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Announced on October 16, 2014, identifiable by the model number A1347 and EMC 2840.

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External Graphics card over Thunderbolt Suggestions

Hi All,

I hope you guys can help me. I have a late 2014 Mac mini and am pretty satisfied with it except for the graphics card (but that I won't get an gaming machine was known before, so no hard feelings).

I now read somewhere that its possible to use a external GPU over Thunderbold with around 65-85% of its Desktop Performance.

I found out that there are several cases to support the card raging for around 200-1000$. 1000$ seems a little bit over the top.

Do you guys have any experience with an external GPU or do you have any recommendations?

Thank you very much!

Kind regards,




Examples that I found:

- Case price 550$

- Case Price 1000$

- a very old macrumors topic:

- Article from 2011 complaining that your laptop or whatever is not mobile anymore (missing the point I guess) soloution for around 300$

I thought there will be a bigger market for this. Do you know anything else practical?

I have found another article for future macs:

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Would you mind giving us a couple of links to these (other than thunderbolt) solutions?


Hi, sorry I only found TB solutions and put them up in the original post. Something with USB or even Firewire was nowhere found.


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I build an eGPU with a AKiTiO Thunder2 and a GTX970 which is the most powerful solution you can fit into the AKiTiO case. With my 15" MBPr I can use that power on the internal and external monitor for gaming/rendering/connecting multiple displays.

There are many DIY solutions and most are based on the AKiTiO.

Check out the forum with most of the eGPU magic:

And some of my eGPU videos:

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Thanks! This looks promising. Have you had any complicated driver issues? How long are you using it?

Sorry I'm asking so many questions :-) but 550€ seems not like a steal but at least it would be around the same amount you would pay for a Windows Desktop solution but that would mean I have to work myself into new Video Software.


For OSX it is very easy thanks to a script that does all the mods.

I can't promise that video editing apps will work with the GPUs as well, but games and rendering apps do.

In Windows there are some people struggeling that the card is detected, but most of them made it work. I never had problems with driver, just some freezes after changing from using it on the external to the internal monitor. But that is solved after another reboot.

What is your main goal? Rendering? Gaming?


My goal is kind of both. I have a Mac mini with 16 Gb ram and an i7 3 Ghz processor and a SSD hard drive put in. I'm doing gaming, photography and video cutting. Alle for fun and just as an hobby (but still I want to do my best I can do). I thought for somewhen in the future to put a 4K screen on it and turn the external GPU on when I'm doing something that needs a little bit more power and for the other times use it with the internal graphics. I saw on the Forum you have a lot of experience ;-) and you did some extra work for better cooling etc. Could the AKiTiO case also be used just an "plug and play" (after doing the scripts and driver and so on)?

Thanks for your help again! Thats really nice of you!


The AKiTiO is not plug and play. That is because it's power supply is way to weak and it doesn't have the extra power plugs to power beefy graphics cards.

So the hardware side is not plug and play at all.

Currently there are two options:

- Using a Dell DA-2 220W PSU for cards up to a GTX970 with selfmade cables

- Using a desktop PC PSU with the right amount of PCIe plugs for the GPU and a selfmade 2xMolex -> barrel plug adapter to power the AKiTiO and the PCIe slot itself.

4k might be a problem because Apple is limiting 4k displays by only making the 60Hz option available for very new Macs.


That power issue seems not to be too complicated. I have the Mac Mini 2014 and that seems to work with 4K. Thank you for the advices! You were really helpful. Now waiting for the next paycheck and off we go! :-P


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I have made work a Nvidia Quadro K1200 in a Mac Mini Late 2012 (Mac os El Capitan), through a Sonnet echo express Se II without additional power supply. Thats awesome but I am fighting to solve a problem which mentioned Niklas: "...Apple is limiting 4k displays by only making the 60Hz..." I am working in a UHD TV in 4K resolution but I can't switch up to 60hz, 30hz is the limit. I have tried multiple things including SwitchResX but I can´t put the 4k resolution 60hz... I know my TV supports it, the cables and of course the graphic card. Could you help me? Greetings!

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