2011 17" MacBook Pro (HD6770M) [2nd,4C,Q] + RX 570 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + ...
 
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2011 17" MacBook Pro (HD6770M) [2nd,4C,Q] + RX 570 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [hoot_live]  

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Hoot Live
(@hoot_live)
New Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

 

Today I will present an unusual build. After 3 days, many attempts, a lot of patience and @nando4 support, I finally managed to perform a stable setup, good enough for my goal of playing some games on this macbook, having a far more superior performance than the dGPU.

 

System specs 

  •  2011 17" Macbook Pro, i7 2760QM CPU @2.4GHz. 
  •  8GB RAM DDR3 (2x4)
  •  iGPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000
  •  dGPU: AMD HD6770M 1GB
  •  Expresscard34 slot
  •  Win 10 Pro (build 19041.450) 
  •  External Monitor (720p) 

eGPU Hardware

 

Hardware pictures 

 

Installation steps 

The installation is pretty much straight forward, so first take note on some points below:

 

  • 15" & 17" MBPs from 2011 have Expresscard34 slot, so it will not be necessary to open and remove the WIFI or any other internal connection. Take care when inserting the expresscard, make sure it is in the correct position so as not to damage the slot or the card.
  • Make sure the external PSU connections with EXP GDC are right, consider using a good quality PSU in order to avoid problems.

 

You can use this build in two ways:

 

dGPU + eGPU (Best Performance)

  1.   Boot into Setup 1.35 and hotplug your eGPU via expresscard. (press f5 to refresh)
  2.   Go on PCIe ports > Gen2 Port > Select your eGPU > Yes
  3.   Run Chainloader and Run Test
  4.   Select Windows.

 

  • Pros: Now you have gen2 link speed and the eGPU performance is way better, this is the best config to play games.

 

  • Cons: With the dGPU enabled The CPU will be 15-20 °C hotter under heavy load/turbo mode 

 

eGPU only  (optional) *possible error43 fixer*

  1. Boot into Setup 1.35 with the eGPU connected 
  2. Disable dGPU on the “Video Cards” section.
  3. Run Chainloader and Run Test
  4. Select Windows.

 

  • Pros: By disabling the dGPU, the CPU will be 15-20 °C cooler under heavy load/turbo mode.

 

  • Cons: The gen2 link speed can’t be activated in the Setup 1.35 if you boot on the external display, so your setup will only work on PCI 1x 1.1. There is a considerable performance loss in games, but still far better than the dGPU. The Mac firmware sets the HD67xx as the boot GPU rather than the iGPU when boot Windows/DOS so the dGPU cannot be disabled if you boot on internal display.

 

You may face issues that I'll address below: 

 

ERROR 12: 

I had no problem with error 12, so I believe that if you have my configuration, you shouldn't worry about it. It is not necessary to change any parameters in the PCI Compaction section, so the setup 1.35 is used to enable gen2 speed link or disable/enable the dGPU.

 

ERROR 43: 

At first I had error 43. I couldn't install the AMD drivers needed to make the card work properly. Initially I thought it was a PSU delay problem, which can affect the GPU clock so I tried to correct it using the PTD switch in 7 and 15s but I didn't get any results, but that’s something to note if you are having similar issues.

 

After several attempts, I managed to make the eGPU work correctly by doing the following:

 

  1. Turn off the laptop
  2. Boot on Setup 1.35 using the external display (eGPU Connected)
  3. On Setup 1.35 > Video Cards > Disable dGPU
  4. On Setup 1.35 > Chainloader > Test Run
  5. Boot on windows and run DDU (its best to be on safe mode, but not necessary in my case)
  6. On DDU, click Clean and Restart.
  7. Again, Boot on Setup 1.35 using the external display (eGPU Connected)
  8. On Setup 1.35 > Video Cards > Disable dGPU
  9. On Setup 1.35 > Chainloader > Test Run
  10. Boot on windows and run the latest AMD driver for your card.

 

  • For some reason, I managed to install it on the 3rd try, the 1st and 2nd try the installer pointed some sort of problem on the graphic card. If the installation fails, go back to step 1 and try again.

 

  • When the installation is successful, your external screen will go black for like 5-10 seconds and the GPU fans will stop working. That’s a good sign! After that the screen will return on and you can finally see the correct information about the card on GPU-Z and no more error 43!

 

  • This is the only way I managed to fix my problem, now the eGPU is working fine.

 

You can check further info about error 12/43 HERE

 

Benchmarks

 

Unigine Heaven 4.0 - External Display @ 720P

 

dGPU - HD6770M (for comparison)      [basic]
eGPU - RX 570 1x 1,1           [Extreme] eGPU - RX 570 1x 2.0           [Extreme]

 

Comments

I’m very happy so far, I had a RX570 laying around and thought this would be a fun project to do. 

 

Now I can play my favorite games at 60+ fps on this setup. 

 

I’m not looking into full hd gaming but I think the setup can perform quite well on 1080p, I’ll do more tests in the future.

 

The next step is to build an enclosure for the eGPU/PSU!

2011 17" MacBook Pro (HD6770M) [2nd,4C,Q] + RX 570 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [build link]  

nando4 and itsage liked
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Dizzy-Dinner-4385
(@dizzy-dinner-4385)
New Member
Joined: 2 months ago
 

@hoot_live, Hi! I came across your build here and was wondering if it would be as straightforward if I used the mPCIe slot instead of ExpressCard? I have a 2011 15" Macbook Pro and it doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, and buying a Thunderbolt enclosure that costs nearly as much as the laptop I'll use it on and more than the GPU I'll use is just putting the cart before the horse. Thanks!!

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Hoot Live
(@hoot_live)
New Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

Hello @dizzy-dinner-4385

 

Yeah, It should be as straightforward with the mPCIe connection. 

You just need the EXP GDC version with the mPCIe input cable and you are good to go.

Does your MacBook have an extra mPCIe slot?


 

 

2011 17" MacBook Pro (HD6770M) [2nd,4C,Q] + RX 570 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [build link]  

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Dizzy-Dinner-4385
(@dizzy-dinner-4385)
New Member
Joined: 2 months ago
 

Hi! @hoot_live, thanks for the quick reply! No it does not have an extra mPCIe slot, I plan on sacrificing the wifi card and just using ethernet or a dongle if need be. Do you have any other recommendations for the GPU? I'm aiming for an RX 560/570/580, but GTX 750 TIs are the easiest to acquire, relatively-cheap-just barely not obsolete cards available where I live.

Thank you so much!

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Hoot Live
(@hoot_live)
New Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

@dizzy-dinner-4385, As far as performance, it deppends. You won't be able to use gpu's full potential due to lanes/gen speed. (obviously)

 

That being said, considering the limitations you have using a mPCIe connection, you should aim for something not weak but also not very powerful. 

 

In my case, the 570 did a pretty good job, and I confirm a huge improvement using this setup. 

 

I wouldn't go for a 750ti, this card is too weak compared to RX's and considering the performance loss you get using mPCI, the improvements you get using it are not worth it.

 

RX 5XX all day! LoL The 580 is a little overkill (you can consider it for a future pc build) and the 570 is probably the sweetspot if you want to stick w/ the eGPU setup.

 

Cheers!

 

2011 17" MacBook Pro (HD6770M) [2nd,4C,Q] + RX 570 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [build link]  

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