2018 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RTX 2070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core) + Win10 1803 [itsage]
The RTX 2070 is the best value in Nvidia new RTX lineup. Compared to 2080 and 2080 Ti, the RTX 2070 is missing NVLink. For eGPU use though, that’s hardly a consideration because we can’t use NVLink inside an enclosure. The Founder Edition 2070 swapped a DisplayPort for DVI output. The card is both lighter and shorter than RTX 2080.
From previous builds, I knew this was a plug-and-play configuration in Boot Camp with my 2018 13″ MacBook Pro. What I was most interested in testing was whether @goalque‘s new eGPU EFI boot loader helps with hot-plug and eGPU connected at boot. Using the eGPU EFI boot loader, this MacBook Pro can now interact with Nvidia eGPU like a true Windows Thunderbolt 3 laptop.
2018 13″ QC MacBook Pro – i5-8259U/Iris Plus Graphics 655 iGPU/8GB RAM/512GB SSD
Prior to connecting the RTX 2070 + Razer Core to the laptop, I made preparation in macOS for the eGPU EFI boot loader. I created a new FAT partition (256MB) so that EFI files can be stored and no need for external USB drive. After that I simply followed usage instructions by @goalque. The configuration file in this boot loader instructs Windows to keep the iGPU activated even when there’s other GPUs found at boot.
Once Windows got to the Desktop and detected the new eGPU, I proceeded with a manual driver installation using the latest Nvidia drivers. I did not disable any PCI ports. I also installed Intel Thunderbolt Software [126.96.36.1990] to test. This version doesn’t complain about Boot Camp mode not needing the software like previous versions.
Here are Unigine benchmarks to compare iGPU performance vs eGPU rendered through internal display as well as external monitor at FHD, QHD, and 4K.
|iGPU Internal Display||eGPU Internal Display||eGPU Monitor FHD||eGPU Monitor QHD||eGPU Monitor 4K|
The 2018 13″ MacBook Pro is currently my most favorite Mac for eGPU use. It behaves almost identical to Windows laptops with regards to eGPU handling. While AMD cards require some work to get around error 12, Nvidia cards are straightforward. I can connect the Nvidia eGPU prior to boot, timed hot-plug at Windows logo, or hot-plug once Windows fully loads. All scenarios and all Thunderbolt 3 ports work.
Does only the FE fit into the core? Would there be a big difference in performance between 2070, 2070ti and 1080 ti you think?
I wanna see a GPU shootout @itsage ! You have so many, I'd love to see how they all compare (performance wise) when paired with the 13inch MacBooks...
I updated the original post with benchmark numbers. The RTX 2070 eGPU provides at least 10x the performance increase over iGPU. Look at the RTX 2080 eGPU performance with this same pairing, there’s not much difference to warrant a $200 (33%) in extra cost.
I do need some help with my eGPU. It doesn't seem to be working properly/setting up well. I am very noob in such things and getting more confused as I read it.
Setting up with the eGPU with Razer Core X and the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon™ RX 580 8GD5 was an ease. It worked well with MacOS on the external display. The problem is it doesn't recognise the HyperDrive USB-C hub and the wired peripherals (problem #1)
And when I startup on my Windows 10 (Bootcamp):
Problem #2 - It doesn't allow to split screen. I had to uninstall the iGPU and its drivers under device manager for it to work on either the Mac display or the external display. It can't work both together.
Problem #3 - My HyperDrive USB-C hub and the wired peripherals are not recognised and cant be "powered".
What am I doing wrong? 🙁
MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 1536 MB
MacOS 10.14.1 (18B75)
Windows 10 (Bootcamp)
SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon™ RX 580 8GD5
Razer Tartarus V2
Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition
Magic Mouse 2
HyperDrive USB-C hub.
itsage- this build is literally what i'm going for, except i'm using the akitio node pro. i really need your help though, you seem to be the expert using the 2018 MBP w/ bootcamp and nvidia gpu which is what i'm running.
2018 13" macbook pro touchbar, i7, 16 gb ram, 500 gb harddrive running bootcamp
egpu-akitio node pro
-i can only hotplug on bootup, i cannot get plug and play after bootup.
-after it boots up, it works for about 5-10 minutes then the monitor shuts off like it isn't getting a feed, but my macbook still charges and my mouse and keyboard that are going through the egpu still work. its driving me crazy and i can't find any info involving the 2018 macbook doing this.
thank you for any and all recommendations, this can be incredibly frustrating.
Can't speak to the egpu stopping working after 10 min, but as to hotplugging at the desktop, I've never been able to do this either. Always gives me a BSOD. Must be something subtly different about our config. I'm using an i7 2018 MBPro, rtx 2080+core v2 w/ several usb peripherals running off it. I did try hotplugging with no usb devices plugged in and still got a bsod so it might be something else (intel or nvidia driver revisions maybe?)
whats weird is i got this working for a few days with no issues (except i could only hot plug)
sometimes i get the BSOD other times the display switches back to the internal display using the igpu, but i can still use the peripherals running through the egpu.
the rtx 2080 is the card i really want. did you go FE or different manufacturer? i'm looking at MSI (if it will fit) otherwise prolly gonna go evga.
@jlevin860 How did the graphics driver happen on your MacBook Pro? Windows 10 by default can install the drivers for you. I learned to always use DDU and uninstall the default drivers first then manually install the latest version.
I tested just now hot-plugging all four Thunderbolt 3 ports with GTX 1080 Ti + XG Station Pro. No BSOD at all with both hot-plug and surprise removal. All four ports worked. I left the system running Valley in internal display mode for nearly an hour and no issues. My MacBook Pro runs @goalque‘s EFI Boot Manager as described in the original post. I enjoy this solution a lot because it turns the 2018 13″ MacBook Pro into a real Windows laptop with regards to eGPU use. You can install Intel Thunderbolt Software version 188.8.131.520 and see if it helps.
Without this boot manager, you can do timed hot-plug at the Windows logo spinning circles. Be patient when hot-plug in Windows Desktop if you manage to avoid BSOD. I’ve observed through Device Manager the system would detect the Thunderbolt 3 device first, then initialize the eGPU. The whole process can take several minutes to complete. The clear sign the eGPU has kicked on is a temporary red x over the network adapter.
Thank you for responding! i had to hot-plu just to get the MacBook to recognize the egpu, and I downloaded the nvidia experience app and downloaded the nvidia drivers thru there. I have mojave installed on the Mac OS side, but I don’t think that matters if I only use the egpu in boot camp.
Reading your post over I have not done efi boot manager step, I was hoping for it to be simply plug and play after downloading the drivers.
I will do this step when I get home.
another question, do you run your usb peripherals from the egpu? are u able to plug and unplug peripherals at will?
When my egpu was working I would need to have all usb peripherals plugged in before booting. Just curious if your process rectifies this.
I updated the original post with benchmark numbers. The RTX 2070 eGPU provides at least 10x the performance increase over iGPU. Look at the RTX 2080 eGPU performance with this same pairing, there's not much difference to warrant a $200 (33%) in extra cost.
It was also my reason to get 2080 over 2080ti, only with around double price gap, €400 and it also depends on aimed FPS and resolution, for example from superposition if we take example FHD fps is around 20~fps, and 4K 10~fps improvement, for some situations it’s huge. Games like shadow of Tomb Raider and AC Odyssey, I play on 4K both on high setting averages SoTR 50fps (SotR with AA off) and 45fps AC Odyssey on 2080, with 2080ti I got not stable 60fps down to low 50ish sometimes SoTR and 50fps average AC Odyssey, so price for performance improvement is better on 2080, i think with 2070 it’ll be also around -10fps on this game which is to me quite on laggy area. Personally extra €200 is worth my money, maybe for poeple who aimed playing on FHD 80~fps or QHD 60~fps it isn’t worth though.
Razer Blade 15 2018, i7 8750H 16gb ddr4 2666mhz 1tb 970Evo
Razer Blade Stealth 12,5 2016 i7 7500U 8gb ddr3 1866mhz 500gb 970Evo
MacBook Pro 13 mid 2012 i5 3210M 12gb ddr3 1600mhz 500GB HDD
Razer Core V2 rtx 2070 Black 2040mhz Boost clock
Previous setting: rtx 2080ti Asus Turbo, rtx 2080 xc gaming, rtx 2080 Fe, Zotac Mini 1080ti, Evga 1080 FTW2 gaming.
Dual Monitor Predator XB241YU 165Hz 1440p, LG l24UD58 60Hz 4K
Portable Monitor Magedok 1440p HDR 60Hz usbA/C monitor
update: i bought a rtx 2080 MSI gaming trio (heads up the gaming trio fits in the akitio node pro even though the measurements MSI and Akitio put on their website says it won't fit). switching the gpu fixed the issue of the gpu shutting off, but i still have to hotplug right when the microsoft logo pops up during boot up.
i'm having issues doing the efi boot manager.
1. should i be doing this in my iOS or windows operating system?
2. where do install the automate-eGPU EFI v1.0.5 package?
3. do i need to have the usb thumb drive plugged in all the time? or is it a one time usage to do the install? also, what is the minimum size thumb drive that could work for this?
4. below i cut and pasted the steps and had some specific questions:
(i have the 2018 mbp with no dGPU, just the intel iris onboard. do i need to do these following steps? if not just disregard)
2) Hot plug the eGPU after logged in. when exactly do i do this if i'm booting from the usb? is there a specific screen?
Then execute the following commands: do i need to do something to pull up the screen to execute these? or will it simply pop up once i log in and plug in the egpu?
thank you again for your help. i understand hardware but i'm terrible with software and don't want to mess up my overpriced laptop =P.
Hello itsthesage! You seem very knowledgeable and I wanted to check with you before I purchase an Akitio Node and Gtx 1070. I have a Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" with touch bar. I also have bootcamp installed on it. What is everything that I would need to do to get this setup running on the internal display? I tried an eGPU in June however it kept blue screening constantly and I did not feel technologically savvy enough to try all the workarounds so I just returned it. Can you confirm what it would take to make this setup work? Is installing the drivers and hotplugging all I would need to do? Thank you so much, I really want to be able to get an eGPU.
Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" with touch bar
My question doesn't entirely relate to your build, but you seem knowledgeable on eGPUs in general ( Whereas I am not,as my name suggests ). I have just got the Dell XPS 13 9730 laptop with 4k touch screen, i7, 16Gb Ram ect. and I want to be able to play games on it when I am at home. I was wondering if I would be able to comfortably play games such as Rainbow 6 online, as well as single player titles as well ( By comfortably I mean 60+FPS) . If this is possible, would you be able to recommend a setup for me to research further. Currently, I have been looking at the Razer Core X paired with a GTX1070ti, though I am open to different eGPU enclosures and also other graphics cards such as the RTX2070 and GTX1080 or GTX1080ti ( but preferably don't want to spend that much if I do not have to ). I am also looking to play these games at 1440 on a 144Hz monitor in the future, but equally I wouldn't mind too much playing at 1080p. This is my first computer of any kind, so I am just looking for a place to start. Any help would be really useful.
@newtocomputers Welcome aboard! I have not tested the XPS 9370 but from the builds of other members, it’s a capable Thunderbolt 3 host computer for eGPU. You’ll get the best performance when running an external monitor. As seen in my OP, the XPS 9370 should be able match if not exceed the MacBook Pro 13″. In my opinion, the AORUS GTX 1080 Gaming Box would be a nice choice for you.
Thank you Sage and Eightarmedpet for replying!
I also thought about the 1080 Gaming box, but I have read quite alot about unreliability and that it is 'hit and miss' when it comes to connecting. Nevertheless I will look through both of your builds and others to see if I can find anything. Thanks again!
Just to confirm my understanding is of your installation steps...
1. I'll be making a FAT partition for the EFI bootloader. Then setting up the EFI bootloader
2. Installing bootcamp on the local drive.
3. Then once in windows I need to install the thunderbolt 3 software.
That's about it yea? Anything special I'm forgetting?
Mostly building this for a mobile low budget gaming rig since I already had the gfx card and the MacBook. Also I need something to run my Oculus Rift S for VR development. 🙂 I'm gonna put all my other games and software on an external SSD.
@koreboss You may want to install Windows 10 1903 on your 2018 MacBook Pro. I have found this version to be better with eGPU setup. It’s now possible to hot-plug the eGPU in Windows Desktop rather than using a boot loader as detailed in this build. The Thunderbolt 3 drivers/software was never necessary. I installed it to monitor Thunderbolt 3 connection is all.