Play Crysis (like, decently) on a MacBook Air with this graphics card hack

Kevin Lee
1 August, 2013
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While the MacBook Air is light and has super long battery life – and is fast enough for most day-to-day tasks – its graphics card isn’t powerful enough for serious gaming. Luckily for you, hardware modder Larry Gadea has figured a way to daisy-chain a real graphics card to let you finally play Crysis 3 on your MacBook Air.

To build the system, Larry bought around US$250 in commonly available parts, in addition to the requisite graphics card. In the end, he managed to get his 11in MacBook Air to run games five to seven times faster than the onboard graphics card can.

To actually do it yourself, you’ll need to have a video card lying around. Plug that sucker into a PE4L PCI Express bridge, hook that up to a Sonnet ExpressCard Pro, and then run a Thunderbolt cable from there to your MacBook Air. Oh, you’ll also need to buy DIY eGPU Setup – a US$25 piece of software – to actually use your external GPU, along with a cheap power supply to turn the whole thing on.

Photo: Larry Gadea

It’s pretty simple considering you can just buy all the parts, plug it in and have it work without having to write any code. And how it works! Larry shows off the how he can get 90 frames per second playing Borderlands 2 on his MacBook Air. Visit the thread on the TechInferno Forums to see how he did it in more detail.

by Kevin Lee

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