Audio cuts out on Apple 27" TB Display with Blackmagic eGPU 580 and 16" MBP
 
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Audio cuts out on Apple 27" TB Display with Blackmagic eGPU 580 and 16" MBP  

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Martian
(@martian)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Greetings,

First post here but very excited to join this community!  I was offered a deal on a Blackmagic eGPU 580 that I couldn't pass up and just received my 2019 16" MacBook Pro (i9, 5500M 8 GB, 23GB RAM) running Catalina 10.15.4 (19E287) and have had an old 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display (with TB3 => TB2 adapter).

Everything work great most of the time however audio through the Thunderbolt Display speakers briefly cuts out on a pretty regular basis when playing games and I've also noticed it when swiping between screens while listening to music.  Never had a problem before adding the Blackmagic eGPU 580 to the mix.  Thinking it's a bandwidth issue but not sure that makes sense since it's only a 2k resolution display.

Setup looks like this:
MBP > TB3 cable > Blackmagic eGPU 580 (top port) > TB3 to TB2 adapter (bottom port) > 27" Thunderbolt display

I don't have any peripherals plugged into the Blackmagic eGPU's USB ports and the HDMI port is empty.  I have an Apple wired keyboard plugged into a USB port on the Thunderbolt display and I also have my AirPod charging case plugged in as it's a convenient place to charge them.

Audio is perfectly fine when using my AirPods instead of the built-in speakers in the Thunderbolt display.  I plan to to do some A / B testing with / without the Blackmagic eGPU but have been using the TB Display for years and not had a single issue with the audio prior to adding the Blackmagic.

EDIT: Tested with the Blackmagic eGPU connected to the MacBook and the Thunderbolt display also connected to the MacBook (obviously not ideal) and audio did NOT cut out! (confirmed eGPU was active).  It obviously only an issue when the Thunderbolt display is connected to the Blackmagic eGPU.  [both the eGPU and the display were connected to TB ports on the left side of the MacBook]

There is a firmware update available for the Blackmagic eGPU however if refuses to install (I'll address that in a separate thread but I suspect it has something to do with Catalina 10.15.4 (19E287)

There is also a firmware update available for the 27" Thunderbolt Display but it won't run on Catalina.  I have access to a 2017 15" MBP running Mojave but it failed to install from it (suspect Group Policy - work computer).  I also have a 2015 13" MBP but it is running Catalina so would need to downgrade.  Again a problem perhaps for a separate thread.

EDIT: Borrowed a 2012 MBP from work still running Sierra and was able to flash latest firmware on the Thunderbolt Display - unfortunately it didn't solve the audio issue.

Any help / advise is most welcomed!

This topic was modified 1 year ago

MacBooks:
2019 16" MacBook Pro - i9, 5500m 8GB, 32 GB, 1TB
2017 15" MacBook Pro - i7, 560 Pro 4GB, 16 GB, 512MB
2015 13" MacBook Pro - i5, Intel 6100, 8 GB, 512MB
eGPU:
Blackmagic eGPU 580 Pro
Display:
27" Apple Thunderbolt


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Martian
(@martian)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Update:  I unplugged the keyboard and my AirPod charging case from the Thunderbolt Display.  Plugged the Apple keyboard into the Blackmagic eGPU (nothing else connected to the eGPU or the Display other than the keyboard).  This seems to have solved the issue with the audio cutting out on the Thunderbolt display.  Still not sure why it makes a difference plugging the keyboard into the eGPU vs. the Thunderbolt display but apparently it does.

Would still be interested in any thoughts on what the issue is so I can avoid it in the future.

MacBooks:
2019 16" MacBook Pro - i9, 5500m 8GB, 32 GB, 1TB
2017 15" MacBook Pro - i7, 560 Pro 4GB, 16 GB, 512MB
2015 13" MacBook Pro - i5, Intel 6100, 8 GB, 512MB
eGPU:
Blackmagic eGPU 580 Pro
Display:
27" Apple Thunderbolt


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Toby Yim
(@toby_yim)
Active Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

I also have a similar setup and the same problem, although I have a 2015 MBPr and I'm driving two Thunderbolt Displays. Video is perfectly smooth so it's rather frustrating that the audio (both playback and the display's built-in mic) gets so choppy and intermittent.

Anyone figure this one out?

2015 Macbook Pro 15"
Blackmagic RX 580 eGPU
Two Apple 27" Thunderbolt Displays


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Toby Yim
(@toby_yim)
Active Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

I think I have this sorted out, although I'm running two displays so ymmv. When I switch input microphone to one monitor and the output speakers to the other monitor, everything is fine. I suspect the choppiness might be noise cancellation gone wrong?

2015 Macbook Pro 15"
Blackmagic RX 580 eGPU
Two Apple 27" Thunderbolt Displays


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