I’ve spent days trying to get my eGPU working in Boot Camp. On macOS, all it took was plugging it in. The same can’t be said for Windows. I’ve finally got it to a state that it’s working for me. I want to share the solutions that worked for my problems, so others don’t have to go through the same.
What’s the setup?
A MacBook Pro 2017 15-inch with AMD Radeon 555 dedicated graphics.
The external graphics on this computer makes the next steps far more difficult than Mac models that only have integrated graphics.
A common Mac for eGPU is the Mac mini, but also the integrated-only MacBook Pro 13-inch (various years). I prefer the flexibility of built-in dedicated graphics alongside the option to use an eGPU when on my desk, and hot-swapping works perfectly in macOS.
Razer Core X (Amazon affiliate) external graphics card enclosure.
This eGPU enclosure works perfectly for me on macOS without any additional drivers or software, which is crucial in a cross-OS setup and ensures the enclosure has the most chance working after macOS updates and in developer betas of macOS.
AMD Radeon RX 590 (Amazon affiliate) graphics card to put in the eGPU enclosure.
I chose AMD for the best compatibility with both macOS and Windows. Since there are no Nvidia drivers for macOS, an AMD card is what you need to also use your eGPU on macOS, as described in an Apple support article Use an external graphics processor with your Mac.
What didn’t work?
Not interested in what didn’t work? Jump to What did work?
egpu.io is a great site with lots of guides and information, but unfortunately I found none of it helpful. I spent days scouring the site for solutions, and these are the things I tried that were unsuccessful:
|What I tried||What happened to the eGPU|
|Downgrade Windows 10 to 1903 18362.30||Error 12 (also not good staying on an old version of Windows forever)|
|Plugging in the eGPU before boot, after boot, during Windows logo, between Startup Manager and selecting Windows||Error 12|
|Copying ||Error 12|
|Disabling devices in Device Manager to ‘rearrange PCIe assignment’||Error 12, and I tried all sorts of directions and bottom-/top-first, no change|
|Installing official AMD Radeon graphics drivers||Installer had error 173: No AMD Graphics Hardware Has Been Detected in Your System Configuration.|
|Installing drivers from bootcampdrivers.com||Error 12|
|…and disabling/uninstalling the dGPU in Device Manager||Error 12|
|automate-eGPU EFI||On boot to the EFI, flashes the right GPUs but the text scrolls away instantly, and this loops until the machine is powered off. Turns out this isn’t compatible with Catalina, maybe…?|
|The integrated graphics shows up in Device Manager instead of the AMD dGPU. Installing the Intel graphics drivers causes a black screen. System Restore to undo that, and trying with the eGPU gives error 12.|
What did work?
- Install Windows 2004, either through an ISO of that version or upgrading an older version.
- Install the Boot Camp drivers from the WindowsSupport folder.
- Install all the Windows updates. I really mean all of them. In Settings → Update and Security → Windows Update, install all the updates and restart. Then reopen that page, click Check for Updates, and keep installing updates until there’s none left. I’ve had numerous occasions where I want to install the one update later, but because of another update that also needed to be installed, the one update relating to the eGPU somehow disappears.
- Download the official AMD Radeon™ Graphics Drivers for Windows from amd.com/en/support.
Do not use the Auto-Detect and Install, as this will detect the internal dGPU instead of the eGPU.
I’ve had success with both the WHQL and Optional versions, and the Optional drivers gave me better game performance, but if you have trouble with one try the other.
- Extract the drivers somewhere, e.g. C:\AMD (default location). Open this folder and find the Config folder, then
- Unfortunately the drivers don’t detect the eGPU correctly and pretend they can’t be installed. To fix this, we’re going to edit the
"EnableFalcon": "true"to the
BuildInfosection of the file, not forgetting the comma on the previous line.
Don’t install the drivers yet though! We need different drivers first…
If your MacBook doesn’t have a dGPU, you can skip this section.
- In Device Manager, find the AMD Radeon 555 or equivalent dGPU in the list under Display adapters.
- Right-click on the dGPU and choose ‘Uninstall device’.
- Check ‘Delete the driver software for this device’ and select Uninstall.
The screen should flash black as the drivers reload and the performance should be degraded afterwards.
- With the eGPU in the enclosure and the enclosure turned on with the switch, connect the Thunderbolt 3 cable between the enclosure and MacBook Pro. Windows should make the connection noise and show a notification that it is installing the device. Wait for Windows to set up the device, which might take a couple of minutes.
- Open Settings → Update & Security and look for an update regarding AMD Display drivers. Download and install the update. Restart if prompted, keeping the eGPU connected.
- In Device Manager, choose View → ‘Devices by connection’.
- Find the eGPU in the list, under
- ACPI x64-based PC
- Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System → Pci Bus
- Intel(R) Xeon(R) E3 – 1200/1400 v5/6th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) PCIe Controller (x4) – 1909 (or x8 for left TB3 ports)
- PCI Express Upstream/Downstream Switch Port (various)
- Radeon RX 590 Series
- Right-click on the Radeon RX 590 or equivalent eGPU and choose ‘Update driver’.
- Browse to the folder you extracted the AMD drivers to in step 5, then find and select the
- Continue the wizard to install the new drivers.
Check Task Manager and confirm your eGPU shows correctly! You’re all done 🎉
On every boot
After every boot, the internal display doesn’t progress from the Windows logo with a stuck spinner. Using Windows-P, you can toggle the display mirroring from Extend/Mirror to the primary display only. This will need to be repeated after each boot.
Fix eGPU error 12 in Device Manager
If you get error 12, disconnect the eGPU, use DDU to uninstall all your drivers (‘clean and restart’ option) and try the above steps again. Don’t install the bootcampdrivers version of the drivers, as this will start up your internal dGPU and take resources that the eGPU needs.
What still doesn’t work?
There’s no streaming tab in the Radeon software. This means I can’t use AMD Link since I get an error that ReLive is unavailable. I’d really like to fix this, but I haven’t found a solution yet.