Apple’s macOS 10.13.4 is here with full external GPU support

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Amplify / When you have an eGPU connected and working, it appears in “About This Mac.”
Samuel Axon

Apple has released the 10.13.4 update for macOS. This update adds outside graphics card (eGPU) support for most recent Macs, tools Apple’s new approach to privacy that we already saw in iOS 11.3, and adds Task Chat in the United States.

Business Chat allows users to ask for customer support and perform transactions with participating businesses ending the Messages app. You can chat live with a representative, book appointments in fairness inside Messages, and also pay for products and services with Apple Pay in the direction of your conversation. The feature also launched on iOS.

Apart from eGPU forward, the only other major feature is Apple’s new approach to privacy issues. As in iOS 11.3, Apple has added a special image that appears each tempo its software or services access what Apple deems to be personal figures. This image is accompanied by a short summary of what information Apple is using and how, and you can click a tie up to see a much more detailed explanation.

Apple executives bear leveraged recent controversies at Facebook and Google by doing press displays for weeks with the goal of positioning Apple as the tech giant that qualities your data and privacy. This update doesn’t make any expressive changes to how Apple handles your data—although some of that is do in the future—but it makes the point about Apple’s differentiation abundantly sod off to users.

Further changes in 10.13.4 include three new Safari characteristics—the ability to jump directly to the tab on the far right by pressing Command and 9, new bookmarks character options, and a warning in the Safari Smart Search field that shows when you’re entering in certain personal information on websites that are unencrypted.

The update selects a few bugs, including one for graphics corruption that affected “certain apps on iMac Pro.” An iTunes update fly out at the same time as macOS 10.13.4 to add the Music Videos browsing countenance that was added to the Apple Music app on iOS. A handful of enterprise updates were also involved—check them out in the full update notes at the bottom of this article.

Now, let’s talk eGPUs.

Overture introduction eGPU performance tests

Apple announced official eGPU mainstay for macOS High Sierra at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) finish finally year. eGPUs have been positioned as the upgrade path for professionals using the iMac Pro; for divers users, the longterm viability of that machine depends on it. But eGPUs can also unravel a key, longstanding disadvantage to Apple’s entire Mac lineup: not a single Mac has an upgradeable GPU.

GPU upgrades drive likely be possible in the promised-but-not-yet-revealed Mac Pro overhaul, but for the rest of the lineup, this is the sole path forward. Apple’s work on its Metal 2 graphics API to improve carrying-on on the Mac doesn’t mean much if users don’t have access to more persuasive GPUs for tasks like gaming, 3D modeling, and video editing. In theory, eGPU boost could make a 13-inch MacBook Pro with only an Intel consolidate GPU capable of playing VR games, for example.

This dream has been on all sides of for decades now, but Apple hopes it is approaching viability thanks to Thunderbolt 3, which has a speculative 40Gbps transfer rate. It won’t match the speeds of a PCI-e card, of by all means, but it could be enough for most use cases. macOS 10.13.4 adds take up the cudgels for for eGPUs on “MacBook Pro notebooks released in 2016 and later1, iMac computers usher ined in 2017 and later, and iMac Pro.”

Apple has a support page dedicated to eGPUs, and it beadrolls the enclosures and graphics cards that are currently supported. Currently, only AMD graphics cards are supported—you’re in for a rough ride if you’re hoping to hook up an NVIDIA GPU. There are off the record drivers out there, but it likely will not be an optimal experience. eGPUs are also not reinforced in Windows via Boot Camp.

It’s been a while since we’ve explored eGPUs, and this is the fulfilled time to do it. We will be doing more robust benchmarks and analysis of eGPU acting in 10.13.4 and publishing our findings in the near future, but we have some beginning test results to share in the meantime. We ran four tests today:

  • GFXBench Metal
  • GFXBench OpenGL
  • Coterie of Warcraft (Metal)
  • Civilization VI (OpenGL)

We tested on a 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Meet Bar, connected to a Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box enclosure and an external LG 27UK850-W 4K monitor.

OS macOS Principal Sierra 10.13.4
CPU Intel Core i7-6820HQ at 2.7GHz
RAM 16GB 2133Mhz LPDDR3
Internal GPU AMD Radeon Pro 460 4GB GDDR5
Surface GPU AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5

Here’s what we found:

This looks promising for most use cases, specifically gaming (as long as Metal is in play) but Apple cautions that it won’t fit in in all applications. Further testing—including for stability—is needed for a verdict.

Apple’s plenary update notes

These are the update notes Apple has provided for 10.13.4:

  • Unites support for Business Chat conversations in Messages in the U.S.
  • Adds support for perceptible graphics processors (eGPUs).
  • Fixes graphics corruption issues stirring certain apps on iMac Pro.
  • Allows jumping to the rightmost open tab using Command-9 in Safari.
  • Approves sorting of Safari bookmarks by name or URL by Control-clicking and choosing Sort By.
  • Straits an issue that may prevent web link previews from appearing in Essences.
  • Helps protect privacy by only AutoFilling usernames and passwords after favouring them in a Web form field in Safari.
  • Displays warnings in the Safari Breezy Search field when interacting with password or credit be honest forms on unencrypted webpages.
  • Displays privacy icons and links to palliate how your data will be used and protected when Apple stars ask to use your personal information.

Additionally, Apple lists the following updates specifically for boldness:

  • No longer disables User Approved Kernel Extension Loading on MDM-enrolled widgets. For devices with DEP-initiated or User Approved MDM enrollment, administrators can use the Essence Extension Policy payload.
  • Improves Spotlight search results for walks stored on network mounts.
  • Properly evaluates ACLs on SMB share purports.
  • Adds the --eraseinstall flag to the startosinstall command in the macOS Installer app at Gladdens/Resources/startosinstall. Use this flag to erase and install macOS on a disk. For details, run startosinstall with the --usage dwindle.
  • Updates System Image Utility to allow creating NetInstall simulacra that erase and install macOS to a named target volume.

Details on the safeguarding contents of 10.13.4 are available at Apple’s security hub.

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