasted eGPU support, and my SO has been wanting a second gaming desktop for the bedroom. I'm not a fan of Steam link, and I wasn't a fan of building a second desktop – especially since he's wanting to use it with an old, 720p plasma TV, but the use of egpu with either an rx 580 or a gtx 1050TI seems like a reasonable option as I'm opting for the Air since I'm looking to go back to school for my masters in a year or so. Just out of curiosity, are there any reasonable docks that include an HDD/SSD enclosure?

  61. SlipkoForever says:

    Would be interested to see the results with the new Macbook Air Retina

  62. Wyatt B says:

    Thinking about getting the BlackMagic eGPU for my 4K iMac.

  63. Neptun says:

    Wait, if eGPU has more memory than normal GPU and has better performance, why dont we mine with eGPU?

    Kowalsky, ANALYSIS!

  64. BlankEssence says:

    Doesn't really work when you add the cost of a decent GPU.

  65. mario marez says:

    That's me! Just put my 8 year old hackintosh for sale on craigslist and selling my 5 year old MBP to condense to a new MBP 13" and eventually purchase an EGPU for video editing and gaming. Love slimming down.

  66. Andre Bonaparte says:

    @01:47 – 😍That G3 & G4 "inspired" case is 🔥– Classic 🍎when they used to care about the power users. 😞

  67. Richard Guzman says:

    I was wondering, when playing games on Macbook pro with the same set-up as the video. Will the Macbook pro 15 with eGPU run cooler or hotter if I were to add an external monitor?

  68. ThatDrummerKid says:

    why would you ever buy the base model of any Mac, go big or go PC

  69. Mr. Zafer says:

    I will use 1080ti eGPU for my “13”MacBook Pro 2T SSD,i7,16GB DDR3” laptop.

  70. ElectricalNoises says:

    I have a 2015 iMac running bootcamp atm… Would the TB3 to TB2 adapter make much of a difference performance wise if running an eGPU? Tired of getting 30 fps at times in Fortnite.

  71. BigMacBook1300 says:

    I have an older 15” MacBook Pro i7 and when I do anything graphics heavy it just goes blank then the os restarted for blank reason. My question is can I use a egpu with my MacBook Pro?

  72. Matt Lutey says:

    Build for a kickass i5? As described in the video?

  73. Joshua Guevarra says:

    Would a 1060 Ti work just as well. Obviously, it isn't as powerful as a 1080, but would be enough?

  74. GorusGrind says:

    And what about temperature? The MacBook Pro will over-heating even with eGPU?

  75. Alex F says:

    Do you need an external display to run the egpu on the mac

  76. Marcos Antonio Osorio Villalobos says:

    This video solved my future life!! Thanks!!

  77. Parzival says:

    Hi, nice video. Any issues with the Mac heating up and fans going crazy?

  78. Skuash says:

    Which eGPU did you use? I

  79. JAFO-PTY says:

    is the macbook CPU temp under control? or is the fan going crazy?

  80. Legend YT says:

    I don't get it. They're around the same when it comes to performance. When it comes to the price you have to include the graphics cards price not just the price of the egpu box which is only 200. So 300€ for the entire pc. But 700 for a gpu and 200 for the box. That is around 900….

  81. Trevor says:

    Do you happen to have the Amazon link to that case and build? 🙂

  82. Waikari Boy says:

    im trying to find a good guide on what is the best overall GPU to buy. No point getting a 2080ti if a 1070 gives the same performance due to limits of Tunderbolt speeds.. Any help with this?

  83. iwrwr says:

    I have the 15 inch 2018 model and I've heard that an eGPU on bootcamp doesn't work on the 15 inch models so this video is worthless for me 🙁

  84. Josh Gabriel says:

    does the macbook pro heat up when playing games with egpu?

  85. Nether Warrior says:

    I had an offer for $350 to get an rx570 egpu on my 2017 macbook pro with touchbar, I got like 350 fps on csgo with it in on my config in macos vs the usually 150 I get.

  86. thepixelpusher says:

    Quinn how do we find which of our Apple MacBook Pro laptops and computers can use an EGPU? Not all have USB 3.

  87. Jumbochook says:

    what an epic audio transition

  88. Vin Arora says:

    Do you think MacBook 13 2019 + egpu is good for gaming ?

  89. NonsensicalVids says:

    cool thing now is I can get an enclosure with gpu for $300/£260

  90. FreeaBring 1 says:

    Good video!

  91. Ruby Diansyah says:

    hi , have iMac 21' with Radeon Pro 555 (late 2017), and Mantiz egpu with Radeon Vega 56, I have problem with running EGPU on win 10 bootcamp. Windows recognise my egpu and radeon Vega , but after restart as requested all screens just go black after windows logo. I run Latest OSX. any solutions for this issue ? please help

  92. k3rkis says:

    the question: got , the card, will buy a box, connect to latest and greatest macbook pro 15 with vega20 graphics, will this gtx1080Ti give me significant perfomance boost in Fcpx or it won't be even supported? i just got the card for free, so thinking should I spend money buying the box and trying connecting the card with laptop or not. Thanks for the advice in advance!

  93. Trevor says:

    How much heat comes off the MBP when connected to an eGPU? Curious if I could put the MBP under a plastic monitor stand so I can connect to the eGPU when at home.

  94. Jeremy Robinson says:

    but can you play with macos? I really wouldn't want to put windows on my macbook.

  95. Eamon Shields says:

    This was awesome

  96. Sterby jr. says:

    I feel I have to explain why I gave a thumbs down. Everything was nice and well, well edited, good scripting, well built review, simple but the core essentials explained, good video editing. All was going great until you said "stay snazzy". Really? You just couldn't come up with a better catchphrase? Come on, give at least the same effort as you give for your videos, do the thinktank and come up with something better. Even a simple modest "Thank you for watching, see you next time" is a better ending than a half assed "stay snazzy". Bleh.

  97. Tarun Badhan says:

    I think there is a CPU bottleneck in the PC build for that graphics card.

  98. PKTV says:

    I have the same question but for people that have thunderbolt displays like the lg Ultrafine 5k there aren’t many bugget gamming pcs that run thunderbolt monitors and there is only 2 options. The blackmagic rx 580 egpu or the blackmagic vega 56 egpu

  99. Eric Dumas says:

    What about productivity like PhotoShop and 3D comparison?

  100. Sequialtera says:

    Hello, i am wondering how the thermal is, does it get very hot?

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