eGPU with Thunderbolt: macOS 12.1 supports more graphics cards

Apple extended support for eGPUs in macOS 12.1, the latest version of the current Monterey Mac operating system. In the future, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT desktop graphics card will be able to be used with MacBooks if you put them in an eGPU box and connect them via Thunderbolt. A support document updated this week shows that the correct drivers are part of the update.

As Apple writes, from macOS 12.1 “Additional AMD-RDNA2 Products” Supported in RX-6600-XT Series. As a specific recommendation, the group currently only mentions the Nitro Radeon RX 6600 XT card from Sapphire. Apple also specifies corresponding eGPU boxes: Sonnet’s Thunderbolt 3 (eGFX Breakaway Box 550W) and Razer (Core X) chassis are recommended.

Users of older versions of the operating system cannot use the Radeon RX 6600 XT because the necessary drivers are missing. This was the case before: eGPU support started with macOS High Sierra (10.13.4), but more cards were added later in macOS Catalina (10.15.1) and macOS Big Sur. (11.4). Not all cards are fully supported. In AMD’s reference models, the Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT, the USB-C port on the cards, for example, does not work properly; instead, Apple recommends using DisplayPort and HDMI connections to avoid issues when the screen wakes up.

Basically eGPUs are only supported on (meanwhile obsolete) Intel Macs via Thunderbolt 3 anyway. So far, there has been no support for Apple Silicon machines, whether machines from 2020 (MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini with M1 chip) or current versions of MacBook. Pro from 2021 with M1 Max and M1 Pro. It is not yet known whether eGPUs will be supported in Apple’s new ARM world. Apple has yet to comment on the subject – not even the third year with Apple Silicon.

No more Macs and me

No more Macs and me

No more Macs and me


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Steven L. Nielsen