Hands-on: eGPU enclosure + GTX 1080 Ti w/ MacBook Pro – Pascal works w/ macOS, but truly shines on Windows [Video]

After last week’s exciting release of Nvidia’s beta Pascal drivers for Mac, I was looking forward to trying the top of the line consumer GPU with my MacBook Pro. That GPU is none other than the venerable GeForce GTX 1080 Ti — a $ 700 card with 11 Gbps of GDDR5X memory and a 11 GB frame buffer. Needless to say this card is one that will interest those looking to push their games to the next level.

I took the time to install my EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FE inside of my Akitio Node external GPU enclosure. After connecting the unit to my 2016 MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt 3 cable, all it took was a simple shell script and a reboot to get the unit working with a (required in macOS) external display.

Nvidia’s drivers are still in beta, and from my hands-on time, the experience is far from perfect in macOS. That said, you can most certainly see the potential and performance differences between the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s integrated Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU, and the beastly 1080 Ti. As expected, it’s also a lot faster than the GTX 1050 Ti that I tested last week.

If you’re looking to truly experience the power of such a card with the MacBook Pro, however, you’ll need to step into the Windows world, and run a Boot Camp installation. The GTX 1080 Ti + Windows turns the MacBook Pro into an insanely powerful and flexible gaming machine with just a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we explain. more…