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2017 iMac 5K eGPU implementation  

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barefeats
(@barefeats)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I have the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with GTX 1070 working connected to the 2017 iMac 5K's TB3 port. The only snag so far is that the external display (Dell 5K) does not light up. It's connected directly to the 1070's DisplayPort. The Dell 5K works fine with other eGPU setups including 2016 MacBook Pro and 2013 Mac Pro.

The iMac sees and uses the 1070 to run Blender, Octane Render, DaVinci Resolve, and LuxMark. But other pro apps ignore the 1070 because it's not connected to a display.

Any suggestions?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

What macOS version is running on your 2017 iMac 5K? I believe these 2017 Macs has different 10.12.4 and 10.12.5 than the regular builds

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barefeats
(@barefeats)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

When I updated it to 10.12.5, the build number was 16F2073. With that build, it rejected the NVIDIA web driver for 10.12.5. MacVidCards suggested changing the build number to 16F73 which is the build specified in the release notes for the current 10.12.5 Mac Pascal driver release.  And it is also the build on my other Macs running 10.12.5 and working fine with eGPUs.

Once I changed the build number, automate-eGPU script was able to install of the NVIDIA web driver. After restart, it recognized the 1070 (and other NVIDIA GPUs that I was benchmarking). All the apps like Blender, Octane, and Resolve detected and used the NVIDIA GPUs, but the Dell 5K just wouldn't light up and Displays System Preference didn't even detect a phantom display. 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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barefeats
(@barefeats)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

GOOD NEWS! I entered some nvidia suggested boot-args and power cycled the Dell 5K display. I also plugged in both DP cables for 5K model. It not only lit up after restart but it was running at 5120x2880!!! Rock'n'roll!!!

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

Dual DisplayPort has been the prerequisite for most third party 5K displays. Glad to hear you got it going.

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Supaiku
(@supaiku)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: barefeats

GOOD NEWS! I entered some nvidia suggested boot-args and power cycled the Dell 5K display. I also plugged in both DP cables for 5K model. It not only lit up after restart but it was running at 5120x2880!!! Rock'n'roll!!!

Very cool man! So I am considering buying one of the new 2017 iMacs with Thunderbolt 3 to do a similar eGPU setup to what you've done, so this is great news. I had tried getting an Akitio Node with a GTX 980Ti Hybrid to work on my 2013 iMac, using a Thunderbolt 3>2 converter. Turns out that the 2013 iMacs are Thunderbolt 1, so I was never able to get the eGPU to work properly. There is more that I may try experimenting with. I haven't upgraded to OSX 10.12, still on 10.11.6 I believe, even though I've read that shouldn't make a difference getting a 900 series Nvidia card to work (maybe so for the 1000 series?). Also I tried using Rastabi's package file instead of automate-eGPU script. I definitely have the latest Nvidia web drivers for OSX 10.11.6, disabled SIP, had a secondary 1080p monitor plugged into the card, etc. but couldn't get things working.

I'm getting one of the new Macbook Pros from work soon so I will be trying the eGPU setup on that first and if I can get it to run then I'll probably trade in my 2013 iMac for the 2017 model. I use Octane Render and Cinema 4D heavily so this is something I really want to get working properly.

You mentioned that you had to change the build number to get the Nvidia web drivers to work. How do you do that? And do you think this would be something I'd need to do with a GTX 980Ti or is it only necessary for the 1000 series cards and Pascal web drivers? Or something to do with using OSX 10.12 vs. 10.11?

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vfxbear
(@vfxbear)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

How did you change this number? I have been trying for days and everything I have seen (regarding changing the driver .pkg) fails... AnyChance you can send me the install file you modified? vfxbear@me.com

 

UPDATE: and it was changed very easily just modify by doing a sudo nano -w /System/Library/CoreServices/System/SystemVersion.plist and changing the release to 16F73.

Then the installer works.

 

thanks,

 

Jim

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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MrGerbils
(@mrgerbils)
New Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I just got a 2017 iMac and am very interested in getting an eGPU strictly for rendering in Octane in C4D but I haven’t found a ton of info about that specific use case. Any chance you could provide any links to guides you may have used to get it set up and running? I don’t want to have an external monitor but if I can still use an eGPU just to point Octane at still using built in display that’s very exciting.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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sixsixone
(@sixsixone)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Hi,

Has anyone had success in getting an AMD card to power the 2017 5k iMac's internal display in Bootcamp? I've tried 3 cards: RX 580, R9 Fury, and yeah I know.. the Vega Frontier Edition with no success.

tl;dr (possibly)
______________

External display works fine. I installed the bootcamp drivers and used the correct driver inf files for the cards. Catalyst Control Center works fine with both drivers even though the CCC version is from the Bootcamp driver. The AMD installer will not detect the eGPU no matter what.

The best I can do is run a game in window mode on the external monitor then drag it over to the 5k iMac display, but it's limited to the external monitor's max resolution so I cannot get a fullscreen window. The game, as it should, will default to the primary monitor and if the monitor is switched in-game, the eGPU is no longer active and the dedicated graphics takes over. Setting switchable graphics to High Performance and playing around with display settings (i.e. primary monitor/extended/show only 1/2) doesn't make a difference either nor does disabling the dedicated graphics in device manager. I've tried the Fit 4k adapter as well. It kind of works for internal display in High Sierra, but not in Windows 10.

I've done everything in various order to get CCC to read the eGPU as primary on the internal display and it does work, but only in extended desktop mode with the external monitor being primary. Once a Steam game is started, it defaults back to the primary monitor. No surprises.

Other threads about internal display have been helpful, but nothing has worked. My 2016 13" touch MacBook Pro can effectively drive the internal display in games, but with that there's the advantage of not having dedicated graphics and using the efi method.

It seems like Nvidia cards are having trouble too as evidenced here, but in macOS.
______________

Is there anything I'm missing?

____
Sonnet Breakaway Box w/ swapped PSU

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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awer25
(@awer25)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: barefeats

GOOD NEWS! I entered some nvidia suggested boot-args and power cycled the Dell 5K display. I also plugged in both DP cables for 5K model. It not only lit up after restart but it was running at 5120x2880!!! Rock'n'roll!!!

Can you describe what you did?  I have a 2017 5K iMac too and am also having the black screen issue with my 4K Dell display (via single DP cable).  

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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