2015 15" MacBook Pro M370X + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway 350) + macOS 10.14 & Win10 [p8blrz]  

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p8blrz
(@p8blrz)
New Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 2
October 13, 2018 4:40 am  

System specs

Model: Mid 2015 15" MacBook Pro
CPU: 2.5GHz i7-4870HQ
iGPU: Intel Iris Pro 5200
dGPU: AMD Radeon R9 M370X
OS: macOS 10.14 Mojave & Win10 Pro (x64)


eGPU Hardware

Enclosure: Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W
Video Card: Sapphire 11275-03-40G Radeon Nitro+ RX Vega 64 8GB

Accessories: .5m Apple Thunderbolt 2 cable & Apple Thunderbolt 2 to 3 adapter
Monitor: Asus 27" 1440p IPS monitor PB278Q

Mods: I purchased the 350W version because it was only $199 on Amazon and I happened to already have a Corsair SF600 PSU. I replaced the stock fan with a Noctua NF-S12A because it was airflow optimized, unfortunately the Sonnet board runs it pretty slow and only ramps up when things really start to heat up, personally I prefer noise over heat. I've been working on a 3D printed cover for the Sonnet, the prototype is in the photos. I still need to print the new version with side clasps and possibly a secondary 120mm fan on the top rear. Initially I didn't think I'd need the clasps but surprisingly the heat from the GPU causes the PLA to warp outwards, and I guess if it's getting that hot a second fan couldn't hurt. I'll be putting the files on Thingiverse as soon as I am satisfied with them so anyone with a Sonnet can make their own. Lastly I used some paracord sleeved cables for the 24-pin and dual 6+2-pin cables that I had made for my previous PC build, I think it adds some nice flair.


Hardware Pictures

I'm too green to actually post photos so please see this LINK.


Installation Steps

Setting up for macOS was surprisingly easy, I simply followed steps 1-3 on the purge-wrangler.sh guide and voilà!

Windows 10 was... painful. I highly recommend you get Windows setup how you like it and then create a restore point because if your experience is anything like mine, you will need it.

  1. Run bootcamp utility with a copy of Windows 10 downloaded from Microsoft.
  2. Create a restore point. Start, type "Create a restore point", in the System Protection tab and click Create.
  3. Install drivers from bootcampdrivers.com and make sure to follow the included guide.
    1. To summarize, you will be uninstalling the AMD driver that was installed with Bootcamp using DDU in safe mode. TIP: when you get to the option to install AMD Relive just skip it, you can install it later and it might cause the installer to crash if you try to now.
  4. Create a second restore point. I named mine something like "bootcampdrivers.com installed".
  5. With Windows running and the eGPU powered on, connect it and wait. Seriously wait like a few minutes and let Windows do its thing. What might happen now is a combination of things:
    1. Worst case is that you are met with a permanent black screen on both the laptop and the external monitor. If this happens hard reboot the computer 3 times until you get to the repair options screen on the fourth boot. Now go to  Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, System Restore, pick the point you want and now you can try again. Alternatively you can go to Startup Settings, Restart (make sure to hold down Option and boot back to the Windows partition), press 4. Here in Safe Mode you can run DDU again and reboot back into Windows.
    2. If after a couple minutes everything seems normal, go to Device Manager and find the eGPU in the list. Double click it and notice that it's probably at Code 12. Leave the eGPU connected and reboot.
  6. Booted back into Windows the external monitor should now be displaying an image. Double check in Device Manager.
  7. With everything working I would recommended creating one last restore point. To save disk space you can delete all of them except for this one.
  8. Advice: Be careful switching Thunderbolt ports since Windows tends to reinstall drivers when you do so. When I did this, I was greeted with a permanent black screen until I did a hard reboot, which did fix the issue.

So as of now I still have a couple problems:

  1. Internal display on MacBook is constantly black in Windows. I can see the backlight on, but the iGPU is not detected in Windows, only the eGPU and the dGPU. I've tried goalque's method with no success. Making the flash drive as described in the guide isn't detected on boot and following T2pierre's method the flash drive was detected but commands on steps 10, 12, 13 don't work, and skipping them and booting to Windows doesn't make the iGPU work so I must be doing something wrong...
  2. With the eGPU connected and the computer asleep in macOS the eGPU intermittently lights up and fans spin for about a minute and then it shuts back off for a few minutes. This process repeats over and over and it's infuriating. I've resorted to disconnecting the eGPU if I leave the computer asleep for more than a few minutes, which is very inconvenient.

I would love to hear any suggestions from you guys on solving these issues!


Benchmarks

Note these are all on the external display @ 2560x1440 unless otherwise noted.

Final Cut Pro Export
4K 30fps H.264 00:06:55 length
Export time with eGPU: 00:04:28
Export time without: 00:04:53
I was hoping this would be a bigger difference, I did a second run of each with and without and the results were about the same.

Overwatch
Graphics quality set to ULTRA
Solid 60fps - even with VSYNC disabled and the LIMIT FPS set to 300

Neir Automata
Graphics = High
AA = 8x
Texture Filters = 16x
Blur = on
Shadows = high
Effects = high
40-60FPS

Astroneer
Ultra Settings
80-100FPS

3D Mark: Time Spy
Overall: 5544
Graphics: 6240
Link to Results

Unigen Valley Heaven
Extreme HD: 60.7FPS, Score: 2540
Custom, Ultra, 1440p, 8xAA: 41.1FPS, Score: 1720 

I was hoping the eGPU would help with Fusion360 and Apple Photos. Even setting them to Prefer External GPU they still seem slow. I'm betting that they just aren't coded to take advantage of the eGPU yet (also Fusion360 has always had a certain level of jank to it...). I will note, however, that I do occasionally see the Vega 64 spin up its fans in Apple Photos when processing RAW files, so it must be doing something.


Comments 

This has been a long time coming process, but worth it. My previous rig was an aging gaming pc coupled with a 2013 13" MacBook Pro. I'd bought and returned a 2016 and 2018 MacBook Pro because I just couldn't stand the keyboard and was paranoid about its eventual failure even with the silicone layer added. So in the end I snagged a 2015 15" MacBook Pro on eBay in fantastic condition and bought the parts to build an eGPU for gaming. I know, I know, macs aren't for gaming, but it's been my dream for a long time to have a single computer do it all, and even though it's not perfect, I'd say it works pretty darn well.


Sources I used from egpu.io
ricardokuster

Rycco
goalque

Thanks everyone!

Update
I've finished the design and printed a working version of the cover.
The 3D printable files are available to download here
Also I've added some new photos in the Flickr link at the top showing the final version of the cover with the better venting and second fan.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


theitsage liked
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theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3198
October 15, 2018 6:50 pm  

This is a very nice build! Thank you for sharing. I'd recommend using rEFInd with "spoof os x version" enabled and see whether it helps activating the iGPU. Your issue #2 is common with seemingly all Macs. Some suggested it's Power Nap related. Mantiz said it has something to do with Thunderbolt firmware on the enclosure side.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


p8blrz liked
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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1097
October 15, 2018 8:00 pm  

Great set up story, personally I would have stuck to the 2018 but each to their own. 

Noticed your external Samsung SSD - how do you rate it? I'm torn between one of them and chucking a normal 2.5SSD in a cheap caddy I have, it would just be to run games from, had a few texture popping issues running GTA V the other night and figure an SSD would help (I dont have the internal space).

Oh, also love the Contax... regret selling mine (still have a T2 though).

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1571
October 16, 2018 1:50 am  

@p8blrz Does hot-plugging your eGPU in Windows resolve the black screen issues? I believe 2015 or later Macs support TB hot plug in Windows.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
----
Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Command Line Swiss Knife
----
Multiple Build Guides


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esatamacmodular
(@esatamacmodular)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 83
October 16, 2018 2:49 pm  

nice build guide! wondering though was there some advantage to using bootcampdrivers.com ? Glad to see a bootcamp/ win10 success with 10.14.

iMac 2013 10.14.1, Macbook Air 2013 10.11, MBP 2016 13" 10.13.6 , HP 4530s 10.11, node lite, DA-2 PSU w/mod, PE4L 2.1b expresscard34, GTX460,1050Ti,1060,1070/Ti RX470,560,580


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theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3198
October 16, 2018 3:30 pm  

The patched drivers from bootcampdrivers.com allow them to work with both Radeon dGPU and eGPU. The Radeon drivers from AMD may only work with Radeon eGPU.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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esatamacmodular
(@esatamacmodular)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 83
October 16, 2018 7:10 pm  
might this help display in windows?

Posted by: mirog

Hi 
I managed to get the internal display working now on MacbookPro 15 2018.

1. Boot to Mac OS X without any attached USB-C peripherals
2. Download and run https://github.com/steveschow/gfxCardStatus/releases/download/v2.4.4i/gfxCardStatus.app.zip
3. Switch to "Integrated Only" over the menu app and be sure, that "I" is displayed in the menu bar and therefore the integrated display is active only (check, that in the menu "Integrated Only" is now active and "GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630" is shown)
4. Set "Bootcamp" as start volume and reboot
5. Press the "option" key at boot to select the USB Stick with apple_set_os.efi (from https://egpu.io/wp-content/uploads/wpforo/attachments/4/369-applesetosefi.zip) or use a little partition (8-16 MB) with FAT on internal SSD where the file is copied to \EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi .
6. Select EFI Boot to boot to windows.
7. Now my dGPU is disabled and my iGPU is available and my internal display works !!!

Since I'm not at home this week until thursday evening, I could only check, that the dGPU works now, but couldn't check if this also works, if a eGPU is attached. So next results thursday this week.

Thanks
gkarg

 

iMac 2013 10.14.1, Macbook Air 2013 10.11, MBP 2016 13" 10.13.6 , HP 4530s 10.11, node lite, DA-2 PSU w/mod, PE4L 2.1b expresscard34, GTX460,1050Ti,1060,1070/Ti RX470,560,580


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p8blrz
(@p8blrz)
New Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 2
October 17, 2018 12:57 am  
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

Great set up story, personally I would have stuck to the 2018 but each to their own. 

Noticed your external Samsung SSD - how do you rate it? I'm torn between one of them and chucking a normal 2.5SSD in a cheap caddy I have, it would just be to run games from, had a few texture popping issues running GTA V the other night and figure an SSD would help (I dont have the internal space).

Oh, also love the Contax... regret selling mine (still have a T2 though).

Hey thanks dude. I've been using the Samsung T3 as my photos library and so far I've got no complaints. Coincidently I'm also using a Samsung 830 SSD from my old PC in an enclosure for my Final Cut Library/Projects and other than being slightly bigger and feeling kind of cheap, it works perfectly fine. I've got Windows installed on a 128GB partition, which was fine until I started installing some games...aaaaand now it's full - so I ordered a Samsung T5 to move my Steam library externally. Previously I was running my Steam games on a Seagate Hybrid drive internally in my PC and it worked great, so I expect the same from the T5, with some boosted loading times of course.

The Contax is a really fun camera with some amazing lenses, but they're kind of a pain to adapt to mirrorless  😉 

@mac_editor & @esatamacmodular

I will try this and get back to you. Thanks for the tips!

 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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