eGPU on MacBook Pro 4,1 and up with PCIe ExpressCard slot

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by Larsvonhier, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. monoton, Oct 1, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018

    monoton macrumors member

    monoton

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    Oslo / Tokyo
    #76
    Here is a cabinet for EXP GDC on eBay, it has the power supply built in and the connectors if the GPU requires more power. Super simple solution that just requires installing the EXP GDC and your graphics card of choice. $120 for the case and PSU that's it (I would say the RGB + Fan version is not needed..).
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/External-GPU-Enclosure-EXP-GDC-Case-RGB-LED/263906557194?hash=item3d720e7d0a:m:m0KGJqjok_fAdCLTASOouqA&var=563332069544

    Today I bought this from Deal Extreme in case I want to add a card that requires the extra power, the EXP GDC provides the connector for this cable to plug into, so the card gets the extra power needed. However on the Nvidia GTX 1050Ti or AMD Radeon RX560 the additional power is not needed at all!
    https://www.dx.com/p/6pin-to-6-w-6-2-cable-for-exp-gdc-beast-video-card-dock-460293#.W7JFuS-B2Rc

    The EXP GDC I have confirmed working solidly, having built into my cabinet, is here :
    https://www.dx.com/p/exp-expresscar...pci-e-16x-interface-black-412508#.W7JGay-B2Rc

    And the acrylic transparent cabinet that fits both the SFX form factor 300W power supply (connected to the floor of the case with transparent quadratic flat rubber feet, sticks well on both sides and not glued/taped) and my GTX 1050Ti is here (small form-factor card only if also the SFX power supply is put inside, for me the MSI GeForce GTX 1050Ti (OCV1 version) was perfect size), for me this works just great and it was fun assembling and modifying to suit the equipment inside :
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Acrylic-Pr...980952?hash=item48a29f1918:g:Y4IAAOSwXeJYKoFM

    Good luck to anyone who wants to try this out, its rather cool and not too expensive at all. Ask any questions if help is needed ! Choose any solution that suits you best, I found mine :)

    And one cool thing if you choose the AMD Radeon RX560 (also here MSI has the small form-factor one): This is the Polaris architecture, it's supported natively in macOS High Sierra and Mojave, with full Metal support without further need of driver installations like the Nvidia cards. Further, the RX560 is rather affordable, very ideal for eGPU use. If something more powerful is needed (that also requires additional power connectors) go with RX570 or RX580.
     
  2. kautame, Oct 1, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018

    kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #77
    In case of a connection with the socket of the internal airport card (I'm talking about an iMac 7,1), I could buy this same version and take apart the express card and use it without problems, am I right?

    You mean this one, right?
    https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-560-AERO-ITX-4G-OC.html
    Or are there different versions of this same card?

    EDIT: Ok, now I see that there are different types of the same card.

    For example, this one would be ok too, right?
    https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-560-AERO-ITX-2G-OC

    And what about this one, from a different brand?
    https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Phantom Gaming Radeon RX560 2G/#Overview

    Every Radeon RX-560 would be ok?
     
  3. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #78
    1/2 size cards rule!

    Not sure what you expect to find inside an expresscard taken apart, but no - buy the version of the EXP GDC with the appropriate cable (in your case for iMac: miniPCIe). See my post with the iMac photos...
     
  4. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #79
  5. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #80
    @monoton
    Thanks for sharing all the different versions of basically two/three setups of housings (that can found over and over again if you feed your preferred search engine the keywords "ECP, GDC, housing, case, ... ).
    Not my taste though, and not what I´d expect as a quality product. Can´t argue here - our taste seems to differ, that´s ok.
    It´s a rather confusing ad there. Photo looks right but description (expresscard version) does not.
    Just be sure to buy the minipcie cable version. If you buy the wrong adapter, you can also try to get the right cable afterwards, I found one on ebay for less than EUR10,- for my experiments with my iMac.
     
  6. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #81
    There is also something I don't understand about the specifications of this kind of products (like the one I linked):
    https://www.dx.com/p/exp-gdc-laptop...o-card-dock-with-pci-e-interface-black-404635

    It says:
    "Output Resolutions 640x480 , 800x600 , 1024x768 , 1280x720 , 1280x768 , 1280x800 , 1280x1024"

    What does this mean? That this can't even support a 1080p resolution?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 2, 2018 ---
    I'm a little confused about which PSU should I buy if I wanted to go with an external PSU for this EXP GDC (+ Radeon RX560) and which one if I wanted an internal one.

    For the external one, would something like this be ok?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-DA-2-...311797&hash=item3f7f14b5fc:g:mugAAOSwEeFU4jto
     
  7. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #82
    The resolutions solely depend on your GPU and screen. The values quoted only show some typical applications.
    Of course, the higher the res. is (and colour depth!), the more data has to go through the x1 PCIe bottleneck, but this will only be noticable with games and benchmarks ;-)

    As for the PSU: The "internal" types are always performing better due to the DC Jack issue of the ext. supplies I described earlier. It will work, but you might get some unexpected crashes or artifacts whenever the GPU draws peak power.
    I´d suggest to start with an old ATX or miniATX style supply you might already have and get things up&running, then later focus on how to integrate everything in a way you prefer.

    Attention: The link you re-posted here still shows wrong connector for iMac use: "PCI-E V8.0 EXP GDC External Laptop Video Card Laptop Docking Station (Expresscard interface Version)"
     
  8. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #83
    Thank you, but I think it's only an error in the title.
    I started from the link provided by Monoton, this one for the express card version:
    https://www.dx.com/p/exp-expresscar...pci-e-16x-interface-black-412508#.W7JGay-B2Rc

    and on that page it says that

    "This is another EXP GDC, SKU:404635, they have different input interface."

    SKU:404635 is the one with the wrong title:
    https://www.dx.com/p/exp-gdc-laptop...o-card-dock-with-pci-e-interface-black-404635
     
  9. kautame, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018

    kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #84
    Hi, guys. Sorry if my question sounds old to you, but it's difficult to know which information is newer.
    I was reading the Mojave Patcher page from Dosdude's site:
    http://************/mojave/

    and I found this part:
    - Currently, it is not possible to get full graphics acceleration when running Mojave on a system with a Radeon HD 5xxx or 6xxx series GPU. Mojave will be almost UNUSABLE without graphics acceleration. This includes the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro systems (MacBookPro8,2 and 8,3). If you want to enable GPU acceleration on these machines, you'll need to disable the AMD GPU (This will work on MacBook Pro 8,2 and 8,3 systems ONLY. You CANNOT disable the AMD GPU in an iMac.)
    and this one:

    - Early-2008 Mac Pro (MacPro3,1) GPU support: When running Mojave, you CANNOT use a newer AMD video card EVEN IF it is a Metal-compatible card and is supported in Mojave. The newer AMD drivers used in Mojave require the SSE4.2 instruction set, which the MacPro3,1 does not support. There is no way around this at this time. Your only GPU upgrade options for MacPro3,1 systems are nVidia cards, which work perfectly fine.​

    For my iMac 7,1 (2007) I was thinking to buy an AMD Radeon RX560, as suggested by Monoton in this thread:

    My iMac mounts an ATI Radeon HD2600. Is it possible to disable this card on this iMac?
    Does my iMac need a nVidia card too, like the old Mac Pro, due to a driver problem?

    Thank you!
     
  10. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #85
    Hi, guys. While I wait for an answer to my previous post, I have e new question: I already have a second monitor connected through mini-DVI to my iMac 7,1 (2007) in extended desktop mode. When my eGpu will be ready (I'm still waiting for the parts), will I need to connect the monitor to the eGpu? Or I can go on with the mini-DVI?
     
  11. Larsvonhier, Oct 13, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018

    Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #86
    IMG_9190.jpeg IMG_9191.jpeg IMG_9192.jpeg IMG_9193.jpeg RenderedImage.jpeg
    Standard procedure is to connect monitor(s) to the eGPU if you want to have full advantage of the acceleration. Some software applications can also use the eGPU for number crunching purposes (boinc or Final Cut X i.e.) but with your Radeon HD2600 you will have no acceleration on the iMac built-on screen. This applies also to the miniDVI output. This might change if someone finds a solution for Mojave - or you stay with High Sierra for the time being.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2018 ---
    Here´s the first prototype housing; I still have some improvements in mind and there is some "artwork" missing on the front panel, but it´s built in the way I anticipated, robust, sturdy and very compact. Power supply is integrated, the card fan manages to not only shove the air out through the vents on the back but also draws in cool air on the bottom of the housing. So at the moment there is no need for an internal second fan. That makes it very, very silent.

    Next steps: Bring price of housing down, down, down...
    (Still pending: NVidia´s Mojave web drivers - come on, guys!)
     

    Attached Files:

  12. FlorisVN macrumors 6502

    FlorisVN

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    #87
    But you can replace iMac 2011 GPU :p
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2011-imac-graphics-card-upgrade.1596614/
     

    Attached Files:

  13. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #88
    Thank you for your reply. Well, this is a bummer. I thought I could have acceleration on the internal screen too (that's my main screen, and it has better visual quality than my external display). My only reason for doing this eGpu-hack thing was to use Mojave in a decent way on my old iMac, so maybe I'll just wait a bit more.
     
  14. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #89
    I stand corrected: I got confused with your two ATI quotes and forgot that my 20" iMac (8,1) also has a HD2600 and works with OpenCL/GL drivers and acceleration of the internal screen by applying the dosdude1 patches.
    See post #38, second screenshot.
    We´re lucky here as the card is not from the newer 5xxx or 6xxx series and does not have SSE4.2 instructions in the drivers, so the C2D is fine here.
     
  15. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #90
    Thank you, now I understand. So, it seems there are no problems, here.

    I think I have only another question: since I'm thinking of buying an AMD Radeon RX560, as suggested by Monoton, can I buy ANY Radeon RX560, or I have to buy MSI? For example, would and ASRock be ok too?
     
  16. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #91
    Should work with about any card with the same chipset, might differ slightly in performance and to a greater extent in thermal aspects due to fan design and/or overclockings.
     
  17. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #92
    Hi, Larsvonhier, two things:
    1 - Does Dosdude's patch recognize the active egpu and automatically select the correct patch, or is this something that I'll have to do by hand?
    2 - The list of your machines, under every post, contains an "iMac 7,1 (10.14)". Is this an error and it should be 8,1 (as you always wrote in this thread), or this is actually the machine you talked about in post #38?
     
  18. Larsvonhier, Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018

    Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #93
    1 - The patch has nothing to do with the eGPU - first bring up macOS Mojave on your iMac including all patches without eGPU, then reboot with eGPU connected
    2- I´ll check, but you might be right with the footer (will update it accordingly) -> updated, thanks for letting me know!
    ...the possible eGPU adapter cable-leadout through the memory slot is the same on iMac 7,1 and later models.
     
  19. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #94
    I bought this, following your suggestion, but you didn't mention that to use both power supply and video card you had to CUT through the plastic to open a hole for the power cable (I looked at your photos, but I didn't notice that). I managed to do it, but it was REALLY hard. Just for the record: what did you use to cut that hole? I used a saw with a blade for plastics, but it took me forever.
     
  20. CrownJules, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018

    CrownJules macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2018
    #95
    I have a 2011 17" MBP with the Thunderbolt and ExpressCard 34 ports and I'm interested in trying this out. I've read that with this dual GPU setup though, you may have to disable the discrete GPU to get the eGPU to work. Anyone know if this is needed?
     
  21. esatamacmodular macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2014
    #96
    possibly ... but to really pull this off you will need to become familiar with egpu.io website ... additional tools there to pull this off.
     
  22. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #97
    Just to be sure, will an iMac 7,1 with eGpu (MSI Radeon RX560) be able to use a 4k external display without problems?
     
  23. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #98
    People, I need help. I've built my eGpu, with an MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX 4GB and the other parts as suggested by Monoton (case, SPU, dock) and Larsvonhier (miniPCIe adapter cable), but it's not recognized by my iMac 7,1.

    First I tried with High Sierra, and it didn't work, and I thought that maybe there was something wrong with the card (because the external monitor told me that there was no connection, even if it was connected to the card via DVI).
    But then I booted from a USB drive with Dosdude's Mojave Patcher and the external display turned on and showed me the grey background of the installation page. I think that this means that the card is somehow working.

    So I installed Mojave, applied the post-install patches, as usual, but the card is still not functioning. I can see it in System Information, but it doesn't have a name, it doesn't show how much VRAM it has (it should be 4GB) and in the Kernel Extension Info it says "No Kext loaded". You can see it in the screenshot attached to this post.

    One of the post-install patches that I installed (it was pre-selected for my iMac) was the "Legacy Video Card Patch". Have this something to do with my problem?

    I hope you can help me find a solution!

    System Report iMac.png
     
  24. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502

    Larsvonhier

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Location:
    Germany, Black Forest
    #99
    As you already wrote, the "no kext loaded" is the hint. The video card patcher is definitively out of the game - I had my Nvidia cards with no acceleration running on a patched system under Mojave.
    I´d suggest to start over with High Sierra and the right kexts for your card. Maybe it helps to get the PCI vendor and product ID and search the net (i.e. hackintosh sites) for those...
    Sorry that I cannot be more specific as I´m still on the Nvidia bandwagon hoping to see Mojave web drivers from them soon ;-)
     
  25. kautame macrumors member

    kautame

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    #100
    Ok, but since everyone here said that AMD cards work out-of-the-box, and Monoton was so sure that he wrote:

    So that's what I did: I bought an MSI Radeon RX560… but it doesn't work, at all.

    Why High Sierra? Doesn't Mojave have the same kext for AMD cards?
    Anyway, it's difficult now to go back to High Sierra, because I have too much stuff on this Mac and to re-install everything from zero would take too much time. I hope I can find a solution in Mojave.

    Also, the ONLY moment when the card worked was when I booted from the USB stick with Dosdude's Mojave Patcher: my external display showed the same background as the main screen. EVERY other moment, the display had no signal at all. I guess that there is something in that stick that recognized my card.
     

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