Testing: Thunderbolt 3 eGPU + Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro

There have been many reports on the Late 2016 15″ touchbar MacBook Pro working with the Razer Core Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure in Windows. Successes in macOS were few and far between. I’ve been testing a 15″ MacBook Pro with the Radeon Pro 450 discrete graphics card.

My two Thunderbolt 3 enclosures are the AKiTiO Thunder3 and Node. The AKiTiO Node with its TI83 controller is still a no-go in macOS so I hooked up this 2016 15″ MacBook Pro to the Thunder3 with a GTX 980 Ti attached. I changed out the Dell DA-2 power brick for a full-size modular ATX 850W PSU.

Testing: Thunderbolt 3 eGPU + Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro

Apple blocks TI82 controller in Thunderbolt 3 enclosures such as this AKiTiO Thunder3 and the Razer Core. Therefore the first order of business is to unblock this restriction by modifying the controller file inside IOThunderboltFamily.kext. You can either do a Find & Replace in a Hex editor or download and run TB3-enabler (discovered by kid2010 on netkas).

55 48 89 E5 41 57 41 56 41 55 41 54 53 48 81 EC 38 01
55 48 89 E5 31 C0 5D C3 41 55 41 54 53 48 81 EC 38 01

Unblock Thunderbolt 3 eGPU connection with 2016 15" MacBook Pro

Once the Unsupported message disappeared in Thunderbolt System Information, the next challenge is to make macOS recognize a graphics card has been attached to the Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. Goalque’s automate-eGPU script is still the tool of choice for this task. I’ve tried a few AMD GPUs before using this Thunder3 without success, so this time I went with an Nvidia GPU.

GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU with 2016 15" MacBook Pro

I had much better luck with the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti. This Thunderbolt 3 eGPU setup works with the Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro through my AKiTiO Thunder3 enclosure. It requires an external monitor which has always been the case with eGPU in Mac OS environment.

GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU 2016 15" MacBook Pro external display

I ran some benchmarks to compare the Radeon Pro 450 dGPU against this GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU. These numbers show a 4-5x graphics performance boost.

Luxmark on 2016 15" MacBook Pro with GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

Unigine Valley on 2016 15" MacBook Pro with GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

Unigine Heaven on 2016 15" MacBook Pro with GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

CUDA Speed on 2016 15" MacBook Pro with GTX 980 Ti Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

In the coming days, I’ll test this Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure using the same GTX 980 Ti. Hopefully this will provide insight on the performance difference between the two Thunderbolt generations and whether it’s worth the upgrade if you already own the AKiTiO Thunder2. Join our forum for latest Thunderbolt 3 eGPU development. Please share your thoughts in the comments or in our Mac Setup forum.

7 thoughts on “Testing: Thunderbolt 3 eGPU + Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro

  1. Levine Reply

    I recently bought GTX1050TI and akitio3 pcl box after watched ur video, and im mbp 2016 amd radeon 450 15inchs, when I boot camp to the windows10 and install nvida driver, it appears an error and said cannot find the hardware. I check my device manager and can not find my gtx1050ti on display as well, (only amd card).However, my akitio 3 and gtx1050ti work perfectly and the fan is working. So, Dave, how can I make my mbp recognize the gtx1050ti?

  2. Carlo Reply

    Hi Levine,

    Please be aware that the architecture of GTX1050ti is Pascal and until now there are no web drivers for Pascal series which basically means that you cannot make the MBP recognize the GTX 1050 ti.

  3. Joe Reply

    Hi,
    Thanks for ur post! I am so excited about the future of my macbook now!
    Though I have several questions:
    1.Have u tested them on Bootcamp?
    2.If they do, how do they work?
    3.How many steps are required to make them work on Bootcamp?
    4.Do I need a external screen?(on Bootcamp)
    Please reply me if you could have the answer, many thanks!

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