2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Cor...
 
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2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [deduwka]  

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deduwka
(@deduwka)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

Intro

I finally decided to do this weird thing (make a gaming PC out of my Mac laptop for some reason) and just wanted to share my experience.

Finale spoiler: it all went well with almost no extra steps, disabling things etc. Big thanks to the community for the info & guides ♥. Here's my build + some comments and questions at the end.

 

Specs

  • 2017 15" MacBook Pro (3,1 GHz Intel Core i7, Radeon Pro 560)
  • Windows 10 1903 build 18362.30 (the latest working with eGPU as for October 2019)
  • Razer Core X with MSI RTX 2070 SUPER Gaming X Trio
  • LG 29WK600 (2560x1080, 75 Hz)

 

Usage

Windows games using external monitor. GPU rendering.

 

Installation steps for my exact build

  • Make sure to disable Windows Update because it may break everything.
  • Put the card into Core X, attach power supply both to the card and to the enclosure, it's as simple as it sounds. I used stock TB3 cable.
  • Attach your external monitor to the card, power up the enclosure.
  • Boot into Windows in safe mode and run DDU to remove AMD dGPU drivers.
  • Restart in Windows and plug your eGPU thunderbolt 3 cable as soon as Windows logo appears while booting. The port I used was on the right side, the one closest to the lid.
  • I gave my system 2-5 minutes to understand what's going on, then downloaded and installed the nVidia driver. Then rebooted once more and voilà.

 

Benchmarks

Not sure why Unigine shows Windows 8 here.

 

Comments and questions

At first Windows didn't install any drivers automatically after it booted with eGPU connected. In the Device Manager there were 2 Basic Display Adapters, one with Error 31 ("cannot load the drivers"). I ran GeForce Experience but it failed to load ("unable to download recommended driver"). Then I went to my card's page on the MSI website and downloaded the driver directly from there. This solved the problem. 

I plugged my keyboard next to eGPU TB3 (neighbouring port on the right side) and it hanged my system (black screens, no response, reboot). Is it some kind of a limitation? 

Sometimes I mess up the timing of plugging in and the card starts on max spinning power without being recognized by the system. One time I managed to just plug it out and replug back in but normally it leads to a BSOD.

The MSI card turned out to be super quiet!

 

 

2017 15" MacBook Pro i7 16GB 1TB-SSD
Razer Core X + RTX 2070 Super

 
2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [build link]  


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deduwka
(@deduwka)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

I managed to get more pleasant figures in the benchmarks but all I did is updated video drivers and changed the cable from HDMI to DP, weird. 

 

My only 2 remaining questions are whether I should worry or think about CPU throttling and did I reach the maximum bandwidth possible?

2017 15" MacBook Pro i7 16GB 1TB-SSD
Razer Core X + RTX 2070 Super

 
2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [build link]  


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Clement Maxwell
(@clement_maxwell)
New Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

@deduwka

As for CPU throttling, you can use ThrottleStop to disable the automatic throttling once it reaches 85+C. But I highly doubt it because supposedly the eGPU setup helps to reduce heat by disabling dGPU (which produces heat when gaming, around 60C). Which means that the heatsink in the laptop is being used sorely by the CPU only. 

Btw, you can also monitor the total W being consumed by your CPU in ThrottleStop. This is useful because you can manually unlock the Wattage limit if the CPU suffers from throttling (and in turn, giving more performance). The TDP for your i7 is 45W so practically it should be using around 28-30/35w (more or less) on heavy load (example is taken from my personal laptop, i7 7700HQ).  

Imo that setup is a beast! Enjoy it!  

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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The_Livy
(@the_livy)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@clement_maxwell

out of experience, ThrottleStop or XTU usually don't work on Apple hardware in BootCamp. The only way to actively counter massive throttling on a MacBook with BootCamp is by disabling TurboBoost by setting Windows' maximum CPU performance to 99% instead of 100. However, since the newer machines have rather low base clocks compared to older ones, this might be a bit of a counterproductive move to begin with (should not be too much of a problem on your 7th gen though @deduwka).
Also MacBooks usually don't have very strict limits on the TDP. Some will even push the CPU beyond the PSU's performance and lead to a CPU only power consumption of 90+W (according to a Notebookcheck article I read about the i9 models yesterday). This is only a short burst though, but still, Apple's laptops can use a rather high amount of power for a long period, if they decide to ramp up the fans at all, if they don't they obviously won't go that high.

Posted by: @deduwka

I managed to get more pleasant figures in the benchmarks but all I did is updated video drivers and changed the cable from HDMI to DP, weird. 

The score on Valley is still rather low to be honest. I'm getting more out of my GTX 1070 with those settings (granted, it's running in a Desktop PC right now, but still)
Maybe you get thermal throttling on that GPU?

Valley GTX1070 ExtremeHD

How to undervolt your GPU

2017 13-inch MacBook Pro TB
2019 Intel NUC10i7FNK, 16GB RAM + PM981a 1TB
Aorus Gaming Box 1070 (EVGA GTX1060 3G) - silent mod #1
Aorus Gaming Box 1080 (Gigabyte GTX1070 ITX OC) - Custom Case solution (TBD)


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deduwka
(@deduwka)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

@clement_maxwell @the_livy

Thank you guys

I wanted to try undervolting in Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. But the parameter "Core voltage" is greyed out, probably because of a bootcamp configuration. But I don't really know where to look to understand if I need to bother. I launched the utility during RDR2 play, I'm attaching a screenshot with some data. The Throttling labels sometimes turn into "on" state.
Speaking of eGPU temperatures I checked it as well during the game but I just don't understand if throttling is happening or not. The temperature seems ok. I didn't tweak my card or whatsoever.

 

Comparing the score: maybe slightly bigger resolution (2560x1080) and bandwidth loss affected the score in my case. I just have no clue which things I could possibly tweak to improve the situation

2017 15" MacBook Pro i7 16GB 1TB-SSD
Razer Core X + RTX 2070 Super

 
2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [build link]  


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