Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro + R9 Fury [email protected] (AKiTiO Node Duo) + macOS 10.14 [theitsage]
macOS Mojave public release is right around the corner. I wanted to test a number of different unsupported configurations. In this pairing, the R9 Fury X does not have native eGPU support. As a matter of fact, the Fiji lineup never had much love in macOS. While there are drivers to make them work, they're not optimized and don't have proper names. Thanks to @goalque's automate-eGPU.kext, we can use older AMD Radeon cards in external mode.
2016 15" MacBook Pro - i7-6700HQ/Radeon Pro 450 dGPU/HD Graphics 530 iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD
AKiTiO Node Duo + Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury X + 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable
Second PCIe slot: Aquantia AQtion 10G Pro NIC
PSU: Enermax Revolution 650W SFX + PCIe power splitter adapter
@mac_editor has done a tremendous job with continuously improving his Purge-Wrangler solution. What started out as a workaround for Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 Macs to access eGPU feature in ≥10.13.4 has become an all-in-one eGPU solution for macOS. The latest version worked so well I didn't even have to restart the laptop prior to being able to use the R9 Fury X eGPU.
The bulk of the installation process was more hardware related than software. I was hoping the Node Duo would have enough clearance inside to mount the radiator. That wasn't the case so I went outside to box to mount this AIO liquid cooler. The power arrangement is the same as described in my unboxing post of the Node Duo. I also added the 10G Ethernet card to the 2nd PCIe slot of this enclosure. With one Thunderbolt 3 cable, this AKiTiO Node Duo gives the MacBook Pro access to a much more powerful graphics card and 10GbE.
Apple has been adding more functionalities to eGPU. In macOS 10.14 Mojave, the most welcome addition is internal display acceleration. It actually works on more than just the internal display. I was able to use the R9 Fury X eGPU on a portable USB-C monitor daisy-chained off the Node Duo's second Thunderbolt 3 port. It would have worked the same way had I connected this monitor to one of the MacBook Pro's remaining TB3 ports. It's a FHD monitor so not much bandwidth was robbed. If you plan on connecting 4K+ monitors, it's best to connect them directly to the MacBook Pro. Here I ran Unigine benchmarks at 1680 x 1050 because that's the forced resolution closest to FHD the internal display would render.
|eGPU Internal Display||eGPU External Display|
The AKiTiO Node Duo is not for everyone. It's very appealing to users like me who enjoys tinkering with hardware. It's also one of the very few Thunderbolt enclosures with more than one PCIe slot.