2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X...
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2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [Yousaf Amir]  


New Member
Joined: 3 years ago

System specs:

  • Late 2016 15" Macbook Pro
  • Intel i7-6700HQ @ 2.6GHz
  • Intel HD Graphics 530
  • AMD Radeon Pro 450
  • 16GB System RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • MacOS Mojave 10.14.4 Beta 3 (180GB Partition)
  • Windows 10 (70GB Partition)

eGPU hardware:

  • Razer Core X
  • Nvidia RTX 2080Ti Founders Edition 11GB
  • SanDisk 1TB Extreme SSD
  • Xbox One Controller
  • Samsung 50" MU6500

Hardware pictures:

Desk Setup (Compute, Machine Learning, etc):

eGPU  Desk

TV Setup (Games):


Installation steps:
This build guide closely follows the build guide posted by itsage. I will post all links posted in that build guide here as well. But I would advise that you go ahead and check the summary area of that build guide. Look into the system restore points method as that can be very helpful. My issue with those were that after every restart, I seemed to have none of them left so after one point I did not bother with them. But they are the most useful things, in case anything goes wrong.

The key differences, I will highlight as we go on. If anything seems unclear at any point, please refer to the build guide I gave in the first sentence. The summary section has images of each step.

Also please forgive my use of inaccurate Windows terminology, as this is my first time after Service Pack 2 using Windows properly. All thanks to itsage and the respectful creators/owners of the files/methods used in the setup. It took me a week with trial and error to make this work. I'm still having issues with CUDA installation.

  1. Preliminary Boot Loader Setup: 
    1. Download rEFInd on macOS.
    2. Open Terminal. You can type "sudo tcsh" without the quotations. It will ask for your mac's password. You can type the password on the keyboard, but don't worry if it doesn't show on the terminal. Once typed, press enter.
    3. Next, open the rEFInd folder from the downloads and find a file which has "install" in its name. It is pretty obvious to see which file it is. Drag and drop it in the Terminal window, then click enter.
    4. Next, find "mountesp" file in the same folder. Drag and drop it in the same terminal window.
    5. Now your Finder Window will have EFI Disk mounted right below your primary user disk.
    6. Open this EFI Disk, inside you will find another folder called EFI. Open that and then inside it create a folder called "custom" without the quotation marks. 
    7. Download apple_set_os.EFI file. Just the file, not anything else from the provided link. It's a one small file.
    8. Once downloaded, move this file to the custom folder you just created.
  2. Installing Windows:
    1. Make sure that you have at least 100GB of free space available, as while partitioning you would want to leave some for macOS as well if that's your primary work OS (mine is).
      • I advise that you assign at least 70GB to Windows. As during my initial setup (I assigned 50GB), after installing all drivers, Origin, Steam and Epic, I seemed to have only 2GB available on my Bootcamp partition (actual format is less). So it raised errors with CUDA and cuDNN installation.
    2. Download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft.
    3. Open Bootcamp and go through the steps.
      • Sometimes Bootcamp will raise an error that at least 40GB of storage space required even though you have more available. In this case, close all applications. Start macOS in recovery. Open Disk Utility. Go to your disk. Click First Aid and it should fix the problem. Once done, restart your Mac.
        • If your disk is greyed out, then click on the disk and in the disk utility toolbar, towards the far right you will see an option to Mount. Click it, wait a few seconds and enter the password. Then proceed.
    4. Once Bootcamp has booted into Windows for the first time, the screen will flicker a lot as that's when Bootcamp is installing the necessary drivers for Windows. It will restart once more after everything has been downloaded
      • In the initial Windows setup, you may see black bars on the side but its okay. When asked to connect to internet, you may not see any network showing up. You can skip this if it happens. I skipped it.
  3. PCIe Lanes, iGPU and dGPU configurations:
    1. Part 1 
      1. Since this setup involves a Pre-2017 Mac with a dedicated graphics processing unit, managing the PCIe Lanes to avoid Code 12, and setting up at proper time is necessary.
      2. Since you are currently in Windows, open Device Manager by using the Windows search bar. Once it's opened, click on View-->Device by connection type. This just helps provide more information, better categorized for our purposes.
      3. Download and Install DDU. It's a software that removes pre-installed drivers. This would make sure there is no interference when we plug the Nvidia eGPU in.
      4. Before removing the drivers, you should turn off automatic driver installation that Windows does whenever a new device get's connected.
        • Open Control Panel-->System and Security-->Click System-->Click Advanced system settings from the left sidebar-->Select the Hardware tab-->Press the Device Installation Settings button-->Choose No, and then press the Save Changes button.
      5. In the following restarts, you will see the rEFInd boot manager screen. Which essentially makes it easier for you to choose between operating systems. You will two Windows logos, one MacOS and one 3 coloured logo. The left most logo is the proper Windows.
      6. Now to remove drivers, open the folder DDU automatically creates when it downloads. The DDU is present there. Right click on it, or with two fingers from the trackpad. Run it as Administrator. 
        1. It usually detects all drivers.
        2. First select GPU from the right hand side, and select Nvidia. Clean and Restart.
        3. Second, do with the AMD. Clean and Restart.
      7. When you click restart this time (after AMD drivers are cleaned), make sure to click on the three coloured icon logo which is the apple_set_os.efi. It will just slightly flash, and thats all you need to do. Then click the Windows logo on the far left to boot into proper Windows.
    2. Part 2
      1. Things maybe glitchy, but it should alright. Now open Device Manager again and click View by connection type. 
        1. Click Display Adapters. You may either see two Microsoft Basic Display Adapters, or Intel HD Graphics 530 and just one Microsoft Basic Display Adapter.
        2. If you see 2 of them, then open the browser, and download the latest Intel Graphic Drivers. Let them setup. Once done, open device manager again and check the display adapters. Make sure there is one Intel. 
          • Even if you see the Intel name at the start, you still should download the latest drivers, as if you don't and rest of the setup goes well. Windows might crash with errors such as VIDEO_TDR and such.
        3. Now, you have to attach the iGPU to run the internal display. By default MacOS switches over the dGPU for display processing for some reason. So this step is required.
          1. You can do this by installing these scripts, extracting them and running them with Administrator priviledges. Which is right click, and Run as Administrator.
            1. First click open on the main file, and extract to a folder on the desktop preferably. 
            2. The scripts needed to run may return an error (they sure did in my setup process). So you should download the x86 version of Visual C++ 2013
            3. Once setup, then run the integrated file as administrator.
            4. As soon as it's finished running, press any key
        4. Do a restart, make sure you do the Part1,SubStep7 when you restart.
    3. Part 3
      1. You will have to disable the PCIe Lanes here so to free up resources (the error code 12 issue) for the eGPU. 
        1. Open Device Manager, and click view by connection type.
        2. First find the controller which is x8 lane - 1905. Right click on it and disable it.
        3. Second find the controller which is x16 lane - 1901. Right click on it and disable it.
          • This step is different from the build guide as it suggests to do only the 1905 first, but I think RTX requires more resources?
        4. Also download the latest Nvidia Drivers at this moment, just so you can get to setting up the eGPU as soon as possible once you connect it.
  4. Connecting the eGPU
    1. This is a critical part. Make sure the eGPU is powered up with the T3 cable connected to it. --This is different from the build guide--.
      • Based on the previous steps, you can only use the right T3 ports now so position the Core X towards the right of the macbook.
      • After Step3,Part3 is complete, restart the MacBook, also keeping in mind when do the restart, make sure you do the Part1,SubStep7 when you restart.
        1. But this time, once you click on the apple_set_os.efi and then approach the Windows logo, DO NOT click it right away.
        2. Position the T3 connection on one of the T3 Macbook Ports on the right side, you have to make sure it's very close (you may try inserting it slightly inside, but not all the way forefully so that it connects, just rests inside the port).
        3. Click the Windows Logo so it starts to boot up.
        4. As soon as the spinning dots, reach 12:00 the first time (like how a clock spins, the top/forward most position in the circle). The first instance of the spin is usually it starts from 6:00 and goes to 12:00 and onwards. CONNECT at this point, when the first dot reaches the top.
        5. This will make sure the eGPU connects to the PCIe lanes at the right moment, and it gets enough resources.
    2. Now once Windows boots up, open Device Manager, view by connection and check the Display Adapters. It may say either Nvidia or Microsoft Basic Display Adapters.
    3. Open the Nvidia Graphics Drivers you downloaded previously, and set them up. Use the Express Setup option, it works best.
      1. At the end of setup, it will restart Windows. When windows is shutting down (restarting logo), disconnect the GPU.
      2. The rEFInd boot manager will come up. As usual follow Part1,SubStep7. And in following this, make sure you connect at the right time as detailed in Step4,SubStep1.
      3. Windows should boot up as normal. To make sure all drivers are well setup, open Device Manager, view by connection and check Display Adapters. You should see Intel HD Graphics 530 and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
      4. Also scroll down and click on the PCIe x4 lane controller, keep opening it down and in the end you should see the GPU, and USB C driver and maybe one or two more things.
        • This should also give you the hint, that the USB C Port on the RTX 2080Ti is USB 3.1 Gen 2 enabled, and can handle storage devices. This is how I connect the SanDisk 1TB Extreme SSD since that's my primary storage for game files.
    4. If playing games, use an HDMI cable from GPU to the TV (or DP to Monitor). It does improve performance by A LOT!. You should use bluetooth to connect an Xbox controller as well, I suggest Xbox One controller since they are natively supported by Windows. Click here how to connect. 
      • In my experience, enabling the x8 lane to connect the Apple Multiport Adapter and then a DualShock 4 via USB to it, caused issues. It seemed to work fine at start but in a few minutes Windows stopped recognizing my SSD and I couldn't play any games. So just avoid this altogether but getting an Xbox controller, and setting it up via Bluetooth
      • DualShock 4 seemed to work fine in Bluetooth Setup. However, to have it properly working, you may need to install DS4Windows. But I would take the safer step and get Xbox Controller.
  5. (Optional) Booting back to MacOS:
    1. You will have to do these steps whenever you wish to switch to MacOS, so when you come back, there are no boot hangs or issues.
    2. Disconnect the eGPU. Making sure all apps are closed when you disconnect it.
    3. Open the Device Manager and enable PCIx x16 lane.
    4. Open gpu-switch folder and run the dedicated script as administrator. Once done, just restart.
    5. Instead of selecting the 3 coloured icon and then Windows, you can go straight back to Mac
    6. If you wish to come back to Windows. You have to repeat in following order:
      1. Shut Down. Then Power On (not restart)
      2. Step3,Part1,SubStep7
        1. Device Manager --> Disable PCIe x16 lane,
        2. Open GPU-Switch, run integrated with admin
        3. Restart with Step3,Part1,SubStep7 but do the below step for reconnecting the eGPU.
          • Step4,SubStep1
  6. (Optional, Bootcamp > 55GB Required) Installing CUDA Toolkit:
    1. Go ahead and download CUDA toolkit from Nvidia. Make sure to download the local installer version as it carries everything needed.
      1. For easier setup, just get Anaconda, downgrade python to 3.6 and install tensorflow-gpu using conda. It install all required cuDNN and CUDA libraries known to work with tensorflow.
    2. Begin Installation.
    3. As you approach the Express VS Custom area, select Custom.
    4. Deselect everything besides CUDA.
    5. Click on the plus next to CUDA so it opens the contents. Deselect Visual Studio Integration. This is assuming that you will be working with other apps for ML.
    6. Proceed. No restart is required, so you can do everything else.
      • For cuDNN, follow Nvidia's posted guidelines on how to move around libraries and more.

All tests are performed on the TV* as it allows for 4K@60Hz with 5ms latency so RTX 2080 Ti can truly shine. You have to switch main display from Settings->System->Display to your Monitor/TV so games can recognize the higher resolution.

Compute Benchmarks:

CUDA Z Performance

System Info

Game Benchmarks (I couldn't get myself to do more):

Game Bench (New)

Will be posting ML Performance Benchmarks soon.

*Note that DLSS for Battlefield V only works at 4K Ultra Settings with RTX 2080 Ti. For Metro you just restart the game after turning DX12 on, and Ray Tracing option comes up. My primary games are fifa and Metro seems interesting. I might get the new Tomb Raider as well, but I'm not the gamer I used to be, and this eGPU is intended primarily for Deep Learning.

Setup Notes:

  1. I believe the i7-6700HQ + the SSD via the USB-C port on RTX is presenting considerable bottleneck as it takes up some bandwidth on the TB3 connection and the processor itself is currently the lowest grade processor recommended by new games. I am looking into either a Mac Mini, might build a mini-ITX machine or sell this one for i7-8850H MBPr 15" 2TB SSD to reduce both of the bottlenecks as much as possible.
  2. Enabling the left TB3 ports after booting with eGPU plugged in, will work but if you connect the SSD to it, Windows might crash. Sometimes it works, and you can perform file transfers but cannot play games as VIDEO_TDR error occurs with or without external monitor present. Driver 425.xx causes Windows to always crash if used any other TB3 port to connect the SSD.
  3. I use Xbox Controller via BT connection and purchased a 25ft AmazonBasics HDMI cable, so I don't have to move the GPU around everytime now. Works perfectly. I'll get the Windows Xbox Adapter to connect an additional controller, so I'll let you know if it causes the crashes or works fine (should work fine).

These steps should make sure that everything has been installed properly. Also if you are planning on using Windows as your primary OS for work and more, then the good news is that you can now plug and play the eGPU whenever you feel like. But closing and reopening lid results in black screen, so save and shut down always. I edit/create photos/art on the go using Adobe, and use mac for my college so I need the dGPU with macOS active.

  • UPDATE [March 26, 2019]: Added CUDA installation steps.
  • UPDATE [April 10, 2019]: Added setup notes.
  • UPDATE [April 20, 2019]: Revised the gaming benchmarks, and added my TimeSpy+DLSS score. 
This topic was modified 3 years ago

Late 2016 15" Macbook Pro w/ RP450 + RTX 2080Ti FE @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10/MacOS

2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + Win10 [build link]  

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