Blackmagic eGPU Review – Apple’s UltraFine Curse

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

Introduction If you’re a Macintosh user who owns a Thunderbolt 3 Mac and an LG UltraFine monitor, then you’re in luck. You’ve just been prequalified for the Blackmagic eGPU. This enclosure is neither for Windows users nor eGPU enthusiasts. If you fall into either of these camps, you can stop reading now and entertain yourself with a wide selection of external GPU solutions. Apple partnered with Blackmagic Design to build just the eGPU a Mac user never thought they’d need. For US$699 you can now connect the magic of an external Radeon Pro 580 graphics card to power the UltraFine …

Simplify the Donglelife – Mantiz Titan Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

Introduction Apple’s obsession with the “less is more” philosophy has reached an epic level. When the Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro lineup was introduced in late 2016, many decried the imposition of dongle life. The outrage was real. For most customers, fewer ports mean more costs. When your new Mac laptop only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, your existing peripherals need dongles and plenty of them. Even the mighty Apple felt bad enough to offer an early-adopter discount on many USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 adapters. People cried a bit less, but the pain still lingered. Eighteen months have passed since the Thunderbolt 3 MacBook …

A Beginner’s Guide to Attending CES

Truong Nguyen How-To

For a long time I had wanted to attend CES, the world’s largest technology trade show held every January in Las Vegas. This year I finally had the chance to participate due to developments in external graphics solutions. With Apple’s notoriously underpowered graphics card offerings, external GPU becomes a viable option for underpowered Macs. Mac users can get excited for the possibility of pairing a Mac-certified enclosure with their computer to deliver much-improved graphics performance. As a first-time attendee, the CES experience was exciting and at times overwhelming. There’s nothing that can fully prepare you for the magnitude of CES. …

iMac Pro vs Mac Pro + eGPU

iMac Pro: Salvation after starvation?

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

Today Apple released the highly anticipated iMac Pro. This marks four years since the introduction of the last pro Mac computer. The main selling features are the Radeon Pro Vega graphics card and the Xeon-W workstation processor, all packed in the thin and slick form factor of a 27″ 5K iMac. This beast of a machine starts at a whopping $4,999. iMac Pro The iMac Pro is the most powerful production Mac to date. Apple claims pros love iMac so they went all in and built a “killer iMac.” They weren’t kidding around. You can buy an iMac Pro that’s equipped with …

AMD Radeon RX 480 and USB 3.0 inside Mac Pro for VR

How to: Fix RX 480 & RX 580 sleep issue in 10.13.2

Truong Nguyen How-To

AMD Polaris graphics cards have been a blessing for Mac Pro users since their release last summer. My RX 480 macOS installation how-to detailed progress of driver development as early as Sierra 10.12 beta. There was good news and bad news along the way. Overall Radeon RX GPUs have served Mac users well in both the Mac Pro towers and external graphics enclosures. With the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 this week, there’s a sleep issue with RX 480/580. macOS can still detect these cards at boot and most features work well, but sleep and wake-up present problems in …

Best Way to Upgrade Mac OS

Truong Nguyen How-To

Ever since Apple made its Macintosh operating system free, a new version comes out every fall. It’s nice to have a predictable upgrade schedule, but what’s the best way to upgrade Mac OS? In my experience starting fresh is the best method. I have often seen account folders migrated through four or five Mac computers spanning more than a dozen years. Convenience is the primary motivation when migrating content to a new Mac or when performing an OS upgrade. With this migration or clickable upgrade, unwanted files, incompatible software and obsolete drivers also make their way to the new system. …

How to: Fix Java Command-Line Tool Pop-Up on Mac OS

Truong Nguyen How-To

After upgrading to a newer version of Mac OS X (Yosemite 10.10 and El Capitan 10.11) or macOS (Sierra 10.12 and High Sierra 10.13), you may end up getting an annoying new pop-up message whenever you start your computer. It says, “To use the java command-line tool, you need to install a JDK.” It asks you to click “More Info” and visit the JDK (Java Developer Kit) download website. The reason you’re receiving this message is due to the removal of Java support in newer versions of OS X for security reasons. Older software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator …

power Mac G4 Cube and Mac Pro trashcan

G4 Cube & Mac Pro – Failure never looked so good

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

Introduced more than a dozen years apart, the Power Mac G4 Cube and Mac Pro trashcan share more than a few similarities. They both look nothing like computers but rather pieces of art. Apple priced them well above the competition, and they both failed spectacularly. Nevertheless the G4 Cube established a cult following for its fascinating design and functionality. The electrical and mechanical engineering was out of this world especially for 2000. If you ever get a chance to see this G4 Cube in person, make sure to see and touch its bottom. One feature that most love is the …

AMD Radeon RX 580 macOS 10.12.4 Sierra how to

How to: Install AMD RX 480 & RX 580 in macOS Sierra

Truong Nguyen How-To

June 2017 Update: With the release of mid-2017 iMacs, Apple has officially used Polaris Ellesmere GPUs in its lineup. The wonderful news is 10.12.6 will include drivers for RX 470, RX 480, RX 570, and RX 580. This means starting with 10.12.6 and future macOS version, we don’t need to perform these kext modifications anymore to use these cards in our Mac Pro towers. 😀 April 2017 Update: AMD released Radeon RX 500 series on April 18th, 2017. I received an RX 580 test unit from AMD and can confirm it has the same PCI ID (67DF) as the RX 480. Therefore …

Apple 27" iMac VESA Mount Kit

Apple 27″ iMac VESA Mount Conversion

Truong Nguyen How-To

Are you considering the use of a more ergonomic desk for your iMac 27″ but realized the iMac stand stood in the way? In order to use a custom monitor arm for a 27″ iMac you need to covert the factory stand to a VESA mount. Apple sells this VESA mount as part model A1313.  The most challenging step is exposing the mounting screws on the stand. To install the VESA mount, follow these steps: Lay your 27″ iMac face down on a desk or table with a soft towel under the display. Position the iMac so that the bottom part …

macos updates available notification

How To: Get Rid of Updates Available Notification in macOS

Truong Nguyen How-To

Are you plagued by the annoying Updates Available notification? I know I can’t be the only one guilty of clicking “Remind me tomorrow” for days (or weeks…) at a time. Not everyone wants to update the OS on their Mac as soon as a new update is released given the bugs, glitches and instability that are often worked out in the months following. Other times you may not want to update the OS to preserve compatibility with certain software. The Updates Available notification gives you five options – Install, Try in an Hour, Try Tonight, Remind Me Tomorrow, Turn On …

crowed apple store

Is Mac Support on the way out at the Apple Store?

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

I haven’t been to an Apple store in a couple of years. My last experience wasn’t the best given how little Mac product presence there was. As the iPhone now generates nearly three-quarters of Apple’s revenue and profit, Macs clearly seem secondary to Apple. Recent news on the elimination of the Business- and Event-related positions have led many to believe Apple is ready to abandon the prosumer market. The lack of upgrades to the Mac Pro since late 2013 and the minimal performance upgrades to the latest MacBook Pro are clear indicators. Many wonder whether Apple is still committed to …

complete guide on external graphics card (egpu) for mac

eGPU for Mac – The Beginner’s Setup Guide

Truong Nguyen How-To

You’ve seen an external graphics card (eGPU) working with a Mac and looked into getting one but quickly realized it’s a confusing process. I was in your shoes. I spent hundreds of hours learning everything I could find about external GPU and how to set one up with my MacBook Pro. Through this endeavor, I became acquainted with two renowned eGPU pioneers and experts, Nando and Goalque. Together we built, the first and only dedicated forum for external graphics card. My goal with this post is to provide a comprehensive beginner’s setup guide so that Mac users can build an external GPU for their computers. As new Macs and Thunderbolt eGPU …

Dongles and adapters for Late 2016 MacBook Pro

Dongles and Docks: Apple’s Latest Lineup

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

By now you’ve probably heard about the Late 2016 MacBook Pro with its impressive Touch Bar, high price, and lack of ports. In order to make Mac laptops thinner and lighter, Apple decided to drop almost every port in favor of USB-C Thunderbolt 3. It’s future-proof, they said. What about using this new MacBook Pro in the present? Dongles, they said. I’ve used both the Late 2016 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro for the past two months. I wanted to use them as much as I could so that my assessment would be fair and even-handed, not merely a gut reaction …

Late 2016 13" MacBook pro with AKitTiO Thunder3 eGPU

Update: Thunderbolt 3 eGPU for Late 2016 MacBook Pro

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

As a follow-up to my post on Thunderbolt eGPU for Macs back in September, this post details the next generation of Thunderbolt connectivity for most laptops including the Late 2016 MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3. It is now integrated to the same physical port as USB Type C. The whole industry and Intel itself touted USB-C as the connector that does it all. So much so that Apple decided to drop all existing I/O in favor of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 in its newest MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. Apple announced the redesigned MacBook Pro at its October event. With …

how to clean your Mac laptop properly

How to: Clean Your Mac Laptop Safely

Truong Nguyen How-To

If you’re like me, you use your Mac laptop every day. Sometimes you use it while grabbing a quick bite. You use it reading the headlines while enjoying your morning coffee. Your children use it to play games. You carry it around in a backpack or messenger bag and use it outdoors or at coffee shops. That’s the versatility of a laptop. And with all that use your Mac laptop is bound to get dirty. The keyboard starts to build up grime. Pet hair pokes out around keycaps. The screen becomes greasy, smudged and spotted with small drops of liquid. …

eGPU Build with Radeon RX 470 in AKiTiO Thunder2

Beefing up Skinny Macs with Thunderbolt eGPU

Truong Nguyen How-To

Fresh off the heels of the iPhone 7 launch, many Apple users can’t help but feel neglected that similar updates haven’t been made to the Mac lineup. With Apple building its products thinner and thinner, something has to give. The most notable compromise of skinny Macs is the lack of graphical computing power. As of fall 2016 every Mac is in dire need of a refresh. While there are rumors updated Macs are coming, more powerful GPU options are likely limited. External graphics card enclosures (eGPU) via Thunderbolt ports may be the only solution going forward. Thunderbolt is a standard input/output in every …

Virtual Reality on Mac with RX 480 & Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift VR – Making Virtual Reality a Reality on a Mac

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Are you a Mac user who’s intrigued by the idea of Virtual Reality (VR) gaming? I was too but quickly realized there’s currently no support for VR on the Mac platform. The biggest name in Virtual Reality right now is the Oculus Rift VR headset and sensor. Oculus’ founder said he would have liked to make the device compatible for Mac users but that unfortunately none of the Mac computers in Apple’s current lineup has the graphical horsepower to run it. He’s right. Apple has always taken the safe and arguably low-cost route when it comes to graphics cards, also …

Best MacBook for Students 11" to 17" screen sizes

Mac To School. What’s The Best MacBook For Students?

Truong Nguyen Product Reviews

It’s August and back-to-school shopping is right around the corner. Top of the list is often a new laptop. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide which laptop is best for you or your student. Within the Apple lineup, there are three laptop choices – the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Below I compare three configurations from these models. I’ve matched their specifications as closely as possible. Each configuration has a 256GB solid state drive and 8GB of RAM. I don’t suggest the 128GB solid state drive configuration as it’s easy for most students to run out …

Front of House Engineer for Adele Live 2016

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Not often does one get the opportunity to work with world-class experts in their field. It was a pleasant surprise for me this past weekend to have met Dave Bracey. He contacted me for help with his 17″ MacBook Pro. Dave is the Front of House engineer for Adele Live 2016 which started the first leg of its North American tour at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Shortly after getting to town, Dave found his 17″ MacBook Pro no longer powered on. In less than 24 hours I got him back up and running. It was right …