Mid 2018 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + RTX [email protected] (Razer Core) + W10 1803 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 5, 2018 2:04 pm  

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.

 

System specs:

2018 13" QC MacBook Pro - i5-8259U/Iris Plus Graphics 655 iGPU/8GB RAM/512GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

Razer Core + GeForce RTX 2070 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

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 [17.4.76.300] to test. This version doesn't complain about Boot Camp mode not needing the software like previous versions.

 

 

Benchmarks:

I didn't have time to run any benchmarks yet. I will do so and update this build in the coming days.

iGPU Internal Display eGPU Internal Display eGPU Monitor FHD eGPU Monitor QHD  eGPU Monitor 4K 

 

Comments:

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.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

82 external GPU build guides


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vinhdiesel
(@vinhdiesel)
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November 9, 2018 6:04 pm  

how is your experience in MacOS?

My Setup


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 9, 2018 6:07 pm  

@vinhdiesel There's no drivers for the RTX series in macOS unfortunately.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

82 external GPU build guides


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vinhdiesel
(@vinhdiesel)
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November 9, 2018 6:09 pm  

Does only the FE fit into the core? Would there be a big difference in performance between 2070, 2070ti and 1080 ti you think?

My Setup


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 9, 2018 8:18 pm  

@vinhdiesel@eightarmedpet This is a fun idea. I will find time to do a GPU shootout using the 2018 13" MBP.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

82 external GPU build guides


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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November 9, 2018 8:20 pm  

@itsage if you could include a PC with similar specs that would be awesome in that shootout as well.

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


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 12, 2018 2:02 pm  

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.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

82 external GPU build guides


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