late-2016 15" Macbook Pro RP450 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + macOS10.12.1 [theitsage]^  

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theitsage
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January 1, 2017 4:40 pm  

There have been many reports on the Late 2016 15" touchbar MacBook Pro working with the Razer Core Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure in Windows. Successes in macOS were few and far between. I've been testing a 15" MacBook Pro with the Radeon Pro 450 discrete graphics card.

My two Thunderbolt 3 enclosures are the AKiTiO Thunder3 and Node. The AKiTiO Node with its TI83 controller is still a no-go in macOS so I hooked up this 2016 15" MacBook Pro to the Thunder3 with a GTX 980 Ti attached. I changed out the Dell DA-2 power brick for a full-size modular ATX 850W PSU.

Apple blocks TI82 controller in Thunderbolt 3 enclosures such as this AKiTiO Thunder3 and the Razer Core. Therefore the first order of business is to unblock this restriction by modifying the controller file inside IOThunderboltFamily.kext. You can either do a Find & Replace in a Hex editor or download and run TB3-enabler (discovered by kid2010 on netkas).

55 48 89 E5 41 57 41 56 41 55 41 54 53 48 81 EC 38 01
55 48 89 E5 31 C0 5D C3 41 55 41 54 53 48 81 EC 38 01

Once the Unsupported message disappeared in Thunderbolt System Information, the next challenge is to make macOS recognize a graphics card has been attached to the Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. Goalque's automate-eGPU script is still the tool of choice for this task. I've tried a few AMD GPUs before using this Thunder3 without success, so this time I went with an Nvidia GPU.

I had much better luck with the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti. This Thunderbolt 3 eGPU setup works with the Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro through my AKiTiO Thunder3 enclosure. It requires an external monitor which has always been the case with eGPU in Mac OS environment.

I ran some benchmarks to compare the Radeon Pro 450 dGPU against this GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU. These numbers show a 4-5x graphics performance boost.

In the coming days, I'll test this Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure using the same GTX 980 Ti. Hopefully this will provide insight on the performance difference between the two Thunderbolt generations and whether it's worth the upgrade if you already own the AKiTiO Thunder2.

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samklee
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January 1, 2017 7:33 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

 

There have been many reports on the Late 2016 15" touchbar MacBook Pro working with the Razer Core Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure in Windows. Successes in macOS were few and far between. I've been testing a 15" MacBook Pro with the Radeon Pro 450 discrete graphics card.

...
  

Thanks for documenting your success.  Great news.  Warning first others trying to duplicate this effort - make sure you're on 10.12.1. Not sure this will work on 10.12.2.

 

 

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theitsage
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January 1, 2017 7:52 pm  

@samklee I wanted to try this eGPU setup in 10.12.1 first based on reports of 10.12.2 issues from you and others. I will update to 10.12.2 after running a full Time Machine backup. In the mean time, have you tried uninstalling the Nvidia web drivers and automate-eGPU script completely then redo?

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samklee
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January 2, 2017 7:38 am  
Posted by: theitsage

 

@samklee I wanted to try this eGPU setup in 10.12.1 first based on reports of 10.12.2 issues from you and others. I will update to 10.12.2 after running a full Time Machine backup. In the mean time, have you tried uninstalling the Nvidia web drivers and automate-eGPU script completely then redo?

   

Good question.  Can't remember... 🙁  I installed different versions of web driver on top of each other (I assumed that uninstall prior to install was not necessary) 

Unfortunately my freetime to experiment is winding down and work is about to get insanely busy.  I think I would stay up some late nights with further attempts if it weren't for a favorable experience with my new Plugable usb c dock.   This will hold me over until others figure out a solution.  

For those interested, displaylink compatibility has come a long way in 10.12.3 beta from 10.12.1.  I'm running 2 displays through the plugable dock and a 3rd monitor via usb c ->hdmi adapter.  Great thing about the dock is that it also charges my macbook.

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theitsage
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January 3, 2017 1:32 am  

I ran benchmarks on this 2016 15" MBP with the same eGPU components except for the Thunderbolt enclosure. These numbers were through an external monitor via an AKiTiO Thunder2 with the Apple TB3<-->TB2 adapter.

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ikir
 ikir
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January 3, 2017 9:11 am  

Very interesting, i'm still waiting power cable for my eGPU. I have a Radeon RX480 do you know why it is not working on Thunder 3? Do i need to buy an GTX 970?

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wwpokenet
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January 4, 2017 9:49 am  

Sorry but is there any guide for eGPU on 2016 15''MacBook pro on Win10(internal display)?

I have tried Alec' guide on this forum but it led to failure(destroy my win10 and even macOS). 

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nyanmatt
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January 6, 2017 3:54 pm  

I've been testing a similar setup on 10.12.2

Late 2016 13" MacBook Pro (without touchbar)
Razer Core TB3
eVGA GTX 980ti

NVIDIA Web Drive 367.15.10.25f01

System Information > Graphics/Display lists the video card as "Nvidia Chip Model"

Is this a common issue with 10.12.2? I'll try to resolve this with a downgrade over the weekend.

 

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samklee
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January 6, 2017 4:37 pm  
Posted by: nyanmatt

 

I've been testing a similar setup on 10.12.2

Late 2016 13" MacBook Pro (without touchbar)
Razer Core TB3
eVGA GTX 980ti

NVIDIA Web Drive 367.15.10.25f01

System Information > Graphics/Display lists the video card as "Nvidia Chip Model"

Is this a common issue with 10.12.2? I'll try to resolve this with a downgrade over the weekend.

 

   

I have that same issue after upgrading to 10.12.2, though with different hardware -- late '16 15" tMBP and gtx 970.  I finally got it running (sorta) by editing one of the web driver installation files to bypass the software check.  Additionally I have to connect my core between the apple logo and progress bar on startup.  It takes me a few reboots to time it right.  Not a viable solution.  Best bet is to wait for automate-egpu 1.o script to come out, which should be soon.  

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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ikir
 ikir
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January 6, 2017 4:38 pm  

@all

working Thunder3 + RX480 with MacBook Pro 2016

https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/macbook-pro-13-2016-touchbar-with-akitio-thunder3-radeon-rx480-work-in-progress/#post-1094

eGPU.it | LG 34" 4K 34UC88 curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD --> my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64


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nyanmatt
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January 6, 2017 4:53 pm  
Posted by: samklee

I have that same issue after upgrading to 10.12.2, though with different hardware -- late '16 15" tMBP and gtx 970.  I finally got it running (sorta) by editing one of the web driver installation files to bypass the software check.  Additionally I have to connect my core between the apple logo and progress bar on startup.  It takes me a few reboots to time it right.  Not a viable solution.  Best bet is to wait for automate-egpu 1.o script to come out, which should be soon.     

Cool, thanks for the response. I did see your post about that while searching for info on 10.12.2. Tried the method you described for connecting on boot, but I gave up on it as a full-time solution with 1.0 around the corner. Looking forward to testing the new release.

 

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precision01
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July 11, 2017 8:22 pm  

Hello, theitsage.

Thanks for you benchmark.

I also have a late 2016 Macbook Pro 15" (radeon pro 455), and I was thinking about replacing my Akitio Thunder 2 Pci express box for the newer Thunderbolt 3 version.

From what we can see from your results, it is not worth if you are using a external display. But what about the internal display? I'm curious to know if we have a different performance hit on Akitio thunder 2 vs Akitio thunder 3.

Do you still have the equipament? Could you kindly run the same benchmark using internal display?

thanks

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theitsage
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July 11, 2017 8:47 pm  

@precision01 Internal display mode in macOS is a very involved process. The performance loss is 30-50% at Thunderbolt 3 speed. So I would say it's going to be very bad at Thunderbolt 2 speed.

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precision01
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July 12, 2017 3:39 pm  

Hi, theitsage, I understand.

Did you test in Windows via bootcamp? I'm wondering if, in Windows, we have the same performance drop on internal display both on Akitio Thunder 2 and Akitio Thunder 3. Maybe the performance drop is significantly lower on Akitio Thunder 3.

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theitsage
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July 12, 2017 4:27 pm  

Performance in Windows is much better for internal display mode. This is due to AMD XConnect and Nvidia Optimus. These software can manage graphics switching rather than our current hack in macOS.

In your scenario, 2016 15" MBP must have iGPU enabled when booting into Windows to make use of either AMD XConnect or Nvidia Optimus. The Thunder3 is faster but certainly not twice as fast compared to Thunder2.

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precision01
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July 12, 2017 6:29 pm  

Maybe with Apple plans to support eGPU on macOS High Sierra we will have a AMD XConnect and Nvidia Optimus for Mac. Who knows, it is not?

I think I will buy Akitio Thunder 3 anyway. and try to run some benchmarks and put then here.

Thanks for the explanation, theitsage.

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theitsage
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July 12, 2017 6:47 pm  

Apple has its own graphics switching solution in Mac OS which works with both AMD and Nvidia cards. I'm hoping Apple engineers will make that work with external graphics card.

Was there a particular reason you prefer the Thunder3? If you like the small profile, I'd recommend waiting for the AKiTiO Node Lite which is a revised Thunder3 with the more compatible TI83 controller. Many Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures come with a built-in PSU if you don't mind the larger footprint.

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ivan28
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July 23, 2017 7:45 pm  

 hey @theitsage I tried to make my razer core works with sierra 10.12.6 with ihex but no success, tb3 enabler doesn't work with mac os 10.12.6 

Any idea?

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theitsage
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July 23, 2017 7:59 pm  
Posted by: ivan28

 hey @theitsage I tried to make my razer core works with sierra 10.12.6 with ihex but no success, tb3 enabler doesn't work with mac os 10.12.6 

Any idea?

Please work through these instructions to enable TI82 Thunderbolt 3 by manually editing IOThunderboltFamily.kext.

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