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2013 13" MacBook Pro [4th,2C,U] + RX 590 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS ...
 

2013 13" MacBook Pro [4th,2C,U] + RX 590 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [vonthing] // XFX GPU Sapphire BIOS modded  

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vonthing
(@vonthing)
Active Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

System specs

MacBook Pro  (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013)

2.4 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5

4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

Radeon RX 590 8 GB

Crucial 1TB SSD NVMExpress @ x4 link width

 

eGPU hardware

XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ (1580 MHz GPU clock, 2000 MHz Memory clock)

Razer Core X  

Apple TB3 to TB2  Adapter

Apple TB2 Cable

 

Hardware pictures

Here is the card: https://imgur.com/a/mTlrsN0

 

Installation steps

This one was not so easy. Apparently XFX cards are not supported in OS X and this one was no exception (kernel panics galore) After searching a bit on the internet I found out that I could flash a Sapphire RX 590 BIOS on the card to make it work. 

Depending on what memory chips your XFX card has, Sapphire has 2 BIOS files that'll match and run the card fine but they're 1545 MHZ base clocks instead of the 1580 MHz, so it's a bit safer, you can flash these BIOS files and run right away; but what I did was I dumped the original BIOS of my card, then I edited the GPU clock values/power levels in the BIOS to match the original tuning of my card. Anyway here's the tools you're gonna need:

First of all you need to get the card running in a Windows environment, either desktop PC or laptop eGPU is fine, I popped the card into my Beast 8.5 on my PC laptop and did everything that way.

Then find out what kind of memory chips the card revision you have is using (GPU-Z in Windows will tell you this) https://www.techpowerup.com/download/techpowerup-gpu-z/

You'll need AMD/ATI ATIFlash tool to (1) dump your card's BIOS and (2) flash the new BIOS (either stock Sapphire or modded) https://www.techpowerup.com/download/ati-atiflash/

And lastly you'll need a Sapphire RX 590 BIOS t0 flash on your card. After finding out what memory chip you have, download the appropriate one:

For Micron memory: https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/207300/sapphire-rx590-8192-181018-1

For Hynix memory: https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/207043/sapphire-rx590-8192-181113-2

First use the ATI flash tool GUI (right click - run as administrator) to make a copy of your original XFX BIOS. This card has dual BIOS (there's a physical switch on the card that lets you choose which BIOS) so if you screw one up, you can flick the switch, boot with the other BIOS, then flick the switch back and reflash the first BIOS that you corrupted.

Then this part is totally optional: If you want to do what I did and up the clocks to the card's rated 1580 MHz, download Polaris BIOS editor:  https://github.com/IndeedMiners/PBE-Polaris-Bios-Editor-1.7.2/releases

Then open both your original BIOS and the matching Sapphire BIOS with the Polaris editor. 

Here's a screenshot of the original XFX BIOS: https://imgur.com/a/Ca5xsV0 (Note the timings column has 2 sets of entries because this BIOS has both Micron and Hynix memory timings and picks the right one depending on what's on the card)

Here's a screenshot of the original Sapphire BIOS (I used the one for Micron memory) https://imgur.com/a/lBNr3Mq

And here's a screenshot of what to mod: https://imgur.com/a/t666FS4 Basically change the clock frequencies to match your original BIOS (or you can go even higher if you so desire). The 65xxx numbers are "power levels" each of them represent a voltage level with 65288 being the highest voltage. Then also edit the fan curves and power values to match the original card, then save your modded BIOS with a different name and you're ready to flash. Alternatively I'm attaching linking (since the forum won't allow .rom attachments) the modded BIOS I did for the Micron memory chip to this post, I edited exactly what's shown in these pictures but still use it at your own risk!  https://mega.nz/#!Keo3TSJJ!uU2LNlCPYbc2d2DLzocwsBXIK4tRTfG1fNfzTWrkNYc  

Then to flash the BIOS, you can't use the GUI tool because it'll refuse to flash due to different manufacturers. Open a command prompt as Administrator (hit the Start button type "cmd" and press Ctrl+Shift+Return) and type the following to flash the BIOS on the card:

amdvbflash -f -p 0 \path\to\your\bios.rom

Everything goes well and congratulations, you now have a Sapphire BIOS modded XFX RX 590 that you can use in your Mac 🙂

The rest is simple just pop the card in your Thunderbolt enclosure and away you go.

Note: Since I use a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, I have to also install purge-wrangler (available here above under the "Software" menu) If you're using a TB1 or TB2 port, first reboot to recovery, disable System Integrity Protection by typing

csrutil disable

into a shell, then reboot back and install purge-wrangler according to the instructions. 

Since the card has dual BIOS, it's easy to go back to the original BIOS, just flick the BIOS selector switch on the card. If you brick one BIOS, you can still boot from the second BIOS, flick the switch back once it's done booting, and flash your backup back to the BIOS slot you just bricked.

Benchmarks

Scored 1170 in Furmark (1080p, windowed, 8x MSAA) : https://imgur.com/a/9tvCqQl

You can also clearly see that the card goes up to the full 1580 MHz programmed in the BIOS: https://imgur.com/a/wN73F5o

Comments

I got this card new for $150 with free shipping on Aliexpress. Absolute performer at this price!

I did the BIOS mod mostly for kicks, I totally would have just flashed the matching Sapphire BIOS and called it a day, but it's not that hard so why not.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions... 

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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