Description + System specs
This system to me is a dock for my laptop. While I do have a dedicated desktop, more often than not I find myself relying on my laptop for daily activities, so I decided to build something around my laptop. The idea is just to have a single cable to dock any laptop with TB3 to this dock, automatically connecting a keyboard, a mouse, a microphone and a speaker solution to it. I have not measured its performance yet, as I didn't see the value of it at the time, but I recognize now that perhaps it may not be a bad idea to do so, to help people in this forum. I've listed the specs before, trying to illustrate how these are connected and setup:
- 2017 15" Macbook Pro (RP560):
- Windows 10 1809 + macOS 10.14.3
- Intel Core i7-7820HQ @ 2.90GHz
- 16 GB RAM DDR3 Dual Channel
- Radeon Pro 560 w/ 4GB GDDR5
- 1TB SSD
- Mantiz Venus MZ-02
The eGPU is tucked in a corner (with proper ventilation) but it's out of the way and cannot be seen. The pictures below show where I usually dock my laptop and how I connect it to the desk (single cable solution):
First of all I need to highlight that I don't use the built-in panel with my setup (from the pictures you could tell this) and therefore I do not disable the dGPU RP560 or any other fancy trick via UEFI, most of the stuff is pretty straightforward in this case:
- Updated macOS to the latest version possible/available (because why not)
- Installed Windows 10 1709 through the Boot Camp assistant, BUT interrupted the Boot Camp drivers installation (this is because of 1709 not wanting to update with the Boot Camp drivers installed)
- Updated Windows 10 to 1809
- Installed all of the Boot Camp drivers
- Downloaded the latest drivers from BootCampDrivers.com: Custom drivers to enable most of Radeon features in RP dGPUs
- Rebooted to Safe Mode
- Used the Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) provided with the drivers from BootCampDrivers.com
- Rebooted the MBP
- Installed the BCD.com drivers and then shutting down the MBP
- Connected the eGPU while MBP is OFF
- Turned the MBP ON
- Optional: eGPU should be detected and the external displays should have an image now, however, the internal panel may go off sometimes. If the desktop or the login prompt is not displayed on the external displays, force shut down the computer. The drivers should've been deployed correctly at this point.
- If #12 had to occur, turn ON the MBP again, and enjoy!
I will revisit this at a later date just to provide more info.
Edit: Added GPU-Z Result, The setup is running in PCIe x4
There are definitively numerous caveats with this setup, which are annoying but do not bother me that much that I can use this normally:
- On Windows, I have to shut down the laptop every single time I connect/disconnect the eGPU, as if you try to hotplug, your dGPU will display a black image, and you won't be able to get it back. In theory with a DisplayLink adapter, you should be able to get access to a desktop image in this case, and recover your dGPU display by disconnecting physically the eGPU, and disabling/enabling the dGPU through the Device Manager. The added benefit of this is that you will never get a black screen if you try to hotplug your eGPU on the same port.
- On Windows, you have to be careful on which port you connect the eGPU, as it will treat connections from different ports as if they were new devices, and the whole sleuth of problems mentioned throughout this post may reappear.
- On Windows, every driver update requires to reboot to Safe Mode, Uninstall the existing drivers with DDU, and then restarting + reinstalling the drivers. Bit of a hassle.
- On macOS, I have no problems, everything works as intended
- One more caveat, I always have the devices on when connected, no sleep/wake have been tested so far!