One of the many surprises that appeared on Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote was the company’s official endorsement of external GPU or graphic cards. Right after the MacBook Pro came out, fans figured out a way to enhance performance through connecting the computer to an external GPU.
The procedure is slightly complicated and some users believed that could kill future macOS releases. However, just a few months ago, while talking about the expectations of the Mac Pro, the Cupertino-based company confirmed that it’s not against such devices. According to BGR, Apple seems ready to fully embrace them, which means a user can buy an official Apple external GPU (with some twist).
As announced last Monday, the External Graphics Development Kit is now available for all developers. For the price of $599, a buyer will get a Sonnet external GPU chassis together with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and packed with 350W power supply.
Aside from that, a VR-ready AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card is also included, which already costs a pretty pricey by itself. A Belkin USB-C to 4-port USB-A hub, as well as a $100 worth promo code towards the purchase of HTC Vive VR headset, are included in the package when a user buys the Apple's external GPU.
The only bad news here is that the buyer has to be a developer in order to get the whole package. This simply means that someone has to pay the $99 yearly fee to be able to get in. Aside from that, the program is also restricted to a select number of countries, which includes the following:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and the United Kingdom.
Per Digital Trends, the buyer of Apple's external GPU for Macbook and iMac needs to run macOS High Sierra to run it. However, if the computer owner has already the developer ID ready, it wouldn't be a problem. Because of that, if someone really wants the Apple’s official external GPU card, he/she needs to prepare for some jump through and a few hoops to get it.