Cramming a gaming GPU into your MacBook Pro
…without actually doing that
How we got here
After Apple released its (soon-to-be) previous generation Mac Pro, it probably didn't take long for them to realize they had a trash can fire on their hands, especially with regards to GPU performance. When Apple announced eGPU support for macOS in 2017's High Sierra release, it was hard not to see the announcement as anything more than an admission that Apple's top-of-the-line desktops and notebooks shipped with subpar GPUs due to their severe thermal constraints. Of course, because Apple has never considered AAA gaming to be an important function of its products, the Mac has always lagged behind Windows in GPU availability and support. But by 2017 (and until the new Mac Pro tower releases this fall), the situation has been especially grim: even for workstation tasks like video encoding and 3D modeling, the internal GPUs Apple has been selling are so bad that they're driving a nontrivial number of creative professionals—a market Apple actually does care about—off its platform.
The world may be excited to close the door on the ill-conceived trash can Mac Pro, but if it hadn't been for its glaring design flaws, Apple and Intel probably wouldn't have prioritized the engineering needed to make running an eGPU over Thunderbolt 3 a commercial reality.