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RX 460 MacBook Air (Solved)

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The hardware is working. I replaced the default power supply with a 108W 12V 9A unit and had to relocate the Akitio Fan so the Windforce cooling fan on my Gigabyte RX 460 2GB GPU would fit, but everything is connected and fans spin when my 2015 i7 MacBook Air powers on.


However it was not plug and play as I had wistfully hopped, and the automate-eGPU script didn't work either to my active disappointment.


For anyone familiar with the script this was the output:


sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -skipdriver


*** automate-eGPU.sh v0.9.9 - (c) 2016 by Goalque ***


Detected eGPU

 Baffin [Radeon RX 460]

Current OS X

 10.12 16A323

Previous OS X

 [not found]

Latest installed Nvidia web driver

 [not found]

Checking IOPCITunnelCompatible keys...


Missing IOPCITunnelCompatible keys.

Controller not found.




Does anyone have any ideas?


Has anyone successfully used any particular RX460 model with Sierra on a MacBook Air?


Edited by Hedge
Help no longer urgently required.

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Kext/script modification attempt #1:

I updated macOS to the 12.1 release and modified the automate-egpu script to point Baffin code names toward the AMD 9500 Controller and x4100 kext. Progress was made but I can't say the results were positive. Sierra now reports seeing the GPU, but incorrectly as a semi unknown 'AMD R9 xxx'. On the upside I now get video pass-through and can see external monitors connected to the eGPU. On the downside Sierra isn't actually using the eGPU to drive anything and still reports 'Intel HD Graphics 6000' as the GPU used by each display.

Edited by Hedge

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macOS 10.12.1 cripples eGPU to some extent. Try 10.12.2 Beta - I was able to use my RX 470 eGPU with Beta 2. If you're not participating in Beta updates, you can change your Update catalog to receive Developer Beta builds.

sudo softwareupdate --set-catalog https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.12seed-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz

If you ever decide to stop receiving Beta update, you can run this.

softwareupdate --clear-catalog


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Well, my problem isn't that the eGPU is slowed so much as the eGPU is bypassed completely. Its almost as if my Air is either stuck in low-power mode and is using the iGPU exclusively or else recognized the GPU too late in the boot process to use it. With Beta 3 installed the RX 460 fans kick in on boot but then power down partway into user loggin (unless I have a display plugged in in which case the progress bar then freezes). After login I can connect a display to the GPU and get video pass through... but it is still the iGPU driving everything, even when I fire up Heaven benchmarking or like. I've seen Heaven claim to be using the RX 460, but since the results are consistent with using the iGPU only to drive dual displays I don't believe the dual-gpu report for a moment.


Most recently I created a second partition and reinstalled a clean copy of Sierra 10.12.2 Beta 3 just to see if the Beta would automatically work without mods. It didn't recognize the GPU at all, only the Akitio.



Anyway this is my current fault tree list of hypothesis. If anyone has evidence for or against any of these statements please shout out.


a. The Gigybyte RX 460 2GB is not thunderbolt compatible (has anyone used this card in a TB2 enclosure under any OS?)

b. RX 460 acceleration is only available on 4GB cards (has anyone seen acceleration on a 2GB RX 460 on macOS in hackintosh, MacPro, or eGPU?)

c. FileVault changes the boot order to preclude eGPUs (has anyone used an eGPU with FileVault active?)

d. I missed a key kext mod. (Starting out are any kext mods or boot order changes universally required for any eGPU NVIDEA or AMD?)

e. I improperly updated the kext caches (if this was the case would the eGPU card even be acknowledged as existing?)


Edit: Would you believe my last remaining obstacle was failure to change the primary display?



Edited by Hedge
Corrected mistake

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Did you set the external monitor as primary after login?


I wrote a small script for you. Reinstall macOS 10.12.1 (disk name must be "Macintosh HD", SIP disabled, FileVault disabled). Give execute permission "chmod +x", run with sudo,
and restart (eGPU monitor disconnected).


personalities=("ATI\ Support" Controller AMDBaffinGraphicsAccelerator)
kexts=(AMDSupport AMD9500Controller AMDRadeonX4100)
for (( i=0; i < 3; i++ ))
personality="Add :IOKitPersonalities:"${personalities[$i]}":IOPCITunnelCompatible bool true"
/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "$personality" "$plist" 2>/dev/null
rm /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/System/Library/PrelinkedKernels/prelinkedkernel 2>/dev/null
rm /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches/Startup/kernelcache 2>/dev/null
touch /System/Library/Extensions
kextcache -update-volume /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD


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... Would you guys believe that my final insurmountable issue turned out to be a failure to change the primary display to an eGPU connected monitor? For anyone else out there with acceleration issues note that to change the primary display you have to [System Preferences]->Displays->Arrangement and then drag and drop the little white bar from your internal display to the external.


@goalque, thank you for your help and the foundation you laid with the original automate-egpu script. I'm sure everyone planning on using an RX 460 will greatly appreciate having an updated mini RX 460 setup script.  I'll test it later this week and report the results.


@theitsage, thanks for the beta tip. I never did see acceleration with 10.12.1 so I can't make comparisons but the average/max FPS results with the RX 460 eGPU have exceeded my lax expectations.


@everyone else, I'll post a 'Cheaper than a console' implementation guide covering everything I did that did or didn't not work later on. For now though I'm afraid the time overrun on this project has put me behind on a few other life tasks that need to be addressed before they become urgent.




Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 2.03.31 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-11-15 at 6.27.57 PM.png

Edited by Hedge
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I only replaced the included 60W adapter with a compatible higher wattage unit.

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6 hours ago, Hedge said:

I only replaced the included 60W adapter with a compatible higher wattage unit.

That's a great news! I will wait till 10.12.2 to see if it fixes RX480's power draw. If not then I will get a RX460 and leave the RX480 for a future PC.

Thanks man!


Update: just updated to 10.12.2, still crash under load... also found my mac boot with HDMI plugged in egpu without problem. RX460 on the way:frantics:

Edited by Teddy

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