eGPU with Two TB3 ports for MacBook Pro
 
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Cade Missner
(@cade_missner)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

The title kind of summarizes it. I want to connect my MacBook Pro 16" to a display and to an eGPU (like in the video above, except he uses a Windows laptop).

To do this, I either need to figure out another way or have an eGPU enclosure with 2 TB3 ports that doesn't split the bandwidth between them. I would also like one that doesn't trickle-charge the Mac and provides enough power to it (which I believe is around 87 watts), or if it is possible to charge a Mac directly via a power adapter and have the eGPU plugged in at the same time, then ignore this reqirement. I am aware of the Blackmagic eGPUs but I don't want those for two reasons (as of now): you can't change the graphics card and they don't have super good GPUs in them to start... which again, you can't change

This leads me to the third requirement. They need to support (or preferably come with) AMD video cards (because Apple doesn't like NVIDIA) that are faster than the Radeon Pro 580 and the GPUs need to be replaceable.

 

Thank you for any help that you can give, and stay healthy!

This topic was modified 1 month ago

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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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

MacBook Pro 16" has four Thunderbolt 3 ports. You can charge it from any of the four ports and connect an eGPU to one of the other three ports.

Any Thunderbolt 3 device with a PCIe slot or M.2 slot will support a GPU (PCIe x16 adapter and extra power may be required).

Why do you need 2 TB3 ports?

"that doesn't split the bandwidth between them" doesn't make sense. Thunderbolt bandwidth from the computer serves all PCIe and DisplayPort devices on the Thunderbolt chain. A device with 2 TB3 ports uses one port to connect to the computer (upstream) and another port to connect to downstream Thunderbolt devices or a display (which is connected to the GPU in the computer).

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Cade Missner
(@cade_missner)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

@joevt, did you watch the video? They use 2 TB3 ports on the eGPU enclosure because a monitor needs to connect to a TB3 hub, the hub needs to connect to the eGPU, and the eGPU needs to connect to the computer (because apparently if you connect the hub to the computer and the computer to the eGPU there is a bunch of lag). It also said in the video that the Node Duo split bandwidth between its two TB3 ports. Sorry if I don’t understand. As you can see, I’m new to this. Thanks for your help anyway though!

 

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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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@cade_missner, I watched the video a long time ago. I didn't watch it again to refresh my memory so I forgot the mention of the Node Duo.

They use 2 TB3 ports on the eGPU so they can connect the CalDigit to the eGPU because the eGPU needs to be first in the chain when using Windows (otherwise lag and crashes). Do you plan on using Boot Camp? Are going to use a Thunderbolt dock or Thunderbolt display with the eGPU?

The monitor should be connected to the GPU in the eGPU for best performance. I don't think the video shows where the monitor is connected.

The Node Duo has two PCIe 3.0 slots limited to x2 PCIe link width which allows slightly greater than half the PCIe Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth so it's not as bad as it could be. Most performance is lost because of the Thunderbolt connection and not the number of PCIe lanes at the computer or GPU end.

If you still need two Thunderbolt 3 ports, then maybe try an OWC Mercury Helios S3. It has 85W of charging. Replace the power supply and modify the enclosure to support a GPU. You have the check the pinout of the power supply connector because it might not match a PCIe 6 pin power connector.

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@cade_missner, trying to understand your problem here (have seen the video myself) - your 3 requirements are monitor + eGPU + AMD card right? That's a straightforward eGPU setup of connecting: Mac -> eGPU with AMD card -> Display connected to AMD card. Explore builds.

If you also want a dock separately, for most optimal performance, connect the dock to another Mac thunderbolt port. If your needs are relatively minor (just USB-A + Ethernet), consider eGPU enclosures that provide peripheral support (thus eliminating need for dock - making for a true one-cable solution). Regarding charging, narrow down to enclosures that provide 100W PD. See buyer's guide.

 

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