- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
- CPU: Intel i7-8569U
- GPU(s): Intel Iris Plus 655
- OS: macOS (10.14.6) + Windows 10 [18362.295]
This is my first formal eGPU build with a 13-inch MacBook Pro. This machine is from work and has been a solid companion since I got it. Due to COVID-19, work-from-home has become the norm for many. So when time came to swap my personal laptop on the desk with this, it was rather pleasing to see everything on my desk come to life after plugging in just one cable from the eGPU to this laptop. The primary reason for sharing this build is to add another data point, plus highlight what it took to set it up (spoiler: not much).
Before moving forward, a few things of note. As this is a work system, the following were key requirements for me:
- System integrity protection must remain enabled.
- T2 chip boot security must be maximum.
- EFI patching prohibited.
So this setup will be of interest to those looking to create a 'clean' setup.
The installation process is usually straightforward for this Mac.
macOS Mojave is currently the latest internal supported version at work, so I'm restricted to that. Anyhow, the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro natively supports AMD GPUs such as the Vega 64. For a full list of GPUs, see Apple's support document: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544.
For Windows 10
This was rather simple as well - you just need the correct Windows version. I have described the procedure in detail, yet succinctly:
- Download a copy of Windows 1903 [18362.30] using TechBench.
- Set up Windows via Boot Camp Assistant.
- Disable Windows Software Update via Group Policy:
- Press Win + R, and type in gpedit.msc to launch the Group Policy Editor.
- Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Updates.
- Select Configure Automatic Updates and disable the service completely.
- Upgrade Windows to 1903 [18362.295] from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Select the 64-bit non-server version.
- Post-upgrade and reboot into Windows:
- Hot-plug your eGPU.
- On first-time connection, Windows will auto-download drivers for your eGPU.
- Once Windows installs drivers, your eGPU will be functional.
- Download the latest drivers from AMD.
- Install the latest drivers while the eGPU is connected.
- All Done.
Note that if you wish to use the internal display for rendering, you MUST plug in the eGPU AFTER Windows boot completes. I recommend this regardless. Keeping the eGPU plugged in will result in a disabled/stuck internal display. There are workarounds for this, but they breach my requirements (specifically #3).
Swapping computers on my desk with such ease is a comfort I never imagined I'd appreciate so much. While in recent times, there have been issues with eGPU support, the big-picture scenario is that we have come a very long way in a very short time. It is great to see the community progressively tackle eGPU problems and pave the way forward.
@mac_editor, This is such a nice a clean build! I never realized the full benefit of an eGPU setup until I used it daily at work. Similar to your concluding comment, the instant switch from an ultrabook to a full desk computer with a single computer is the best selling point.
@mac_editor, glad to know you have such great set up. I have similar equipment as yours, a vega 56 with 13 macbook pro 2020. Have you encounter any error 12? As I have been working for hours to make my EGPU operatable in windows.
Hi and thank you for this.
In step 5 when you say 'Hot-Plug the eGPU' do you mean simply plug in the eGPU after booted into Windows Desktop?
I was wondering does it need to be a Vega card or should this solution work with any supported AMD card with this MacBook Pro? Thanks
@jinthagerman, should apply to any other AMD card as well.
Many thanks for this clean post and very consize solution.
This weekend after a huge amount of fiddling I finally manage to get my eGPU displaying Windows desktop on an external display.
After hours of tries and with changing nearly nothing to get rid of error 12 or manage to boot with eGPU plugged in it suddenly worked.
However I am running last fast ring of Windows 10 and I am not sure how long I can keep it that way.
I am really bounding between restarting from 1903 as you describe and staying like this.
I particularly like the fact that you did not fiddle with the boot loader and kept all security systems activated.
I can see you have done already a certain number of build therefore I was wondering if you would you have any thought / advice on my configuration?
Many thanks and best regards,
It was not as straightforward as described above but it worked in the end under Windows 10 family. 1903 [18362.295] is ok from a cold boot. RX5700XT was not recognised after bootcamp installation. Official latest drivers (June) from AMD never worked and ended in black screen crash. January drivers from bootcampdrivers.com after 3x DDU in fail safe mode worked. I had to reboot 2x before getting somewhere. For the 2nd time as soon as you see fugitive image of the desktop appearing on your external display it finally works in the subsequent cold reboot.
Now have blue logo jittering on the inside screen and desktop on the external display. Latest graphic drivers from intel are ok and don't break the build. Latest version of bootcamp also worked. However any cumulative update of Windows 10 is killing it and I had to restore from my latest backup point.
Now trick will be to prevent Windows 10 to avoid autoupdating gpedit.msc does not seem to prevent it.