Mid 2018 15" MacBook Pro Touchbar + GTX [email protected] (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 1803 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
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September 3, 2018 2:31 pm  

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.

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mac_editor
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September 3, 2018 2:51 pm  

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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theitsage
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September 3, 2018 5:21 pm  

@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.

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mac_editor
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September 3, 2018 5:46 pm  

@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.

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theitsage
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September 3, 2018 6:18 pm  

@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).

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ikir
 ikir
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September 3, 2018 7:43 pm  
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.

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Eightarmedpet
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September 3, 2018 7:55 pm  
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 Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

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Ningauble77
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September 3, 2018 8:37 pm  
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.

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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nando4
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September 4, 2018 12:40 am  

@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    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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theitsage
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September 4, 2018 1:22 am  

@nando4 I will try your recommendations in the coming days. I've been using rEFInd to activate the iGPU but have not tried hot-plug timing of the eGPU during boot. I uninstalled and reinstalled about 6 different versions of the Intel graphics drivers in hope finding one that works. Unfortunately they all cause the internal display to show pixel dots all over the screen during boot. Here's a photo of what that looks like. The internal display would eventually go black after a couple seconds of these white pixel flashing.

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mac_editor
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September 4, 2018 2:25 am  

Surprising that iGPU is also causing issues. The one time when I got the 560x and GTX 1070 functioning together was when I booted it with it plugged in. Just don't know what was different about that.

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nando4
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September 4, 2018 2:39 am  

@mac_editor, if it was a Windows restart rather than a cold start then do note that the Window's fast boot feature will result in a faster/partial initialization of devices by the Apple firmware.  Another thing @itsage may want to test for traction.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
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mac_editor
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September 4, 2018 2:47 am  

@nando4 I think you’re on to something here. IIRC it was a restart.

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theitsage
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September 4, 2018 7:15 pm  

@nando4 I will check into fast boot and disable the feature if it's on. Ideally Intel should have graphics drivers so that the iGPU can power the internal display without glitches.

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mac_editor
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September 4, 2018 10:12 pm  

@nando4 @itsage Fast boot was always disabled for me since the first thing I do is disable hibernation on Windows after installation. Tried with and without fast boot, no luck.

I did come across some interesting tidbits in my testing, and was able to get the Aorus Box + RP560X functioning together on the internal display. Apple USB drivers may have a bug, and can crash the system, per one of the system BSOD messages. The reason I experienced crashes when hot-plugging seemed to have worked was because I had other devices connected (especially a hub for USB 3.0 devices). This did not solve the issue directly, and as of now hot-plugging doesn't work (that is, not even causing a crash) for me with the Aorus.

So I tried a different approach:

  • Disable PCI controller 1909 (right hand ports) - target for eGPU connection.
  • Keep PCI controller 1905 enabled.
  • Power off system and disconnect all peripherals.
  • Plug in the eGPU to any right-hand port.
  • Boot into Windows and let everything load - eGPU will not be detected since ports are disabled.
  • Re-enable PCI controller 1909 - it's like simulating a hot-plug I suppose.
  • eGPU should be active and ready to go if drivers were already set up.
  • Plugging in peripherals after eGPU is ready works fine, but I did experience a BSOD once.
  • Update: Sometimes Windows has trouble finding the drivers. Waiting for a bit resolves the issue.

 

This has worked consistently given the ideal situation, but having peripherals and a disabled 1905 (esp. when you attempt re-enabling while eGPU is plugged in and peripherals are connected to 1905) caused multiple BSODs.

So far, I can use the 1070 for gaming within Windows on the internal display. Worth noting that F1 2018 does not respect the High Performance preference settings, and that the mechanism isn't really perfect - it sometimes resets, or requires setting it twice. I am using the latest NVIDIA drivers.

 

Conclusions:

  • While booting, Windows messes up initializing the display on the RP560X with eGPU present.
  • Disabling the 560X, booting with the eGPU works, but then re-enabling the dGPU causes black screen again.
  • This leads me to believe that the 560X must be initialized completely first, before an eGPU can work alongside it - essentially hot-plug.
  • I cannot say anything about AMD eGPUs because I haven't tried.
  • The above is a solution for when hot-plugs aren't detected.
  • In a sense, Apple firmware plays a role in eGPU detection, at least with the Aorus?

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theitsage
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September 5, 2018 12:02 am  

@mac_editor I can confirm fast startup was disabled in Win10. The Gaming Box does not work well in terms of hot-plugging. What I ended up doing was to hot-plug at the Windows logo circle dots. Nvidia eGPU worked well hot-plugging this way. AMD eGPU still managed to cripple the dGPU.

How's the laptop cooling fans when you're playing game with eGPU? Mine went full speed with all six cores thermal throttled (seen in HWiNFO64). They were ranging from mid to high 90 degrees Celsius. The gameplay experience was very smooth with the internal display however. All games were stored on an external SSD plugged into the opposing side.

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mac_editor
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September 5, 2018 12:06 am  

@itsage It usually runs hot in Windows anyway thanks to dGPU always being active. I haven't monitored it during gameplay. But clocks sufficiently above base speeds (2.6 base, seen at 100% util at 3.3-3.6 which is great). Fans blaring ofc. I have tried the circles technique - will try again I suppose. Gameplay was smooth - yes, very.

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mac_editor
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September 5, 2018 3:06 am  

@itsage Last when I attempted the circles trick, I had another device plugged in (USB-C to Gigabit adapter). Not having any device = working hot-plug at circles otherwise BSOD, so far at least on right side port.

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mac_editor
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September 7, 2018 1:57 am  

Tested on left-side ports. Works, but not as consistently as right side, esp. with additional peripherals (BSOD). With additional peripherals, Windows can BSOD with error at: ky.sys or something. More interesting is the Apple USB driver/program (AppleUSBVHCI.sys per BSOD), which FFS crashes on me sometimes - even w/0 eGPU. And I only just set up Windows today (yea, messed it up again somehow). What a pain. Also, not being able to plug in anything beside the eGPU on the same side is annoying to me. The dilemma is - I cannot boot across the systems without unplugging/re-plugging stuff, and the ports are notoriously tight. Makes me a little mad each time.

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theitsage
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September 7, 2018 5:08 pm  

I found the left TB3 ports to be less eGPU-friendly too. The typical successful detection of Thunderbolt device is the Windows new hardware sound, followed by the red X on the Network icon. The handshake process takes about 5-10 seconds for Windows to arrange the devices in place. Network would be restored within 30 seconds then the Nvidia eGPU icon shows up in the Taskbar notification area.

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mac_editor
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September 7, 2018 5:27 pm  

@itsage Precisely my experience. Network being disabled sucks though. FWIW, whatever Apple supports on macOS works so much better than any Windows counterpart I've seen. For instance, hot-plugging the Aorus to a Dell XPS 15 - didn't necessarily work always. On another note, I might plan to get another eGPU enclosure to run both the R9 Fury and RX 580 simultaneously. Should be fun.

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theitsage
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September 7, 2018 5:47 pm  

Not fair to blame it on Windows in my opinion. In my testings with Windows PC hosts, the Intel Thunderbolt Software is a crucial component. Certain versions cause more detection issues than others. Then there's outdated BIOS versions and Thunderbolt Security settings to worry about.

If you were to get another eGPU enclosure, you should go with one that has a healthy amount of PD. The Mantiz Venus is hard to beat now that it's $349.

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mac_editor
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September 7, 2018 6:26 pm  

You make a great point. What I was attempting to convey was that with the other systems, as you said we have take into account variables like the TB drivers, BIOS, etc. so it’s a little more overhead consumer-wise but then flexible. There are countless eGPU users having a blast on the Dell XPS I mentioned haha.. it just wasn’t the plug and play experience I personally imagined it to be in my specific case haha. 
Thank you for the recommendation. 349$ is a little on the high side - I was thinking another Sonnet or used eGPU enclosure at or under 200$.

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mac_editor
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September 8, 2018 4:26 am  

Corrections to my earlier deductions about apps in Windows not adhering to preference:

These games have a setting to choose the GPU adapter in-game (lol I missed that).

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Mymantiz_John
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September 8, 2018 4:57 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

Not fair to blame it on Windows in my opinion. In my testings with Windows PC hosts, the Intel Thunderbolt Software is a crucial component. Certain versions cause more detection issues than others. Then there's outdated BIOS versions and Thunderbolt Security settings to worry about.

If you were to get another eGPU enclosure, you should go with one that has a healthy amount of PD. The Mantiz Venus is hard to beat now that it's $349.

Consider Sonnet 550W 295~299$, with USB, SATA, LAN extra ports and much better material in enclosure...it is worthy...

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September 8, 2018 5:47 pm  

@mac_editor @itsage I've been dwelling with the same for the past few weeks. I have the 2018 15" MacBook Pro with the Aorus Gaming Box (RX 580).

I've also come across the iGPU not working; found no way around. Recently, I was just booting with iGPU but had it disabled on device manager so, in end, I only had the external screen but the 580 was working perfectly, it was even recognized by AMD Settings. Yesterday, I did a fresh install and I was able to install the 560x and 580 drivers separately (but AMD still couldn't detect hardware). At one point I was able to hotplug the 580 in and out several times through the left top port. BOTH SCREENS WORKED. That was, though, once. After the next boot up I could either use the internal screen with the 560x or plug in the eGPU from bootup to use the external screen only (but with 560x active in device manager). Wanting to go back to the eGPU only (recognized by AMD Settings) I tried disabling the 560x, but then I get no bootup. I was able to rollback with recovery but that's it.

I guess I'm looking for one of two things. Either, the stage that I mentioned in which I can hotplug the eGPU (or not, just working?) and have drivers on the 560x too (for 3d acceleration) or the eGPU working fine with iGPU so I can also use the second screen. It would also be nice if could access AMD settings to use Wattman, but I guess that's just too much to ask for.

Also, at one point I was able to get both screens, though, the internal screen was using the 560x with no drivers and, thereby, videos and such looked super choppy.

Let me know if you guys come up with anything!

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taelvin
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September 8, 2018 8:11 pm  
Posted by: Mymantiz_John
Posted by: theitsage

Not fair to blame it on Windows in my opinion. In my testings with Windows PC hosts, the Intel Thunderbolt Software is a crucial component. Certain versions cause more detection issues than others. Then there's outdated BIOS versions and Thunderbolt Security settings to worry about.

If you were to get another eGPU enclosure, you should go with one that has a healthy amount of PD. The Mantiz Venus is hard to beat now that it's $349.

Consider Sonnet 550W 295~299$, with USB, SATA, LAN extra ports and much better material in enclosure...it is worthy...

When I first read this I thought you were recommending the Sonnet 550W. But when you mentioned the extra IO (which I believe the Sonnet does NOT have) I realized you were actually recommending MZ-02, correct?

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September 26, 2018 4:30 am  

I have a similar configuration laptop and I am thinking of buying same GPU. I am wondering if there is any system that can run The Division in 4K at 60fps?

Posted by: theitsage

Newer Adrenalin graphics drivers would refuse to install due to no AMD hardware detected message.

You'd need to download latest drivers for Radeon card from here;  http://bootcampdrivers.rf.gd/?i=1

The one listed on AMD's website are not optimised for Boot Camp. I am using latest from above site.

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Joikansai
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September 26, 2018 6:37 pm  

In eGPU setting you can 1080p 60fps with 1080ti, I played with 1080ti on 1440p it was also hard to reach 50ish, forgot the setting but I think it was high. Desktop 1080ti is also hard to reach 4K 60fps in this game, Ubisoft open world games are usually so. Maybe 2080 ti can achieve that.

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(@flipperkoala)
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September 27, 2018 4:58 am  

Eurogamer reported that both AMD Vega 64 and GTX 1080Ti are capable of running The Divsion at 60FPS at 4K settings. In fact, according to them 1080Ti at 4K Ultra settings run The Division at 76FPS wherease Vega at 59FPS. 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2018-09-20-radeon-rx-vega-64-benchmarks-7001

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Joikansai
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September 27, 2018 2:23 pm  

I don’t see FPS results youre saying on Division. Yes desktop 1080ti can achieve 60fps by using lower anti aliasing (lowering setting), I tried same on 2080 (around similar raw performance with 1080ti), but still on high 30ish FPS never touch 40 FPS on average. That means even 2080ti wouldn’t reach also 60fps on egpu setting, well time would answer this, I ordered one. Btw I’m using PCIe3x4 lanes 8750H gaming laptop, despite TB3 not connected directly to cpu that lower graphics performance a bit compared direct one like MacBook and some ultrabooks it’s great egpu host imo.

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September 28, 2018 1:42 am  

Hi all,

I'm using a razer core x w/ GTX 1080TI if you plug the into the left side TB3 (the second one) you don't need to disable anything, it will just work. I haven't had to do any hack to get this working in Windows 10 (bootcamp)

My macbook is a pro 15' late 2016 w/ AMD 460 .

Is there any reason why I should use the left side TBs instead of the right side TBs or vice-versa? 

Thanks

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mac_editor
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Posts: 1576
September 28, 2018 2:27 am  

@tiago_ferreira Left side ports don't work well for eGPU on 2018 MBP.

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


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