2012 13" MacBook Pro [3rd,2C,M] + GTX 780 @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 350) + macOS 10.12 & Win10 [Xignalio]
Hello everyone on eGPU.io! I received my Sonnet box in the mail Tuesday and have been fiddling with it for the majority of the week. After a handful of OS reinstallations, I've finally gotten the issues ironed out.
Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes as this is a very simple setup compared to other Macbook models.
With the Mid-2012 Macbook Pros being the last generation to have upgradable RAM and HDD (and a disc drive), it is a favorite of mine for that reason alone. Having an eGPU helps take this laptop to the next level.
- Mid-2012 13" Macbook Pro (Core i7-3520M, MD102LL/A)
- Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with 350W Power Supply
- EVGA GeForce GTX 780 (Reference Model)
1. Install/Have macOS Sierra
The release of High Sierra might make eGPU setup easier, but for now I'm still running Sierra.
2. Disable SIP
Boot into recovery mode (Cmd+R on startup), open a terminal, run 'csrutil disable', then reboot back to macOS. More detailed instructions are in the automate-eGPU.sh guide.
3. Reboot with eGPU plugged in now
The script below needs to be able to detect the eGPU.
4. Run automate-eGPU.sh
Download the script from the automate-eGPU.sh guide: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/goalque/automate-eGPU/master/automate-eGPU.sh
Run it according to the directions.
Do not use the -a flag. This option broke eGPU detection for me.
Keep the eGPU connected and powered on.
6. The eGPU should now be recognized.
You're done! Be sure to verify that your eGPU is showing up in System Information.
Before following this guide please have your data backed up beforehand, there is plenty of room for error and any mistake might result in the loss of your data!
This part was uncharted territory as I've realized there are no Windows guides for Mid-2012 13" MBP models. But after a large amount of trial-and-error, I've determined the following (which only applies to Bootcamp MBR/BIOS installs):
- If you have an existing Bootcamp installation of Windows (MBR/BIOS installation), forget about getting it to run.
- I get a black screen when booting to Windows with the eGPU on.
- If you wait until Windows is booted, then switch the eGPU on, the OS will not recognize the eGPU. Device Manager will not see any new devices.
- I have attempted to use DIY eGPU Setup 1.35, but was not able to get it to detect the eGPU.
For those who are adventurous, you can attempt the PERST# switch trick here which I haven't tried: https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/mbp-egpu-detection-issues/paged/1/
Because of these issues, I gave up using Bootcamp in favor of a clean UEFI installation, which works fine (for the most part, onboard audio is the only thing that is broken).
Here's the problem with doing an UEFI install, if you have ever made a Bootcamp partition before with Boot Camp Assistant, your disk is now a hybrid MBR disk.
That means when you install Windows 10 with an UEFI USB installer, it will refuse to install because the Windows installer detects the drive as MBR.
To fix this, you can either remove the hybrid MBR, or install UEFI Windows 10 on an external drive using these instructions: https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/how-to-install-windows-10-bootcamp-on-an-external-hdd-or-ssd/
For this guide, I will be removing the hybrid MBR and installing Windows 10 to the internal disk.
There is a guide here to remove the hybrid MBR: https://superuser.com/questions/508026/windows-detects-gpt-disk-as-mbr-in-efi-boot/508454#508454
I'll summarize the guide below:
(skip to Step 3 if your disk is already GPT)
(skip to Step 4 if you already have a UEFI Win10 install, or did the external drive install)
IMPORTANT! By removing the hybrid MBR you will be rendering any Bootcamp partitions unbootable. Back up your data and say your goodbyes to your Windows install beforehand.
1. Remove the hybrid MBR from your Bootcamped disk
1.1. Download and install GPT fdisk on your macOS installation.
1.2. You will have to disable SIP if you haven't done so already for the macOS eGPU installation.
1.3. Use Disk Utility to get the device name for your disk (mine says disk1).
1.4. Run gdisk like so (where disk1 is your disk name): 'sudo gdisk /dev/disk1'
1.5. Type 'p' and hit ENTER to view your partitions, make sure these look familiar, otherwise you're working on the wrong disk!
1.6. Type 'x' and hit ENTER to enter the experts' menu.
1.7. Type 'n' and hit ENTER to create a protective MBR, which will get rid of the hybrid MBR. Note that there is no text confirmation.
1.8. Type 'w' and hit ENTER to write the changes to the disk.
1.9. Done. Your Bootcamp partition (if you had one) is now unusable and can be removed in Disk Utility.
2. You are now ready for a UEFI Windows installation
Partition your disk accordingly using Disk Utility so there is room for your Windows install.
3. Install Windows 10 using a UEFI USB installer
I used the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to download an ISO and burned it using Rufus to a bootable USB with a GPT partition scheme. These are both Windows-only programs.
I had a Windows computer available for this task. I am uncertain if Boot Camp Assistant can create a EFI bootable Windows installer. Other tools like UNetbootin and Etcher cannot create Windows installers.
4. Download Boot Camp Support Software from Apple
For MacBook Pro (13-inch & 15-inch, Mid 2012) models, we need version 5.1.5621 which is available here:
Since the Macbook has no network drivers installed, you should copy this .zip to your Windows installer USB for convenience.
5. Install Bootcamp software
Extract the .zip and run setup.exe.
6. Reboot with eGPU plugged in now
Without the Bootcamp Thunderbolt drivers, the eGPU enclosure won't be recognized. Rebooting after finishing the Bootcamp driver installation should fix that issue. Make sure your eGPU is plugged in before booting into Windows.
NOTE: Audio drivers are broken in UEFI Windows installations due to a bug that doesn't occur on a CSM-BIOS install, there is currently no way around this besides using a USB audio device.
7. Install Nvidia drivers (or AMD)
Grab the latest GeForce drivers from the Nvidia website and install it. If you didn't plug in the eGPU before booting Windows, the installer can't detect the card and will refuse to proceed.
8. Reboot after installation is finished
The Nvidia installer required a reboot upon completion for me, your results may vary.
9. The eGPU should now be recognized
Congratulations, your eGPU should now be visible in Device Manager.
Getting programs to use the eGPU on the main display with Optimus is a hit-or-miss so far. I can't seem to force the eGPU to work when it doesn't want to. Running programs on an external monitor will get around this issue of course. PUBG actually does run with the eGPU on the Macbook display, but everything else I've tried won't. Might have to revisit this issue at some point.
That concludes this guide, hope you found it useful.
Thank you for the post.
Had same issues with Win10 bootcamp. Didn't try DIY eGPU Setup 1.35.
So I converted Win10 bootcamp to UEFI mode by https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/3dlu2g/convert_a_bootcamp_bios_windows_installation_to/
And I think it's less stable than bootcamp mode.
@mirage, if your eGPU was detected in bootcamp mode (BIOS/MBR) but had error 12 or 35, then DIY eGPU Setup 1.35 can help. If not, then stick with UEFI mode as the issue here is getting the eGPU detected which is controlled by the MBP firmware.
FYI: when I did a eGPU implementation on a 2012 13′ MBP using a BPlus TH05 TB1 adapter (now no longer available) , I too found a difference in UEFI vs BIOS initialization and detection of a Thunderbolt eGPU.
Hello I think i have the same macbook pro that you,
Can you confirme me ,please
This is my mac
MacBook Pro . 13 inch, Mid 2012
2.9 GHz Intel Core i7
Intel HD Graphics 4000 1535 MB
8GB RAM 1600 MHz DDR3
Model Name: MacBookPro9,2 A1278
It is the same ?
Also, I have some questions :
Where can I buy the hardware
The Sonnet Box need an external power supply or is integrated ? only connect to mackbook pro ???
Which others grapic cards are compatible with Sonnet Box and this mac ??
I'm unable to see my node in the device manager. Thoughts?
I am curious if you, or anyone for that matter, were able to get this setup to run in macOS 10.13 high sierra.
Which thunderbolt 3 to thunderbolt 1 do you use?
So the truth after all:
a) BIOS mode Bootcamp Windows 10 with sound, but no eGPU.
b) EFI mode Bootcamp Windows 10 with eGPU, but no sound. (Internal speak won't work, even with USB audio device)
I have this same laptop. There's one other option I found, which is to do an EFI install, then a DSDT override worked for me to get internal sound back. See my build link in my signature.
after hours and hours:
EFI Bootcamp windows 10 works with eGPU without any problem, except EFI windows 10 had usable 2.48gb out of 16gb RAM and audio issues. (64bit OS)
BIOS mode Bootcamp Windows 10 with sound, but no eGPU.
I am done with this crap!
I'm trying to set up my second host for a eGPU the exact same specs mid 2012 MacBook pro but am running into this strange error. Everything works well on macos side with the Vega 56. I have a second optibay data doubler. I did a clean uEFI install of windows 10 and installed the latest bootcamp assistant drivers. I have tested with a Razer Core X as well as a Apple Thunderbolt display. Plug in shut down and cold boot with no success. Odd thing to note is Sound and USB ports work through means of the Thunderbolt display but no video. I then saw your build wiped windows reinstalled and installed the older bootcamp assistant and still in device manager am getting the following "No drivers are installed for this device" under Thunderbolt tree. The sound and usb still work out of the monitor. I'm at a loss here because even if I cant get the egpu to work it still doesn't explain why video will not be sent to the apple Thunderbolt Monitor.