[SCRIPT] Better eGPUs on Macs with Discrete NVIDIA GPUs  

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 2 years  ago
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August 6, 2017 11:18 pm  

Although macOS High Sierra introduced native support for AMD graphics, most users of macs running NVIDIA GPUs internally know, or come to know, that getting eGPUs to work on these machines is a pain - to say the least. purge-nvda.sh aims to resolve a bit of that, and at least get users up and running on their eGPU.

Use with purge-wrangler.sh for macOS 10.13.4 or later, including macOS 10.14 (Mojave), to enable external GPUs.


Requirements

This script requires the following specifications:

  • Mac with integrated Intel GPU + dedicated NVIDIA GPU
  • macOS 10.13.4
  • Backup of the current untainted system (recommended)
  • AMD or NVIDIA eGPU

 


Usage

Please follow these steps:

Step 1

Disable system integrity protection using macOS from Terminal after booting into Recovery (CMD + R on power on):

csrutil disable
reboot

 

Step 2

Boot back into macOS and paste the following into Terminal

curl -s "https://api.github.com/repos/mayankk2308/purge-nvda/releases/latest" | grep '"browser_download_url":' | sed -E 's/.*"([^"]+)".*/\1/' | xargs curl -L -s -0 > purge-nvda.sh && chmod +x purge-nvda.sh && ./purge-nvda.sh && rm purge-nvda.sh

OR

Use @jeroen-van-keulen's Alln1 installer.

You will be prompted to enter your account password for superuser permissions. On first-time use, the script will auto-install itself as a binary into /usr/local/bin/. Note that versions prior to 2.0.0 do not have auto-install capability.

After using the script once, you can easily use it next time in Terminal by simply typing:

purge-nvda

 

This will also prompt for updating the script if a new version is found online.

 

About PurgeNVDA 3.0

  • Option #1 fixes problems with AMD eGPUs not rendering external displays.
  • Option #2 fixes issues with the latest NVIDIA Web Drivers preventing OpenCL/GL acceleration on NVIDIA eGPUs with this mac.
  • If either of the above options leaves your computer unbootable, I recommend booting into Single User Mode and using Option #4 to re-set the mux to the iGPU as sometimes this value may not be set properly on the first run (NVRAM sometimes has a mind of it's own).
  • I also recommend using the script's Option #9 immediately to reboot after applying the aforementioned options for best results.

 


Troubleshooting

If you are unable to boot into macOS, boot into Single User Mode, then try the following:

mount -uw /
purge-nvda

 
Proceed to uninstall changes made by the script and reboot.

For other issues, please read the Troubleshooting Guide.

 


Known Issues

This is a list of problems that I have encountered first-hand. You should be aware of them before using this script, as in many cases these problems may inconvenience you significantly:

 

# Sleep
Closing the lid for deep sleep may not work. The internal display remains active. By extension, clamshell mode with eGPU does not work. Prolonged sleep may also not work.

Workaround: Not possible without eGPU compromise. Prolonged sleep may be dealt with by disabling hibernation mode using the script.

 

# Higher Discrete GPU Temperatures

Because drivers are prevented from loading, the discrete GPU runs hotter and consumes more power at idle.

Workaround: Not possible without eGPU compromise.

 

# Internal Display Brightness

Macs may be unable to adjust their display brightness.

Workaround: Use 3rd party software solutions. Default control not possible without eGPU compromise.

 

# Video output via HDMI / DisplayPort

Direct video output from HDMI or DisplayPort does not work due to hard-wiring to discrete graphics.

Workaround: Not possible without eGPU compromise.

 

# Booting Multiple Copies of macOS

Booting different copies of macOS on the same machine may break the originally modified system's functionality.

Workaround: Resolved in v1.4.0 of the script. 


# macOS Updates

Updating macOS with the script modifications in place resets the changes.

Workaround: Resolved in v1.4.0 of the script. Note that resetting NVRAM will disable eGPUs again.

 


References

Many thanks to @itsage for referencing some awesome solutions on macrumors, as well as @goalque and @tbl777 for looking deeply into this. Together they make this script possible. Please let me know, here, via PM, or via GitHub issues if things don't work out for you, and remember to test on a backed up system or, as I recommend, an extra installation.

I found valuable information at:

 

A thank you suffices, but for those kind souls who would love to contribute:

paypal  (@mac_editor)

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


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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August 7, 2017 12:54 am  

Thank you for your determination to come up with this workaround. This will be very helpful for those Macs with stubborn dGPU that interferes with eGPU.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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Flint Ironstag
(@flint-ironstag)
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Posts: 164
August 7, 2017 4:49 am  

Thanks for sharing this with the community!

MP 6,1 | 4c | d700
MP 6,1 | 6c | d500


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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August 7, 2017 8:03 am  
Posted by: theitsage

Thank you for your determination to come up with this workaround. This will be very helpful for those Macs with stubborn dGPU that interferes with eGPU.

Posted by: Flint Ironstag

Thanks for sharing this with the community!

I hope it works for the others, as well as other NVIDIA GPU based Macs having problems haha ;p

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


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ljtzeng
(@ljtzeng)
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August 7, 2017 3:03 pm  

First of all, I am so excited when I see this post. But when I give it a try, I have encounter one problem, after downloaded the script and move it to the desktop. I use terminal to enter the command, all I get is this error message (sudo: ./purge-nvda.sh: command not found), did I do something wrong ? Can you help me ? Thanks.

I am using Late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M+RX580@16Gbps-TB2(Akitio Node via TB3 to TB2 adapter)+MacOS High Sierra B4 (17A315i) 

Also I have already disable SIP.


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ariksaja
(@ariksaja)
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August 7, 2017 3:08 pm  

 i wonder if the sierra beta also work with this method? can you work with nvidia audio on mac? thanks.

late-2012 Mac Mini + GTX1050Ti@10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Node via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS & Win10


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mac_editor
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August 7, 2017 3:12 pm  
Posted by: ljtzeng

First of all, I am so excited when I see this post. But when I give it a try, I have encounter one problem, after downloaded the script and move it to the desktop. I use terminal to enter the command, all I get is this error message (sudo: ./purge-nvda.sh: command not found), did I do something wrong ? Can you help me ? Thanks.

I am using Late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M+RX580@16Gbps-TB2(Akitio Node via TB3 to TB2 adapter)+MacOS High Sierra B4 (17A315i) 

Also I have already disable SIP.

Try this:

  • Ensure you are in the Desktop on the command line: cd ~/Desktop
  • sudo chmod +x purge-nvda.sh > then run that command.

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


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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August 7, 2017 3:14 pm  

Please read the post carefully and don't get confused of the purpose for this script. @mac_editor has had a heck of a time getting his 750M MacBook Pro to work in macOS High Sierra 10.13b with an AMD RX 480 eGPU. This workaround is to prevent the Nvidia dGPU from loading in macOS so that RX 480 eGPU can function.

There's no workaround for Nvidia eGPU in 10.13b yet.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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mac_editor
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August 7, 2017 3:15 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

Please read the post carefully and don't get confused of the purpose for this script. @mac_editor has had a heck of a time getting his 750M MacBook Pro to work in macOS High Sierra 10.13b with an AMD RX 480 eGPU. This workaround is to prevent the Nvidia dGPU from loading in macOS so that RX 480 eGPU can function.

There's no workaround for Nvidia eGPU in 10.13b yet.

Precisely - I have been brainstorming a better title for the post for a while haha... this is ONLY FOR EXTERNAL AMD ACCELERATION ON HIGH SIERRA ON MACS WITH NVIDIA GRAPHICS INSIDE THEM.

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


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theitsage
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August 7, 2017 3:16 pm  
Posted by: mac_editor

.....

Perhaps more research into the kext behaviors associated with graphics and displays on macOS High Sierra might allow for a script that makes a discrete Mac emulate an integrated-only Mac - with the script providing options to switch between these modes. Nonetheless, I think this workaround is a sufficient stopgap if anything until we "legacy" NVIDIA Mac users upgrade to newer models.

This project is on GitHub:  https://github.com/mayankk2308/purge-nvda

I sent you a PM but not sure it got through. Can you take a look at this workaround to disable dGPU in MacBook Pro and give it a try?

If it turns out universal and easily replicable, it would be great for users of MacBook Pro with a dGPU to soft-convert them into iGPU-only Macs.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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August 7, 2017 3:23 pm  
Posted by: theitsage
 
I sent you a PM but not sure it got through. Can you take a look at this workaround to disable dGPU in MacBook Pro and give it a try?
 
If it turns out universal and easily replicable, it would be great for users of MacBook Pro with a dGPU to soft-convert them into iGPU-only Macs.

That's a great resource I will surely look into. Thanks @theitsage.

Also I just checked my inbox for your message and didn't find anything, although I did see your username. I tried sending you a PM and got a notification on the top right saying cannot send notification. It seems to have gone through however.

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


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ljtzeng
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August 7, 2017 3:43 pm  
Posted by: mac_editor
Posted by: ljtzeng

First of all, I am so excited when I see this post. But when I give it a try, I have encounter one problem, after downloaded the script and move it to the desktop. I use terminal to enter the command, all I get is this error message (sudo: ./purge-nvda.sh: command not found), did I do something wrong ? Can you help me ? Thanks.

I am using Late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M+RX580@16Gbps-TB2(Akitio Node via TB3 to TB2 adapter)+MacOS High Sierra B4 (17A315i) 

Also I have already disable SIP.

Try this:

  • Ensure you are in the Desktop on the command line: cd ~/Desktop
  • sudo chmod +x purge-nvda.sh > then run that command.

Yes, it works!! Thank you very much!!


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mac_editor
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August 7, 2017 9:29 pm  

Does not work on High Sierra Beta 5 possibly due to changes associated with /S/L/E/ handling on boot. Future builds may change this, however.

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


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mac_editor
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August 8, 2017 1:33 pm  

Updated the original post - NVIDIA discrete graphics can be disabled on macOS with purge-nvda.sh 1.1 or later.

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


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mac_editor
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August 8, 2017 9:47 pm  

After tons of haggling, the most I could do so far was to force High Sierra B5 to boot using the integrated GPU without touching system extensions (script nvram-only mode). This behavior is like 0xbb's gpu-switch, which gives you one boot on iGPU only. However, I'm not sure if gpu-switch forces an iGPU-only boot since it only modifies one NVRAM variable. It could be that the single modification affects other variables as well, but for the sake of consistency, my script modifies all necessary variables to ensure an iGPU-only boot (this version is not on GitHub yet, 1.1.1 also changes one variable like gpu-switch). Additionally, gpu-switch does not work on 10.12.4+. This script does. The tricky part is next.

On macOS Sierra and even High Sierra B4, to make this iGPU-only boot persistent, removing the discrete GPU's drivers works spectacularly. Additionally, without kext removal, the NVIDIA kexts are still loaded even in the iGPU-only configuration. This rules out gpu-switch as a potential solution because the loaded kexts interfere with external graphics, and, for the moment, makes kext removal essential - as evident on previous macOS builds. The same solution does not seem to work on Beta 5, which simply refuses to boot. The questions to answer are why moving around kexts that won't be used at boot interfere with the boot and why it only happens on HS B5?

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


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mac_editor
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August 10, 2017 6:44 pm  
Posted by: mac_editor

The questions to answer are why moving around kexts that won't be used at boot interfere with the boot and why it only happens on HS B5?

After some tinkering and posting on macrumors regarding this:

  • The problem could be with the WindowServer process on boot. It seems to die each time on B5 while booting without NVDA kexts. Given that WindowServer is a prominent update in High Sierra (since it now runs on Metal) - future betas are highly likely to make changes to it (fingers crossed though).
  • Technically, moving around the kexts isn't the problem then. However, apparently manually executing kextcache commands is completely discouraged on the High Sierra beta - can potentially render disk unbootable. Letting the system automatically execute this seems to work fine though.

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


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mac_editor
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August 12, 2017 4:39 pm  

Tested the script more extensively and it works on Mavericks (10.9)Yosemite (10.10)El Capitan (10.11), and Sierra (10.12). Can't wait to the test High Sierra Beta 6.

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


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mac_editor
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August 15, 2017 12:01 pm  

Beta 6 does some interesting stuff. Starting off with the bad news: script still doesn't work - same issue.

The potentially good news:

Unlike the previous beta, this build actually switches to discrete graphics before enabling the external GPU. This has eliminated the glitch on the external screen seen on logging out. The internal display also shows a scaled resolution of the screen for a moment - a good sign - but quickly gets stuck. Since I had verbose boot enabled - I noticed that the Mac had trouble detecting the external display - its value set to 0 on logout. What this means is -> the issue with NVIDIA - AMD driver collision MIGHT have been resolved and further builds may improve eGPU support (example: my eGPU on some betas did not work on Mid-14 13" MBP, B5 worked, B6 yet to test) and therefore result in working configs without the use of the script (which ain't working atm anyway). For those on a previous beta (with dGPU NVDA Mac), please disable Automatic Graphics Switching and try connecting the eGPU. For those on Beta 6, you will probably face the same issue as myself.

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


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mac_editor
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August 22, 2017 2:27 pm  

Beta 7 behaves similar to Beta 6 with regards to external graphics  - no changes. It seems to have trouble detecting an external display via my eGPU - as mentioned in the previous post. The AMD kexts seem to load correctly as well, so the problem most likely lies in how external displays are being managed, perhaps? Looking into this. 

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


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Daelin
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September 13, 2017 9:14 pm  

any news on this topic?

MacBook Pro 15" 2017, AMD RP560
Devil Box + MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming X

Bricked thanks to rEFInd:
MacBook Pro 15" Late 2013, GT 750M


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mac_editor
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September 13, 2017 9:51 pm  
Posted by: Daelin

any news on this topic?

Work in progress. Waiting on gold master. No changes observed on latest available builds. 

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


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Rycco
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September 14, 2017 3:46 am  

But wait, there are macs that officially have Nvidia dGPUs right? So Apple will support those, which means that there will be a Nvidia drivers. Am I right?

mid-2017 15" Macbook Pro RP555 + GTX1080i@32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS & Win10


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mac_editor
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September 14, 2017 5:20 am  
Posted by: Rycco

But wait, there are macs that officially have Nvidia dGPUs right? So Apple will support those, which means that there will be a Nvidia drivers. Am I right?

Official Apple NVIDIA drivers only support up to 7xx cards. Also, external graphics are officially only supported on TB3 macs - none of which have NVIDIA graphics. It is quite evident however, that external graphics (AMD) do work on TB2 on macOS High Sierra. It doesn’t on macs with NVIDIA dGPUs because it wasn’t developed to work alongside them in the first place (since target is TB3) - as luck would have it these official NVIDIA drivers are the culprit - preventing the unsupported TB2 config from working correctly. 

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


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code1337
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September 19, 2017 12:28 pm  

I naively downloaded High Sierra GM (17A362a) with a Sonnet Breakaway 350 and AMD RX 580 and can only get a black screen when trying to activate (direct with booting or being logged out, though at least no crash here). I have the Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M and as far as i understand there is currently not a working solution to get the egpu running on this machine (because of the GT750M just being built-in there), right?

Thanks for all the effort so far!

 

P.S.:  I tried the same egpu on a Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M Iris Only on a High-Sierra beta and there it worked out-of-the-box


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mac_editor
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September 19, 2017 2:09 pm  
Posted by: code1337

I naively downloaded High Sierra GM (17A362a) with a Sonnet Breakaway 350 and AMD RX 580 and can only get a black screen when trying to activate (direct with booting or being logged out, though at least no crash here). I have the Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M and as far as i understand there is currently not a working solution to get the egpu running on this machine (because of the GT750M just being built-in there), right?

Thanks for all the effort so far!

 

P.S.:  I tried the same egpu on a Mid-2014 15" MacBook Pro GT750M Iris Only on a High-Sierra beta and there it worked out-of-the-box

Experiencing the same thing without use of the script. The recent High Sierra builds don’t boot without NVIDIA drivers (while forcing boot on iGPU too) - thus the script still isn’t functional. Quite ironically, removing drivers for AMD discrete graphics does not cause a boot issue. Quite odd I must say. 

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


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mac_editor
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September 20, 2017 1:28 am  

A positive response on Apple's part - lets see what the next builds of High Sierra bring.

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


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theitsage
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September 20, 2017 1:46 am  

Thank you for the update @mac_editor! This is definitely a positive response.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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senatorpops
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September 28, 2017 5:53 pm  

any update on this? or are we waiting for apple to configure a way to disable discrete graphics themselves?


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Koopa
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September 29, 2017 2:02 am  

I tried this yesterday with a RX580 and a MBP Mid 2014 750M. The eGPU is detected by High Sierra, however when logging out and back in you only get a black screen until you unplug it again 🙁


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mac_editor
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September 29, 2017 2:05 am  

The script is still not functional on macOS 10.13.1 B1. I am unable to simulate an iGPU-only boot after removing the NVIDIA drivers. The new system seems to boot differently than before (characteristic animation - the screen blinks on normal boot before completing). It is recommended that you avoid using this until I can work on this. My eGPU is currently out of commission anyway.

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


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adjust80
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September 29, 2017 5:18 am  
Posted by: Koopa

I tried this yesterday with a RX580 and a MBP Mid 2014 750M. The eGPU is detected by High Sierra, however when logging out and back in you only get a black screen until you unplug it again 🙁

i have the same problem here, even get rid off my nvida gtx 1070 for rx580, and now my egpu setup is sitting in the box ...........


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tbl777
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October 3, 2017 8:01 am  

I concur the same situation using akitio tb2 enclosure, what's wrong with this?

late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX580@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO thunder 2) + macOS 10.13


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tbl777
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October 3, 2017 1:20 pm  

Thanks for your script! It worked good in the 10.13beta3.

Only one problem: exe script and reboot, the lightness adjustment of the internal screen is out of function....

late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX580@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO thunder 2) + macOS 10.13


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tbl777
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October 5, 2017 3:21 am  

mac_editor

Another glitch, after installed script, the power consumption of the Macbook(10.13beta4) always increased 10-watt than no-script, I tested with Istat(software) and plug power meter(hardware).

When I uninstalled the script, it backed normal instantly.

It over and over again with install and uninstall.

late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX580@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO thunder 2) + macOS 10.13


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mac_editor
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October 5, 2017 5:01 am  
Posted by: tbl777

mac_editor

Another glitch, after installed script, the power consumption of the Macbook(10.13beta4) always increased 10-watt than no-script, I tested with Istat(software) and plug power meter(hardware).

When I uninstalled the script, it backed normal instantly.

It over and over again with install and uninstall.

This is a known issue that can currently only be resolved by loading the NVIDIA drivers (or perhaps just one of those kexts). Doing so might interfere with external graphics - therefore I have not created a mechanism for this.

There is probably a way to tune down the NVIDIA processor by modifying its default maximum state in AGPM - but I'm not pursuing this at the moment as I am prioritizing to at least get eGPU functional on recent High Sierra builds.

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


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tbl777
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Joined: 12 months  ago
Posts: 74
October 6, 2017 8:58 am  

I have just wrote a email to tcook about nvidia-model incompatible with eGPU based on amd RX580.

late-2013 15" MacBook Pro GT750M + RX580@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO thunder 2) + macOS 10.13


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