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Mid-2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M Master Thread

eGPU Mac 28 Comments

The 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M

Full system specifications: https://support.apple.com/kb/SP704

The 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro with the NVIDIA GeForce GT750M can be one of the most troublesome eGPU hosts and plays well in only certain scenarios. This master thread is an encapsulation of all my discoveries regarding this Mac.

As of writing, the latest version of macOS publicly available is Catalina, 10.15.2. The recommended eGPU configuration for this is to use an AMD eGPU with a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure (see Buyer’s Guide), and Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter. You will require purge-wrangler to ensure that the eGPU is set up correctly. If you are intending to use an external monitor connected to the eGPU, then you will also require purge-nvda. The use of purge-nvda causes multiple anomalies, including but not limited to:

  • Loss of sleep and brightness controls on the internal display.
  • Loss of clamshell mode and deep sleep, which may require force shutdown.
  • Loss of video output from the Thunderbolt and HDMI ports of the Mac.
  • Loss of discrete GPU, which needs to be deactivated for the external monitor to work over an AMD eGPU.
  • Power draw from the discrete GPU, even if inactive.

You may choose to combat these issues by following a build meant for a similar Mac that makes use of more complicated procedures to ensure that the aforementioned issues do not occur on disabling the discrete GPU: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/MacBook-pro-15-retina-mid-2012-razer-core-x-with-rx-580-and-functional-sleeping-waking-up-and-brightness-control/

It is possible to entirely automate and probably simplify the procedure used in the linked build. However, I have not investigated further due to lack of time, incentive, and the Mac itself, as I switched in 2018.

One other option is to compromise on performance by connecting your external monitor directly to your Mac, and avoid having to use purge-nvda and thus avoid those anomalies.

If instead of an AMD GPU, you happen to have a Kepler-class NVIDIA GPU which you would want to use, then you are in luck because you will only need purge-wrangler or automate-eGPU EFI and can get by without any of the complications above.

If you want to use a newer NVIDIA GPU, such as Maxwell or newer, then you must adhere to three important constraints:

  • Use macOS High Sierra or older.
  • Use a special boot procedure every time you wish to use the eGPU.
  • Be subject to some or all of the above complications mentioned above as purge-nvda will be required.

I recommend avoiding this configuration as much as possible. Note that the boot procedure can possibly be avoided if you use a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure instead. This configuration is also basically impossible to use with bootcamp, unless you use a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure.

With Bootcamp, the situation is simple: As long as you are not using a Maxwell or newer NVIDIA GPU, any eGPU will work normally as long as you boot with the eGPU plugged in. All you need to do is install the correct drivers for the eGPU, unless Windows hasn’t already done so within minutes – though you may still want to update them. This Mac does not support hot-plugging thunderbolt devices in Windows. One exception where a Maxwell or newer GPU may work is with a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure such as the Akitio Thunder2.

To conclude, this Mac can be a pain depending on your eGPU. The no-pain setup for this Mac is to use a Kepler GPU such as the NVIDIA GTX 780, which still supported as of Catalina. But those cards may not be powerful enough, in which case, the next best scenario is to use an AMD eGPU. Explore more in the builds table.

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waxstaa

Thank you for sharing!  I have this setup and have just been dealing with the issues caused by purge-nvda.  Didn’t know there was anything you could do to try to resolve them.  I’ll have to give it a try.

naticom

I’m using this particular MBP and eGPU with AMD cards (even with Navi) works right off the bat for Win 10 (1803). I’m not brave enough to try Catalina. The first card I tried with my eGPU box (Sonnet Breakaway 350) is Sapphire RX 580 and it worked perfectly with High Sierra, Mojave and Win 10 (1803). For Mac OS I had to deploy @mac_editor’s purge-wrangler and purge-nvda, but these are two very straightforward procedures given all the detailed tutorials. For Win 10 it’s just plug’n’play, no nasty error 12 encountered. As I’m using a 4K screen, I purchased a… Read more »

stillsmile

@mac_editor

Hi mate! I know u have done a lot of great work here! Thank you, this is my first post and i wanna ask if u could undervolt your mac’s 750m gpu? I know about volta and made nice undervolting via -75 + power limit to 40w. What about gpu? Any tricks?

stillsmile

@mac_editor

just saw your reply here in Volta thread about wondering how to undervolt GPU… Thought u ve made this

stillsmile

@mac_editor

could u please link me how to?

I m planning to buy Sonnet and eGPU so would be perfect to prepare my mac.

stillsmile

@mac_editor

I think i missed the point that i cant use normally any eGPU + External monitor cuz of my 750m…Crap…

So under mac os i need to go with loop connection with EGPU + normally connects my monitors?

vkbest

@naticom

How is gaming with this laptop and egpu? I mean, CPU is pretty old for current times, and at least for me, on summer with the hot the laptop is throttling (I think this is because 750m on windows but not sure).

Anyway, do you know if the “Razer Core X” is working with this laptop?

naticom

Just an update. I accidentally upgrade my 2014 MBP from Mojave to Catalina and my Bootcamp Win 10 still works without any problem while connecting with an eGPU. No hotplug is needed.

toast

After researching various build posts (linked from the “builds” table), I went ahead and picked up a Razer Core X to use with my 2014 MBP. My main goal is to use it with Boot Camp. The GPU I’m currently using is a GTX 660Ti, and I may soon be upgrading to a used GTX 770, thanks to a friend. These are both Kepler cards. In any case, it seems to work reasonably well in Boot Camp without too much effort. All I had to do was: install boot camp – I wanted a fresh re-install of Win10 without disrupting… Read more »

bps1981

@mac_editor thanks for this very helpful thread, as I’m considering an eGPU for a late 2013 MBP 15″ with 750M, and considering my options for Mac OS and Windows bootcamp gaming with an external monitor. 

ecnezie

Thanks for all your work! I have the same MBP, and hoping to boost rendering from vfx/editing apps (nuke, resolve, houdini+redshift…) I’m thinking to get a RazerX + T3>T2 adapter + Nvidia card (for CUDA). Thinking of an used 1080ti… not Kepler I guess. Would this possibly work? If: I keep High Sierra, use PurgeWrangler, possibly purge-nvda if I want to plug a second monitor to the enclosure, forget bootcamp, and as regarding special boot procedure… I’m not really sure. Other sources were saying not booting with eGPU attached, and don’t unplug it until the mac is off. I found… Read more »

Radek

Hello, I have experience with both nVidia and AMD cards on macOS High Sierra and Catalina. I used to use MBP 15 inch late 2013 w/ GT750M with AORUS Gaming Box GTX1070 running on High Sierra and I had to connect eGPU to TB2 port immediately after selecting boot drive (on pressing Alt key during turning laptop on). It was annoying for me. So I bought Razer Core X w/ AMD Radeon RX5700XT. Razer works under Catalina and well, but I have to run purge-nvda.sh still to disable dGPU GT750M to run external display (with GTX1070 too). But it is working… Read more »

ecnezie

Hi @mac_editor,  Thanks for the reply. I followed the instructions from your 750M builds and the macro thread… all working perfectly now (purge-nvda was needed to use openCL in some apps, as you mentioned). Many thanks for your scripts! Only thing, sometimes the CPU spikes to extreme values, over 90%. I kill everything, but seems related to some internal process.Anyway this is very rare so far, and letting the machine rest and /or restart it fixes the issue. I’m happy for now, if it’s the price to run this amount of Nvidia GPU power on my old MBP. Thanks again!… Read more »

emericad

I everyone, thanx mac_editor for all this awesome work.   I also got this 2014 macbookpro with the 750M dgpu. My main goal is to improve my workflow and my render with After Effect and Premiere. I’m trying to learn and understand all the informations you compile here. So far I’m thinking to upgrade to Catalina, buy a used Razor Core X and an AMD 5700 which if I understood well might be a possible build with your different scripts or goalque. But the thing is that I mainly use my macbookpro as a laptop in different places without any… Read more »

Georgios Lachanas

Hi @mac_editor
after more than a year using egpu with your scripts, i’m thinking of buying a 5500XT 8gb in order to be able to update to Catalina and Big Sur and use latest versions of davinci resolve and premiere pro…
is this doable with my “problematic” MacBook Pro with direct Nvidia 750m?
Thanks!

Fredman

@mac_editor, is  the 2014 750m MacBook Pro really that problematic for eGpu? I followed your advice and bought a used 780ti and everything was pretty much plug and play both in Mac OS and windows. Thank you, by the way for your excellent guide and script. I think that the only real disadvantage of this model is when you want to use an newer Nvidia card with a tb3 to 2 enclosure. 
 

ecnezie

@Fredman, I’m able to use a 1080ti as well.
Process was almost plug n play, thanks to the awesome guides of @mac_editor, using purge-nvda.
I can revert it as well, following the guide and un installing it 🙂
 

Fredman

@ecnezie, great build. Did you manage to use your 1080ti in boot camp? 
 

ecnezie

@Fredman, never tried. I’m using it for cg mac software, I don’t have bootcamp.
If I remember correctly, there was a note about it on the main post/guide…
 
 

Georgios Lachanas

@mac_editor, I received the 5500xt and I’m ready to replace the 1070ti…I uninstalled both Purge wrangler and purge nvda(through terminal option uninstall)…I’m going to make a clean install of big sur…(from high Sierra)…should I first enable SIP?(now it’s disabled)..
Thanks @mac_editor
 

Session

Hi there,  I was wondering if anyone had success in upgrading to macOS Big Sur using purge-nvda? I’ve been curious to try it out, but I haven’t seen anyone have any success on it yet. I will probably try in a week or so when I order a new SSD (so if something doesn’t work I can easily go back to my setup as it is) If the 750M proves too tricky to update I might try out the EFI tricks to disable the 750M. Though if I’m honest I’m really unsure if Big Sur is worth updating too, the… Read more »