Help a noob out with bootcamp 2070 super
Hi folks, I've been on this forum for the past week trying to search for answers to problems I've encountered trying to setup an MSI Gaming X Nvidia 2070 super in a Sonnet 550w egpu to my late 2013 MacBook Pro 15inch with dual gt750m and iris pro running High Sierra 13.6. I am using the T2 to T3 Apple adapter and a 0.5m Apple thunderbolt 2 cable. In high sierra under system profiler the thunderbolt ports does recognise the Sonnet 550w box but not the graphics card.
I know that Apple and Nvidia are having a spat right now but I don't intend to use the EGPU in macOS, although that would be nice compared to what's already on the MacBook. I intend to use it in windows bootcamp for some video rendering software that is only compatible with nvidia gtx 10 series and newer cards. I read somewhere that the 10 series gtx cards are the most recent cards that nvidia made drivers for in High Sierra which I attempted to install while on the mac side but the installation said it wasn't compatible with my version of macOS despite it running 13.6 which the driver was specified for?!?! I was hoping these drivers would also work for the rtf 2070 super I bought. I tried to get a 1080 ti card but couldn't find one online first hand at a reasonable price here in the UK. I settled on the 2070 super as it seemed the best balance of performance and price. Doesn't really matter anyway as getting it working in macOS would have been a bonus but the priority was in bootcamp.
After struggling to get past the black screen on cold boot up in bootcamp with the egpu plugged in, I was able to login with the egpu plugged in at the blue window screen stage. The egpu must have recognised the bootcamp as the led lights of the gfx card came on and one of the 2 fans on the gfx card started firing up really loud.
However, bootcamp doesn't seem to recognise either the egpu enclosure and/or the graphics card. I tried finding the drivers for the thunderbolt connections from Intel but they don't seem to specify any for the MacBooks. I also tried to download the updated drivers from Nvidia for the RTX 20 series but again the installer said my hardware was not compatible nor could it find the graphics card. The thunderbolt connection seems to work as the Sonnet box was recognised in High Sierra.
Please can the folks on here help as I have a tight deadline to meet and this piece of software is the only thing that can deliver the project on time.
Many thanks from a desperate newbie.
@late_to_the_party, Many RTX cards have firmware compatibility issue with Macs. Therefore booting with the RTX eGPU connected results in a hang at preboot. I don't know how Thunderbolt hot-plug works with pre-2014 Macs. I recall @goalque mentioned they lack that support.
Thanks for the reply Itsage. Is there a list of gfx cards that are known to work with pre 2014 MacBooks?
Or I buy a newer mac that is known to work with the RTX 20 series, or I return the sonnet breakaway and just buy or build a PC desktop to work as my edit suite.
Would be grateful if folks can weigh in with their informed opinions. Thanks again.
Thought I'd write an update on my experiences getting this egpu to work. So after struggling to get this Sonnet 550w box to be recognised by my old macbook pro 2013 750gt, via T3-T2 adapter in bootcamp, I got hold of a new macbook air with i7 processor. I followed the instructions from another thread posted by someone with the same macbook air and egpu box but no luck, still stuck with error 12 despite disabling as many devices as possible.
I then got a new i5 macbook pro 13 inch with 4 thunderbolt ports and again still error 12 code on every single port. It did at least cold plug with the egpu and not cause the Black/blue screen like with the macbook air which could only be hot plugged.
It's not been perfect with the 16 inch macbook as there have been the few occasions where the screen went blue upon hot plugging and I recall getting the black screen once on cold boot but 90% of the time it's been working fine.
So I was considering getting one of these 16 macbook pros but starting thinking about the idea of just getting a windows gaming laptop either with an RTX card and/or to use with the egpu 2070 Super. I even ran some tests with the egpu plugged into a few gaming laptops at my local PC store and found some interesting results. Seems that the egpu 2070 super performed just as well as a PC desktop 2070 super getting similar render times. I then compared with an Alienware with the 2070 mobile chip and while the egpu 2070 super was consistent in performance, the mobile 2070 started off about 10-15% slower but that soon went down to 50% slower, I suspect this may be due to the quality of the cooling on the Alienware.
I ran the same tests on an Asus predator laptop with a 2060 mobile card as well as a PC with the desktop version 2060 and both cards seemed to be equally slow by around 25-35% compared to the egpu 2070s. The Asus 2060 mobile card did seem to be consistent compared to the Alienware, the sales rep said it had better fans compared to the Alienware.
Where things got interesting was running the same apps on both the egpu and dedicated laptop cards with the egpu plugged in, where the rendering performance seemed to drop by around 20-30% when both cards were active. I also noticed a 10% drop in performace on the egpu when plugged into a six core i7 compared to an i9.
All in all, I'm debating whether to pony up the dough to get a laptop with a high end gpu like the quadro 5000 or even 6000 vs getting an i9 gaming laptop with the egpu and even the bonus of a mobile rtx for additional cuda work. The Asus proart quadro don't seem to be available right now while I could get a Razer Studio with the 16gb quadro 5000 for around the same price as the 16 inch macbook pro I'm currently borrowing, plus the egpu 2070 super.
If I get a pc system, I would still have to use my old macbook pro as I still have to use some apps in macOS plus I generally prefer the macOS environment. That would mean I would likely also get an AMD card to work with my older macbook pro to squeeze some more life out of it for the time being. That or just get a new macbook pro and be done with it all, but if I do then can anyone confirm how many egpus can the 16 inch macbook pro run at the same time as some of the apps I use can run mutliple gpus to speed up rendering.
Thanks for reading.
@late_to_the_party, In macOS you can add 4 supported eGPUs and the system will recognize them all. In Boot Camp, it's usually only 1 eGPU due to the poor resource management of Windows. If you prefer macOS, I think the 2019 16-in MacBook Pro is a great choice vs gaming laptop alternatives. At the end of the day, thermal performance is the x-factor. Combining a high power CPU with high power GPU in a thin and light laptop won't work out very well.
Regarding eGPU set up procedure in Boot Camp mode, it really varies from one Mac to another as you have experienced. The graphics card you choose as well as Windows 10 version can be contributing factors too. If you mainly use the laptop on a desk, the larger 16-in MBP is best. If mobility is a higher priority, the Ice Lake 13-in MacBook Pro is likely the better choice.