2011 MacBook pro dead GPU with EGPU?

rschiess

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2017
7
0
Canada
Has anyone seen anything where someone has successfully taken one of the famous 2011 macbooks with a bad graphics chip and used it with an external GPU instead? I could really use some tips on how/if that can be done.

Thank you.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,860
2,405
SF Bay Area
Has anyone seen anything where someone has successfully taken one of the famous 2011 macbooks with a bad graphics chip and used it with an external GPU instead? I could really use some tips on how/if that can be done.

Thank you.
Interesting thought. My concern would be how do you get a fast enough connection. Even the 2016/2017 TB3 connection bottlenecks model GPUs when compared to a PCIE.
 

muratura

macrumors member
Mar 20, 2017
40
29
depends on how ****ed up is the 2011 and on how much money you are willing to spend on the external enclosure + gpu.

If the 2011 doesn't boot into integrated graphics I would say don't do it.
Also check that 2011 is supported by High Sierra (which will have external gpu support included), if you want to use Mac OS.

The price for the enclosure + gpu is gonna punch a hole in your wallet. Enclosure around 400/500 USD + gpu another 300-1000 USD depending on what you get.
I'd say go for it only if you have the components and do not invest in extra hardware to keep alive a dying computer.

:) Support the economy buy a new MBP 2017 :)
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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By the time you got done, you'd probably spend 1/3 of the price of a new MacBook Pro, easily.
Not worth the trouble.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
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I would be interested in seeing this myself simply out of curiosity, but my concern would be one would invest so much money that they would spend more doing this than they would on a good conditioned used 2012 retina MBP with the Nvidia 650M GPU that has far fewer issues (not to mention functional improvements.)

One potential issue would be circumventing the MBP dGPU model requirements that the initial boot use the dGPU (and by default there is no easy way to change this - even deleting the drivers does not work.) Where as one Member here figured out how to force boot with the iGPU, it took nearly half a decade for someone to figure this out - even with appropriate macOS drivers for an eGPU, the first barrier would be installing those drivers, and the second barrier would be updating the OS if those drivers are OS-limited and the 2011 in question no longer works correctly and is running too old a version of the OS to be compatible with those drivers. This would necessitate having a second Mac that can run whatever OS is on that 2011 HD or wiping the 2011 HD and starting fresh. That would be quite a pain. It would be an even bigger pain if the only version of macOS that supports the eGPU officially is High Sierra and Apple drops the 2011 MBP from being officially supported for High Sierra!

Even if all is successful, with only 1 GB/s capability of TB1, what kind of video performance could we expect with the outcome?

Ultimately, it seems like a time-consuming and expensive endeavor, although it might be fun for someone with some extra cash just looking for a project who isn't super worried if the results come out poorly. Kind of like fixing up an old car, it's rarely financially or functionally justifiable, but, if you enjoy it, what some may find to be a huge drawn out pain may be one helluva good time to others.
 

rschiess

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2017
7
0
Canada
depends on how fked up is the 2011 and on how much money you are willing to spend on the external enclosure + gpu.

If the 2011 doesn't boot into integrated graphics I would say don't do it.
Also check that 2011 is supported by High Sierra (which will have external gpu support included), if you want to use Mac OS.

The price for the enclosure + gpu is gonna punch a hole in your wallet. Enclosure around 400/500 USD + gpu another 300-1000 USD depending on what you get.
I'd say go for it only if you have the components and do not invest in extra hardware to keep alive a dying computer.

:) Support the economy buy a new MBP 2017 :)
I love the last line here!

I own about 12 Macs between home and our business. I want to buy a new MBP but it feels a bit buggy still. The only reason I posted this is to get input from the real pros out there. I appreciate the help from people like you who really know what's up.
[doublepost=1499102321][/doublepost]
By the time you got done, you'd probably spend 1/3 of the price of a new MacBook Pro, easily.
Not worth the trouble.
No doubt. As I look around online, I'm finding that there is nothing inexpensive about this at all.
 

Bravo3013

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2016
65
29
Norway
I have a MBP 15" early 2011 with a broken AMD GPU. I have managed to disable the AMD GPU and force the Mac to use the iGPU vi this post: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/force-2011-macbook-pro-8-2-with-failed-amd-gpu-to-always-use-intel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/

I have also bought an eGPU setup: Aorus Gaming Box with GTX1080. So for I haven't been able to make it work. Seems like my mac is struggling to "see" the enclosure (Nothing shows up in systems info when plugged in). I believe there is a problem with my cables somehow, and will update this post if I am able to make it work! :)
 

yukari

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2010
421
189
I have a MBP 15" early 2011 with a broken AMD GPU. I have managed to disable the AMD GPU and force the Mac to use the iGPU vi this post: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/force-2011-macbook-pro-8-2-with-failed-amd-gpu-to-always-use-intel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/

I have also bought an eGPU setup: Aorus Gaming Box with GTX1080. So for I haven't been able to make it work. Seems like my mac is struggling to "see" the enclosure (Nothing shows up in systems info when plugged in). I believe there is a problem with my cables somehow, and will update this post if I am able to make it work! :)
Someone mentioned that in order to use eGPU, you need AMD GPU to work. I have 2011 15" MBP with Aorus Gaming Box with GTX1070 (prior model), and I have no problem using eGPU. However, unlike your MBP, my dGPU works.
 

Bravo3013

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2016
65
29
Norway
So you have a late 2011 with successful eGPU setup? Thats amazing! Do you think there is a big difference between late and early 2011 in terms of eGPU compatibility?

Currently I believe my TB3>TB2 adapter is not working and will go to the Apple Store to check it tomorrow. When I plug in my Aorus, it doesnt show up in Systems-Info. Even though my dGPU is not fully functional, the Mac should display the enclosure in the Systems-info.

I also believe that even though the dGPU is somewhat broken, it is not completely broken. I can still boot with the dGPU active by removing the drivers. This gives som funny colors on the screen and a lot of artifacts and graphical lag but if I connect the eGPU the external monitor should in theory be fine.

I could also try "cooking" (reballing) my Logic Board to make the dGPU work again (for a limited time) and setup the eGPU. This would be last resort however.

I will continue to try to make it work, hopefully I succeed, but it there are many factors in my setup that could make it not work. The future will tell :)
 

yukari

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2010
421
189
I am not sure if early or late 2011 makes any difference. I followed this procedure to get mine to work:

USING eGPU

Start in Recovery Mode (Command + “R”)
go to terminal
type csrutil disable
restart
in Terminal type: cd ~/Desktop && curl -o automate-eGPU.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/goalque/automate-eGPU/master/automate-eGPU.sh && chmod +x automate-eGPU.sh && sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh

enter "yes" to both queries.

Make sure NVIDIA Web Driver is SET

Most of the process is explained here: https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/automate-egpu-sh-is-reborn-with-amd-polaris-fiji-support-for-macos/
 
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Bravo3013

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2016
65
29
Norway
I am not sure if early or late 2011 makes any difference. I followed this procedure to get mine to work:

USING eGPU

Start in Recovery Mode (Command + “R”)
go to terminal
type csrutil disable
restart
in Terminal type: cd ~/Desktop && curl -o automate-eGPU.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/goalque/automate-eGPU/master/automate-eGPU.sh && chmod +x automate-eGPU.sh && sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh

enter "yes" to both queries.

Make sure NVIDIA Web Driver is SET

Most of the process is explained here: https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/automate-egpu-sh-is-reborn-with-amd-polaris-fiji-support-for-macos/
I have tried that, but when running the script I get the message: "Hot-plug the thunderbolt enclosure and run the script again". It basically means it is not able to detect my Aorus box. I have tested the box with a 2015 13" MBP and it worked without a problem. So there seems to be a problem with my Mac. I will update you if I get it to work! :)
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
I have tried that, but when running the script I get the message: "Hot-plug the thunderbolt enclosure and run the script again". It basically means it is not able to detect my Aorus box. I have tested the box with a 2015 13" MBP and it worked without a problem. So there seems to be a problem with my Mac. I will update you if I get it to work! :)
I'm in a similar situation. Recently had my Late 2011 dGPU disabled, now looking into a possible eGPU. Did you ever get your 2011 MBP to work?
 

Bravo3013

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2016
65
29
Norway
I'm in a similar situation. Recently had my Late 2011 dGPU disabled, now looking into a possible eGPU. Did you ever get your 2011 MBP to work?
No I wasn't able to make it work, so I returned the eGPU. I believe the Thunderbolt port is hardwired to the dGPU. When the dGPU is disabled the mac will not be able to use any thunderbolt equipment.
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
No I wasn't able to make it work, so I returned the eGPU. I believe the Thunderbolt port is hardwired to the dGPU. When the dGPU is disabled the mac will not be able to use any thunderbolt equipment.
Thanks for the quick reply, you just saved me hours of frustration.
 

giffut

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2003
376
85
Germany
It works perfectly well. I am using a MacBook Pro 15 (2011) with an AMD RX560 in a Sonnet 550 eGPU case. I did deactivate the internal DGPU of the Macbook Pro via NVRAM command and then physically desolder a resistor which powers it off completely. Basically the MacBooks system information shows the Intel 3000HD GPU as only active internal GPU and an external GPU, in my case a RX560.

The thunderbolt bandwidth limitation is no hindrance at all. The egpu is about 5x-10x faster, depending on the workload, than the former internal dgpu. It gives a tremendous speedboats for Final Cut C, DaVinci Resolve and DxO, which all can utilize egpu acceleration.

You need an AMD RX or WX based graphiccard for best performance. The RX560 is a good and cost effective entry, but choose according to your budget. The RX580 is great and roughly doubles the performance compared to my RX560.

There are different egpu thunderbolt cases to choose from, all perform quite well with the scripts. The choice of GPU is more important.

When you choose to use the resistor mod and dectivate the egpu completely, Sierra is the OS to use. Stay away from Mojave.

https://realmacmods.com/macbook-2011-radeon-gpu-disable/

High Sierra (purewrangler.sh): https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/script-enable-egpu-on-tb1-2-macs-on-macos-10-13-4/

Sierra (automate-egpu.sh): https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/automate-egpu-efi-egpu-boot-manager-for-macos-and-windows/

1. Restart your Macbook pressing Command+Alt+R (recovery mode)
2. Type csrutil disable
3. Reboot and press Command+S (single user mode)
3. Type sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
4. Switch off the macbook
5. Attach the egpu box via thunderbolt 2/3 adapter and a monitor to the ogpu, then restart your macbook
5. Run the script fitting our OS X version
6. Reboot and enjoy.
 
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cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
Interesting as I have disabled by dGPU using https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/force-2011-macbook-pro-8-2-with-failed-amd-gpu-to-always-use-intel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/ and eGPU still works on my 2011 MBP.

What OS are you using? I am using Sierra and will NOT upgrade OS for fear of losing eGPU usage.
I’m running High Sierra. After Bravo’s comment, I tested my thunderbolt port by plugging in my Apple Cinema Display to see if the thunderbolt port is still working. And it does not appear to be. Is your thunderbolt port functioning with your dGPU disabled?
 

giffut

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2003
376
85
Germany
The thunderbolt port is completely independent from the dgpu. In my case there is no more internal dgpu. Thunderbolt still works without any problems.
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
The thunderbolt port is completely independent from the dgpu. In my case there is no more internal dgpu. Thunderbolt still works without any problems.
Very interesting, It sounds like my system is very similar to yours. I sent my computer to realMacmods to have the modification done.
I will try my thunderbolt port again with a different device, possibly even purchase and eGPU based on your recommendations and see if it works. Thanks again for your detailed information.
 

giffut

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2003
376
85
Germany
If you disabled the internal dgpu, connecting an external monitor will no longer work. Only the dgpu provides external monitor support for this macbook model.

Be aware: If you disable the internal dgpu, with upgrading to osx high sierra you will loose brightness control for the macbooks native display and it will stay very dark. Same goes for osx mojave.
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
If you disabled the internal dgpu, connecting an external monitor will no longer work. Only the dgpu provides external monitor support for this macbook model.

Be aware: If you disable the internal dgpu, with upgrading to osx high sierra you will loose brightness control for the macbooks native display and it will stay very dark. Same goes for osx mojave.
Thanks for the info. I learned that the hard way as I already had High Sierra on my computer when I had the dgpu disabled. realmacmods provided me with a workaround using the application Brightness Slider that has helped, but it is not perfect.

I'm looking into the Gigabyte Gaming Box with the RX 580 card and the slew of cables that I will need to connect it to my laptop and monitor. I'll update you when I get it in.
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
It works perfectly well. I am using a MacBook Pro 15 (2011) with an AMD RX560 in a Sonnet 550 eGPU case. I did deactivate the internal DGPU of the Macbook Pro via NVRAM command and then physically desolder a resistor which powers it off completely. Basically the MacBooks system information shows the Intel 3000HD GPU as only active internal GPU and an external GPU, in my case a RX560.

The thunderbolt bandwidth limitation is no hindrance at all. The egpu is about 5x-10x faster, depending on the workload, than the former internal dgpu. It gives a tremendous speedboats for Final Cut C, DaVinci Resolve and DxO, which all can utilize egpu acceleration.

You need an AMD RX or WX based graphiccard for best performance. The RX560 is a good and cost effective entry, but choose according to your budget. The RX580 is great and roughly doubles the performance compared to my RX560.

There are different egpu thunderbolt cases to choose from, all perform quite well with the scripts. The choice of GPU is more important.

When you choose to use the resistor mod and dectivate the egpu completely, Sierra is the OS to use. Stay away from Mojave.

https://realmacmods.com/macbook-2011-radeon-gpu-disable/

High Sierra (purewrangler.sh): https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/script-enable-egpu-on-tb1-2-macs-on-macos-10-13-4/

Sierra (automate-egpu.sh): https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/automate-egpu-efi-egpu-boot-manager-for-macos-and-windows/

1. Restart your Macbook pressing Command+Alt+R (recovery mode)
2. Type csrutil disable
3. Reboot and press Command+S (single user mode)
3. Type sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
4. Switch off the macbook
5. Attach the egpu box via thunderbolt 2/3 adapter and a monitor to the ogpu, then restart your macbook
5. Run the script fitting our OS X version
6. Reboot and enjoy.
I purchased the Gigabyte Gaming Box with the RX 580 GPU. Went through the high sierra steps on egpu.io but the computer would not boot with the eGPU plugged in.

I noticed that your post mentioned a command in single user mode ( second step 3.) which was not mentioned on egpu.io's instructions for High Sierra. So I tried that, but still, the computer won't boot with the eGPU plugged in.

I'm working through the troubleshooting and build guides sections of the the website, but I've yet to find helpful information.

Do you happen to have any insight?
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
Is it possible that it is an issue with the gaming box set up, as Bravo3013 was unable to get his system to work with a different gaming box?
 

cdbell7686

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
8
0
Update:

I only found one person online who successfully used a Gigabyte gaming box with a 15" 2011 MBP running high sierra, and his dGPU was still functioning. I'm not sure if that matters, but I couldn't get it to work.

I sent back the Gigabyte and purchased the Sonnet 550 Breakaway Box that giffut used, and I went with the RX-580 card. Went through the purge wrangler steps and the set-egpu. Plugged everything in, and I'm happy to say that my computer recognizes the eGPU. I have to assume that in this instance, the problem was the gaming box, although i can't say if it was the gpu card or the gigabyte enclosure.

If you guys are still out there, I have run into one hiccup.

My goal for all of this was to be able to edit 4K video on my 2011 MBP. I recently started filming in 4K to future proof my videos. Without the dGPU, my computer would playback the footage but it was choppy and unwatchable. Editing the footage was too frustrating. With the eGPU plugged in, I had hoped that I would now be able to edit 4K footage. But that is proving to be incorrect. I have used set-egpu to make the editing program prefer the egpu...

Am I missing something?