2013 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [Ajay]
Update 25-04-2021 eGPU sold
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)
Processor 2,3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
Memory 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
iGPUs Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB
MacOS Catalina 10.15.5
External monitor BenQ SW320 connected via MDP on th monitor to DP on the eGPU (cable is included with monitor, and without the eGPU I used it the other way around so DP on monitor and MDP in my upper TB port)
Powercolor RX 5700 XT Red Devil 8GB DDR6
Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter
Apple TB2 cable
4K dummy adapter unknown brand (had read that this should give even better performance)
Easy install of the graphics card into the Razer Core X. When turned on and not connected to the MBP TB port, nothing happened, no power, no lights, nothing. I first thought the RCX was broken. Learned through research that the eGPU would start up once connected to the TB port... Strange but, let's see. Installed Purge-wrangler after disabling SIP. Didn't connect the eGPU during the install, I had read that it was better with this type of card that you install without connecting. So selected AMD and ti82 and rebooted. After reboot, I connected the eGPU et voila, the power and lights of the eGPU came on, as wel as my external SW320. Stage 1 completed! Or was it? My screen was very bright and pale. And wait, is my MBP slowing down? What is happening here? My system performance almost came to a halt and it only got back to normal speed once I disconnected the eGPU. I posted a reply on another post with almost the same build and @itsage replied almost immediately. Very kind, thank you! He pointed me towards Purge-nvda from @mac-editor ( https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/mid-2014-15-inch-macbook-pro-750m-master-thread/ ) and the issue could be caused by my NVDIA iGPU in my particular Mac. I decided to run Purge-nvda and after rebooting there were no further system speed issues. Stage 2 completed! Or was it? The only thing left was a washed out very bright external monitor... I dove in system prefs and found out that in the system settings of my external monitor SW320, apparently the box High Dynamic Range was ticked, although before the installation of the eGPU, this box was unticked. After unticking, the display was back with normal, calibrated colors. Done!
Unigine Valley without eGPU:
min FPS 3.1
Max FPS 8.3
Unigine Valley with eGPU:
min FPS 23.6
Max FPS 107.6
I know this is a somewhat older benchmark test, and it doesn't use Metal rendering.
Geekbench Metal Score
Intel iris Pro: 489 (can't test the NVDIA iGPU right now because of the Purge-nvda script, will try to update later)
Powercolor AMD RX5700 XT Red Devil: 68204
I use my trusted MBP for photo and video editing (HD video ProRes 4.2.0. only, no 4K yet). I just had to do something because performance was slowing my workflow down. In installed the eGPU today so I'm quite new with experiences but wanted to post my build since there's no build like this available at this time of writing. I just tried some editing in Premiere Pro with 3 video tracks and 5 audio tracks and it runs buttery smooth now, without proxies and in full playback mode. I will try Davinci Resolve 16 as well and update later.
Please excuse me if my post and my question is not in the right place.
I have the exact same machine, except the 2.6Ghz processor. After reading around on this forum, I'm looking to implement pretty much exactly the same setup as above, except with the Razer Core X Chroma.
I won't be using an external display.
I'm a graphic designer and I'm hoping to get some extra beef into my design apps (Adobe CC, Affinity suite, and 3D apps for MacOS and Windows via bootcamp) on this aging machine.
Can't afford to replace it entirely right now.
But I have a question: I live currently in Egypt, and we get frequent (sometimes daily, sometimes multiple times daily) power cuts. Would I be facing kernel panics if using a eGPU and the power to that unit cut?
I could add in a UPS. But in my past experience, they don't hold up well over time.
At any rate, my question is what would happen if I'm working and power is pulled from the eGPU?
@ian_robert_douglas, Hey Ian,
First and probably most important, without an external display, it will be money wasted. Since all data will be over a pretty slow T2 connection of 20 MBps, the speed will be in half because you are routing the data back to your laptop. So it doesn't benefit at all from the eGPU. Check some of the videos on YouTube to see these minimal or even reverse effects. Your total speed will probably even be worse than it is now. If you're not planning to upgrade your set with an external display at all, consider speeding up your editing workflow by creating proxies or playback settings (1/2 or 1/4) instead or an eGPU. Until recently, I have worked with this mac only and it was still pretty decent, if not editing 4K.
So consider buying that external monitor, preferably with DisplayPort connection for optimal speed. HDMI is getting way less performance.
I can confirm the great benefits of this external eGPU with this Mac, it has greatly improved my editing joy, both in PPro and DR16!
Second, I wouldn't waste my money on that Razer Chroma X. There's simply no need for it! The X is just fine. Better spend that money on an external display or even a UPS.
Concerning those power outages, I am convinced your Mac will not like disconnecting the eGPU without the proper procedure. I made a mistake once of just pulling the TB2 cable from the Mac and my Mac froze. Had to restart and then again because it wouldn't just start up again. So a UPS will be a good investment, unless the power outages happen once a week or so, then I would take the risk.
Autosave every 30 minutes is also a good idea, in any app 😉
Concerning other apps like Photoshop and Lightroom, I notice worse perfomance than without the eGPU AND Purge-NVDA, because the purge script disables the NVDIA internal GPU!
Let me know where I can assist further. Good luck!
@ajay, Thank you so much for taking the time, and this full reply.
So, if I understand correctly, with an external display, the eGPU makes sense and gives much better performance than the internal GPU and integrated display. But there would be zero benefit from a eGPU if you're only using the integrated display.
Too bad. This old machine struggles with what I really want to do, so I was hoping a eGPU would help, without having to buy — and adapt to — an external display.
Seems I need to rethink.
Maybe this puts me back on the path of saving up, instead, for a new Macbook Pro — especially the ones that are being talked about now, for late 2021, with mini-LED displays and ARM-based chips.
Maxing that out, however, would probably be at the $5k mark.
Which is why I was hoping for a cheaper boost, specifically for graphics work.
On the other hand, 7 years out of a MBP isn't bad, really. It probably time for me to get ready to retire it and move on and up.
Thanks again so much for your response.
@ian_robert_douglas, Sure no problem Ian,
Yes you understand correctly, but please do check YouTube for more info or this forum of course to find your own truth.
What kind of graphics work do you do? I have no experience with illustrating, besides the occasional logo creation in AI. I use my MBP mostly for video-editing since a year and less for photo editing. I think if you set purge-nvda to the right settings, your mac still can use the internal nvdia gpu (suppress mode?) so it wont lose speed while using other apps. Like I said, my main activities now are video editing and I love getting this phenomenal speed from my 7 year old, for 'just' over 800 euros! BTW I love my BenQ SW320, which I can calibrate for REC709 and ProPhoto, and have the factory calibrated sRGB as 3rd option.
Another option for you could be a more recent Mac mini with an external display connected to an eGPU, this will save you probably 2-3K and you'll have a much faster setup than any MBP. Although I must say that they expect a lot for the new Apple Silicon macs. It will take some time to see those MBP's in stores I believe...
The fun part of the eGPU is that you will be able to upgrade again if newer and faster GPU's will come available. The only limiting item could be that TB3 is going to be replaced by TB4 and that new Macs will have those ports. But then again, a new razer Core X with TB4 will come available too and you sell off your current X. This can go on forever hahaha so I'll stop now.
Thank you @ajay.
I work mainly in vector graphics, which is no problem in most circumstances, but sometimes I do more complicated vector-based illustrations, like these:
The left one (a spiral galaxy) weighs in at 25MB, but really slows my MBP to a crawl.
And beyond these rudimentary graphics, I would like to dive into complex 3D. But this would be impossible currently.
I'm going to upgrade my internal SSD, which should give write/read speeds roughly 1.5x faster than currently, but the real issue is the graphics card, I'm sure.
I think I'll wait for the late 2021 MBPs, and just hope I can endure until then.
Always the same bind: I need more speed, fluidity, range, so I can be more creative, faster and easier, so I can earn more and keep progressing, yet this costs the money I hope to make, and there's always something better tantalising us on the horizon. Waving, but not here yet.
Thanks again, Ajay.
Awesome design work! I googled your name and noticed your other designs as well, wow! I'll keep you in mind should we need a designer in the future, hope that's okay.
I have an idea so maybe i can test this out for you: send me a file that I can open in Illustrator (latest version CC) and tell me what I should do to test working in it. I'd be happy to do a facetime call with you. Maybe it all works fine, I found some posts on AI witg eGPU and there should be a perfomance boost.
So, if you like, we can try it out together. Let me know,
Thank you for your kind comments @ajay.
I'll send you a private message in a bit. I work in Affinity Designer mostly, but let me see if I can think of a file I have that clogs Illustrator.
Have you heard something about headless HDMI adapter that acts as a fake/ghost display and speeds up the internal display? People are using that and the effect is like on external display: https://egpu.io/how-to-egpu-accelerated-internal-display-macos/
I think it can be interesting for you @ian_robert_douglas too.
Anyway, please let me know if you still have the setup you mentioned before. Don't you mind if I ask a few question about your eGPU?
I use 1 headless adapter but I wouldn't say that it speeds up my internal display. In fact, since you have to disable the nvdia gpu to be able to work with the egpu, it is slower AND you can't use the hdmi port on your MBP anymore... I believe the headless hdmi adapter only speeds up the external display
- Don't you mind if I ask a few question about your eGPU? Not at all, ask me anything!