External GPU with a MacBook Pro?


I’m looking to run either a GTX 285/295, C1060 or FX 5800 (to get double-precision capabilities) on a MacBook Pro if possible. It has an ExpressCard 34 slot. Anyone know if this is possible? I read about the elusive Asus XG Station, but that doesn’t seem like it’s happening. Thanks.


Are you serious to power a hundreds-watt GPU using a laptop?

Leaving aside the basically insoluble power problems, Express card 1.0 contains the equivalent of a single PCI-e lane (ie. peak transfer speed of 325 Mb/s). That would be next to useless trying to keep a GTX200 fed with data…

Hi Michael!

You can go for Magma ExpressBox http://www.magma.com/products/pciexpress/e…box1/index.html

But its very costly!


The ExpressBox cannot provide anything like enough power to run a GTX200 based card.

Looks like this one does.


I would prefer a second-hand desktop plus an Ethernet cable :D

I’m assuming there’d be an external power supply. I don’t need actual portability, just hoping to avoid getting a Mac Pro, both for cost and to avoid having an additional machine.

My algorithm only needs large data transfers during initialization, after which all the number crunching is done on what’s already in GPU memory. So if I’m understanding the GPGPU paradigm correctly so far, I’m not worried about bandwidth to/from GPU.

Yeah, that’s the idea. But wow it’s expensive! Might as well buy a Mac Pro.

Yeah, there’s the Vidock: http://www.villageinstruments.com/tiki-index.php?page=Store

Since your MacBook has Expresscard, you’ll only get one-fourth of the bandwidth of Thunderbolt, but you also won’t have to wait to buy it as its already available and has been available for a few years. Of course, Village Tronic is working on a Vidock which will go from their new V2 standard to Thunderbolt, but that’s a ways away due to licensing and also because according to Sonnet, special Thunderbolt drivers with hot-plugging capabilities are needed for an eGPU.