2019 16" MacBook Pro (RP5500M) [9th,8C,H] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (HP OMEN Accelerator) + macOS 10.15 & Win10 1903
(going to come back to edit this as I get photos)
- 2.3ghz 8c/16t (i9-9880H @2.3)
- 32 GB DDR4
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- AMD Radeon Pro 5500M (4GB I think? need to check)
- 4TB SSD
- HP Omen Accelerator, bought secondhand real cheap, otherwise would have bought a Chroma
- 512gb SSD I had laying around, the Omen has a 2.5" SSD bay with a single combo Power/SATA connector
- Stock PSU, I think its 550?
- Two displays connected via DP (tested with HDMI too, seems fine)
- Apple 2m Thunderbolt Pro cable - Also tested using the Apple 0.8m cable and the included 50cm cable, no differences except the stock Omen one is horrible and continually disconnects when bumped
My account on egpu.io is brand new so I can't post pics yet, will link some imgur later when I've taken better pics. Nothing out of this world though, its a macbook, some screens and spaghetti cable, we know what it looks like.
I had two attempts with this MacBook, I had better success with a 2018 15" that I'll post a build for later.
Any attempts at using Windows 1909, or 20H1 / 20H2 were met with nothing but Error 12. Nothing would ever work, except for one single time I got it to boot, and it BSOD'd a minute into it. I've had experience doing this on a 2018 15" MBP so believe me, I tried everything. I gave up and restarted on 1903, which I'll now go into detail, but mind you I'm basically copying the build @gamingmadestrange made for their Vega64
- Download Windows 10 1903 (build 18362.30)
I tried another version of 1903 I already had downloaded, no good, use 18362.30
- Install bootcamp drivers, use Apple Software Update in windows to pull the latest version of bootcamp drivers, it's not mentioned in the release notes, but the speakers sound 100% better and the reliability of the touch bar is much better, which is going to be very useful for later.
- Block windows updates, 1909 definitely seems to kill it for me, and it'll aggressively try to install it before you can stop it
- Download bootcampdrivers.com's February2021 Blue Version, I've not had great success on the RED versions. Supposedly this is better for the 500 series cards anyway.
- Use DDU to uninstall all drivers, definitely do the restart.
- I should have mentioned by now, definitely do not have the eGPU plugged in for any of the prior steps
- Install the AMD drivers, but hear me out, I know we used DDU, but use the advanced option in the AMD install to "Clean Reset" or (whatever other language they use)
- The clean reset seems to help when it comes to Error 12 Time, I'm not sure why, but I've verified this many times over now.
Error 12 Time - I've copied and pasted this from @gamingmadestrange as I did the same thing
- Download apple_set_os loader v0.5 (bootx64.efi)
- Boot to macOS recovery mode
- Set Security Boot to "No Security” from the startup security utility
- Boot to macOS
- Mount EFI partition using Clover Configurator (look for EFI on Bootcamp)
- Open EFI disk from desktop then go to /EFI/Boot
- Rename /EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi to /EFI/Boot/bootx64_original.efi
- Copy bootx64.efi from step 1 to /EFI/Boot
Now this is the part where I differ from their setup; Which ports to use.
- Keep that eGPU unplugged
- Option-boot into windows, and you should see the apple_set_os screen
- Plug the eGPU into the left port quickly
- Wait till you see the eGPU show up in the list
- Press any button to boot
- Wait for windows to boot and start logging in
- Unplug the eGPU while windows attempts to log in (so to confirm, windows booted, but user profile still loading)
- Open device manager, put it left of your screen
- Open CMD prompt, put it right side and click inside the window so the cursor blinks
- Plug the eGPU into the RIGHT side, not the left, and wait
- Watch the two windows, hopefully you can see the cursor continue to blink, mine occasionally freezes up for about 30-60 seconds, but eventually the new device should appear.
- As a side note, I lose my mouse+kb+touchbar and any other usb accessories while this process occurs, seems to be normal, they eventually come back. I tend to just watch the touch bar
- Hopefully you have the eGPU start and the screens turn on, and no Error 12 in sight.
A couple of housekeeping things
- Create a restore point, you're going to need it from time to time
- After all of these steps, you can consider installing the Intel GPU drivers, it will enable your MacBook's LCD to change brightness, and enable the screen to turn off when you put it in clam-shell mode.
- Change your lid-close settings, as well as sleep timer. I have never had much success bringing a macbook out of sleep in bootcamp with the eGPU attached.
- Set your power profile to Highest Performance. I've had windows do weird shit like disable bluetooth, throttle the wifi, etc. Admittedly, my setup underpowered, being a Macbook 16 with a 60w charger in the eGPU. It'll slightly discharge under extreme load without the 90w+ charger that comes with it, but I rarely find the need for it, especially in clam-shell mode.
- Updates are not a solved issue, I'm not sure how to get onto 20H2 yet. Some games (such as the GamePass ones) need this. I'll report back if I have any luck with copying pci.sys in a future update.
Benchmarks seem pretty poor to be honest, I've got to look further into this. The RX580 is definitely outperforming the 5500M, but the 580 should be scoring much higher than this. The new Macbook 16's can come configured with a 5600M which achieves approx ~44000, the same score as my eGPU's RX580
- eGPU RX580 - 44645 https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/compute/2518074
- dGPU Radeon Pro 5500M - 37296 https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/compute/2518083
I was lucky enough to find this MacBook on the Apple Refurb store, with all this extra storage. I've allocated 3TB to Catalina where I use a lot of storage for my work, and 1TB to windows. I cannot recommend the extra storage enough. External storage for games is a PITA and while "it works" it'll regularly make your life harder in small ways.
I've previously used this eGPU with a 2018 15" MBP (16G Ram, 6c/12t) that only had 512GB of storage, 100GB allocated to windows and so I would use an external SSD inside the omen accelerator for my games. Your Restore Points and your pagefile will thank you for the extra storage later. I often had larger games like Warzone randomly crash on the old macbook because 16G ram and the small pagefile on the bootcamp partition was not enough. I honestly thought 16G was more than enough for modern games, but I was very wrong. If you're going to do this, 32G Ram OR a large partition will need to be on the cards.
The Omen Accelerator is not a good enclosure. The design sucks. I ended up mounting the eGPU under my desk and left the cover off, because the airflow is extremely poor. I like the extra ports it offers, because it enables me to truly be "one cord" with the long thunderbolt cable, but otherwise that's about it, I wanted a Chroma but I found this thing really cheap in the local classifieds.
Look this build made me tear my hair out. It was not worth it. I want 20H2 so I can play those games and use the new xbox experience.
So until I post a build for the other macbook I thought I'd just post a quick oddity about it;
I can only get that macbook to use the eGPU under Win10 1909, not 1903 or 20*
I can't hotplug the eGPU either, it has to be plugged into a port (any port) from boot, and it'll work with the rx580 just fine. I do not use the apple_set_os loader on this one as it seems to make no difference to this behavior.
It's extremely reliable, like, I mean it has never missed a beat. I just wish I could have this experience with the much faster 16" MBP this original post was about. Plus 1909 seems to be just recent enough that Game Pass and the new xbox experience works.
@adam_parsons, hey Adam!
Now I want to use it with my 16' MBP for some performance boost - followed your build & other tutorials and I'm now with the exact Windows version you mentioned (on an external SSD) + the AMD drivers installed for the internal Radeon Pro 5500M (from BootCampDrivers).
My issue now is the RX580 eGPU - which makes a 'new device connected' sound when plugging after logging in to windows - but nothing other than that. When plugging before/during Windows boot - it practically blocks the boot and everything gets stuck...
Any idea how to make it work / what am I missing?