mid-2017 nTB 13" MacBook Pro + GTX1070@32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 [theitsage]
The non-Touch Bar Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro is the easiest one to implement eGPU in Bootcamp. My setup guide has more steps than necessary to get the eGPU going. However, the extra steps have helped with reliability when booting into Windows.
These are the basic steps I took for this setup. I'm working on a full detailed Bootcamp eGPU setup guide article in the coming weeks.
- Install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS].
- Install DDU to remove default AMD/Nvidia graphics drivers and disable Windows automated GPU driver installation [in Windows].
- Install latest Intel iGPU drivers then create a manual Restore point just in case there's boot up issues [in Windows].
- Install rEFInd boot manager [in macOS].
- Mount EFI partition and create a subfolder called "custom" [in macOS].
- Download and copy apple_set_os.efi into the "custom" folder inside EFI volume [in macOS].
- Shut MacBook Pro down then connect eGPU to a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port.
- Hit ENTER on apple_set_os.efi volume at rEFInd screen then boot into Windows [boot selection].
- Open Device Manager to confirm iGPU and Microsoft Display Adapter are present and active [in Windows].
- Install Nvidia graphics drivers then restart [in Windows].
- Boot into Windows following apple_set_os.efi at rEFInd boot selection screen.
If all goes well, the base-level TB3 MacBook Pro has transformed into a capable gaming laptop. I did not encounter error 12 at all. In the rare chance you see it, simply disable PCIe Root to the iSight camera will free up enough resources for the eGPU. Here's the numbers from a mid-2017 non-Touch Bar 13" MacBook Pro.
|eGPU Internal Display||eGPU External Display|
I also ran it through SteamVR Performance Test
That's quite a lot of steps, some of which could be quite daunting for folks like myself who are not that tech savvy. Are they really needed because my 2017 MacBook Pro was plug and play?
When booting into operating systems other than Mac OS, the Apple firmware tends to keep the iGPU deactivated. On iGPU-only Macs, sometimes with the presence of the eGPU, iGPU will not show up in Windows.
thanks so much for the guide. I have been trying for hours now and have followed all steps but am getting into a quandary about a few things.
to confirm I'm mounting the efi, going into finder and putting the efi folder in a folder named custom?
- i can't get the refind to see the apple set file?
also how necessary is it to set startup disk to windows? Bless tool is preventing me from doing this.
look forward to your response. I have got it working on OS X but bootcamp not yet.
Did you try just plugging it in without all these steps? Because that's how my 2017 13inch mbp worked... fantastic guide as it is but sometimes the simple way can work...
I tried that, but I have the dreaded error 12 issue, the aorus gaming software doesn't work and nvidia doesn't recognise that there is a graphics card attached, but I can see it in devices manager. I ran it on OS X fine but can't run csgo at 2550 settings on high at a decent frame rate. Going to try and run it on bootcamp next and play alien and a few other aaa to see if it's any good. So far it's been a pain in my ass lol.
Ok so I went over everything again and have got some success. I wasn't installing the correct file in EFI and so wasn't seeing apple os boot efi in refind. Got the correct one on and got the gpu booted up and recognised, drivers installed.
in devices manager I have windows display adaptor and the gtx 1070. No drivers are installed for the internal gpu.
it appears games are trying to run on the native gpu and not on the external nvidia one.
I think I had error 12 to start with, I did actually, but while I googled fixes windows self solved.
@Slugboy it seems you need Intel drivers for the iGPU. - https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/80939/Graphics-Drivers
@theitsage you are an absolute legend! Thanks man. Got it running and am able to play alien isolation on 2880 ultra settings, it looks better than I expected!
for anyone with issues just follow itsage guide but remember to install igpu intel drivers back after nvidia has been integrated!
It truly is possible to game on a mac! Im call my brother and tell him that I have achieved what he thought was impossible!
im stoked, nearly was defeated by this box, it wasn't running right and as we know mac ports of games don't run as good as the windows counter parts. If all continues to run as it should I may have an internal hard drive dedicated to windows and leave my external one for OS X.
Much love and respect to this community.
Yep, pics please, also, hooray for this forum and it's knowledgeable mods...
It's surreal sometimes to see a Mac laptop playing the latest PC games. I was at Starbucks the other night to sell an unused graphics card. I lugged along the Razer Core and 13" MBP. The guy who was buying the GPU was amazed when I demoed the eGPU to show the GPU I'm selling was working well.
HA HA I bet! I was pretty blown away by the performance on my 13 inch MacBook when connected to a 1060... playing all the game I own (ok, apart from PUBG) on High-Ultra. I built a hackitosh and while its pretty stable and reliable (I have used it for work) its not a patch on a real Mac experience wise...
Not very on-topic, but: I've used my eGPU setups (both EC and TB2) at work to demo some non-video card uses (I was showcasing some debug capabilities on our devices and I did not want to drag a desktop system to various meeting rooms just so I could plug in a PCIe card, plus my dev machine has all the tools already installed). These things really get very curious looks, especially at a technology company. A few people had BPlus Expresscard adapters ordered via work to use them in a similar way (and get rid of extra desktops in their workspace) - Apparently there's still enough Lenovos to go around to keep the connector alive 🙂
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."
Hey theitsage thanks for the guide. It's pretty technical for me and I found there are a few gaps in between steps so I was hoping you could check that I've done the right thing.
The issue I have is that Windows doesn't detect the eGPU at all. I have an Aorus Gaming Box.
I'll go through each one of your steps below with some details on what I did:
Install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS]
Install DDU to remove default AMD/Nvidia graphics drivers and disable Windows automated GPU driver installation [in Windows]
Install latest Intel iGPU drivers then create a manual Restore point just in case there’s boot up issues [in Windows].
Install rEFInd boot manager [in macOS].
- This one was tricky. I found that the link you provided was a bit full on so I Googled it and found this link which was a bit easier to follow.
Mount EFI partition and create a subfolder called “custom” [in macOS].
- Again, didn't know what you meant so I followed this guide.
Download and copy apple_set_os.efi into the “custom” folder inside EFI volume [in macOS].
Shut MacBook Pro down then connect eGPU to a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port.
Hit ENTER on apple_set_os.efi volume at rEFInd screen then boot into Windows [boot selection].
- Just with these steps, I found that I needed to go to "releases" in order to find the apple_set_os.efi file. See my screenshot which shows where I put the file. Also, see here and here which shows the icon showing up in refind. The second screenshot just shows this text that appears for a split second when I press enter on it, and then nothing happens ... not sure if that's the right behaviour. Anyways, after that I boot into Windows.
Open Device Manager to confirm iGPU and Microsoft Display Adapter are present and active [in Windows].
- My internal GPU is present (Intel), but no Microsoft Display Adapter ... or GTX 1070.
Install Nvidia graphics drivers then restart [in Windows].
- Can't do because eGPU is not detected.
Boot into Windows following apple_set_os.efi at rEFInd boot selection screen.
- Can't do because eGPU is not detected.
Any helps would be appreciated,
Ok so I've gotten it working. I had to unplug the eGPU power cable and basically make sure it was completely powered down before it would be detected in Windows again when I plugged it back in. After that, I was experiencing some really weird driver behaviour. If I plugged the
I had to unplug the eGPU power cable and basically make sure it was completely powered down before it would be detected in Windows again when I plugged it back in. After that, I was experiencing some really weird driver behaviour. If I plugged the eGPU into another T3 port the OS would freeze up, go blue and then crash. Couple restarts later and a different T3 port, the OS detected the eGPU and said error 12. Device manager said I needed to restart to fix error 12 so I did, and then everything worked perfectly from there.
I'm going to write up my own version of your guide theitsage, but in r/eGPU/ on Reddit. I'll link back to this post for credit. The difference is I'll include a bunch of screenshots/images and a few other things I've learnt in my experience that I think less technical people would appreciate. Thanks again for your guide!
Here's the post in r/eGPU/ on Reddit.
I have this guide's exact same hardware config and one thing I noticed with the AGB is that I occasionally need to completely unplug the AGB power cable when the card isn't been detected. This sometimes happens after a reboot or a cold start. So what I do when that happens is:
* Shutdown the computer
* Unplug every TB3 cable from the computer.
* Unplug the AGB power cable and wait a few seconds
* (optional) Unplug the TB3 cable from AGB
* Plug in the AGP power cable
* Plug in the TB3 cable if you previously unplugged it
* Plug in any non-AGP TB3 device. I have an external TB2 case with which includes an SSD with my Windows games.
* Plug in the AGP to the MBP and wait for it to start up.
* Go through normal boot procedures with rEFInd.
Never restart with the box plugged in. You're restarting to Windows and it's crashing at Windows boot. You're going to wreck your Windows this way. Shutdown, unplug the box, turn the MBP back on, and then hold the Option key. Select Mac and you're in. You may need to boot to Windows first and then shutdown if you can't get the option key to show your options.
Just want to say thank you so much for this guide my setup works great! Was just wondering one thing: if I want to use the windows partition without the egpu, what are the steps to boot into windows? Do i skip the apple_set_os.efi and just boot directly into windows?
@ts1 When you want to use Windows and no need for eGPU, simply skip the apple_set_os.efi selection.
I've been thinking about almost the same setup. Can you answer just one of my biggest questions?
How does the CPU doing while using the eGPU? Can it keep the 3.1GHz Turbo Boost speed?
Previous benchmarks kinda showed that it does not throttle down until you start to use the iGPU, so it would make sense, but I want to be absolutely sure. That 0.8 GHz could mean a lot.
Thanks for the guide!