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eGPU on a Macbook Pro

Carmina
Carmina
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Hey,

just wanted to share some info regarding this. I have a 15" late 2016 MBP (the one with the four USB-C connectors running TB3), I am running this on an LG 38" screen with 3840x1600. On medium settings, I got around 22fps in that scenario. I decided to go with an eGPU and give that a try. So I got me a Sonnet Puck 570. Here is what I can say so far:

1. Support is seamless, there is nothing you can do, and nothing you have to. Plug it in, and go. From what I can tell, it will replace the internal fast graphics of the MBP, so the automatic switching is still there. The TB3 cable is included with the Puck.
2. If you are using the Puck with an external monitor, the Puck has to be in between. It will accelerate the internal display if you just connect it to the MBP, but if you want an external display accelerated, you have to connect that to the Puck, not the MBP.
3. You should use HDMI. In my setup, on DisplayPort I had blackouts, meaning the monitor going black, for about two seconds, reaching from once every couple minutes to once every ten seconds. Very annoying in a fight where you need to react fast.
4. If you just use the external screen, the screen will only switch on when the graphical interface starts. It will not show the Apple logo during boot, for example.
5. The integrated fan is audible, but a lot less so than my MBP freaking out temperature-wise and trying to keep a cool head.

The all important performance question:
In my setup (and please keep in mind that I am running a pretty big resolution) I see frame rates of 40-60fps in a High setting. Which for me is a huge improvement and makes the game really playable. Apart from that, I did not notice any adverse effects.

So, if any of you guys have questions, fire away. I will try to answer everything :)

Take care,

C.
  • alterfenixeb17_ESO
    alterfenixeb17_ESO
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    Hi, sorry for necro. Nice to know that it works. Could you let us know how this worked out in a long run? I have just ordered new Mini and Vega 64 and I hope that will be an improvement over my current setup.
  • ningauble_7b14_ESO
    I've been experimenting with playing ESO with an egpu for over a year now. Originally it was with a 2016 15" MBpro, Razer core v2 and a gtx 1080. It worked well in windows but I couldn't reliably get the workarounds/hacks to work to use it in MacOS.

    I then sold the 15" and got an i7 2018 13". When I saw posts on the nvidia forums claiming that RTX series drivers were going to be available (soon) for MacOS I Sold the 1080 and bought an rtx 2080. This worked great in windows (was even hot plug/hot unplug capable), but there is a huge disconnect between Apple and Nvidia, so 6 months after Mojave's release there are no nvidia drivers and I am not holding my breath now about them arriving anytime soon, if ever.

    My latest setup I swapped out the rtx 2080 for a Radeon VII, which has native driver support in the latest MacOS 10.14.5 public beta. I can get the Radeon VII working in both Windows and MacOS.

    Performance in Windows is a little lower than the 2080, but can run ESO well at 4k around 70fps most places, with dips down into the 40's in crowded cities and very large pvp fights.

    In MacOS the Radeon VII struggles a bit at 4k, not sure how much is attributable to the beta drivers/os, and how much to the current state of the ESO moltenvk client. Fps is around 50ish with frequent dips into the 40s and occasional dips lower. All around smoothness is less than in windows, the game hitches more frequently. Kicking it down to 1440p makes it much more playable.

    All of this is with the cards in question connected directly to an external display. You can use the egpu to accelerate the internal display but there is a big performance hit because it chews up thunderbolt bandwidth routing the output back to the computer.

    Windows egpu support in boot camp is not officially supported by Apple, can require some workarounds, but is fairly easy to set up. MacOS egpu support is officially supported and works well, but the cards supported are very limited (Recent AMD only).
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