2013 15" Dell Latitude E6540 HD8790M + [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.x) + macOS 10.13.5 & Win10 [nando4]  

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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1814
July 3, 2018 7:14 am  

This is the first non-Apple macOS eGPU build on eGPU.io plus it uses a cost-effective expresscard interface.

Secondhand Dell Latitude E6540 systems like used here are often still in remarkably good condition due to their business grade build. They come with three storage device options (mSATA SSD, 9.5mm SATA drive bay, optical drive or caddy). Some later revisions even have an eDP 72% gamut wide-viewing angle FHD LCD. There are 4xUSB 3.0 ports.

An exclusive finding here, for the first time since the defunct LucidLogix Virtu software, Windows 1803's Graphics Settings GPU selector works to provide an eGPU accelerated internal LCD mode when using an AMD card on an x1 interface [mPCIe, EC or M.2]. That feature is no longer the exclusive domain of Nvidia Optimus.

 

System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system)

~US$300 15" Dell Latitude E6540 or Dell Precision M2800

  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ, 4-cores/8-threads, up to 3.4Ghz CPU
  • 1920x1080 FHD LCD
  • HD4600 iGPU, AMD Radeon HD8790M (or FirePro W4170M in M2800) dGPU
  • 16GB DDR3-L RAM (2x8GB)

 

  • Windows 10 Spring Creators Edition (1803)
  • macOS 10.13.5
  • US$2 RTL8188 USB wifi for macOS since there are no Intel wifi drivers

 

eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable, any custom mods)

 

Hardware pictures (note: require 5+ posts for "attach files" button to appear. Or can link from say http://imgur.com )

 

 

Pre-config using the E6540 eGPU configurator


This step is necessary as both macOS and Windows will fail to start if an eGPU is attached with the factory UEFI configuration. Both OS will hang with a black screen. Technical folks can peruse the package's grub.cfg for more details of what is being done here.

1. Download>> Dell_E6540_UEFI_eGPU_configurator_by_nando4.zip

2. Extract the eGPU configurator to a FAT32-formatted USB stick. Or extract the contents & run the contained install_to_ESP to add it as a F12 bootitem

3. Reboot into the eGPU configurator (from USB stick or F12 bootitem) and choose option 1 or 2 depending on your preference

4. If require good battery life by way of reinstating the dGPU then reboot into eGPU configurator and choose option 3.

 

 

Installation steps - Windows 10 (1803)

 

1. Windows UEFI installation creates a 100MB EFI partition which macOS will flag as too small (<200MB) and halt installation. To correct that, manually create a 300MB EFI partition during the Win10 installation as follows:

- boot Windows installer USB
- at first screen press Shift+F10 to get command prompt
- type: diskpart
- type: list disk (to you're certain on the disk you're working with, in my case confirms disk 0)
- type: select disk 0
- type: clean (erases the drive - be sure you are erasing the correct drive!)
- type: convert gpt
- type: create partition efi size=300
- type: format quick fs=fat32 label="EFI"
- type: create partition msr size=128
- type: exit

2. Now you can continue with the Windows Installer.

3. Be sure to partition and NTFS format the space you intend will hold macOS

4. Reboot and install AMD eGPU drivers

5. To eGPU accelerate apps when run with just an internal LCD, set Win10's 1803 Graphics Settings GPU selector for your app to high performance as can be seen below.

6. Can sleep-resume the system with the eGPU working on resume. Can also hot-plug the expresscard to a working eGPU.

 


 

Installation steps - macOS 10.13.5

 

1. Download>> Dell_E6540_Clover_for_macOS.zip

2. Extracting this package to a FAT32-format USB stick. Or save the package contents to a directory and run the contained install_to_ESP to add it as a F12 bootitem. This E6540 Clover bootloader package has been tested as working for macOS 10.12, 10.12.6, 10.13.5 & 10.14b2. Note: Refer to osxlatitude.com if ever need help in recreating such a Clover package for this system.

3. Create a macOS installation USB stick (eg: find a macOS installation image and use rufus to write it to USB stick or have a Mac owner make you one). Insert the USB stick in a USB port.

4. Reboot Clover from USB stick or from F12 bootitem & select the Install macOS icon. Once loaded, use Disk Utility to erase the previously created in Windows macOS partition. This will format it in APFS or HFS format. Then continue through macOS installation.

5. Once completed, reboot via Clover (USB or F12 bootitem) into macOS.

6. Install these additional packages:

- VoodooHDA.kext using Kext Utility to have sound

- RTL8188 WLAN driver


Issues

- sleep-resume, unless done within a short duration, almost never works. The system black screens on resume. That's with or without the eGPU.
- if bootup with iGPU+eGPU configuration, using set-eGPU.sh to try to get apps to prefer using the eGPU has no effect.
- instead, need to use the eGPU configurator option 2 (eGPU as primary) with an external LCD to guarantee apps like FCPX are eGPU-accelerated.

   

 

Benchmarks (Include a CUDA-Z or AIDA64 bandwidth pic. Optional: Valley, 3dmark, noting if it's on internal/external LCD )

Windows 10 (1803)

RX [email protected]ext [email protected]int [email protected]
Unigine Heaven48.237.3
Unigine Valley46.036.8
Unigine Superposition57.19NA
3dmark-fs.gpu13417NA
3dmark11.gpu16760NA
3dmark062760818899
Tomb Raider 2013158.949.0**
Shadow of Mordor79.8344.24**
Dirt Rally39.5235.46
FFXV47163387

NA - ignores eGPU. Runs using the iGPU
** - appears max FPS is 50Hz, tied to the internal LCD refresh rate

 


macOS 10.13.5

RX [email protected]ext [email protected]
Unigine Heaven31.7
Unigine Valley36.9
Luxmark14029
Geekbench85001
MetalBench2415
FCPX BruceX**30s (90s when using CPU)
   

** Requires using Option 2 of the E6540 eGPU configurator to get acceleration

 

Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)

Here we demo a low cost, but capable, Hackintosh system. Was a bit of fun getting macOS going with and seeing first hand the lingo that goes with it.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1591
July 3, 2018 8:35 am  

To summarize this build in one word: EPIC.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
----
Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Command Line Swiss Knife
----
Multiple Build Guides


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bluetech
(@bluetech)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 21
November 4, 2018 4:15 pm  

Hi nando4,

Hackintosh & eGPU  -> That's AWESOME! 😍😍😍 

I think, by the time, i have to learn/understand Clover, to update my 
Dell 17" Laptop from Snow Leopard to High Sierra. macbook 8.3 specs.

Is it much more difficult to get a system "like yours" running at OS X with nVidia Hardware? (I know, have to change my mind about AMD-Graphic-Cards)
For example: i7-2xxxQM / K4000M -> eGPU= GTX970

Best regards,
Bluetech

X58/P67/X79-Overclocker and Mac-Newbie(i7mini2018)
...saveing $ for my first [email protected]


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rhyker2u
(@rhyker2u)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 7
November 17, 2018 6:22 pm  

Has been on my wishlist to do something like this for a year. So thanks for putting this eGPU guide together nando4.

Additional tip. Replace the ODD (CD/DVD RW) with a HDD caddy and with 2x SSD in RAID0 (software RAID through Disk Utility prior to 1st time installation) gives these Blackmagic results in 10.13.x High Sierra with HFS+J filesystem on Samsung EVO 850s:

Opposed to only 1x Samsung 500GB EvO 850 SSD with APFS:

Bare in mind that software RAID (or Fusion) is currently only supported on HFS+J filesystem and not APFS. Thats not a hackintosh, but a generic Apple MacOSX limitation. Which poses some lovely challenges at upgrading to minor & major releases of MacOS. Since 10.13.4 and thus 10.14.x Mojave too, Apple expects file systems to be APFS. On a single drive thats not a problem as conversion to APFS is fully automatic. But ... 🙁 a very long troubleshoot story very short: in case of RAID0 the non-updated MacOS first has to be cloned with a free CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner app) to a single external USB3 APFS formatted HDD/SSD (and make sure the EFI partition is too), reboot computer and boot with the USB3,  run the MacOS update from the USB3 drive, and after updating clone it back to the RAID HFS+J. Bit of hassle, but worth it performance wise 🙂 

MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) @ HP EliteBook 2570p laptop: i5-3320m, 2x8=16GB RAM, Samsung 2x500GB Samsung EVO 860 RAID0 SSD, HD4000 (soon eGPU) with AOC 28" U2879VF 4K


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 830
November 17, 2018 10:15 pm  

This is pretty damn brilliant. BTW, the RX580 is sub-200$ nowdays, so the cost you list is higher than it needs to be.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1591
November 18, 2018 1:48 am  

@nando4 I recall set-eGPU never worked for you on this build. Have you tried updating to Mojave and trying the Prefer eGPU option that is built-in?

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
----
Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Command Line Swiss Knife
----
Multiple Build Guides


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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1814
November 18, 2018 3:51 am  

@mac_editor, Mojave also did not see say FCPX accelerated when set to prefer eGPU option. Other apps like Unigine continue to be accelerated so long as they are launched off an eGPU-attached LCD.

You'll notice in Display Preferences that Thunderbolt eGPUs appear as external GPU. In this system they appear simply as a GPU.  Apple are making a distinction and giving eGPUs more capability.

Though for this system can use the EFI eGPU configurator to set eGPU as the primary adapter which will then see FCPX acceleration activated. Only dilemma there is an external LCD is required which a true Mac TB eGPU system using the prefer eGPU option doesn't require.

@yukikaze, it is a nice build. However, the price of 6th/7th gen Latitudes and Precisions is tumbling (E5570/5580/3510/3520). The beauty with those is they can have a M.2 + 2.5" SATA drive arrangement. The M.2 slot can host a very potent eGPU that surpasses TB3 in performance at a surprisingly low budget as @jkey shows us. Some even come with TB3 ports though it's those lacking TB3 that tend to be the bargain pick on ebay.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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