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

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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!


2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

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Joined: 5 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

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years 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.

2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years 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!

2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

New Member
Joined: 2 years 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.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.


Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years 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).  

2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago

Awesome to see it worked "out of the box" and I hope you're enjoying the experience. I'm having a little more trouble.
In fact, I just bought the Razer Core X and a RTX 2070 Super. Long story short, I get the dreaded error 12, so I'm in the process of troubleshooting. I use the exact same Macbook as you, but with less RAM (8 GB) and a super small 128GB SSD.

I wonder, did you update windows or leave it at the initial version? Latest should be 1909. I was reading that 1909 broke egpu usage for some people here on the forum.

Anyways, I might "downgrade" to a 10-series card, as this RTX really doesn't like me, as it seems. I also tried it with an older 2019 H1 .30 build, but that just froze my MBP everytime I connected the Core X. I've also disabled Bluetooth and the built in Camera, just as you were describing in your old post. Still the same issue though.

If you've got a tip for me, I'll gladly take any hints anyone can spare.


To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.


Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Hi @Spectr

So not much enjoyment recently 🙁  I just received my repaired 2019 13” MBPro from the local AppleStore last night.  Prior to repairs I deleted Win10 in case it came back with a different SSD.


However, I did experience some of the issues you mentioned - a Windows 10 update & an Apple BootCamp update.  I recovered from both using the Windows 10 Restore feature which downgraded to the version I originally installed:  “Windows 10 May 2019 Update” or Win10_1903_V2_English_x64.iso


I hope you’re able to stay with the RTX 2070 Super!  Nvidia enabled software ray tracing on 10 series cards.  But even my factory over-clocked MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X was sluggish on low settings in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.  It’s subtle but ray tracing definitely adds to the visuals in games!  Otherwise AMD wouldn’t be bringing it to their upcoming cards.  


RE: Razer Core X:  IMO the Core X is a major upgrade over my Akitio Node:  It has room for 3-slot cards (vs 2), 100W charging (vs 15W), can handle more power-hungry GFX cards with 650Watt PS (vs 400W), and doesn’t require Win 10 resources for additional (non-TB3) ports.  I suspect your issues are Win10 resource-related rather than from the Core X or RTX card.  Note that Core X Chroma adds GigE, USB ports, & LED lighting which require additional Win10 resources over the Core X.  It’s probably possible to get it working with our model MBPro over time.  But the Core X should be easier.


Hints.  Aside from software updates, the issues I’ve had were due to the limited Win10 resources with our particular model MacBook Pro.  So here are some things to try:

  • Disconnect any USB-C hubs and accessories you may have.  I bought a 7-in-1 hub with Ethernet, HDMI, SD card slot, & 3 USB ports.  Next I bought an RF mouse with USB transmitter (to replace my BT mouse) as well as connecting a USB Apple Keyboard so I could run Win10 in clamshell mode.  Unfortunately these take precious Win10 resources!  And there doesn’t appear to be a reliable way to release all of those resources even if the devices are no longer attached - possibly unless you’re an experienced registry user.  But it helps to disconnect & disable as many as possible.  Win10 Restore can recover from these issues if you give it enough storage.
  • Disable the Nvidia High Def Audio device in the Win10 Device Mgr.  This gets installed with the graphics driver and is convenient if your monitor has speakers or a headphone jack.
  • If these fail, try a clean install of BootCamp + Win10 using the same ISO and procedure as I did.  Make certain to do this without attaching any hubs or peripherals besides the eGPU even after you’re finished!  Once everything is working create a Restore point in Windows 10.  Then increase the storage setting for Restore.  By default the setting is small and won’t allow you to go back far enough if you have multiple updates.  
  • If you plan on adding peripherals purchase a USB-C hub that has only USB-A ports.  That way Win10 won’t install drivers for HDMI, Ethernet, SD storage, or other devices that may reduce your Win10 resources.  Afterwards be cautious about plugging in more devices to the USB hub.  Win10 will automatically install drivers for each and you may end up disabling the eGPU. Restore will likely bail you out of these situations if you gave it enough storage.  


Bottom line:  I wish I included the Windows 10 Restore feature and increased storage setting as part of the procedure in my builds!  It’s the best recovery tool available short of a clean install!  


I wish you the best of luck with your Core-X / RTX 2070 Super build!  Please share your build experience after you get it working.  I’m interested in your impression of ray tracing features.

2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

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Joined: 4 years ago

Hi @cnon297, I'm extremely impressed with your detailed and sophisticated answer. I will definitely let you know what and how it worked out for me in the end. The info you provided is super useful for me and possibly other 2019 13" MBP owners out there.

I will stick with the Core X, as it definitely isn’t the issue. I've just ordered a non-super RTX 2070 and 1080 for comparison and will reinvest some time trying to get this to work once they arrive in around two days.

Sidenote: I own a 2019 15" Razer Blade (GTX 1070 dGPU) that works fine with the Blade (Time Spy benchmark). But even when connecting an eGPU to Windows (Razer device to Razer device) it's just not plug & play. The first-time User Experience is bad and the official guide that comes with the Core is useless. Anyways, after I got it working, I reinstalled drivers and ran a few benchmarks. I even played and finished the storymode of the new CoD Modern Warfare. And let me tell you, this was one underwhelming experience if I've ever seen one. High graphics and RTX on (@ 1920x1080 on a 4k display - yikes) gave me extremely different results across different levels. I had to constantly re-adjust and finetune graphics settings to get at least 60 FPS. Now I believe this is due to the game being demanding + not so well optimized + the eGPU performance loss. I believe that especially the eGPU performance loss is the main culprit, because the built in dGPU is an absolute beast (as well as the Core i7 and 16GB of DDR4 RAM), so when comparing the external 2070 SUPER with the internal 1070 in real-world tests while playing real games (Geraldo 3, Mudrunner, Fortnut, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Cod MW and GTA V).

So why go through all the suffering and burning through free-time getting the eGPU to work under bootcamp when I already own a Blade 15 (native Windows 10 obv.) you ask? I'd like to sell the Blade and just keep the Mac. I can still get around 2k€ for it (6 months old).

Btw, what happened to your MBP that you had to return it?

Cheers mate!


Edit: Oh, an just to clarify. When I installed the mentioned version of Windows, how do I prevent all the updates from installing? I mean I know how to block them, but when first connecting the eGPU to Windows, doesn't it need an initial set of drivers it gets via Windows Update? Or can I just offline-install the latest NVIDIA drivers (pre-downloaded and copied to the bootcamp partition). You write the drivers were auto-downloaded for you, but how did you keep Windows from installing either quality/security and feature updates? User group policy?


Edit v2.0: It works! Let's hit it lads! It's 4:25 AM here in Germany and I have to get up for work in a few hours so I'll hit the sheets now, just want to share that it works now. And pretty straightforward actually. I did a quick in-browser WebGL benchmark, that worked fine (not sure if that's even relevant lol). Will document exactly what I did and what versions of everything I am running. I'll also post some benchmark results so we can compare your 1080 ti. Good night!

This post was modified 2 years ago

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.


Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Hi @Spectr

Congratulations on your eGPU success!!!  I bet it felt great to resolve the issues and get it running!! 


MBPro repairs:  I’d recently bought a USB RAID which worked great except the MBP would crash & reboot every time I ejected it.  At the same time I connected the RAID the MBP battery stopped charging.  Apple techs tested & the TB3 ports were fine.  They shipped it out to replace the top case under warranty.  It’s working fine now tho I returned the RAID while the MBP was out for repair - just as a precaution.  


Per Apple techs, the USB RAID eject issue may have been caused by old drivers:  I’d migrated the new 2019 MBP from my 2015 MBP with High Sierra.  The 2015 MBP itself was also a migration.  I’d wanted to keep my previous apps, docs, libraries, email, etc.  It’s also why I can’t upgrade to Catalina - too much to loose w/o 32bit apps (I tried Catalina & downgraded).  But I also miss dashboards, back to my Mac, Time Capsules, extra ports, SD card slots & other features that we’ve recently lost.  While I’m still an Mac user; I’m not quite the die-hard fan-boi that I was previously.  

2012 15" MacBook Pro hi res, 2.7GHz 4C i7, GT650M + Vega 56 eGPU
2009 Mac Pro 5,1 6-core Xeon 3.46GHz + HD 7970OC

2014 Mac Mini [4th,2C,U] + RX Vega 56 @16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.14.6 [build link]  

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