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. kautame macrumors member


    Mar 28, 2017
    Is this the first time you use this setup? I mean, have you ever had success with a different MacOS or card or monitor?
    Can you provide a screenshot from the Graphics tab in System Report, like the one attached to this post?

    Anyway, you could try downloading an older web driver and see if it works better with your system. Instructions to download and patch older drivers can be found in post #112 from Larsvonhier.

    Screenshot 2019-02-12 15.31.41.png
  2. panwato macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    No, this is the first time I use this combo.
    I read in different pages the 550 Ti doesn't work very well in MacOs, my fault. I ordered a Gtx 650, (an eBay auction), because I see it's working pretty well.

    In graphics tab shown as GTX 550 Ti (1023 Mb), so the card is detected.
  3. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2016
    Germany, Black Forest
    It looks to me if the power supply or the power connection to the graphics card is not sufficient. I had a similar effect when I used a 35W supply on a 80W-demanding card. I reached the finder desktop, but when moving windows or benchmarking the system crashed every time. I replaced the PSU and everything was fine from then on.
    Sometimes the supply cables that run between GDC and card are inferior/lousy quality - I received a bunch of that crap from ebay (chinese selle). The single strands were not crimped in a way to have good conductance / low resistance. I could pull the wires out of the crimp connectors by hand with low force. Then re-crimped and soldered the contacts and re-inserted into the plastic connector housing. Voila - works fine now...

    Another thing to check: How does the card behave without acceleration? You could disable the relevant kexts and see if it makes a difference in stability.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2019 at 1:24 AM ---
    I am aware that the exact adapter I found is not the right type - that's why I hinted to the "right keying". But adapters from Apple MacBook pseudo-M.2 to NGFF exist that allow use of standard NVME flash cards in those MacBooks. Have done it myself a couple of times. So either such an add-on could be used or some variant of what I found could fit directly.
    The question of power being present on the connector all times or only after booting and enabling Wifi/BT could be solved by a small HW patch (find the FET that drives that voltage and all-time-enable it), easy thing - if it turns out to be an obstacle...
  4. panwato macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    It's a 220w PSU...

    I think is caused by the 550 Ti itself, I try with 650 and post results
  5. kautame macrumors member


    Mar 28, 2017
    Ok, I understand, but I couldn't find any of those, and with a shape that could be used inside an iMac, in place of the Wi-fi card.

    I don't like HW patches because they usually are permanent (and when I sell my old Macs I prefer them to be as much "normal" as possible). But I'm following with interest the story of Panwato, because his iMac 11,2 2010 is exactly one of those iMacs I wrote about yesterday. I hope his problem is not related to the power in the connector! :)
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2019 at 4:33 AM ---
    Since Larsvonhier wrote about the power supply, I checked the needs of a 550ti, and - depending on the model, maybe - it seems that it needs an external power supply (not just the one from the bus on the GDC Beast). Like in these photos, here, the yellow and black cables connected to the GDC and then to the card in the upper right side. Did you connect those too? Or maybe your model doesn't need it?
  6. panwato macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    For the lack of D+\D-, I think this is related with the combo cards (BT + Wifi)

    And yes, I connected the extra power, with a 6P cable from the GDC.
    If the cable isn't connected, the GPU doesn't turn ON
  7. Larsvonhier thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2016
    Germany, Black Forest
    Did you check the quality of the 6P conn. cable?
  8. panwato, Feb 12, 2019 at 12:02 PM
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 1:08 PM

    panwato macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    I tried another cable, same issue.

    Tried old Drivers (the first for HS), nothing.
    Tried the lasts for Sierra, nothing.

    I really think this is related to the card itself...

    I have a question for you. Do you all have HS on unsupported Macs? If so, have you put patches for the graphics?
  9. monoton, Feb 13, 2019 at 5:47 AM
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 6:43 AM

    monoton macrumors member


    Aug 15, 2006
    Oslo / Tokyo
    Hey, haven't checked this thread for a while. I used a uni-directional wire-saw. And, as mentioned, it has to be adapted. No power-supply is the same. I used SFX type PSU. Someone else could use something else.. I cut out from the acrylic mesh just fitting the power cable input. Did not take too long. The right tools is important. You can see it here:
    From post #72.

    For me that was part of the fun, adapting it and making it work for my use, when I did this a couple of years ago, back in 2017. I had a project to see how far I could stretch my almost 10 years old system at the time, and also upgraded the internal wifi to be 3x faster (450mbps using all three antennas built into the machine with airdrop support, 6GB ram (4GB+2GB), and an SSD, new battery). I wanted to attach a GPU to be able to use it for more modern GPU programming, and gain more than just OpenCL 1.0 support (as given by the built in Nvidia GTX 8600m), more modern OpenCL, OpenGL and Metal implementations supported. It became a cool "workstation again" and I could speed up many things and do more.
    It still works perfectly, and was the perfect choice as it's an old machine and did not require too much investments. More funds I keep for my Mac Pro 5,1's, where I just put in a Radeon VII and waiting for the proper driver support, now that's a beast to program :D

    Regarding the more modern AMD GPUs, your CPU has to support SSE 4.2 as it turns out apple compiled these drivers with optimisations for SSE 4.2. That means any Intel CPU used by apple after C2D, if I'm not wrong (i5, i7 etc. from Nehalem architecture onwards, you probably have the C2D Penryn architecture; stops at SSE 4.1). As in my original post, I stick with High Sierra and use Nvidia graphics on that machine, the small form-factor Pascal based GTX 1050Ti 4GB. No issue, and no SSE 4.2 requirements. I first started out with a Fermi based GTX 560Ti 2GB I had laying around after a desktop upgrade.
    SSE 4.2 requirements could possibly be circumvented if someone writes an interpreter to translate SSE 4.2 to SSE 4.1, or somehow binary modifies the driver to avoid SSE 4.2. I guess this could be a perfect project for DosDude. Then Mojave would be a possibility on those older machines, if we wanna have Metal and a more modern GPU with it. I find High Sierra to currently be the best for my early 2008 MacBook Pro 4,1 for these reasons. Even the Radeon HD 7970 probably requires SSE 4.2 on macOS.

    EDIT: Yes, the Radeon HD 7950 / 7970 also required Mac Pro 2009/2010 and up (or any other Mac with Nehalem / SSE 4.2 and the PCIe interface).
  10. panwato macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    9BC866B1-F553-40EA-9C39-19E559CD085F.jpeg A little update.

    I updated to Mojave with dosdude.
    GTX 550 Ti is working. (No acceleration, no web drivers), so I am very close to success.
    I'm thinking the dosdude's patch is the answer.
    Going back to HS with patched dosdude's installer
  11. kautame macrumors member


    Mar 28, 2017
    Monoton, where have you been all this time?! I needed you!!! ;-)
    You should turn on notifications for this thread, man!

    Anyway, thank you for your reply. Yes, I have a C2D Penryn, and Dosdude helped me understand what you wrote in your reply, about SSE).
    This month I'm going to upgrade to a more recent iMac (mid 2011, i7) because I'd like to have a bit more CPU power.

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