2017 13" MacBook Pro TouchBar + GTX 1080Ti@32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 [TiM]  

 

TiM
 TiM
(@tim)
Active Member
Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 6
January 20, 2018 2:28 pm  

IMG 9939

In 2017, I went and lived in America to work at a company in San Francisco. I had a 2016 MacBook Pro 15" with Touch Bar on lease at the time, so I decided to buy an eGPU and see if I could play games on it in Boot Camp. While getting the external mode working was relatively easy, I could not get the loopback mode to work no matter what I tried.

In any case, when the lease expired, I handed that laptop back in and decided to buy my own. Since I really wanted loopback mode, and had read here that the 13" MacBooks were a lot easier to get that working, I went with one of those. Here's my experience with getting my eGPU working with that one.

System Specs 

13-inch, 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

  • CPU: i7-7567U (3.5Ghz Dual Core)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1536 MB
  • Storage: 1TB
  • Internal Display: 2560x1600 Retina display @ 60hz
  • External Display: Asus ROG PG279Q 27" 2560x1440 @ 144-165hz
     

eGPU hardware 

Installation steps 

First off. I made a huge sizing miscalculation when picking the FTW3 video card. While it does indeed fit inside the Razer Core on its own, once you plug in those two extra PCI-E power cables, there's not enough clearance for both the card and the cables (Check out the YouTube video below for a picture). Thankfully, I found an adapter on eBay that changed the angling of the cables to 90 degrees, and then it BARELY fit after that. (tl;dr: only use standard form factor video cards in the Razer Core).

Once the video card was installed into the Core.

  1. Boot into Windows. Plug in the Core into the back left hand Thunderbolt 3 port.
  2. Install the Razer drivers, and turn the laptop off.
  3. Unplug the Core.
  4. Boot the laptop again.
  5. The INSTANT the Windows loading animation appears, plug the Core back in (ie, hot-plug it mid boot).
  6. Check the graphics section of the Windows Device Manager to confirm the video card is present.
  7. Install GeForce Experience / nVidia Drivers.
  8. Start playing video games.

Loopback mode will be on by default. To play in external mode, simply plug a monitor into the 1080 Ti, and then ensure mirroring mode is set to off in the Windows Display Settings

Benchmarks 

CUDA-Z

CUDA Z2
CUDA Z1
CUDA Z

 Loopback Mode (ie, on the MacBook screen)

  • Unigine Valley Benchmark

    IMG 4775

  • 3DMark Sky Diver

    IMG 4789

  • 3DMark Time Spy

    IMG 6459

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (High preset, 2560x1600)

    IMG 6603

  • Overwatch (Ultra Preset, 2560x1600): 80-100FPS
  • Destiny 2 (High Preset, 2560x1600): 60-90FPS

 External Mode (ie, on the Asus 144hz Monitor)

  • Unigine Valley Benchmark 

    IMG 8640

  • 3DMark Sky Diver 

    IMG 8669

  • 3DMark Time Spy

    IMG 4221

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider

    IMG 7799

  • Overwatch (Ultra Preset, 2560x1440): 90-120FPS
  • Destiny 2 (High Preset, 2560x1440): 70-100FPS

Comments

The 13" MacBook Pro has a lot of compromises over the 15" model. All of the CPU models are dual core, and none of the Thunderbolt 3 ports have a direct lane to the CPU. The only advantage they have is that their lack of discrete GPU means that it's a lot easier to get the loopback mode of eGPUs working.

So I thought long and hard about whether taking a risk and going with a 13" MacBook over the 15" would be worth it. But after doing a serious number of benchmarks, even with those bottlenecking disadvantages, adding an eGPU to a 13" MacBook Pro, especially with a 1080 Ti definitely provides enough of a performance boost that it means you've got a guaranteed 60FPS on most games internally, and over 100FPS on most games externally.

That being said, I'm still not sure if the hot-plugging technique I'm using to boot the Razer Core is the best way, or if there is actually something I could be doing better. XD

One last thing. I've also made a YouTube video showing off most of the same stuff I've discussed here. Feel free to check it out! 🙂

Edited: 1 week  ago

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TooMuchYellow
(@toomuchyellow)
New Member
Joined:3 weeks  ago
Posts: 1
May 4, 2018 10:39 am  

Hello TiM, thank you for the precise documentation!
This could actually be the solution for my needs, I just bought the same MBP but with 256GB storage.
I won't buy an external monitor so the loop-back will be a lifesaver.
I mainly play Fortnite, may I ask you if you had some testing with it?


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