2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP460) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station 2) + macOS 10.12 & Win10 [huangyuhen]
As I was browsing through the forum, I didn't find out many implementation guides for Asus XG Station 2. So I figured I could write a guide for people who has XG Station and have the same need as I do.
1. My MacBook Pro has only 512GB storage and I don't want to partition a BOOTCAMP drive only for the time when I want to play games. So I want to build a BOOTCAMP drive on external SSD which can be used when I want to use eGPU setup.
2. Personally, I don't want to use external monitor so I want to internal display to be accelerated by eGPU
3. Becuase XG Station has two IO port (One that routes USB 3.0 traffic and the other routes TB3 traffic). My intention is to have USB port to handle the Windows and peripherals traffic, and TB3 is dedicated for eGPU.
Building bootable Windows
First, we need to build a bootable Windows on SSD, I tried several different ways and I found this which finally worked out. The only difference is that I first used VMware Fusion to have a Windows VM to build the SSD.
In Mac OS:
In Windows VM:
Formatting the drive:
diskpart list disk select disk 1 (the id of your external drive) clean (warning: this will erase everything on the drive) convert gpt create partition efi size=200 format quick fs=fat32 assign letter=s create partition msr size=16 create partition primary format quick fs=ntfs assign letter=w exit
dism /apply-image /imagefile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:W:\ /CheckIntegrity
where D is the letter of the Windows installation drive, W is the external drive's NTFS partition, Index "1" is for Windows 10 Pro, use "2" for Windows 10 Home)
Installing boot files:
bcdboot W:\Windows /s S: /f UEFI (S is the external drive EFI boot partition)
Now we are done with making the bootable Windows external drive.
Setup eGPU in Windows
You might not be able to select your startup disk in MacOS. If you try to do it in Startup Disk, you will get following error.
Now, we do have a workaround, so don't try to set your start up disk. Now here are the steps to get eGPU running:
1. Shutdown your MacBook Pro and plug in your external Windows SSD.
2. Turn on your MacBook Pro and hold Atl/Option key until you see bootable device screen.
3. Select EFI as your boot device (NOT WINDOWS BOOTCAMP)
If you already have your BOOTCAMP installed in your main bay, you will NOT be able to see your external hard drive
4. Once you boot into Windows, install drivers which you downloaded from Bootcamp Assistant.
5. After you installed all drivers, you should be able to set your startup disk as Windows in Bootcamp setting (In Windows). Then use Windows Update Assistant to update your Windows to newest version (Critical!! Otherwise internal display acceleration will not work)
As of today 06/18/2017, I have my Windows version as 10.0.15063.
6. After the update, you can now use DDU to uninstall your AMD graphic driver. This need to needs to be done before you do any further setup.
7. Thanks to @goalque made this awesome spoof script apple_set_os.efi and gpu switch, you should follow the steps in the post to spoof iGPU activated Windows boot and run integrated.bat everytime you reboot . (When you hold option key to start Mac, you will see two EFI boot drive, make sure you select the spoof one, just take a guess for the first time)
8. After you have iGPU enabled and boot into Windows, you can now install the driver for your iGPU. (From now on, always boot your Windows with iGPU activated)
9. Shut down Mac then plug in USB-B cable (Have your SSD connected to Station). Boot into windows with iGPU activated.
11. Install Hotplug tool from Asus and update your XG station firmware to newest version.
12. Performace a reboot with TB3 and USB-B cable plugged in, now your graphic card to should be recognizable by the system.
13. Disable your AMD graphic card in device manager, and install NVidia graphic card driver
Now we are one step away to make this set up to be perfect!
If you perform a reboot into MacOS, you will have to use bootcamp application in Windows to select MacOS as your booting system, otherwise you will get Windows blue screen.
If you switched to MacOS and you want to switch back your Windows setup, you will have to use step 2 and 3 to boot into Windows, run integrate.bat then select your Windows external drive as startup disk, then reboot again to have eGPU setup work.
Now, this is a perfect setup for people want to have a gaming station at home and be able to carry the laptop out at the same time!
MacOS is much more straigtforward to setup, however, I think gaming experience is uncomparable to Windows. So I don't recommend.
You can follow tutorial here to get it to work.
Thank you for a very detailed guide. This will help many others who want to install Windows and games on an external SSD to preserve the internal space for macOS. Great work!