2014 27" iMac 5K (R9 M295X) [4th,4C,K] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core...
 
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2014 27" iMac 5K (R9 M295X) [4th,4C,K] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 11.6 & Win10 20H2  

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omsine
(@omsine)
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Joined: 1 month ago
 

System specs: 27inch Late 2014 iMac 5k retina, i7 quad core 4ghz, amd radeon m295x dGPU, 32gb ram, 3tb fusion drive, big sur 11.6 / windows 10 bootcamp, INTERNAL MONITOR.

eGPU hardware: razer core X, radeon 5700 xt, apple thunderbolt 2 cable, apple tb2 -> tb3 adapter

 

Introduction:

PLEASE READ THE WHOLE GUIDE BEFORE PROCEEDING, THE COMMENTS ARE IMPORTANT. 

Alright so, this is gunna be kinda long-winded as I had a ton of trouble getting this to work on Windows, as the nearest identical build to my own was using a 2015 imachttps://egpu.io/forums/builds/2015-27-imac-r390x-i7-32gb-ram-asus-radeon-5700xt-t2-razer-core-x-win10/ ). The final build that is currently working with stability for me is on the latest macOS, 11.6 Big Sur with Kryptonite, and for Bootcamp, Windows 10 20H2, with the Windows 10 2020 - Adrenalin December 2020 Blue Enterprise Edition (best for Radeon 500 and 5000 series iMacs) from bootcampdrivers.com. If you have a thunderbolt 2 Mac (pre-2017?) with a thunderbolt 3 enclosure, you will need Kryptonite to get eGPU support on macOS - thankfully this process is very straightforward via the wiki, and is basically plug and play with the eGPU on macOS after installation. Shoutout @mac_Editor for this INCREDIBLE & FREE workaround. I am still unsure if the Kryptonite script is required for the TB3 device to be able to be utilized by Windows 10 over my TB2 ports, perhaps someone else can shed some insight here. 

 

My INITIAL installation procedure was as follows:

eGPU OFF, UNPLUG ALL THUNDERBOLT DEVICES + NON-ESSENTIAL USB DEVICES. 

1) Updated all macOS to the latest versions. If you are not planning on ever using Bootcamp with this, proceed to Kryptonite install - step #4.

2) Installed Windows 10 via Bootcamp using Windows ver 1903 ISO file* and a USB (if you are planning on using Bootcamp, this must be done BEFORE installing Kryptonite, or I had to anyway - Windows would not read the Bootcamp partition with Kryptonite installed for some reason. Uninstalling it allowed me to proceed with a Bootcamp install. If you are not planning on using Windows 10 via Bootcamp, you can disregard everything Windows-related).

*See Comment 1 below: based on my ongoing experience with this, I believe you can & should use the Windows 10 20H2 ISO file for the Bootcamp installer instead, as that is where I have found functionality, compatibility, and stability.

3) Let Windows / Bootcamp do all its set up, driver installations, and restarts when complete. BTW, if you need a Windows 10 license key, you can get them cheap on kinguin.net.

4) Booted back into macOS, created OpenCore partition & then installed Kryptonite, following all instructions to a T on the Kryptonite wiki. Restart and boot into Kryptonite / set Kryptonite as your default boot partition.

5) Turned eGPU on to test macOS functionality (plugged into Thunderbolt when turning power on eGPU on). Plug & play. Full stability, ~60fps average on DOTA 2 on Max Graphics Settings, similar performance on Blizzard games, including WoW on high + max render distance (this was my original goal). Setting "Use External GPU" in application preference settings should be all you need to do in order to force app eGPU usage. You should be able to see the eGPU in a little icon that looks like a processor chip on your top bar on the desktop, as well as see it under Graphics/Displays in About -> System Report. At this time, both hotplugging & disconnecting via the app-bar icon work normally.

If you are only using your eGPU on macOS, you are done here. Congratulations! Enjoy. Please consider posting your own build guide to supplement this one.

 

Moving on to Bootcamp...

The next goal was to get it working with Windows 10 via Bootcamp so I could play D2:R with my childhood friends, and some other Windows games, like the forthcoming Age of Empires IV & Battlefield 2042.

eGPU is still ON at this point.

At this point, I booted back into Windows, (still on ver 1903) and installed the legacy iMac AMD drivers from bootcampdrivers.com, using DDU in safe mode, etc. Followed DDU instructions to a T, including turning off Windows Auto Updates via DDU. Nothing was really working. I was getting constant Error / Code 12 in windows device manager on both the eGPU and dGPU with no reasonable resolution in sight, even though Windows was recognizing the eGPU in the Device Manager and in Graphics Settings. At this point I had been troubleshooting for three days straight in Windows, trying to get different drivers to work, etc. I called it a night, with the plan to try the SSDT override in the Kryptonite Post-Install instructions the next night when I got home from work, to hopefully combat Error 12. Well, apparently on the last DDU I did, I did not turn off Windows Auto Updates. When I got home and booted from sleep (still in Windows), much to my dismay, there was a Windows update for restart. Begrudgingly, I accepted, prepared to start from scratch - after update and a few restarts, on the 3rd time up, AMD X Connect popped up, initializing the eGPU. I had already uninstalled the previous AMD drivers via Control Panel the night before, so I did one more driver sanitization run with DDU in safe mode, and then tried installing the Windows 10 2020 - Adrenalin December 2020 Blue Enterprise Edition (best for Radeon 500 and 5000 series iMacs) from bootcampdrivers.com. Make sure you select Factory Reset on the AMD driver Installer / Launcher before installing. Let it run its restarts, you will see your screen flicker and resize many times. After that, it totally worked, fully stable for the first night at least on D2:R. Yesterday, on boot I had error 12 again, this time on the dGPU, not the EGPU; so I did a clean install of DDU and the same Adrenalin 2020 software version, and that fixed it. So, if you find inconsistency here, it seems just a fresh DDU and install of this driver package seems to alleviate it. From here, you just need to dedicate whatever apps / games you want to use the eGPU to high performance mode in Windows Graphics Settings. You can then verify that your app is using the eGPU in the Task Manager. 

 

Benchmarks: I am still testing stability here, I will post benchmarks in the coming week or so when I get some free time (as I've never ran any kind of benchmarks before - very much an amateur user here!)

 

Comments:

1) Based upon my final experience, and to wrap up that massive wall of text above, you should probably just use the Windows 10 20H2 ISO file instead of 1903 for your Windows install, as it seems the 20+ versions have some kind of native direct eGPU support with AMD, but I believe cleaning the AMD driver slate with DDU in safe mode is still essential prior to installing the bootcampdrivers package. So, either install 1903 as I initially did, and plan to update to 20H2 for compatibility, or just go ahead and use the 20H2 ISO file for your install. I am unsure if later / latest versions of W10 work / support the eGPU, I have turned off Windows Auto-Updates via DDU for now. I may try them in the future, or if some other brave soul would be willing to venture forth, please let me / the community know in this thread! Thank you in advance for your courage. I will update the guide if/when I venture forth myself.

2) It seems that the first restart from macOS to Bootcamp occasionally gives the eGPU error / code 12. I was able to rectify this by restarting once more from Windows to Windows - that seems to force allocate the large memory needed and dissipates Error 12.

3) I am not sure if this matters, but before doing DDU to troubleshoot / install different bootcampdrivers versions, I always uninstalled the core AMD software via the Control Panel uninstalling agent. 

 

Apologies for this being so lengthy, I just wanted to be as concise on detailing my experience as possible.

Massive thanks to the eGPU.io community here, there is no f*cking way in hell I would have ever been able to work this out on my own without the hours of cross-referencing guides, build threads, forum comments, links to relevant YouTube videos, etc. Truly standing on the shoulders of giants here, but I hope posting my own guide will help other legacy mac users extend the life of their machines, and achieve whatever else they may be in pursuit of. 

May good fortune be with you. 

This topic was modified 1 month ago
2014 27" iMac 5K (R9 M295X) [4th,4C,K] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 11.6 & Win10 20H2 [build link]  

Jkeychen Liew, itsage, mac_editor and 1 people liked
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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 
Posted by: @omsine

I am still unsure if the Kryptonite script is required for the TB3 device to be able to be utilized by Windows 10 over my TB2 ports, perhaps someone else can shed some insight here. 

Kryptonite plays no role with respect to that.

"Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed." — Seneca

Author: kryptonitepurge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
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itsage
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@omsine, Thank you for sharing your build guide and I'm glad you have the eGPU working in both macOS and Windows Boot Camp. I enjoy older games too and reading your post recalls memories of early 2000s when my childhood friend and I would stay up all night playing Empire Earth over dial-up. Great time!

 

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omsine
(@omsine)
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Posted by: @mac_editor
Posted by: @omsine

I am still unsure if the Kryptonite script is required for the TB3 device to be able to be utilized by Windows 10 over my TB2 ports, perhaps someone else can shed some insight here. 

Kryptonite plays no role with respect to that.

interesting - its quite fascinating to me how macOS needs this wild workaround in order to be able to have compatibility for tb2 to tb3, and meanwhile windows is just like "naw. it works." lol.

 

@omsine, Thank you for sharing your build guide and I'm glad you have the eGPU working in both macOS and Windows Boot Camp. I enjoy older games too and reading your post recalls memories of early 2000s when my childhood friend and I would stay up all night playing Empire Earth over dial-up. Great time!

wow, empire earth - its an old code sir, but it checks out! thats a game i havent heard about in many moons lol.

best wishes yall, thanks & have a great week! Smile

2014 27" iMac 5K (R9 M295X) [4th,4C,K] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 11.6 & Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Posted by: @omsine

interesting - its quite fascinating to me how macOS needs this wild workaround in order to be able to have compatibility for tb2 to tb3, and meanwhile windows is just like "naw. it works." lol.

The actual workaround on macOS is just a byte flip. Rest of the stuff makes for everything that allows the seamless user experience (no patching on disk, all security features, etc.). In the end the actual workaround is nothing spectacular and this is just Apple being Apple.

"Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed." — Seneca

Author: kryptonitepurge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance
Launching Apps on Specific (e)GPUs on macOS

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [build link]  


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