2019 16" MacBook Pro (RP5300M) [9th,6C,H] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 550) + macOS 10.15.6 & Win10 2004
Welp, glad I finished this up. This build was a touch finicky, but went surprisingly well for my lack of experience. Very hot-pluggable, very useful setup.
- 2019 16'' Macbook Pro,
- i7-9750H CPU @ 2.6 GHz
- Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU
- Radeon Pro 5300M dGPU
- macOS Catalina 10.15.6 and Windows 10 Pro
1903, build 18362.302004, 19041.508
- Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W (GPU-550W-TB3)
(Should've gone with the 650 W version in hindsight. Will explain why in comments section.)
- Gigabyte Radeon RX 5600 XT Windforce OC
- Connected via Hdmi/mini-Hdmi cable to 1080p 60 Hz, 30ms external monitor (HDMI and USB-C 3.0 inputs). I didn't power it via usb c, 87W from the eGPU PSU wasn't enough for the main laptop and the screen.
See topmost picture. Note: I later switched the thunderbolt 3 hard drive to the right side thunderbolt ports, to avoid any possible resource errors.
Also, I removed the eGPU cover and disconnected the BreakAway box's fan headers; the GPU's open cooler was more than enough to cool the GPU to a max of around 80 degrees celsius under auto-overclock (junction temp)
When I finally figured out what to do, it was surprisingly straightforward, but it took a ton of blundering to figure out what that process was. Here it is to save u the trouble
Hardware side - Just slot the eGPU into the enclosure, connect display/power cable, and make sure the eGPU psu is switched off.
Software side (Only mentioning Win10 version, since MacOS was just plug/play)
- Make sure eGPU is not activated. It's alrght to have it pre-connected to external lcd if you're using one.
- Made new bootcamp partition using iso of Windows 10
1903, build 18362.30.UPDATE: I was able to get this working on build 19041.508, completely by accident. I have no idea what happened, but I forgot to turn off auto updates and it got me to this, somehow working build.
- Standard Bootcamp Setup Process
- Download BootcampDrivers version of AMD graphics. I used the Red Version of the April 2020 drivers ( https://www.bootcampdrivers.com/ ).
- Install Drivers per the instructions on BootcampDrivers (DDU, install, etc.)
- After drivers are installed, restart your MBP
- When login screen appears, attach eGPU to MBP and turn the GPU on. Standard inserting external device chime should play. Don't worry if external lcd stays black; it's supposed to happen.
- Check device manager to see if your eGPU is recognized and if Error 12 hasn't popped up. If this is the case, you've finally prepped your eGPU!
AIDA64 Benchmark w/eGPU
AIDA64 w/o eGPU
- Valley, 3dmark benchmarks for both external and internal LCD coming in later update for both MacOS and Windows
Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)
For something that I thought would require lots of extra software trickery, this was much easier to do than I expected. Overclocking and undervolting is fairly reliable, with only 2 BSOD so far (involving Video_TDR_FAILURE of atikmpag.sys and DRIVER_IRQL not less or equal of Wdf01000.sys. Still diagnosing what they're about).
I mostly used the 5600XT to do Folding@Home work units faster, cooling, quieter, and more consistently than my dGPU could ever hope to do. That way, I could reserve the 5300M for games I do on the side (which aren't exactly graphics intensive to begin with, like P4G). In just 5 days, I've pumped out 3 MONTH'S worth of Folding points pre-eGPU; it was a massive productivity increase; note, however that the 40 gbit/sec connection does significantly gimp the 5600 XT's points-per-day rate to roughly 100k-200k PPD depending on the work units. Not bad, but still, not much compared to a dedicated folding PC with dedicated and full-width PCIe slots.
Anyway, here are some pitfalls and system foibles I've encountered along the way.
1. If I try to leave my system on during the night (so it can do Folding@Home during the night), the MBP shuts down for whatever reason. I've tried playing with the power plan to shut off only the LCD, to only shut off the hard drive after 15 hr, ditto with the power/sleep settings, no can do. Anyone have any potential fixes, i would really appreciate it.
2. Don't use the Blue Edition Bootcamp Drivers. Don't know why, but every time I removed/DDU'd the old bootcamp AMD drivers and tried to install the new ones, it would say that my setup was incompatible, even without the eGPU connected. Not sure why. I did have my eGPU connected and on during the setup process, perhaps that why my setup was such a pain.
3. Strangely enough, the eGPU works best when its hot-plugged on the login screen/desktop; cold-plugging the eGPU leaves my MBP stuck on the loading screen. Who knew? Nice bit of consistency b/t the mac and windows side of my MBP. Don't worry if there's a little freeze when the GPU is activated; give it a few seconds and it should be right as rain.
4. Initially, the sonnet eGPU would randomly turn on and off, which usually froze my computer or forced me to stop whatever I was doing to fix it. After a few days, however, the problem faded away. Weird, right?
My guess is that the 550W PSU is to blame (since it was providing power for both my laptop and the eGPU), though I'm not entirely sure. Update: Welp, the PSU isn't the problem. I'm stumped. Ah well, no power problems for months.
5. Sometimes, there are screen issues (blurry main screen, pink everywhere, etc.) on the main screen, which are usually resolved by disconnecting the HDMI output from the second screen and then reinserting it. Not sure if its an AMD problem or a problem with my specific build.
Anyway, I hope this helps you guys out!