2019 16" MacBook Pro (RP5300M) [9th,6C,H] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X Chroma) + macOS 10.15.5 & Win10 1903 // iMac 27" Display
While i waited for the Razer to arrive, i read so many posts here that i got really paranoid and almost ditched my macOS needs and switched to Nvidia. I am very glad i did not do so. Against all odds and comments here, everything literally worked plug and play. On both macOS and Win10.
This guide by @itsage was the one i followed in full detail.
The steps are basically the same, but i will try to write down in a bit more detail. We do not use any modifications for Win10, the bootloader, nor do we disable PCI slots. An ideal setup for me.
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) 2,6GHz i7 [EveryMac listing]
- iGPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB
- dGPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4 GB
- enclosure: Razer Core X Chroma [official website]
- eGPU: Radeon RX 5700 XT (Gigabyte Gaming Oc 8GB) [official website]
- TB3 cable: Stock 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable that came with Razer
Short version: Mac works, Install Win1903 BC, Disable update, Reinstall drivers, no port dance.
- Verify on macOS. Verified that everything is in fact working. I just hot-plugged the eGPU while in MacOS. It blinked and i saw an image on external display. yay. Verified everything seems fine in the System Information app, and started up some WoW, just to see it going. (Pro tip: You will notice that a new icon appears in the menu bar near the clock, which allows you to safely disconnect the card, and shows the card name as well)
- Tidy up the table.
- Install Windows 10 via bootcamp. Nothing special, normal install. I used the specific version [Win10 Final, 1903 18362.30] just to be sure. Since i installed it on the internal drive, i allocated 70GB to the partition. I will use the external USBc SSD to actually store games. The setup is pretty straightforward, it will reboot the machine and install windows by itself. Even the drivers will install by themselves. You just pick up a juice and wait. After step1, i removed the eGPU cable, and won't be connecting it anytime soon. Also don't forget to use a real charger instead. I forgot.
- Disable update. After successful boot, i did not connect to the internet at all. Instead, i went and disabled windows 10 updates via Group Policy method.
- Enable ultimate performance mode. This does not have anything to do with the eGPU i guess. This is something i usually do. The default power mode is really bad. Oh, also Go into display settings and disable the stupid automatic brightness
- Remove Drivers. Connect to the internet, install firefox, go to this link and download the latest DDU. I did not use safe mode with it. I just Ran it as administrator (right click, run as admin). I DESELECTED only (store config, safe mode) others were selected. After which i click on the dropdown and pick GPU and AMD options. When this was done, i clicked "Clean and do NOT restart". Be patient, it took like 3 min.
- Reinstall Drivers. https://www.bootcampdrivers.com and i used the latest "April 2020 Red" pack from the main menu. Once you download the archive, you want to first install the certificate, Adrenaline, and then openCL driver. Note that during installation of Adrenaline, i checked the Reset drivers box. This resulted in a system reboot, after which the drivers automatically continued installation.
- Insert eGPU. What the title says. Once win10 was fully booted and we are sure that AMD drivers are installed (just open them up and see if they recognize internal card, or look in device manager), i removed everything from USB and i just plugged in the eGPU. Also the external monitor was on the whole time. Ok, so this moment was a bit weird the first time. I heard the "connect chime" like at least 5 times, the screens flashed a couple of times. nothing special. Once i saw the image on the external monitor, i waited for a bit more, and a popup... popped up... saying that the configuration has been changed and i need a reboot. Which i did. After the reboot Win10 worked fine, and i had both GPUs.
- Make a restore point. Self explanatory, google it.
Port Dance? There was no port dance whatsoever. So far, the eGPU works in cold plug and hot plug mode, in both operating systems without any issues.
Might attach later. Sorry, but i'm not really into benchmarks. Tried to answer it in my own words in the Q&A section below.
Q: I see two monitors in the picture. What is the exact setup?
A: I use the system with both internal and external monitors. Depends on the use case really.
The external monitor i use is actually a iMac (27-inch, late 2010) used in the target display mode via a simple Hama DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort cable attached between the eGPU and iMac. Worked out of the box. (Pro tip: you can switch the iMac display target by pressing cmd+F2 on iMac keyboard)
Q: Since you are using a monitor that supports audio, and DP... Does it work?
A: Yes and yes. Out of the box, in both win and mac. I had to do nothing.
Q: In one of the pictures, the laptop is closed. How does that work?
A: When you have an external mouse or keyboard attached, and close the laptop, Macs go into what is officially known as a "clamshell mode", and turn of the internal display. I do not use clamshell mode. I have been an Apple Service Technician for ~8 years, and i have seen my fare share of ruined MacBooks, because cooling DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY in clamshell mode. Not only do MacBook Pros use the keyboard for some of the airflow, but in addition to that, by closing the lid, you effectively close down the upper exhaust (and we all know heat goes up). For example i literally had a case where the keyboard keycaps melted while the guy was playing Fallout 3. Sometimes i use it while programming on external display, or whatever, but if i were you, i would never use it while gaming or performing CPU intensive tasks.
Q: Ok ok, but how does it run?
A: I don't do benchmarks, so i wouldn't know, but off the bat, its snappier, WoW runs at 117fps solid at ultra, Squad at 60fps, CS:GO is solid 240+. Apps that use video encoding like Adobe suite or Adapter for Mac, or even image encoding like ImageOptim, run significantly faster. Significantly. The overall feel is that laptop is kind of cool at all times, and rarely spins up the fans. By looking at the stats, seems that the dGPU and iGPU do nothing most of the time, and i guess no heat then...
Q: How is the fan noise?
A: I'm a little bit biased here. I use an iMac for a display. Nothing the Razer can do can match the awful sound of imac cooling itself. That being said, it still might be early to tell, but i have only heard the PSU fan spinning once so far and its really not that bad, its way lower noise levels than a MBP would usually do. The GPU fans are silent.
Q: Have you tried running it on existing Windows?
A: Yeah, in fact i did. I had a fully updated 2020 Win10 on an external USB drive. It was weird i must say, it did not recognise that i plugged in anything at all. No devices in DeviceManager, no plug in sound, literally nothing happened except that the laptop was charging over the connection. I did not care much for the Win, so i just installed it anew, but i am confident that my Thunderbolt drivers were corrupt, and that caused it to work as USBc instead. We will never know...
Q: Cold plug or hot plug?
A: I like cold plug better. other than that, it really seems to make no difference, it works both ways.
Q: Does RGB work?
A: Razer has its own software, and after install it worked normally. I turned it all off. Issue is that it only works on windows. Also GPU has some rgbs that seem to be in sync with razer, but i cannot control them individually. I guess gigabyte has their own software?
Its a very good BTO i7 machine as well, but unfortunately, Apple started their usual "10th year deprecation wave" on its generation, so slowly it is becoming unusable. The inability to run newest Office, Docker, WoW, FinalCut etc is overwhelming. The funny thing is, if i install Bootcamp or Debian on it, all of the mentioned work fine, even tho in macOS Apple claims that "obsolete hardware" or "unsupported CPU family" is the culprit. 🙁 The real reason why they decided not to support newer OS, or certain APIs on the machine remains elusive.
So nowadays i use it as a great main screen via a simple $15 eGPU/DisplayPort-to-miniDisplayPort cable. I have a mDP-mDP cable for my tb2 laptops to connect as well.
Hey Really great tuto. I have exactly the same setup.
I've followed every step. Step 9->driver is installed. graphic card is recognized.
IF I reboot the window menu appear but without the possibility of entering my password. My MBP keyboard is not responding.
If I don't reboot I can play games on a external monitor linked to the razer without problem but after that If I reboot again same problem.
If I reboot without the razer plugged, I can enter windows no problem but If plug the razer, graphic card is not recognized anymore.
I have spent hours triyng to make it work. Can you help me?
@thierry_huart-eeckhoudt, i have read on the forum that plugging into the lower left side tb port is the best. No idea, you should try.
Could you explain is a bit more detail? From what i gathered, a hotplug works for you, but a cold one does not?
Also do you see both graphics cards in the device manager? What about adrenalin’s Display tab?
Update after a couple of days of heavy usage:
- Still works like a charm. No real problems whatsoever.
- Runs Shadow of Tomb Raider, from external ssd, at ultra&2k, at 45fps steady.
- Runs wow at 120fps at ultra&2k.
- Runs Squad at ultra&2k, at 60fps (vsync)
- Runs Minesweeper at infinity fps
Hotplug and port dance:
- Both hotplug and cold plug still work fine on both systems. I mix them all the time, as sometimes i would leave my laptop plugged in while rebooting, and other times i would detach it and bring it with me... ...to the other room (yay corona).
- I never ever tried port dance. I just always plug it into the lower left TB3 port, for no specific reason. Might try later and report back.
(no) Driver issues:
- None, really. I did not reinstall or update anything that i know of.
- In extremely rare cases, after macOS updates or similar, the gpu gets confused when soft-rebooting the computer (switching from win to mac or back) and needs a full power cycle (turn off the computer, turn off the egpu power, boot, hotplug). Whatever, almost didn't even notice.
- Along similar lines, sometimes macos kextcache process kicks in 100% CPU (only observed after the "egpu confused" segment above. Thats macOS rebuilding kext cache and trying to optimize boot speed. Just wait it out for 2-3min, you wouldn't usually notice it at all. I mean, look, this is really to be expected. The os just updated. Of course its gonna need a couple of minutes to reload all the drivers.
@marko_mitranic, Hey thanks for the right up. I have a back book 16 inch 2019 5500m and 5700xt Red Devil...this does not work for me. I get the error code 12 and followed everything you posted to the T. Any suggestions?
I even tried 2 different monitors, tried the lower left port, cold and hot plug....nothing.