2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP555) [8th,6C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Stat...
 
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2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP555) [8th,6C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

With the "Gather Round" event set for September 12th, Apple is putting the finishing touch on 10.14 Mojave. Many Mac eGPU enthusiasts are following the development of Boot Camp support. The bad news is there remains no official support from Apple. The good news is "Large Memory" allocation is back on the 2018 MacBook Pro. I got a 2018 15" MacBook Pro to test and update the eGPU Boot Camp setup guide.

 

System specs:

2018 15" MacBook Pro - i7-8750H/Radeon 555x dGPU/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

ASUS XG Station Pro + ASUS Strix GTX 1080 Ti + 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

Apple has been pushing software updates to remedy thermal issues on these 2018 MacBook Pro in both macOS and Windows Boot Camp. As seen in one of the photos above, I experienced a lot of BSODs due to overheating during half a day testing. The fans were running more often and much louder vs. my 2016 15" MacBook Pro.

 

Graphics drivers for both Intel UHD 630 iGPU and Radeon Pro 555x dGPU are causing serious havoc on the internal display when booting into Windows with the eGPU attached. Windows prioritizes the eGPU and renders the iGPU/dGPU non-functional causing black screen. You'd need to have an external monitor connected. AMD XConnect and Nvidia Optimus is not possible at this time on the 2018 15" MacBook Pro. When trying to force-attach the iGPU to internal display, the Intel graphics drivers glitch out and show tiny white pixels for a few seconds then go black.

Thanks to Windows 10 version 1803's Hybrid Graphics Mode, there is a possibility to accelerate internal display with Nvidia eGPU. The trick is to hot-plug the eGPU once Windows fully boots up. Even though there's Large Memory allocation, you may need to disable one of the two PCI Express Controllers to the Thunderbolt 3 ports. I've tested disabling x8 1905 [left TB3 ports] to use eGPU on the right TB3 port as well as disabling x4 1909 [right TB3 ports] to use eGPU on the left TB3 port. They work interchangeably. Once the Nvidia eGPU is up and running, you can set preference in Graphics Settings.

 

It's an ugly mess with AMD eGPU as per usual when it comes to Boot Camp setup. Hot-plugging an AMD eGPU would yellow-bang not only the eGPU but also the dGPU. eGPU reports the often dreaded error 12 while the dGPU reports error 43. The only way to use AMD eGPU with the 2018 15" MBP at this time is through an external monitor. Apple used Radeon Adrenalin 17.1.1 version for its Boot Camp drivers. Newer Adrenalin graphics drivers would refuse to install due to no AMD hardware detected message.

 

Benchmarks:

These 2018 15" MacBook Pros have DDR4 RAM modules so I ran AIDA Cache & Memory benchmarks alongside GPGPU.

 

Here are Unigine results:

dGPU Internal Display eGPU Internal Display eGPU External Monitor
Not able to run Not able to run

 

Comments:

I'm trying different approaches in the coming weeks to see if there's another way to make iGPU power the internal display.

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

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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mac_editor
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About hot-plugs - do they only work well if one side of controllers are disabled? I recall facing BSOD on hot-plug. I will post my set of build guides once my external displays arrive.

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2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
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Eightarmedpet
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It's crazy, IMO, that Nvidia cards work so much easier than AMD considering Apple are in partnership with AMD.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
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GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
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---

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@mac_editor I will test hot-plugging on both sides when all PCI Express controllers are enabled. The dGPU suffered error 43 when I paired it with AMD eGPU and has stuck in that error mode since, even when there's no eGPU connected.

@eightarmedpet It's a terrible situation really. The only encouraging development in this 2018 MBP lineup is that both hot-plugging and hot-unplugging are not crashing the computer. In a sense, this 2018 MBP running Boot Camp behaves more like a normal PC laptop. I have never seen this disconnection notification in Boot Camp using my older MBP.

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

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@itsage Hot-plugging can crash the system, as it did for me countless times with the Aorus Box. On a clean install so far, it hasn't, because it's never detected after plugging in. The Aorus Box doesn't really work for me wrt hot-plugging. It has some annoying firmware issues I think. The Sonnet hot-plugs perfectly, but has the Fury inside, so that would mess up the drivers. DDU + reinstallation of 555X drivers may fix Code 43.

purge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@mac_editor Yes, I did exactly those steps to remedy error 43. I tested hot-plugging and hot-unplugging when all PCI Express controllers were enabled. The Nvidia eGPU works on both sides. I used the TB3 port closest to the display hinges.

Earlier today I tried with the AKiTiO Node Duo for AMD RX 580 eGPU testing and hot-plug worked similar. Will test with more enclosures to determine whether the AORUS is causing crashing issues when hot-unplug. The BSODs I encountered so far with this 2018 15" MBP were related to thermal issues.

One observation during iGPU testings is that the AMD dGPU would be errored out when there's an active iGPU. When there's no Intel graphics drivers, I could successfully force the iGPU to power the internal display. The problem is without drivers, AMD XConnect and Nvidia Optimus do not work (internal display acceleration).

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

 
2020 15" HP Spectre X360 [11th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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ikir
 ikir
(@ikir)
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Posted by: Eightarmedpet

It's crazy, IMO, that Nvidia cards work so much easier than AMD considering Apple are in partnership with AMD.

Apple is supporting AMD in macOS not bootcamp, at least for now.


MacBook Pro 13" 2020 Touch Bar M1 8-core CPU 8-core GPU - 16GB unified memory - 512GB PCIe SSD
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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Posted by: ikir
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

It's crazy, IMO, that Nvidia cards work so much easier than AMD considering Apple are in partnership with AMD.

Apple is supporting AMD in macOS not bootcamp, at least for now.

I assumed 99% of people know that and assumed they’d realise I was referring to Bootcamp support, but you know what they say about assumptions! If it wasn’t clear, I was referring to Bootcamp.

God mobile styling is a pain... excuse the oddness.

@itsage after over a year of me (and a couple of others) banging on about it we still don’t have a small high end egpu option, after all this time the Razer Core is still the closest! Nice to see hot plugging working though!

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Ningauble77
(@ningauble77)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Eightarmedpet
Posted by: ikir
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

It's crazy, IMO, that Nvidia cards work so much easier than AMD considering Apple are in partnership with AMD.

Apple is supporting AMD in macOS not bootcamp, at least for now.

I assumed 99% of people know that and assumed they’d realise I was referring to Bootcamp support, but you know what they say about assumptions! If it wasn’t clear, I was referring to Bootcamp.

God mobile styling is a pain... excuse the oddness.

@itsage after over a year of me (and a couple of others) banging on about it we still don’t have a small high end egpu option, after all this time the Razer Core is still the closest! Nice to see hot plugging working though!

It's sortof just an artifact of the smaller resource footprint of the nvidia cards (which I'm guessing probably wasn't a deliberate design decision), and drivers not cohabitating nicely because Windows wants to use the same driver files for the slightly custom dgpu and the standard-driver egpu. 

If the driver cohabitation issues could be fixed, apple could include drivers in their boot camp package for the cards they support in MacOS, i.e. make a custom driver package with the RP450/455/460 etc and the Rx570/580/vega.  Windows has always been a bit of a second class citizen on macs though to be honest given the cost of most egpu setups having it only work in MacOS probably hurts adoption of egpu technology for a lot of mac users.

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nando4
(@nando4)
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@itsage, consider installing rEFInd and testing at the rEFInd OS selection screen:

- hotplugging the TB3 cable
- hotplugging the whole video card into the powered enclosure

Idea being to bypass Apple firmware initializing any devices. Then have Windows initialize the devices.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
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