What you need to know
- Apple announced three new Macs today, all powered by the new M1 SoC.
- But none of those machines appear to support eGPUs.
- References to eGPUs have been removed from technical specifications for all new M1-powered Macs.
Apple today announced three new Macs, all powered by the fancy new Apple M1 SoC. And while the refreshed Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro are all nice and quick it seems anyone wanting to beef up their graphical performance might be out of luck. It doesn't appear that any of the new M1-powered Macs support external GPUs (eGPU).
People have been using eGPUs to augment the graphical power of their Macs for years, mainly because the chips that come inside Macs aren't normally particularly speedy in terms of gaming or heavy video and photo workflows. But if the new Macs' technical specifications are anything to go by – and they should be – eGPUs are out.
Checking the specifications for any new M1 Mac shows the distinct lack of any mention of the eGPU options. But if you instead look at Intel versions of existing machines, the Blackmagic eGPUs are listed.
There are a couple of possibilities here. The first is that Apple isn't writing software drivers that will make eGPUs, made by other companies, work on their new chips. That means leaving users stuck with the internal GPU which could be fine. But it probably won't be, especially if you want to game on a Mac. The second is that this is just an oversight and eGPUs will work fine. I suspect it's for the former, unfortunately.
I've reached out to Apple for clarification and I'll update this post once I get it.