2017 15" MBP + AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT + Razer Core X - Issues switching from dGPU to eGPU
First of all, coming across this website has been massively helpful for eGPU enthusiasts out there. I'm just getting started on my first set up and your website has become my holy book. 😉 Let's dive in:
- Mid 2017 MacBook Pro 15" with Touchbar
- 3.1 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
- 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3
- AMD Radeon Pro 560 4GB (dGPU)
- Intel HD Graphics 630 1536MB (iGPU)
- 512GB PCIe SSD
- macOS Catalina 10.15.3 (19D76)
- Windows 10, version 1903 (18362.30)
Installation steps for Windows 10 (Boot Camp):
- Fresh install of Windows with Boot Camp drivers
- Modified Group Policies to disable all Windows Updates
- Create fresh restore point
- Install DDU
- Reboot into safe mode and run DDU
- Reboot into Windows (not safe mode), install drivers from bootcampdrivers.com (Downloads --> 2020 drivers --> Adrenalin January 2020, Blue Enterprise Edition (Best for MBP 16 inch and Radeon 500 series). Driver version is 26.20.15011.10003, dated at 1/13/2020, and signed by bootcampdrivers.com.
- Reboot into Windows (not safe mode) and cold-boot with eGPU enclosure attached
- Everything works as expected in macOS, I have no problems.
- Loosely followed this guide: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2018-macbook-pro-rp560x-8th6ch-rx-5700-xt-32gbps-tb3-razer-core-x-macos-10-15-1-win10-waubers/ as it was the closest setup I could find to my particular setup in the egpu.io builds section.
- Read through this guide: https://egpu.io/forums/bootcamp/bootcamp-setup-guide-tb3-MacBook-pro/ but I will admit that I didn't feel much of it was used in the previous guide. Waubers makes no mention of needing reffind, or automate-eGPU EFI, so I didn't do any of that.
- I also more or less followed this guide: https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/step-by-step-guides-to-install-nvidia-and-amd-egpu-cards-on-bootcamp-15-inch-MacBook-2017-and-2018/ as it was specific to my model of MBP with a dGPU. This is what lead me to use the bootcampdrivers.com drivers instead of the official ones.
On first glance, everything works well in Windows 10:
- I have no error 12 codes.
- I see both "AMD Radeon 560" and "AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT" showing up in the device manager, neither are yellow banged.
- I'm able to actually see Windows on my laptop and projector screen (which I use as a monitor) and visually everything looks correct.
However, a few cracks begin to appear related to audio not working:
- The first thing I noticed is that audio is only working through my laptop's speakers, not through the projector's built-in speakers. I've tried multiple HDMI cables and even using a physical monitor instead. I've also tried turning up the projector's speakers all the way up and I still cannot hear anything. The speaker controls on Windows 10 function correctly and do actually turn up and down the volume on the laptop's speakers, but I have no sound through the projector.
- I noticed that in the device manager two yellow banged slots for "High Definition Audio Bus" under "System Devices". Updating the driver tells me that the driver is already at the correct version.
- Under "Sound controllers" in device manager, I see "Cirrus Logic CS8409 (AB 57)". This is also found in the Windows Control Panel under speakers. I believe this is likely the laptop's internal speakers, which would make sense because adjusting the volume on this device also adjusts my laptop speakers... so, the status quo.
- Audio through the eGPU when running macOS is totally normal.
Upon diving further, a few more issues arise when I try some actual testing of the eGPU:
- I'm used to playing GTA IV (released in 2008) on my MBP's dGPU perfectly fine in Boot Camp. I've never needed an eGPU for this and consistently ran everything in 1080p on Medium or High settings. Not bad!
- When I boot up GTA IV, presumably using the eGPU, I move the settings to High (still 1080p) and get tons of choppiness... almost as if it's not using the eGPU... hint hint! This shouldn't be happening on a brand new Radeon RX 5700 XT!
- Upon looking at the side of the enclosure, I see that the light of the graphics card is on, but the fans are not spinning and the lights on the fans are also not on. This is pretty weird to say the least.
- The nail in the coffin was running the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, which clearly showed that the ONLY GPU running was the dGPU, my internal Radeon Pro 560. Alas, the eGPU is acting as a passthrough for my dGPU and not actually utilizing the eGPU at all.
I have a feeling that the sound problem is a directly related issue to the eGPU not running and will likely fix itself. I'm really avoiding having to go through the EFI boot loader, as that seems like a massive hack. I'm not opposed to it, and I'll admit I don't know a ton in this area, but after seeing numerous other people with setups nearly identical to mine (namely Waubers posted above) without having to run this EFI boot, makes me feel that it shouldn't be necessary for me.
A few questions I have, and then I'll let the experts chime in:
- Is it necessary to use EFI boot? If so, will I need to start completely over and try again or can I do this now that I have a semi-working setup?
- I have not installed the ever-popular KB4512508 update from Windows, as I'm currently running 18362.30 and from what I've read .30 will work just as well as .295. Is this true? I'm not sure how to read the semantic versioning string here. Is .30 before or after .295? I couldn't find a way to download and install .295 directly, as only .30 is available online so far as I could tell. Will this be necessary to install?
- Did I install the correct drivers from bootcampdrivers.com? I have a feeling that I might have chosen the wrong ones... but since the titles are so vague and confusing, it's quite difficult to know if you're choosing the correct one for your build. Can anyone confirm whether I installed the correct or incorrect drivers? Does this matter?
Thanks for any and all help - I'm out of options and out of breath!
@cereallarceny Do you need the dGPU to be functional in Boot Camp now that you have an eGPU? The modified Radeon drivers from bootcampdrivers.com is best for a setup where the user needs both AMD dGPU and eGPU running together for the internal display acceleration. If you plan on gaming through the external monitor/projector only, it's best to run with the eGPU only and use the standard gaming drivers from AMD website.
The 2017 15" MacBook Pro is actually a rather unique Mac laptop for eGPU use in Windows. It has both a functional Intel iGPU (force-enabled) and Large Memory allocation. I know you prefer not to use any EFI loader but having the iGPU running and disabling the dGPU improves the graphics switching performance (AMD XConnect) in Windows significantly.
Thanks for the reply itsage. I am planning on using my Windows Boot Camp instance entirely for gaming. I work on my Mac, but want a good Windows system for gaming... without having to shell out a small fortune to build a gaming rig. Personally, I don't have the need for using the internal screen, only the monitor/projector. I don't want to game on my laptop's screen, so it's safe to assume that when I'm gaming the laptop will always be hooked up to a monitor/projector.
Based on your advice, I believe I should be using the iGPU and eGPU only, and silence the dGPU. I don't see a particular need to use the discrete and external cards simultaneously as long as the internal GPU is capable of rendering "something" to the screen.
Either way, it doesn't seem to answer why my dGPU/eGPU setup that I currently have isn't working. Perhaps this is a moot point if I'm going to just use an EFI loader to disable the dGPU anyhow... knowing the needs and expectations I've described above - what would you suggest I try next?
@cereallarceny Your current issue is likely due to the modified Blue drivers. You can try uninstalling it through DDU and install the Red drivers to see if the eGPU can be used better in Boot Camp. Either standard Red drivers from AMD directly or modified ones from bootcampdrivers.com should be fine.
Quick update @itsage:
I just tried what you suggested and couldn't get something working. I ran DDU in safe mode and after trying the Red drivers ("Best FPS in games" under 2020 downloads) and it appeared to be the exact same result as the Blue drivers. After that, I ran DDU again and though I'd give the the AMD Apple Boot Camp drivers ( https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/release-notes/apple-boot-camp , second option) a try and couldn't get this working. What's worse, the RX 5700 XT eGPU never even showed up in the device manager on either a hot-plug or cold-plug. I also tried you instructions here: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/mid-2018-15-macbook-pro-touchbar-radeon-vii32gbps-tb3-razer-core-macos-10-14-4-win10-1809-itsage/#post-55140 and also didn't have any luck.
At least I get an image on the projector and the eGPU shows up in the device manager without error 12 when using the Red or Blue drivers from bootcampdrivers.com... but the fans still don't work and dxdiag still tells me I'm using the dGPU. I'm thinking this could be a dead end. I'd like to avoid this if possible, but is there anything else I should try before trying the EFI boot? I'm starting to feel like this might be my only option... which is strange because I see all these other posts of MBP's similar to mine with a dGPU working fine without EFI. What gives?! 😉
@cereallarceny, I don't have any eGPU experience with the 2017 15" MacBook Pro. From what I gathered it's similar to the 2016 15-in MacBook Pro except it has Large Memory allocation in the firmware already. This should make it easier to resolve error 12 in Boot Camp. However the active dGPU in Windows can be a counterforce. 2016 and 2017 15-in MBPs are different than 2018 and newer so what works for them may not be replicable. Search in our build guides for the matching model with AMD eGPU and see if there's anything you could try. I always use EFI boot loader because they give me more control in Windows with eGPU.
It's worth noting that I also had audio issues but after manually patching the drivers for the High Definition Audio Bus (both devices) it worked. Windows said I had the latest drivers, but a quick look online proved that to be false. In the end, I did have some issues with my iGPU, dGPU, and eGPU all being recognized, so I simply disabled my dGPU from the device manager, restarted, and boom.
I wish that I had been able to mirror my displays, rather than have a two display setup. I found that was... annoying. But a fair compromise for a process that doesn't work reliably for most people. I've tampered my expectations.
With my Sapphire Nitro RX 5700 XT I was able to achieve a 3dMark score of 7195 - not bad for 1080p gaming on a 2017 MBP! I was even able to reliably achieve 30-60 frames on GTA5 at 1080p which I will happily accept given that my dGPU literally couldn't even open the game without having a fit.
Overall, I'm happy with the results - although some games (like most any of the Farcry games) just won't work and crash basically every time I run them. I'm sure there's plenty of tweaking left to do, but for now, I'm gonna call this "done". Thanks again @itsage for all the help!