Thunderbolt eGPU: AKiTiO Thunder2 and Radeon RX 470
I’ve been using a MacBook Air 11″ for on-site work and a MacBook Pro 17″ as my main laptop. The MBP 17″ is a late 2011 model which has the well-known faulty discrete GPU so I don’t dare running anything intensive to stress out the dGPU. The MacBook Air 11″ has the weakest iGPU in the Mac laptop lineup. Therefore, building a thunderbolt eGPU was a perfect solution for my video editing and occasional gaming needs.
My aim was to keep the total cost under $500 for the entire setup including the graphics card. I decided on going with an AKiTiO Thunder2 enclosure ($200), a Radeon RX 470 GPU ($200), a Dell DA-2 220W power brick ($25), and miscellaneous cables ($30).
On the software side, I’m relying on goalque‘s automate-egpu script in macOS and nando4‘s guide on DSDT override to fix error 12 in Windows. While enabling the eGPU in macOS only took 10 minutes, Windows was more challenging. Since completing this build, I’ve learned nando4‘s DIY eGPU Setup 1.30 software is a much more streamlined solution for Windows.
Btw, I had a 17" 2011 MBP. I went into the Apple store and they said that they had recalled those laptops - they replaced my motherboard and dGPU for free. Might be worth a check, that was about 1 year ago.
hi @itsage I build a similar setup like yours and it doesn't work well.
The setup is running but I have graphic and performance issues, pixels problems with shades and gradients.
It shows in the "About this Mac" Menu both screens use the Intel HD graphics 3000
but if I go to the System Reports it shows RX 9xxx is running the second screen.
If I work on the second screen it stucks after a while and brings me back to the login screen.
Do I have a electricity problem?
Dell DA-2 and Akitio power brick at the same time causes conflicts?
Is the Sapphire Radeon RX 480 not compatible?
Is the graphic card broken ?
Script has maybe problems with my setup?
- MacBook Pro 2011 "17 / i7 - 16gb RAM - 500gb SSD / macOS 10.12.1
(Motherboard and dGPU changed by apple last year)
- Goalque/automate-eGPU script
- Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box
- Sapphire Radeon RX 480 8GB
- Dell DA-2 220W power brick converted tu PCIe
- Akitio power brick
Can somebody help me here? @nando4
It’s best to power the whole setup with only one PSU. However, your power arrangement is working as the GPU shows up through Thunderbolt. The issue is with mismatched driver kexts between 10.12.1 and automate-eGPU script. Goalque has stopped development on this script to focus on the new EFI app.
FricoRico has been working with Goalque to improve the existing script which will support 10.12.1 and newer version of macOS Sierra. In the mean time, you can modify the script by doing a search and replace of AMDRadeonX4000 with AMDRadeonX4100.
Your RX 480 eGPU will have graphic acceleration and Metal support after doing that.
Or just wait the script with support for new 10.12.2
MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD
my awesome Radeon VII eGPU
my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64
Thanks guys for your quick answer. 🙂
@itsage I found the both kext files, should I copy the info.plist from the AMDRadeonX4100 and place it in the AMDRadeonX4000.kext?
Baffin personality which has Polaris GPU support was in AMDRadeonX4000.kext in 10.12 beta builds to GM version. Then Apple added AMDRadeonX4100.kext in 10.12.1 which contains only the Baffin personality prior to the launch of the new Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro.
Don’t mix plist files between these kexts. You can either modify the automate-egpu script or manually add the PCI ID 67DF1002 to the info.plist inside AMDRadeon4100.kext – https://www.theitsage.com/install-radeon-rx-480-gpu-macos-sierra/
Thanks guys for all your help...
Finally it is working, I can do render tests and games have a great graphic.
Just Unreal Engine 4 is not work as I expect it. I can't select the RX 480 to render the level.
Are there some trick to use the RX 480 with unreal engine 4?
Great to hear it’s working for you! I’m not familiar with Unreal Engine 4. Your screen capture shows it relies on OpenGL. In my experience, macOS handles the GPU switching automatically. Your 17″ MBP has iGPU, dGPU, and now an eGPU.
Your best chance to have macOS use the eGPU is by connecting the external display through DisplayPort on your RX 480 eGPU. Set that external display as the main screen (see screen capture). Then run Unreal Engine 4 on that external display. Let us know how that goes and pray the GPU god the 6770M doesn’t crap out again. 😀
Yes I did that, its the only way to see the AMD RX 480 in "About this Mac".
In the display tab it shows both screens with AMD RX 480, if I put the menu bar back to the Macbook Pro it shows in both screens Intel HD Graphics 3000 but it is connected to the AMD RX 480.
Is that normal ?
As I have a old Monitor I tried also on the Samsung Flat screen in 1080p and 1080i.
All changes does not work for Unreal Engine 4.
attached is also a screen shot of the automate-gpu.sh what I modified from 4000.kext to 4100.kext
That’s normal behavior in About This Mac. You can try gfxCardStatus which was developed to help people with these troubled 2011 MBPs select the iGPU to prolong the dGPU life. Your use would be slightly different in selecting the eGPU. I’m not sure if that will work but it’s worth a shot.
Thanks again, I found the issue in UE4 on the end.
I put the epic setting on all graphics and rebuild the light.