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archagon

Hassle-free eGPU setup on late-2013 15" MacBook Pro: will it work as plug-and-play?

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Hi! I'm looking to build an eGPU for my late-2013 15" MacBook Pro (w/750M graphics). My goal is to make it as hassle-free as possible, even at the expense of convenience. This means: no driver hacks, no new Windows installs, no bootloaders, no scripts. BootCamp-only without internal display support is fine. Current plan is to install a GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti in an Akitio Thunder2 and then hook it up to a 120W power brick so that I don't have to deal with an external power supply. (Not exactly state of the art, but ~4x as powerful as the 750M I've been using for the past three years!) My main concern is whether this would work as a plug-and-play device or if I'll still have to fiddle with software. It seems most people on these boards prefer to go the hacky route for Optimus and/or OSX support (which I don't need) so it's hard to get this information.

 

Is there anything extra I'll have to do after hooking up the Akitio and booting into Windows, or will it work as-is with an external display?

 

Thank you!

 

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And I want a pony.

 

Seriously, look around and find someone with same machine and gear. Read what they did and what results they got.

 

There is no grandfatherly type with all the answers who will sit and type them up neatly for you.

 

The answers are here and at Netkas, you just need to do some digging and research.

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I've already spent hours looking around — otherwise, I wouldn't have asked. The vast majority of users here want to get their setups working with OSX and/or Optimus, so that information isn't relevant to me. Not much to type up, really: just "yes, it will mostly work", or "no, you will need to do some software hacking".

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OK, I'll go out on a limb and say you'll have to fiddle around a bit.

 

I think there are very few folks who have stated "Yep, just plugged stuff in and it all worked perfect from get go"

 

Razer has a business model where eGPU working is important.

 

Apple, not so much. They could make their machines work perfectly with =eGPU but they have no reason to.

 

Instead, what has been found is that each and every model and version requires some fiddling or faddling. At the very least for Windows you will probably have to play with timing of when you plug TB cable in. For the new MBP 2016 for instance, the method to get Windows working with eGPU is different for each of the 3 types. I have Non-Touchbar version and I found a super easy way with no DSDT fix required. But most with Touch Bar have found that a DSDT hack is needed. This means running in Test Mode which disables some things and slows the boot down. And it is likely that running a Nvidia Kepler card is easier than a Maxwell card and the means to run those will likely be different than if you have an AMD card.

 

And all of that is why there isn't going to be a simple helpful SINGLE  YES OR NO answer from someone saying "Go for it, all will be fine". Here are 4 possible outcomes:

 

1. You find someone with same gear who got it working, read their experiences, and do the same thing and get same results.

2. Someone with same exact setup will be bored, reading through random posts and find this thread, type up what worked/didn't work for them.

3. You will buy the gear and find the answer, hopefully sharing your results here.

4. You'll give up and not bother.

 

Consider doing #3 if 1 and 2 don't happen. We need more people doing the leg work.

 

I have 4 or 5 MacBooks here, not one like yours. I can answer for the ones I have, but anything about a different model would be a wild guess AT BEST. Nobody can just look at specs and say "It Shall Work". With eGPU only way to know for sure is someone to try it and report.

Edited by MVC
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Thank you! This is super useful information. I've heard about the timing issue regarding my model (since apparently pre-2014 Macbooks don't support TB hot-swapping) so I guess that will be my burden. Is the DSDT fix a common requirement? I've read a bunch of threads and guides and this is my first time hearing about it. (Plus, only ~4000 results on Google.)

 

I'll certainly post my results if/when I give it a try.

 

Update: I've gotten it working! Here's a full writeup of the process. Surprisingly, there were zero issues. No third-party code at all!

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