MBP 15" late 2013, Mojave 10.14.1, Sonnet Breakout 350, MSI 580 - Strange external Philips display behavior
It's quite some time ago I tried to get my MacBook running with an NVDIA eGPU setup with no efforts. In the meantime I changed the setup a lot and it seems I had more luck with another card - but not as expected. But first of all about my actual setup:
1. MacBook Pro Late 2013, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M, 2024 MB, Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB - the MBP with TB2 architecture but "understanding" the TB3 architecture
2. Sonnet Breakaway 350 enclosure
3. MSI Radeon 580 Gaming 8GB, noticed from OSX as AMD RX 580 GPU, showing up in activity monitor and system profiler
4. Mac OS X 10.14.1
5. No Windows bootcamp stuff used with that MBP!
I have been using the purge-wrangler script setup (thanks a lot, worked quite well!) with the eGPU setup attached - no further hardware connected to my MBP. A Philips 278G4 display is attached to the eGPU (that fancy "Ambiglow" display, sorry for that, I am a Philips Hue fanatic...). So now for the strange behavior of that display...
After making use of the purge-wrangler script the MBP booted just fine into 10.14.1. OS X did detect the eGPU setup, the little disconnect-symbol appeared in the finder's menu bar showing the AMD RX 580 as disconnectable card. Changing some app preferences (information about app > prefer external GPU) like Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve and some others worked, short tests with the activity monitor besides the app window showed load onto the MSI card. But - and this is the strange thing - the external Philips display (also recognized by the system) does not show a picture. It does not show a "not working" black, but that slightly illuminated black, meaning it gets some sort of input when connected directly to eGPU.
Before this eGPU modification this display was connected directly to my MBP via HDMI, always at resolution 1920 x 1080. Even after using "SwitchRes X" I was not able to get a picture to that display. Please note: I am also using a Thunderbolt Display and several other Thunderbolt and USB hardware but I did not connect this stuff while setting up purge-wrangler. I also changed HDMI cables and else but the display stays illuminated black. Dealing with the display's internal setup routines did not change anything. Hot-plugging the eGPU to my MBP before logging in also did not change anything. For now I re-connected the Philips back to my MBP directly and everything works fine until now. Choosing the eGPU as preferred graphics processor via any app's information window seems to work, at least the activity monitor tells me so. For example Final Cut Pro, Photomatics Pro, Bioshock 2 and others seem to use the MSI 580 card, a lot of things seem to work much more fluently. But when connected back to the eGPU the Philips display stays illuminated black.
And yes, I disabled the SIP....
@trampilot Please re-read the purge-wrangler.sh post's AMD section -> Additional resources. You also need purge-nvda.sh for external display to work with that Mac and card. Also read purge-nvda.sh post in-depth.
Thanks for answering!
I read the mentioned post in depth before and I wasn't sure on what options I would have after using that one so I decided not to use it for now. As far as I can see some acceleration can be done by using the app's information window ("prefer external GPU"), at least some apps do use the eGPU without directly connected display and this would fit most of my needs. Just Final Cut Pro does some strange things...
Nevertheless I am wondering what is actually happening if I would use that purge-nvda script without connecting the Philips display to the eGPU. As far as I understand that mentioned post the possible troubles would or could also appear. Is that right?
@trampilot Yes it has its complications. But at the same time they are easy to revert. As mentioned, it's only needed for monitors connected to eGPUs to function so it really is optional now that the Prefer External GPU option is available on Mojave (though arguably there is more performance to be gained with monitors directly connected to eGPU).
Well, I fiddled around a bit in my setup. The NVDIA "card" actually is installed in the Apple 27" Thunderbolt Display I am using besides my MBP and the Philips display. Is ist still "necessary" to make use of the nvdia-purge script although my MBP utilizes an Intel GPU? Not sure about this... Nevertheless the MSI Radeon is still noticed as AMD Radeon so there isn't a change after installing the legacy drivers for Radeon cards. Everything works fine and very satisfying to me so thanks to all who made it possible! And it is really interesting what apps make use of the eGPU!
I am still keeping my GeForce GX 980 Ti. Maybe sometime there will be updated drivers for Mojave available. Would be some fun to use two eGPUs at the same time, I suppose 🙂