2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP560X) [8th,6C,H] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 & Win10
- Apple MacBook Pro 15" (2018) running macOS Catalina 10.15.5 / Bootcamp Windows 10 version 1903 build 18362.295 (KB4512508)
- Intel Core i7-8850H 2.6 GHz with up to 4.3 GHz Turbo Boost (6C/12T)
- Radeon Pro 560X
- 16 GB RAM (2666 MHz)
- 512 GB SSD (M2)
- Razer Core X
- ASUS ROG STRIX Radeon RX 5700 XT OC edition 8GB GDDR6
- Acer XV272U (external display connected to eGPU enclosure via HDMI-HDMI cable)
- TB3 cable included by Razer
- My first step was to boot into macOS recovery and switch the settings available at Startup Secuirty Utility, to No Security and Allow Booting from external media. I have read somewhere that this is recommended for machines with T2 chip, such as mine. I am not sure if this is necessary, but I did that.
- I started with the installation to my internal SSD partition via Bootcamp assistant (macOS Catalina 10.15.5) with iso for Windows 10 version 1903 build 18362.30
- Set-up windows and let bootcamp assistant to install all drivers from Apple.
- Updated to version 1903 build 18362.295
- Disabled automatic updates via Group Policies and via Services Manager
- Restarted and ran DDU (boot in Safe Mode). For this I followed the guidelines of the owner of bootcampdrivers.com, in summary:
- Running for the first time I checked all options related to AMD GPU (there are 4)
- Check option on the bottom to disable future windows updates
- Select, GPU, AMD and press Clean and do not restart. Repeat this step 2 more times, ultimately press Clean and restart.
- Connected eGPU enclosure via TB3 cable during restart and installed latest Adrenaline from bootcampdrivers.com (Apr 2020 – highest fps option). I checked Reset to Factory Settings option during the installation. Computer restarts during the process.
- This was it for me! After the 1st restart during the Adrenaline installation my external display already turned-on and was mirroring my MacBook display. I had no issues with error #12 or anything else that was reported by other users (I guess I was lucky).
- I have currently both dGPU and eGPU active under Devices Manager. I did not try to disable my dGPU as it doesn’t bother me. When I monitored usage, it sits at 0% utilization and my eGPU is used for all the computing.
- I had minor issues with fonts scaling after the first restart. The font size of desktop icons, window titles, menu and tiles were too large and none of the display or text size settings was affecting it. This could be caused by either specific windows build, drivers or my setup configuration. Anyway, I didn’t want to reinstall everything again to solve it, instead I downloaded ChangeSize software and changed the fonts using it. It solved my problem perfectly.
- Since I don’t have any EFI solution I do not get any output to the external display (via eGPU) while I am switching between macOS and Bootcamp. Instead, I am using restart computer in target disk mode. I don’t see the windows logo start-up, but the first thing the dialog to insert password. This is good enough for me. When switching from Bootcamp to macOS, I click to the bootcamp icon in the tray and choose, restart in macOS (instead of doing normal restart and holding alt). After this step I have black screen, but by memory I know I just need to press enter, write my password to log to macOS and press enter again (although you cannot see what you are doing the system is working). After some time, my display turns on and I am logged to macOS. This option is good enough for me.
- There seems to be an issue when monitor turns off because of inactivity, I wasn’t able to wake the monitor after that (I am not talking about waking it up from sleep). Anyway, I turned off the timer to prevent this, as this problem doesn’t bother me.
- It seems all the features off Adrenaline works, although I did not check yet everything.
- I did extensive testing and monitoring of my new config and I was amazed by the performance. Significantly better GPU performance was what I expected. I also expected my CPU to be better during gaming since the internal cooling in MacBook now doesn’t have to handle all the heat from dGPU. But I didn’t expect such a CPU boost. With MacBook fans locked to maximum by software, my benchmark from 5 minutes of CS:GO gameplay I did before, showed my CPU sits with an average of 2.6 GHz across all 6 cores. With all the heat removed from dGPU it now constantly boosts between 4 - 4.1 GHz at the same conditions across all cores. Room temperature was around 22 C. I feel like this setup is now very close to desktop rig performance.
- I have monitored the CPU, GPU and FPS to get more insights about the behavior, here are some highlights: CPU now boosts to over 4 GHz across all cores with no time limit. Heat management inside the MacBook chassis is very good. Average temperatures of CPU package are around: 90 C while gaming and the GPU ran at an average of 1,882 MHz. The GPU PECI temperatures averaged at 66 C.
- Geekbench 5 (OpenCL compute test): 64,664
- Unigine Heaven 4 (1680x1050, Medium, 8x AA): 171 FPS / 4,294 Score
- CS:GO (2560x1440, Ultra, 8x AA): I have averaged at around 160 FPS with 1% low of 104 FPS. The game feels very smooth for competitive gaming. Interestingly I had just a small FPS boost with low settings at 1080p. Overall, I am very happy with the performance here, for my level 160 FPS is just fine;
- Mafia 3 Definitive Edition (2560x1440, Ultra, 8x AA): Here I averaged at around 55 FPS. The FPS windows is from around 48-75, which is perfect for game of this kind as it works well with the Freesync range of monitor. The game felt very smooth, there were no frame drops, very happy with the performance here, as well.
Although, eGPU offers real advantages be prepared for hassle (if you want to use it with Bootcamp) before you spend your money. While it’s plug and play under macOS, it definitely isn’t under Bootcamp. I am not geek neither am I very skilled with Windows interface, but it took me around 8 hours to research this topic and try different things until I came with the working configuration. And after reading the forums I believe I was quite lucky with my setup as I did not have any real hassle. The performance jump is significant and especially Windows under Bootcamp tends to squeeze from it more than macOS. CPU performance during gaming increased significantly, as well. The difference between dGPU setup under macOS and eGPU under Bootcamp is 420% performance increase based on the result from Unigine Heaven 4. Also choose graphics card wisely. I would recommend choosing one of the AMD cards natively supported by macOS, such as I did. Although, I read Nvidia is much easier to setup for Bootcamp, you will most likely not be able to use it under macOS. I am not sure how big role does eGPU enclosure play, but I am very happy with my Razer Core X . It is listed as supported on macOS website, the installation was easy, and the enclosure is very sturdy. I chose this instead of Chroma version since the price difference is significant, and I don’t want to use any peripherals via eGPU anyway (I prefer to have them connected directly to MacBook). It has to be noted that the whole setup is relatively noisy during the load and I will probably find solution to put it under the desk to isolate it a bit. With all these words I wish you a good luck and hopefully you will not encounter many issues!