2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10...

2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 1903 [cnon297]  


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Joined: 3 months ago

This MSI GTX 1080 Ti was installed in my Mac Pro for the past 2 years.  But I wanted to see how it would work as an eGPU with my new 13” MacBook Pro.  The build is Windows-only due to the Apple-Nvidia feud.  Bluetooth and the FaceTime camera need to be disabled.  As a partial workaround, I used an RF mouse and USB-C hub with the transmitter in one of the USB-3 ports.  



2019 13” CTO MacBook Pro 1.4GHz 4-core i5-8257U, Iris Plus 645, dual TB3, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD




*AKiTiO lists this card as “incompatible” with the Node.  I haven’t had any issues but FYI.


Monitor 1:

Philips Brilliance 242G5, 1080p, 144Hz, 1ms, Display Port, 2x HDMI, DVI-DL, VGA, non-Adaptive.


Monitor 2:

Asus ROG PG279Q, 1440p, 165Hz, 4ms, Display Port 1.2, HDMI 1.4, G-Sync



Windows 10, version 1903, build 18362.418



Hardware setup:  

The MSI 1080Ti Gaming X is 2.5 slots wide but will easily fit in the AKiTiO Node with the cover off.  AKiTiO warns this card will trip the Node’s overload protection under heavy load.  I have no reason to doubt AKiTiO.  Since my Node is out of warranty I installed the MSI 1080 Ti anyway to see how it performs (below).  After 2 weeks of extensive benchmarks and gaming at max settings without any shutdowns, I felt confident enough to post this build.  

If shutdowns occur, AKiTiO sells a 500W PS that they recommend for the Node with “compatible” 1080 Ti cards.  FWIW, techpowerup measured the peak power of this MSI card at 305W gaming & 296W sustained.  Those are higher than a 1080Ti FE  However, the Node has no extra ports or lighting, only 15W PD, and maybe 15-20W for the PCB.  So the stock 400W PS initially seems fine.  I’ll post an update if I end up tripping the overload protection at some point.

UPDATE 1:  I ran several Furmark burn-ins.  The last was 1440p 8xMSAA for 27 hours  without any stability issues.  The MSI 1080Ti managed only 22fps avg with the GPU 99%.  



1- Prep:  Backups 1st.  Then the eGPU / Node should be powered off and TB3 cable connected to the eGPU but not the MacBook Pro.  Disconnect everything from the MBPro except power.  There’s no need to disable SIP, run scripts, or software besides BootCamp Assistant (included with macOS) and Windows 10.  This is mostly due to not having a discrete GPU in the 13” MacBook Pro.


2- BootCamp + Windows 10:  Setup using BootCamp assistant in macOS, download the Microsoft 64 bit image “Windows 10 May 2019 Update”, and add a license.  After Win10 setup is complete, free up resources for the eGPU by disabling the Broadcom Bluetooth & iBridge FaceTime camera devices in the Device Manager (Command + X).  Failure to disable both may cause Windows to hang or become unstable.  Other resource allocations may also work.  But this combination is a good starting point.  Afterwards, shut down the notebook from the Windows start menu.


3- eGPU:  Power up the notebook and eGPU.  Log into Windows 10 and wait a few seconds for it to finish loading.  Then hot-plug the eGPU into the remaining notebook TB3 port.  Check the Windows Device Manager for 2 display adapters:  Intel Iris 645 and GTX 1080 Ti.  The 1080 Ti will have a yellow background from not having a driver.  


4- Graphics Driver:  Before I had a chance, Windows downloaded and installed the driver in the background, connected the eGPU and woke up the external monitor.  Very nice!  In my previous build the driver didn’t install automatically.  If that’s the case, download and install it now.  It’s possible the Windows audio may have been changed to the new Nvidia audio device.  If needed, change it back to the notebook audio in device settings.


5 - Wrap up:  DISCONNECT eGPU:  shut down the notebook from Windows, then unplug the notebook TB3 cable.  CONNECT eGPU:  restart Windows, log in, then hot plug the eGPU into the notebook.  Avoid the Nvidia System Tray Icon for GPU Connect.  It’s been unreliable and can crash the notebook.



Performance:  The MSI 1080 Ti can still hold its own against newer cards from AMD and Nvidia.  Comparisons on YouTube show the 1080 Ti to be about on par with a Radeon VII and RTX 2080 - tho each has advantages (macOS supports Radeon VII, RTX 2080 has ray tracing).  


Unigine benchmarks:

With the 144Hz Philips external monitor and the internal 60Hz Retina display

Benchmark & Monitor

Average fps

Min fps

Max fps


Heaven Extreme -ext monitor

134.6 fps

28.9 fps

282.9 fps


Heaven Extreme -int monitor

102.3 fps

27.5 fps

173.7 fps


Valley Extreme -ext monitor

125.5 fps

33.7 fps

203.5 fps


Valley Extreme -int monitor

103.4 fps

34.4 fps

161.5 fps


Valley Extreme HD -ext monitor

111.1 fps

32.5 fps

193.7 fps


Valley Extreme HD -int monitor

107.6 fps

35.4 fps

194.7 fps


Superposition 1080p Med -ext

139.50 fps

96.78 fps

191.18 fps


Superposition 1080p Med -int 

123.83 fps

86.14 fps

165.27 fps


Superposition 1080p High -ext

105.59 fps

78.07 fps

143.32 fps


Superposition 1080p High -int

94.13 fps

77.08 fps

121.33 fps


Superposition 1080p Extreme -ext

41.04 fps

33.44 fps

49.02 fps


Superposition 1080p Extreme -int

40.38 fps

32.85 fps

48.83 fps



Time Spy benchmark: (1080p 144Hz monitor)

Overall score

Graphics score

GPU test 1

GPU test 2

CPU score

CPU test



55.04 fps

49.42 fps


10.89 fps


Tomb Raider benchmarks: 

1440p “High” and “Ultimate” presets running DX11





DX11 High

225.8 fps

192.0 fps

256.0 fps

DX11 Ultimate

133.6 fps

108.0 fps

154.0 fps


Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmarks: 

1440p “High” and “Very High” presets running DX11 & DX12 





Geo Valley

Min fps

DX11 High

92.99 fps

112.03 fps

81.56 fps

83.50 fps

37.77 Mtn

DX12 High

83.69 fps

117.91 fps

72.24 fps

59.18 fps

18.79 Valley

DX11 Very High

80.54 fps

97.18 fps

71.02 fps

71.87 fps

41.49 Syria

DX12 Very High

73.60 fps

101.51 fps

63.12 fps

54.56 fps

24.31 Valley


Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmarks: 

1440p “High” and “Highest” presets running DX11 & DX12 


Frames Rendered





GPU 95%

DX11 High


62 fps

41 fps

127 fps

63 fps

43 fps

DX12 High


67 fps

64 fps

118 fps

77 fps

67 fps

DX11 Highest


58 fps

38 fps

118 fps

58 fps

39 fps

DX12 Highest


62 fps

56 fps

108 fps

69 fps

60 fps


Miscellaneous Items: 

  • “BootCamp System Tray”  The icon for “Restart in macOS…” is working again!  Yay!!  It stopped working on my 2015 MacBook Pro when I upgraded to High Sierra + APFS.  Holding the option key during startup selects the correct OS but doesn’t set the correct Startup Disk.  It was a minor annoyance.  But it happened often enough that it’s nice to see it fixed 😉
  • “DX11 vs DX12”  Newer games like SOTTR benefit from DX12 with higher average FPS and amazing min and 95th percentile FPS.  Older games like ROTTR run better in DX11 - tho that may be due to my particular setup.  ROTTR warns that not all hardware will benefit from DX12.
  • “X-Box Game bar”  I didn’t realize this feature was on by default until it started throwing out errors after I swapped in my 1440p monitor.  It’s off now but I pulled the 1080p game benchmarks until I can re-test.



I am seriously loving this build!  The ability to “dock” the 13” MacBook Pro and turn it into a near-tower replacement is brilliant!  And yet still have a compact ultrabook for on-the-go!  The only thing holding it back is the Apple-Nvidia feud; I can only use this eGPU under Windows.  However, I’d be out over $1700 otherwise for graphics hardware that I purchased pre-feud.  So my sincere thanks to everyone that contributed to egpu.io!  It has been an invaluable resource!


This topic was modified 2 months ago

2019 13" MacBook Pro dual TB3 4-core 1.4GHz i5 + Akitio Node + MSI 1080Ti
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 with 3.47 6-core Xeon + AMD Radeon HD 7970 (flashed)

Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago

Nice and clear post! Pretty respectable fps in TR too, this is a video I found to compare "real" desktop performance, not much in it!

Would love to see more games benched.

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

Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posted by: @eightarmedpet

Nice and clear post! Pretty respectable fps in TR too, this is a video I found to compare "real" desktop performance, not much in it!

Would love to see more games benched.

Thanks!  I have a 2650 x 1440 monitor and will add SOTTR benchmarks for comparison to the video you posted.  I'd expect a performance penalty from TB3 but it would be nice to see the practical results.

Right now I'm about 24 hours into a Furmark burn-in on the eGPU build above.  I'm optimistic that this build is stable.  But given AKiTiO's warning I'd like to back that up with more than just benchmarks and high res gaming.

2019 13" MacBook Pro dual TB3 4-core 1.4GHz i5 + Akitio Node + MSI 1080Ti
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 with 3.47 6-core Xeon + AMD Radeon HD 7970 (flashed)

Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago

As requested I added more game benchmarks altho they're limited to the Tomb Raider series at present.   All 3 games are benchmarked at their default settings for "High" and whatever the Max is for the game.  

This was partly to try and push the AKiTiO Node 400W PS as much as possible.  I also added info on Furmark burn-ins.  So far the Node + MSI 1080Ti Gaming X has been rock solid!

2019 13" MacBook Pro dual TB3 4-core 1.4GHz i5 + Akitio Node + MSI 1080Ti
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 with 3.47 6-core Xeon + AMD Radeon HD 7970 (flashed)

New Member
Joined: 1 month ago


Thanks so much for this post! I am considering the same MacBook Pro you have along with either my current ASUS GTX 1080Ti or a new Radeon VII eGPU build.

I use an Alienware 1900R (120hz w/ Gsync) so it was relieving to see another user with a refresh rate above 120hz and it working well.

Do you have any experience when it comes to VR gaming with this current setup? Fortnite? I am looking to compare my current desktop config with this to see if the FPS penality is light enough for me to consider my first MacBook and eGPU as worth while.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts

Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago


If you haven’t committed to the 2019 dual TB3 13” MBPro I’d consider a 2018 13” MBPro with 4 TB3 ports.  I decided on the 2019 model in part because of Apple’s trade-in policy.  They gave me a $900 credit for my 2015 15” MBPro.  If money was less a concern I’d have gone with a 2018 13” MBPro i5 refurb with 4 TB3 ports.  This model costs more (even refurbed) but can still run High Sierra (bonus for Nvidia owners) and has extra resources in Windows 10 - you can disable 2 of the 4 TB3 ports instead of Bluetooth.


Radeon VII:  I’ve been eyeing this card since it was released back in January.  For a gamer the R7 is more of a side-grade from a 1080Ti.  I still want to buy it if only to have the ability to game in both macOS (pre-Catalina) and Win10.  But if you’re going to buy the R7 it’s a good idea to also buy the NETSTOR HL23T-Plus since it solves TB3 issues specific to the R7:



I haven’t used VR & don’t own Fortnite.  The FPS penalty varies but IIRC it can be as high as 15-20% for TB3 depending on the game.   If you want to compare game benchmarks at different settings LMK.  For excellent Fortnite benchmarks & actual gameplay on different MacBooks & eGPUs try the Max Tech Youtube channel.  They’re also great for video rendering benchmarks (not my thing but very interesting nonetheless).  

2019 13" MacBook Pro dual TB3 4-core 1.4GHz i5 + Akitio Node + MSI 1080Ti
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 with 3.47 6-core Xeon + AMD Radeon HD 7970 (flashed)