2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Bo...
 
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2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Following my review of the Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1070 Gaming Box here's an implementation guide on a late-2016 15" MacBook Pro. This one has been the most challenging yet to resolve both error 12 and Nvidia Optimus internal display mode. It was working but not reliable. I kept trying and believe it's now working very stable.

 

System specs:

Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro – i7-6700HQ/Radeon Pro 450 dGPU/HD Graphics 530 iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

AORUS Gaming Box + GeForce GTX 1070 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware video:

Here's a quick video of a typical boot up process. I select the apple_set_os.efi, then proceed to boot into Windows partition. The LEDs on AORUS GTX 1070 Gaming Box turn off briefly during Windows boot screen. They turn back on when Windows completes boot up and recognizes eGPU. I restarted the laptop with eGPU attached at least a dozen times today and it was working every time.

 

Installation steps:

I'm working on a detailed Bootcamp eGPU setup guide article in the coming weeks. These are the basic steps I took for this setup:

  • Install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS].
  • Install DDU to remove default AMD/Nvidia graphics drivers and disable Windows automated GPU driver installation [in Windows].
  • Create a manual Restore point just in case there's boot up issues - name it "DDU Safe" [in Windows].
  • Install rEFInd boot manager - disable SIP if you haven't done so already [in macOS].
  • Mount EFI partition and create a subfolder called "custom" [in macOS].
  • Download and copy apple_set_os.efi into the "custom" folder inside EFI volume [in macOS].
  • Hit ENTER on apple_set_os.efi volume at rEFInd screen then boot into Windows [boot selection].
  • Open Device Manager to confirm Intel iGPU is present and active [in Windows].
  • Install latest Intel iGPU graphics drivers [in Windows].
  • Create a manual Restore point just in case there's boot up issues - name it "iGPU Safe" [in Windows].
  • Select View by Connection in Device Manager then locate PCIe Controller x8 - 1905 to disable it [in Windows].
  • Run gpu-switch integrated.bat as Admin to attach the iGPU to internal display on next boot - may need to install 2013 Visual C++ x86 [in Windows].
  • Shut MacBook Pro down then connect eGPU to one of the right side Thunderbolt 3 ports.
  • Boot into Windows following apple_set_os.efi at rEFInd screen [boot selection].
  • Install Nvidia graphics drivers then restart [in Windows].
  • Create a manual Restore point just in case there's boot up issues - name it "eGPU Safe" [in Windows].
  • Boot into Windows following apple_set_os.efi at rEFInd screen [boot selection].
  • Open Device Manager to confirm iGPU, dGPU, and eGPU are present and active [in Windows].
  • Select View by Connection in Device Manager then locate PCIe Controller x16 - 1901 to disable it. If there's no BSOD proceed to enable PCIe Controller x8 - 1905 [in Windows].

 

If all goes well, you have essentially converted the 15" TB3 MacBook Pro into an iGPU only laptop. This helps enabling Nvidia Optimus and solving error 12. One important thing to keep in mind is that you have to re-enable PCIe Controller x16 - 1901 [in Windows] prior to boot back into macOS because the Radeon dGPU is on this PCIe connection. Otherwise the next Windows boot will hang due to macOS force-attaching the dGPU onto the internal display. This is why I recommend creating manual restore points in Windows after a change so that in the event Windows fails to boot, you can go back to a safe spot without redoing the entire process. PhysX shows Nvidia GTX 1070 is binding with HD Graphics 530 to power the internal display.

Prior to booting into macOS, perform these steps to ensure the next Windows boot won't hang:

  • Enable PCI Express x16 Controller – 1901 to the Radeon dGPU.
  • Run gpu-switch dedicated.bat as Administrator to attach dGPU to internal display.
  • Reboot and check if dGPU is powering the internal display (can change display brightness).

 

 

aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro hwinfo

aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro cuda z

 

Benchmarks:

Here are benchmark numbers through internal display mode. I attached an USB 3.0 525GB SSD external drive to the AORUS Gaming Box to install Steam games. Other than Unigine programs, the other ones were all done through the external drive via eGPU. The Thunderbolt 3 15" MacBook Pro yields impressive results despite the H2D half bandwidth this AORUS Gaming Box currently suffer.

aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal heaven
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal valley
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal superposition
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal fire strike
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal time spy
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal the division
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal ghost recon
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal mordor
aorus gtx 1070 gaming box 2016 15 in macbook pro 1080 internal dirt rally

 

Comments:

I wanted to make sure this setup procedure works with most Thunderbolt 3 enclosures on the market so I tried the other 4 I have. They all work the same way. The safest approach is to uninstall graphics drivers with DDU before connecting the new enclosure + GPU. 

AMD cards require both x16 PCIe Controller 1901 and x8 1905 to be disabled at boot to prevent error 12. Once Xconnect is up and running, x8 PCIe Controller 1905 can be enabled to use the left Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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ludalex
(@ludalex)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Great great guide, just what I needed, thank you. Only one question: what are the steps I can avoid if I just want to use an external monitor and not boost the internal display?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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zadillo
(@zadillo)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Thank you so much for this..... Can't wait to see the guide you're working on. I'm hoping to pair this with my 2017 15" MBP but haven't been clear until now what steps is have to take

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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baris3
(@baris3)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Can I also do it with 750m thunderbolt 2 macbook pro ? If I'd known it will be possible easily I would order the Aorus without hesitation..

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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VxD
 VxD
(@vxd)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: ludalex

Great great guide, just what I needed, thank you. Only one question: what are the steps I can avoid if I just want to use an external monitor and not boost the internal display?

Thanks for the guide!

Same question here: I hope to use the gaming box to drive an Oculus Rift (only, I do not have another external display) and leave the internal display attached to the dGPU (and not use apple_set_os or rEFInd if possible.)

I will be rebooting into macOS on a regular basis, and would like to keep the whole switch process as simple as possible.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

If you only intend to use eGPU with external display, try these steps and see whether they resolve error 12.

  • Install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS].
  • Install DDU to remove default graphics drivers and disable Windows automated GPU driver installation [in Windows].
  • Create a manual Restore point just in case there’s boot up issues [in Windows].
  • Select View by Connection in Device Manager then locate PCIe Controller x8 – 1905 to disable it [in Windows].
  • Shut down then connect eGPU (with external monitor attached) to one of the right side Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.
  • Open Device Manager to confirm 2x Microsoft Basic Display Adapters are present and active [in Windows].
  • Install Nvidia graphics drivers then restart [in Windows].

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


ronchigram, NieghtLyght, VxD and 1 people liked
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hypernurd
(@hypernurd)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hey @theITSage,

Awesome guide, yet again - when do you sleep!?

Just got my hands on a 2017 MPB - 3.1Ghz/1TB/560 dGPU - We originally sold it to a customer which someone at UPS 'lost' - it just turned up back at our warehouse in a manilla box without original packaging and a wiped HD. Interestingly Apple's GSX platform confirmed the unit had been configured at some time in the previous week...Hmmm....interesting.

Anyway, now its find a new, caring owner, it looks like my Mid-2015 Retina MBP woes will now be over. Looking forward to having a go at this but I wondered what steps would be required to NOT use the internal HD but instead use a SanDisk II SDD in my Mantix Venus? Is the set-up basically the same given the SATA drive is seen on the TB3 bus?

Also, as I'm a Mac-nut and not a Win-dozer, what do you mean by "Create a manual Restore point"? Is this like a snapshot? 

Finally, if I want to use internal and external graphics from the eGPU do I take it the first method works for both?

Keep it up - we're loving what you're doing!

Hypernurd

2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.12.6 & Win10 [build link]  

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VxD
 VxD
(@vxd)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage
  • Install DDU to remove default graphics drivers and disable Windows automated GPU driver installation [in Windows].

Thanks, itsage, for the useful info.

Is uninstalling the original drivers actually necessary? That would basically disable 3D acceleration on the internal display (as it would run on the dGPU without drivers).

It was my understanding that AMD and nVidia drivers would not conflict with each other and were thus OK to leave side by side.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@hypernurd Congrats on a nice-specced MBP! I wonder why you'd want to go through the trouble of installing Windows on an external drive. I'd recommend creating a 200GB or less partition for Windows on the internal drive then install all of your games on the Sandisk II SSD in the Mantiz. That's what I'm currently doing - partitioned the 256GB internal PCIe drive in half for Windows then store all games on the external SSD.

System Restore is a roll-back feature in Windows so yes it is a snapshot. You can follow this guide to create a manual restore point.

@VxD You can try uninstalling Windows stock Nvidia drivers only so that DDU turns off automated GPU driver installation. If it works for you please let us know.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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Robot Ripper
(@robot-ripper)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I have a 2017  15"Macbook Pro (2.9Ghz/512GB/560 dGPU) and a gaming box arriving today. 

I'll try this out on bootcamp tonight with my oculus rift and external display (2560x1600) and report back.

(As a sidenote, since Oculus demands 1080p*2 @ 90fps, would the half bandwidth problem be more pronounced when attempting to drive the oculus rift's display?)

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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