2019 MBP + Razer Core X + HTC Vive Pro, running Half Life: Alyx
Hello! I wanted to post this build because I've not seen much coverage on VR in bootcamp for macs with EGPU support, and it was a little finicky getting it up and running, but it does work and I'm most of the way through Half Life Alyx. For this setup I'm using the Vive Pro Starter Kit, which includes the Vive Pro headset but the first generation controllers and base stations. I know that VR is an expensive hobby to get into, but you might be relieved to hear that you CAN run VR on your MBP in Bootcamp.
To start, you have to get the EGPU working. I used this guide with this bootloader to get my EGPU working. If you're looking to get VR working, make sure you're consistently able to boot into windows with the working EGPU, because I won't be covering that extensively. What I will be covering is initial setup of the Vive Pro + troubleshooting when it doesn't work properly.
Another tip is to install MacsFanControl and set it to the Full Blast preset whenever you're doing anything VR related.
As a note, I will be referring to the ports on the MBP as follows: Top left = Port 1, Bottom left = Port 2, Top right = Port 3, Bottom right = Port 4
Also, I will be editing this post over the next few days because I am doing this from memory right now. When I have access to my setup I can fill in any details I might have missed.
So here's the setup.
- Plug a monitor into your EGPU
- Make sure your MBP is plugged into power, using Port 4. Keeping Port 1 and 3 open is pretty important.
- Power on the macbook pro holding the option key to get the boot menu. Your power cable should be plugged into Port 4
- Boot into windows. If you installed the bootloader correctly, you should see a black screen instructing you to connect your egpu.
- Plug the Razer Core X's thunderbolt 3 cable into Port 1 and power it on, and when the bootloader recognizes it press any key.
- When the windows login screen appears, unplug the Razer Core X's cable from Port 1 and plug it into Port 3
- Log in as normal.
- Wait a few seconds for any notification sounds to die down, then unplug the EGPU and plug it back into Port 1.
- In settings, make sure your computer is ONLY using the external display. Your MBP internal display should be black.
- Before continuing with the Vive setup, open your device manager and disable non-essential devices such as the webcam, the internal GPU, etc.
- Install Steam VR through the Steam Client
INSTALLING THE VIVE PRO
- Install the Base Stations that came with your kit as instructed, but don't plug them in yet.
- Connect the Link Box to your EGPU using the included display cable.
- Connect the Link Box power cable
- Connect a USB C to USB A dongle to Port 3 on your macbook pro.
- Connect the Link Box USB cable to the dongle that's plugged into Port 3.
- Press the blue power button on the front of the Link Box. If the green light turns on and stays on, you are good to continue setup as normal via the Steam VR app.
- NOW you can plug in your base stations and configure your room via the VR app.
TROUBLESHOOTING The times where I had the most trouble getting this to work was when the light on the Link Box would not turn on or stay on. If the green light on the Link Box either turns off after a few seconds or doesn't turn on at all, you've got problems. This is the reason I decided to make this guide, because I was about to return all of my shiny new equipment when the box wouldn't stay on. Even now, I occasionally have this problem, but it's pretty easy to fix, and after 15 hours of Half Life Alyx I can say that it's a reliable setup. If the Link Box light will not stay on, first make sure to unplug all of the cables (including the one that's plugged into the headset) and unplug the base stations as well. Reconnect the Link Box in this order: AV cable, Power Cable, USB cable. Press the blue power button on the front of the box. If the green light turns on, you're good to continue your setup. Plug in the Base Stations and continue your setup as instructed in the app. If the light does not stay on after this step, there are a few things you can try. Go into the headset settings through steam VR and make sure the build in camera on the headset is disabled. I noticed that whenever I enabled the camera, the setup would not work. If the set powers down during gameplay, don't fret, just power cycle the Link Box again as described in step 1 - 3.
If you run into any other problems just drop a reply in the bottom. Here are some other tips just for quick reference.
- Sometimes it's best to leave the headset unplugged from the Link Box until the Link Box is fully powered on / constant green light
- I generally generally try to follow the boot order of: MBP - > EGPU - > Link Box - > Base Stations - > Headset - > Controllers. This seems to get the most success.
- If all else fails, try using a different USB C dongle. I had to try a few to find one that worked consistently.
My current setup allows me to play the game at the second highest graphics settings. All in all, I'd say that the 2019 MBP is a perfectly viable solution for people looking to get into VR, and Alyx is easily one of the best games i've ever played, so if you're interested please don't be afraid to try!
Edit May 1 2020:
So it turns out that the Link Box just had a defective power supply. I went to the store and got a universal adapter and have had no problems with the box staying on yet.