2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 480 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek Mini eGFX) + ma...
 
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2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 480 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek Mini eGFX) + macOS 10.14.5 & Win10 1903 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I recently joined a distribution and custom manufacturing company. The IT department is PC/Windows-only environment. Some of my responsibilities involve agency collaboration so I kindly requested a Mac. IT Manager agreed under the condition I would provive tech support to myself. We had a deal.

My new work laptop is a 2019 13" MacBook Pro. Within the first hour of unboxing, it was running Windows 10 1903. In the office I pair the MBP to a dual 24" monitor setup, Ethernet, Logitech mouse and keyboard through a Toshiba Thunderbolt 3 Dock. The Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 iGPU can power the internal display alongside two external monitors with ease. Power Delivery through the Toshiba TB3 dock is 45W which is plenty because the laptop is mostly docked while at work.

When more graphics performance is needed, I'd use the VisionTek mini eGFX. Paired with a mini-ITX RX 480 4GB, it makes a nice and quiet eGPU with remarkably small footprint. This enclosure also provides 45W charging as well as one Ethernet, and two USB ports. Therefore the Toshiba Thunderbolt 3 Dock and VisionTek mini eGFX can be used interchangeably with dual monitors, Ethernet, keyboard, and mouse via a single Thunderbolt 3 cable in both macOS and Windows.

 

System specs:

Mid 2019 13" MacBook Pro – i7-8569U/Iris Plus Graphics 655 iGPU/16GB RAM/512GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

VisionTek mini eGFX + RX 480 4GB ITX + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

It was plug-and-play in macOS Mojave. I recently learned it's possible to hot-plug AMD eGPU in Boot Camp using Windows 10 1903 version (tested on 2016 15" MacBook Pro and 2018 Mac mini). I'm glad to find this 2019 13" MacBook Pro works the same way! As soon as Windows and Apple Boot Camp software/drivers completed installation, I hot-plugged the VisionTek mini eGFX + RX 480 eGPU. The system froze for about two minutes while it detected new components and configured drivers.

Audio and Network icons in the Taskbar notification area shown as disabled during this process. Trackpad and keyboard are non-functional also. Once the Thunderbolt 3 connection was established, everything resumed as normal. Win10 1903 was actually able to install the graphics drivers automatically for the RX 480 eGPU. It's a much older version though, 17.1.1. I manually downloaded and upgraded to 19.7.1 without issues.

I also installed Thunderbolt Control Center to monitor Thunderbolt 3 detection in case the setup acts up. During boot up the Apple firmware doesn't wake the Thunderbolt 3 controller/port up unless there's connected devices. I think Win10 1903 has improved hot detection and handling of PCIe components.

Besides testing this VisionTek mini eGFX + RX 480, I also tested Gigabyte Gaming Box + RX Vega Nano, and Razer Core + RX 5700. They all worked plug-and-play in Boot Camp. As a matter of fact I can hot-plug and hot-unplug between these setups using any ports without BSOD. I left the MacBook Pro asleep overnight while connected to the eGPU and it resumed working fine in the morning.

 

Benchmarks:

I ran all synthetic benchmarks through internal display mode. The VisionTek mini eGFX + RX 480 is quietest. The MacBook Pro fan was actually louder. Fire Strike would crash the RX Vega Nano Gaming Box. I had to change Wattman mode to Auto Undervolt to make it run successfully. Razer Core + RX 5700 achieved the best gaming performance overall but less computing power than RX Vega 56.

Luxmark and GeekBench in macOS:

Iris Plus Graphics 655 VisionTek eGFX RX 480 Vega Nano Gaming Box

Unigine and 3DMark in Windows:

VisionTek eGFX RX 480 Vega Nano Gaming Box Razer Core RX 5700

 

Comments:

The CPU and RAM performance of this 2019 iteration is much better than the 2017 13" MacBook Pro I have. The 4th generation butterfly keyboard has better tactile feedback and the caps don't feel as loose. One thing did not improve is cooling. This design needs to change before system cooling can be more effective. Nevertheless this 2019 13" MacBook Pro is the most eGPU-friendly Mac I have used.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

It’s great to see how many improvements have been made in a relatively short period of time with little fanfare. 
The hoops that had to be jumped through in 2016 look like they don’t even exist anymore. 
Not sure if you saw my latest build post but going from a ti82 to ti83 chipped enclosure has made a massive difference to my boot process - I’m currently 100% success rate booting using rEFInd, with my core I was closer to 60%.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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kakahara
(@kakahara)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Just got in to try the Blackmagic out - at first it had the Microsoft generic drivers then I (re)installed the previously downloaded drivers on top of that and it worked fine hotswapping either upper or lower TB3 port - switching sides showed Microsoft generic drivers again. 

After a few reboots I'm confident the Blackmagic (on one side) is as robust as on MacOS. Trying to hotplug the Core X 5700XT 50AE still gives me error 12.
No amount of hotplugging/port disabling-reenabling in device manager works. Currently reinstalling Windows after 1st nuke of this evening.
What I did notice though was display brightness and power and presumably ports was being detected on the Blackmagic but never with the Core 5700XT50.

@itsage: Should I be installing Windows with the eGPU plugged in, or should I wait til Windows and Bootcamp assistant finishes everything?

Macbook Pro 13" i7 2019, Razer Core X, 5700XT 50th Anniversary Edition


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

When an eGPU starts throwing error codes in Windows, it's best to run DDU so that you can cleanly remove graphics drivers as well as display association. The system does remember an already installed eGPU so you likely encounter the same error until DDU cleans things up.

It's best not to connect any peripherals during Windows installation. You can hot-plug the AMD eGPU once both Windows and Boot Camp drivers finish installation. I recall it took about three minutes from when I hot-plugged the RX 480 eGPU until the system installed drivers.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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kakahara
(@kakahara)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

@itsage

Did you DDU during the above process?

Macbook Pro 13" i7 2019, Razer Core X, 5700XT 50th Anniversary Edition


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

No. The RX 480 eGPU worked first try. I proceeded to manually download and installed latest Radeon driver 19.7.1. If an eGPU encounters error 12/43 with this system in the future I will run DDU then redo driver installation.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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kakahara
(@kakahara)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

For the life of me I can't get past error 12. Only difference from you is I'm starting off with a 5700 instead of a 480. - Which means it can't auto install drivers.
Gonna nuke 1 more time tonight, wait until all the Windows drivers and auto updates do it's thing then install with the Radeon drivers tomorrow.

edit: gonna download May 2019 (1903) Windows 10 again first

This post was modified 12 months ago

Macbook Pro 13" i7 2019, Razer Core X, 5700XT 50th Anniversary Edition


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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

As I mentioned many times before, Error 12 is best avoided with a fresh installation of Windows/Bootcamp. The older the installation, the more you have to handle with it.

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680

 
2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP560X) [8th,6C,H] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 & macOS 10.15.4 [build link]  


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kakahara
(@kakahara)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Aye, I thought so too. Nuked Bootcamp/Windows once when I got the 5700XT 50AE last week and several times yesterday. I think I've nuked Windows 6 times now.
One thing that is odd is I have an Unknown Device still after all the Windows Updates.

Sometimes when I plug during Windows spinning dots or even just before it will not make the USB plugged in noise.

Hotplugging once Windows is fully loaded makes no difference either. One thing I haven't changed is I keep running it with Windows 10 Pro. Maybe I should try home?

Macbook Pro 13" i7 2019, Razer Core X, 5700XT 50th Anniversary Edition


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@kakahara I'm using Win10 Pro. I don't think they make a difference. If you continue experiencing error 12, you can always use @goalque's automate-eGPU EFI and boot into Windows with the RX 5700 XT connected.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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