Mid 2015 15" MacBook Pro M370X Bootcamp Cold Boot EGPU Issue?
I recently just got a PowerColor GAMING STATION (similar to the Mantiz Venus) and a GTX 1060 to play windows mixed reality VR games. I'm using the apple TB3->TB2 adapter. Installation was pretty smooth for bootcamp Windows 10 (1809). I hotplugged the egpu right after I selected windows on the boot menu and installed the latest drivers using Geforce Experience. I did not use DDU or uninstall any of the the AMD M370X dgpu drivers. I am running macOS Mojave (10.14.1).
After reading all the build guides, my issue is most people after installing drivers are able to run the egpu from cold boot with an external monitor connected to the egpu. The only way to get the egpu working for me is by hotplugging as soon as I see the windows logo after selection from the boot menu like I did to install the drivers. The issue with this is it isn't very reliable and plugging in the egpu has to be timed just right in order for windows to detect it.
When I have the egpu already plugged in with the external monitor connected to the egpu and cold boot up, I get a black screen on the internal display and my monitor not recognizing any input. Is this because I needed to uninstall the bootcamp dgpu drivers? I would prefer to not uninstall them. How do you get the boot menu to select windows to show up using the egpu and external display?
Bonus question: Is it possible to have the internal display run using the egpu? (think I read somewhere about a headless hdmi plug)
This is copied from a question I asked on r/egpu: https://www.reddit.com/r/eGPU/comments/a3y0pp/mid_2015_15_macbook_pro_m370x_bootcamp_cold_boot/
I tried automate-egpu efi but still no luck with seeing the os selection menu from a cold boot with the egpu connected to an external display.
I am not familiar with the Power Color Gaming Station, so can't really tell why you are having the inconsistencies in regards to cold booting and the eGPU not been recognized or the black screen when the eGPU enclosure has been connected.
That been said I can say for certain that you won't be able to get the Apple bootloader Boot Menu to show up on the external display given that the bootloader has no clue that there is a GPU across the TB2 interface. The bootloader only scans for available boot devices across the TB interface.
I have tested eGPU setups across multiple MacBook's (17" 2011 MBP, 13" 2014MBA, 15" 2014MBP, 15" 2017MBP) and all of them will boot properly in Windows 10 with the appropriate GPU installed (Nvidia for some AMD for others), even on systems that boot properly the display that is connected to the eGPU enclosure will not display the Apple bootloader Boot Menu, because of the reason that I pointed out previously. All of these setups used a Sonnet Breakaway Box which is a different eGPU enclosure than yours.
Given the different eGPU enclosures that are in the market these days it's not easy to give advice on why your setup is not working properly, at a minimum providing some information from HWinfo64 might help in determining how Windows 10 is recognizing the peripherals that are connected across the TB2 connection when it is working.
You could try removing the GPU card from the Power Color Gaming station and see if your laptop will even boot without the black screen, given that your Power Color Gaming station has USB ports as well as an Ethernet port they might be causing conflicts in regards to PCI configuration across the TB bus.
It could also be related to the firmware that is running on the Power Color Gaming Station, or it could be the hardware configuration that is in the Power Color Gaming Station is not compatible with the way that the Apple bootloader is scanning devices across the TB bus. It might be more prudent to initially ask for help from the folks at Power Color and see if they can assist you.
As a general rule I would not recommend using unproven eGPU enclosures on Apple MBP given how finicky the Apple bootloader firmware has proven to be.
Thanks for the reply. @egpurunner
It's not that the PowerColor Gaming Station isn't working entirely. I am able to get windows bootcamp working with the external display through the egpu if I hotplug it during the windows loading screen. It's only cold booting that won't work. I think the PowerColor Gaming Station is almost identical to the Mantiz Venus from what I hear granted I agree PowerColor is untested hardware compared to the more popular egpu enclosures.
Right now when I cold boot with the egpu already plugged in, both the external display connected to the egpu and the internal display are black. I'm just trying to figure out how to cold boot with the egpu plugged in and have the internal display show the apple bootloader menu so I can at least select windows.
My question for you is for your builds that don't show the apple bootloader boot menu on the display connected to the egpu, how do you select windows as the OS from the bootloader if you can't see it? Is it displayed on the macbook internal display? What gpu is driving the apple bootloader menu (dgpu, igpu)?
On my various MacBook setups with eGPU's, the internal display were driven by the internal GPU on the laptop. I am able to access the bootloader menu with the Sonnet Breakaway Box with either Nvidia or AMD cards installed and the eGPU powered on and the TB cable connected.
If you can't get the bootloader to display on the laptop screen when the eGPU enclosure is plugged in usually indicates that there could be conflicts that are caused by devices on the PCI/PCIe buses in the eGPU enclosure or it could be the TB controller on the eGPU enclosure itself that is causing a problem with the bootloader and making it hang and not display anything (it could be a HW or a SW issue or both).
There are many possible reasons why the bootloader might hang, issues such as unexpected/spurrious IRQ's (interrupt requests), can cause infinite loops in SW/FW if the handler is not in place and a timeout timer has not been configured in the SW/FW/HW, a misconfigured device or rogue ePCI/PCI device might cause the AHCI to hang. there are too many possibilities to list.
Hot plugging in the eGPU midway might work, but it is too random to be considered a stable system, usually no long term damage happens, but there is nothing that guarantees that internal buses are not been driven simultaneously by multiple devices for a long time causing damage to the transmitters or receivers of the various interfaces between the various chips inside the laptop before a timeout happens and the laptop reboots.