2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + m...
 
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2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [revstate]  

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revstate
(@revstate)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

System specs

mid-2015 Macbook Pro

2.2Ghz Intel i7-4770HQ

iGPU - Intel Iris Pro 5200

macOS 10.15.1 Catalina

16GB RAM

256GB SSD

Retina display

 

eGPU hardware

Razer Core X

MSI Radeon RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC

Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter

Apple 2m Thunderbolt 2 cable

 

Installation steps

Install GPU in enclosure

Connect to Macbook via Thunderbolt

Run PurgeWrangler (and disable system integrity protection)

The GPU will plug and play after that, no issues at all. You can boot with it or plug/unplug at any time.

 

Benchmarks

LuxMark simple scene: 26541

LuxMark complex scene: 4120

 

Comments

Initially I was thrown off because the GPU fan was not spinning (though the enclosure fan should always run). It turns out that this is intentional; all the way up until 25% GPU load, the GPU fan will not run. To validate that your fan works as intended, test out LuxMark v3 and the fan should kick in pretty quickly under high load.

Videogame performance is instantly better. Kerbal Space Program (fps unknown) and Rust (60fps) I am able to run on ultra graphics settings. Before I had to play even Cities Skylines on potato settings, but now the GPU handles it so easily that the fan doesn't even kick in.

I was able to get Windows 10 to boot up safely using the automate-eGPU EFI bootable USB together with drivers downloaded directly from AMD, but using build 1909 of Windows 10 I was unable to get past code 12 despite configuring the pre-compiled DSDT binary for my model, so I'll be trying again with an earlier version of Windows 10 as suggested in this thread: https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/egpu-fail-after-update-to-windows-19-03/

This topic was modified 7 months ago

2015 15" MacBook Pro (4th,4C,Q) + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@revstate Welcome aboard and thank you for sharing an excellent build! The 2015 15" iGPU-only MacBook Pro is a perfect candidate for eGPU. Let us know once you get it to work in Windows. Also give elementaryOS a try if you want to triple boot.

 

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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revstate
(@revstate)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

@revstate Welcome aboard and thank you for sharing an excellent build! The 2015 15" iGPU-only MacBook Pro is a perfect candidate for eGPU. Let us know once you get it to work in Windows. Also give elementaryOS a try if you want to triple boot.

 

I already run elementaryOS as the primary system on my ThinkPad t570, so I'll definitely be testing out this eGPU with that. I never thought of triple-booting, given only 256GB of SSD, but why the heck not! 😛 

2015 15" MacBook Pro (4th,4C,Q) + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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The 2015 15" iGPU-only MacBook Pro is special in many ways. Its PCIe connector is x4 3.0. I installed a Samsung Evo 970 1TB through a Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter and got over 3,100MB/s Read. Booting into elementaryOS was freakishly quick! Everything just works. You'd be amazed and may stop using macOS. LoL

Whatever you do, don't get rid of the laptop. I put the 2019 16" MacBook Pro next to it the other day and they were so similar in dimensions except for the Touch Bar and huge trackpad.

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

Its PCIe connector is x4 3.0. I installed a Samsung Evo 970 1TB through a Sintech NGFF M.2 nVME SSD Adapter and got over 3,100MB/s Read. Booting into elementaryOS was freakishly quick! Everything just works. You'd be amazed and may stop using macOS. LoL

Nice. Would be a great candidate to see if a M.2 eGPU using an ADT-Link R43SG works there since it still has a socketted SSD. Benefit there over TB3 being higher performance and lower cost than a TB3 eGPU. Though of course would need to boot via an external USB or TB3 drive.

We haven't yet had a M.2 eGPU example on a MacBook.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@nando4 I would have done so already but it is my wife's computer. I tried convincing her the new MacBook Pros are good but she would not give this one up because of the different ports and Magsafe. I'm in the hunt for a 2015 27" iMac with Fusion drive. That will allow me to break the Fusion drive setup to use SATA connection for SSD and PCIe connection for an adapter to M.2 eGPU with R43SG.

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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revstate
(@revstate)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

@itsage

Heh, I was eye'ing the 2020 lineup with the bigger 16" display being a developer for a living. This eGPU has already been an expensive but worthwhile experiment, though I'm seeing that I could have built a budget rig for a similar price; the Thunderbolt factor is just too cool imo, being able to swap in for any compatible portable machine.

I was actually looking into setting this Mac up with a bigger SSD... Wasn't sure how smooth using an adapter would be, but you're selling me 🙂 I need to chill out with the electronics expenditures for a bit haha

How's the durability of this 2015 Mac over the long term? I bought this to carry out an iOS contract and have been a bit worried with how much more fragile it is in comparison to any ThinkPad I've owned perviously; already had a sibling spill a glass of wine on it though I got it cleaned up quick by a pro, and he said there was minimal corrosion.

2015 15" MacBook Pro (4th,4C,Q) + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@revstate It's a very well-built computer and should last a long time. Being the last year of the retina MacBook Pro generation helps too.

Regarding error 12, it's good you found the resources on automate-eGPU EFI and pre-compiled DSDT file for your MBP. It's the best way to boot into Windows with the eGPU. I had a similar build with a late 2015 21" iGPU only iMac. I created the DSDT file for it to get Large Memory and that got the AMD eGPU going without error 12. Windows 10 version was 1903 18362.30.

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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revstate
(@revstate)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

@itsage

I just got it working using the same build: 1903 18362.30

I'll update my guide shortly. Only problem now is that I have to solve code 12 each time I boot. I was able to force Windows to reallocate address space with the DSDT fix and going one by disable unused PCI devices and then re-enabling them one-by-one. I'll try to permanently disable the webcam and maybe some other device to see if I can get a permanent fix that won't require troubleshooting on each boot.

2015 15" MacBook Pro (4th,4C,Q) + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [build link]  


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revstate
(@revstate)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

@itsage

2500 READ, 3000 WRITE. Please stop recommending upgrades 😉

2015 15" MacBook Pro (4th,4C,Q) + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro [4th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.1 [build link]  


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