2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + GTX 1070 @32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box ) + Win10 1903 [MackieWack]
System specs (2017 (Mid-Late) MacBook Pro Retina display with 16Gb RAM and 1 TB SSD. Iris 650. I think these Macbooks have a 7th Gen Intel chip)
Hardware pictures (Sorry, no pictures)
- Bootcamp install of Windows 10 Pro . Direct down load from Microsoft.
- Before trying to attach Gaming box, downloaded standard driver for GTX 1070 from Nvidia.
- Here’s where I did a bit of learning. After numerous BSOD’s and corrupting my Windows partition no less than three times, I finally have it figured out… thanks solely to this site!!
- Hot plugging in Bootcamp windows with Nvidia products doesn’t appear to be working. It does not work at all for me. So just don’t do it. If that frustrates you, my best suggestion is that you buy a Windows Laptop and stop reading this.
- Sleep does not work with Bootcamp windows and Nvidia products, for the most part. Maybe there is a way, I’ve read around and not found a rock solid way to avoid problems with this so in Windows, I have my MacBook set to never go to sleep when plugged into power. I do have the display sleep which is fine.
- Now, for starting up, this sounds a bit mystical [there is a more computer science-type explanation which I’m sure you can find…] but as soon as you have selected your Windows partition as your start up, you must be ready to plug in your Thunderbolt cable. As soon as I see the spinning dots, I plug in my Thunderbolt cable to either one of the USB-c Thunderbolt ports on the right side of my MacBook Pro. [Key point - The Thunderbolt cable CANNOT be plugged in when bootup begins nor can it be plugged in after the spinning dots have made more than one (1) to one and a half (1 1/2) revolutions. If either happens, the boot up process will hang or end in BSOD] Which Thunderbolt ports you ask? The answer is that Windows only "sees" two (2) ports and they are on the right side when the laptop is open to you, screen facing you. Do not use the left side, it doesn’t work. [once again you can find some more long winded explanations as to why but suffice to say, they don’t work, for Thunderbolt at least]. Also of note make sure nothing is plugged into the Gaming Box in the start up sequence. USB accessories plugged into the Gaming Box will break the boot process and result in an error. Once boot up is successful you can use the ports on the Gaming Box if you want though some have suggested that this may decrease performance. I’ve tried both and I don’t know that I’ve seen a significant issue but I didn’t perform any direct testing either.
- If you have plugged in your Thunderbolt cable in a timely fashion, Windows will continue to load [it will take longer than usual but will complete without error] and the Gaming Box will begin “purring”. If the Gaming Box fan turns on to high speed, something is wrong. Disconnect your Gaming Box immediately. Power cycle your box [if desired] by completely unplugging it for several minutes. Then plug the Gaming Box back to power. Have your Thunderbolt cable ready and reboot your Windows partition. Return to Step #3.
- Even if you have not successfully installed the Nvidia drivers, you should be able to install them now that successful boot has occurred.
- With the Nvidia drivers installed you should be able to see your Gaming box and GTX 1070 in that tool tray thing at the bottom right in Windows.
- Now, you may have discovered that you’ve lost audio. This happens to me pretty much every time now, but it is quite simply fixed. Right click on the “Windows” Start icon at the bottom left corner. Select ‘Device Manager’ from the list. When that window opens, look for 'Sound, Video and Game Controllers'. When you open this you should see the driver, 'Cirrus Logic'. Right click this and Disable it. The list will blink. Then select it again and Enable it this time. The list will blink at least twice and you will find that sound is restored. Make sure you do this before starting you gaming session as I notice that I’m sometimes unable to get it working when I’ve tried to do the disable/enable thing AFTER Steam has started. Do it before you do anything else and you should be just fine.
- And...Voila!! You now have a fully working eGPU. Remember to change your power management setup to not let the MacBook go to sleep when plugged into power. I do notice that sometimes just closing the lid of my MacBook doesn’t seem to break things unless I leave it for a long time. But if you force sleep, it will not work on waking. Either way, I find it easiest to avoid sleep while using the Gaming Box.
Couple of additional comments
-No it doesn't work in Mac OS in the current state of Mac OS. There are reasons. You can find them if you look.
-Now this is the frustrating thing to me. AMD GPU's are natively recognized in MacOS now but seen to have a lot of issues in Windows Boot camp while Nvidia works OK for me in Windows Boot camp but not in MacOS. Well lucky for me, I only want my Graphical enhancement in Windows so that I can play Destiny 2 in Steam. Thats all I wanted and I'm getting that just fine now, thank you eGPU.io, very much!
I ran some bench marks in 'Heaven' but I don't have the "Proof" to display for you. Suffice it to say that I am able to to get about 120 fps in 'Heaven' running nearly max setting in HD levels. Anti-aliasing was at 4x. I could not test external 4k performance as I don't have a screen for it. But on testing the built in MacBook Pro's Retina display, I was able to push about 80 fps in 'Heaven' at the Retina's max resolution.
Now in "real world" settings my numbers are more reduced. I play only Destiny 2 and letting the game pick my graphic settings seems to get me my best performance. On a "custom" bank of settings with HD resolution, I can keep 60 fps with ease. My limiting factor seems to be my internet connection speed and not my Gaming Box usually. A few weeks ago, I was on a trip and brought my Gaming Box and MacBook pro with me. Using my phone's wi-fi signal, I was able to get 40-50 fps at Retina resolution levels. It was quite playable. And generally if I experience lag or jutter, it is because of my internet connection.
Is it all a bit ticky-tacky? Yes, sure it is but I get to play my favorite game for very minimal fuss as long as I observe the rules noted above. Do I yearn for a bit more power…Of Course!! I mean, what kind of a dumb question is that!? Maybe enough to drive a 4k display @ 60 fps? You betcha! (Well maybe my 1070 can do that, feel free to give me that feed back. But who doesn’t want more power? I’d be interested if anyone has observed performance loss in the Gaming Box series versus using, say, a Razor enclosure.) I'm currently toying with the idea of getting a newer more powerful eGPU and screen to enable doing that. But for the purposes of having a setup that can game with ease, this Gaming Box thing works very well, grant it, as long as you follow the rules... Also, the Gaming Box size is so very nice. It's so tiny and no power brick to boot! I did get it stopped and searched at one airport security point. Even though the TSA person had no idea what it was, they seemed satisfied with my explanation and the whole experience didn't cost me any significant amount of time.
So, if you can find one of these cheap, like I did ($384 from Amazon Warehouse), I would say that it is definitely worth the small amount of hassle. Unless of course you'd just as soon quit on your MacBook, in which case just get a gaming laptop in your price range and forget about even the little bit of hassle.