Looking for advice on a future-proof eGPU setup (MBP 15 - 2015 - m370x)
 
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Looking for advice on a future-proof eGPU setup (MBP 15 - 2015 - m370x)  

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kamaja
(@kamaja)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hi guys! I'm super new to this eGPU scene (well the whole scene is quite new, I know) but I'm looking for a good solution to make my Macbook Pro 15 - 2015 (with the R9 m370x) work well with games. Well, that's why I'd bought the one with this dGPU in the first place, but it's not that effective (bad performance and throttling).

The Mbp runs well for other programs I use for work. So I'm not planning on upgrading it to make use of the TB3 features that newer models offer, at least not for now, unless it's advised. Looking at my situation, I was wondering if you guys could provide me with some advise on the following:

  • I'd like to build a stable eGPU setup in which I can upgrade the Mbp later to a TB3 model, without having to change the eGPU hardware. Is that possible?
  • For the games I play to run smoothly, what GPU and eGPU case would you suggest (and why)? Budget is not really an issue.
  • I use a Thunderbolt Display (the latest version just before Apple decided to discontinue the project), will it be compatible?
  • With the advised eGPU, how much performance increase can I expect? For example, I run PUBG @ 1080p on very low settings at about 30fps with lag spikes.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts. Any help is very much appreciated!

- Kaj

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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karmaz
(@karmaz)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I have the same spec and ended up ordering the Apple development kit, primarily to play PUBG. Since the support in OSX is centered around AMD hardware I was shooting for that to begin with, but with 580's and Vega56's being impossible to find in stock the devkit felt like the quickest way to get something up and running.

It's scheduled for delivery Tuesday, I'll report back with some numbers once it's up and running.

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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kamaja
(@kamaja)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Thanks for the quick reply and letting me know! Looking forward to the results!

Meanwhile I've read about the Apple Dev kit and see that you need to be enrolled as a developer. That would not be a problem, but does it have any other advantages besides being stocked? I'm not in a rush, looking to build something within 2-3 months, if possible.

Thanks again and good luck with your build!

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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karmaz
(@karmaz)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Worked a treat! After an initial scare with a laptop that failed to POST it works with just plug and play. Spent 3 hours playing PUBG last night, getting 40-60fps at 1080p with settings on a mixture of Ultra and High.

Benchmark performance seems to be inline with a desktop GTX 1060, which I'm pretty pleased with.

Superposition Benchmark v1.0 2435 1505858066

 

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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olill1987
(@olill1987)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hi @karmaz

Just one question. As far as I understoud you are using an MBP along with an Thunderbolt Display and the Sonnet Breakaway Box? Is that correct? And it worked pnp?
I bought an Sonnet Box directly (Breakaway 350) and I am using it with a EVGA GeForce 1050 ti SC but never got it work in BootCamp.

never mind of plug and play 😀 So I tried different guides with internal boot camp or external ssd. One time I had the eGPU recognized by boot camp and were able to run it on internal display but the thunderbolt display then got not recognized at all. Also some truble with USB backports on the display which are not working when not using correct drivers for thunderbolt.
I am freaking out already..

So my main question is. Did you connect the Box via USB-C/TB3 to MBP port and the display with adapter to another USB-C/TB3 port to the MacBook?
I could not find any adapter to connect the display directly to the eGPU.

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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karmaz
(@karmaz)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: olill1987

Hi @karmaz

Just one question. As far as I understoud you are using an MBP along with an Thunderbolt Display and the Sonnet Breakaway Box? Is that correct? And it worked pnp?
I bought an Sonnet Box directly (Breakaway 350) and I am using it with a EVGA GeForce 1050 ti SC but never got it work in BootCamp.

First off, which MBP do you have?

I bought the Apple eGPU devkit, which includes the Sonnet Breakaway box and an AMD RX580. I did this for two reason; one being that I couldn't find a decently priced AMD GPU in stock anywhere for the life of me and the other being that I knew an AMD GPU would work flawlessly in OSX High Sierra.

never mind of plug and play 😀 So I tried different guides with internal boot camp or external ssd. One time I had the eGPU recognized by boot camp and were able to run it on internal display but the thunderbolt display then got not recognized at all. Also some truble with USB backports on the display which are not working when not using correct drivers for thunderbolt.
I am freaking out already..

So my main question is. Did you connect the Box via USB-C/TB3 to MBP port and the display with adapter to another USB-C/TB3 port to the MacBook?
I could not find any adapter to connect the display directly to the eGPU.

 Unfortunately I don't have a TB display, it's a regular DP display so I had no issue connecting that to the eGPU.

My cable flow is TB2 cable -> Apple TB2 to TB3 adapter -> eGPU box -> DisplayPort cable -> screen.

 

I'll put together an implementation guide for the M370x MBP when I have a bit more time.

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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kamaja
(@kamaja)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@karmaz: Great to see you’ve got it working! And thanks for sharing as well. I hope you’ll have lots of fun with this setup! 

@olill1987:

I did a little digging and the Apple TB Display could become an issue because it’s not compatible with either hdmi or dp and there are no thunderbolt gpu’s. Some motherboards do have them, but it seems quite an exotic feature for non-macs.

I’ve sent a support ticket to Akitio to ask them whether it’s possible, using their tb3 connection on the chassis and a tb3>tb2 cable. It’s been a week though, but if I get an answer I’ll share it here.

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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olill1987
(@olill1987)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hey,

thanks for your replies. Yeah thats what is so freaky. TB Displays have been sold a long time and many of the MacBook Users do have them still. Thats why I do not understand why the sell a box which can not be used neither with an GPU (thats logical) but also that there is no way as far as I know to conect the TB Display to the MBP and accelerate it with the eGPU via the PCI-E lanes. There should be enough bandwidth.

But if you got some or any news on this let me know. I will also do. 🙂 Trying hard since about 3-4 weeks to get it done with the TB Display. Thats a mess. 🙂

 

Oh almost forgot. I use an MBP 15" mid late 2016 with touchbar (RP 455)

 

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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kamaja
(@kamaja)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I’ve asked Sonnet (their box is the same as the one Apple uses for their devkit), they replied very promptly and told me they succeeded in getting the TB display to work, BUT only when it’s connected to the Macbook. So both the display and eGPU are connected to the main machine. They have tested this with an NVIDIA card which could accelerate the graphics, yet there’s like 50% loss.... which is probably still faster than my dGPU.

So I’m planning on buying a Sonnet box and see what it does when setup this way. If the TB Display is too much of a bottleneck I’ll probably ditch it for a ‘normal’ display.

... Now I just need to be able to grab one from here (The Netherlands).

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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karmaz
(@karmaz)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: kamaja

 

... Now I just need to be able to grab one from here (The Netherlands).

amazon.de had some that would ship to Sweden for around 320 EUR. I'm sure they ship to NL as well.

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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