Category Archives: Video Games

eGPU with the 2018 MacBook Pro

I recently bought a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure for my new 2018 MacBook Pro and wanted to write about my experience with it thus far.

Introduction

First, a little about me and why I wanted to buy an eGPU in the first place. 

I like to upgrade my computers about every five years so the timing of this MacBook release worked out perfectly for me. I had a gaming desktop with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in it and I mostly (only) play Overwatch on it. I use macOS App development and need Xcode.

My gaming desktop has all black parts in it, my desk is black, all my accessories are black; needless to say, I like things to match. Since they sadly don’t make black MacBooks my MacBook is space gray. I have a Space Gray [Henge Dock](). And now I have a Space Gray eGPU enclosure.

The eGPU Enclosure

There are plenty of Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures available for purchase today. Apple currently recommends any of the following:
  • Blackmagic eGPU3
  • Sonnet Radeon RX 570 eGFX Breakaway Puck
  • OWC Mercury Helios FX3
  • PowerColor Devil Box
  • Sapphire Gear Box
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W3
  • Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650W3

eGPU.io has a more extensive list with plenty of setup guides, reviews, and benchmarks.

Mantiz Venus MZ-02

Looks alone is what initially brought me to the Mantiz Venus MZ-02 by Mantiz. I bought it off of Amazon. It doesn’t make much sense to me but buying the enclosure on Amazon is cheaper than buying directly from Mantiz’s website – even though they are shipping themselves through Amazon.

Sadly, the metal on the Mantiz Venus is more brushed (lines) than the MacBook so it isn’t a complete match, but it is much closer to matching than a white or black enclosure. It isn’t too noticeable at a distance so I don’t really care since the enclosure will be on the far corner of my desk.
In my opinion the benefits of the Mantiz MZ-02 compared to more popular eGPU enclosures are:
  • It provides 87W of power to the MacBook Pro 15″
  • Matches MacBook Pro (offers both Silver and Space Gray options)
  • 5 USB ports, 1 SATA interface, and 1 Gigabit LAN Ethernet port
  • Customer support

The Mantiz MZ-02 does not come without its’ disadvantages. It does not currently draw enough power for high end graphics cards. This means it can’t run the Radeon Vega 64. If you care, it also is not one of the recommended eGPU enclosure by Apple.

Most of the negative reviews on Amazon reference a design flaw on the main board – but apparently they have been fixed and I did not have any of the issues described in the negative reviews. eGPU.io rates the Mantiz fifth overall so if you are considering buying an eGPU enclosure I strongly encourage you to research other ones. I don’t think there is a “perfect” eGPU yet – or at least I can see positives and negatives with each.

Troubleshooting and Setup

Per, Mantiz’s website they only officially support macOS 10.13.4. If you buy a MacBook now, it most likely will have a greater version so your eGPU enclosure will be DOA (officially). Thankfully, Mantiz’s unofficial support is pretty solid for macOS.

Nvidia cards are also not supported on macOS so some modifications are necessary to get the card to work on macOS. It involves disabling SIP so I have not done this and have very little desire to do so. However, Mantiz said they would do this for me via TeamViewer if I wanted. I would much rather just upgrade to an Vega 56.
Since my setup is not officially supported I was pretty bummed. I missed the caveats when I was purchasing the enclosure. Apparently, Mantiz also charges a 20%+ restocking fee on Amazon so I decided to try to make it work.  I went on eGPU.io guide but nothing I found there worked. I then reached out to Mantiz via their Facebook messaging platform and they responded in around an hour (12 hour time difference).  They pointed out that they had sent me a guide in an email the minute I had bought the enclosure, but I had neglected to read it. On their guide they didn’t have specific instructions for the 2018 MacBook but the instructions were similar to the 2017 version. For Boot Camp, you will have to uninstall the AMD Radeon driver that is currently on your machine using Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU). I did this but my eGPU was still not being recognized. Mantiz’s support decided they would TeamViewer onto my machine and do the setup for me. It turned out the problem was that I  “…plug in ogpu to laptop ‘w/o PSU switch on’ too many times.”  A simple power cycle and reboot with the eGPU plugged in was all I needed to do. I originally was hot plugging it in since I was getting strange boot up issues (which I read was normal with macs) before I uninstalled the original graphics driver.
To summarize the Boot Camp Setup for the 2018 MacBook Pro 15″ is:
  1. Ensure Windows is updated to at least 1803. Restart if necessary.
  2. With the eGPU not plugged in, run DDU and remove the pre-installed AMD Radeon driver. Restart.
  3. While the MacBook is powering on, plug in the eGPU
  4. Upgrade/install the graphics driver
You should update your Thunderbolt 3 firmware for the Matniz MZ-02. Although I didn’t experience this, the firmware upgrade will fix any USB lag you might have.
You will need to buy a longer Thunderbolt 3 cable. The one they provide is less than 2 feet.  Thankfully Mantiz makes a 2 foot Thunderbolt 3 cable which is available on Amazon.

After the eGPU was installed I experienced frame stuttering while playing Overwatch. I would get consistent 144+ fps and then drop to 80 fps and back again. This would make the game lag. This can be fixed by disabling Xbox DVR, thus ensuring your battery settings are not throttling PCI/USB. Enabling application control in Nvidia settings also helps with the lag; as well as playing with the overwatch video settings – enabling triple buffer, and enabling v sync. Disabling the integrated graphics driver might also help.

Clamshell support is not on by default in Boot Camp. You can easily enable this in the power settings.

Conclusions

If I had done more research about eGPU’s for MacBooks I probably would not have bought one at all. They aren’t fully supported by Apple:

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 and later doesn’t support eGPUs in Windows using Boot Camp

This is very unfortunate but very typical for Apple. Their trackpad driver sucks in Windows so why wouldn’t their eGPU support?

If you want a plug and play experience with eGPU on Boot Camp – you won’t get it. A dedicated graphics card is always going to be better than eGPU but Thunderbolt 3 is getting there. I like the convenience of being able to play games on my MacBook and not having to have two different computers so overall I am very happy with my purchase.

Call of Duty: World at War First Look

This week the Call of Duty (COD) team just launched a brand new COD website and trailer for the upcoming game Call of Duty: World at War.  As most of you should know the new game will not be made by the same COD4 team, Infinity Ward. Treyarch is taking over the game this time and they say that they will stick to the same formula as COD4. However, the game is back at World War II.  I personally liked COD3 but COD4 had some very amazing features like the ranking system and weapon management that just can not go away. The new game will have some new feature to impress people though. It will have four player co-op and an impressive physics engine.  You will be able to climb up trees, burn people alive, and people react to every shot fired. It looks like it will be a great game. Treyarch has 2 years to prove to the world that they can be better than Infinity Ward.  They are known for their single player and they have a good base for multiplayer thanks to Infinity War.  Lets see what they can do.

Game Rundown: To Buy or Not to Buy?

In this each mini review I will tell you whether you should buy or not. I have chosen the best  three games that are worth buying. If you are low on cash this review is great for you. If you do not like reading, scroll down to the bottom and look at the recap. Before I start this post I would like to point out that I own a Xbox 360. I do not own a PS3 or a Wii, therefor most of these games will be for the Xbox 360. Also all of these games will be coming out late 07 or early 08 if they are not already out. I will try to break it down between a Buy, Rent, and Don’t Bother rating. Continue reading

.CSS {border: Lost Planet;}

CSS is cool but man it is a pain. The hardest thing I have yet to figure out is 100% height and a certain navigation. I am making a new layout for twodayslate, it will be almost the same as the last but a better navigation and a different header. I should finish most of twodayslate this Street Scences break. Be prepared for a special invite just for people who come to this blog. Lucky you!

I still have not started my PHP stuff, which is quite sad becuase I said I would start it two weeks ago. T_T I am going to start soon….

I love Lost Planet, I am level 10 online. I am planning to get to level 100 by the end of this break too. My gamer tag is G0RAK for those of you that want to play me. My favorite weapon is the hand grenade and the machine gun. It is really weird though, everytime I play I get 7th place. No matter what, even if I get first in the game. I hear if you play fugitive and you are the host you automatically get 4000+ points or something like this.

If you noticed I have all my tags on this post, so just maybe I will get a couple more hits. ;-)

PS3

The PS3 might not be looking so hot on the market now, but I predict that it will sky-rocket in the near future. If you look at its features from a glance, it is the best system out there, but that is at a glance.  You will see that their online will be better than x-box but currently it is a work in progress. For one, it is free so you are saving lets say $50 and it is in real dollars and not virtual money to make you seem that you are getting it for free. Their blue-ray player is built in, which is a big downside since blue-ray might not do so well, but you do not need to buy a $200 add-on unlike the 360. The games might look the same as the 360 now, but wait until next year and it will blow the 360 away. The controller is motion sensor, so that is a plus but it has no rumble. The Ps3 also has a web broweser so you can look at porn while fragging a friend.

If you break it down, the xbox is the same amount as the PS3.

Xbox 360 Platnium Edition ($400) + xbox live ($50+) + HD-DVD ($200) + HDMI cable (about $10) + anything else I am missing?= about $660

PS3 60GB ($600)+ HDMI cable (about $10) + anything else I am missing?= about $610 and you get 40gb more of space to save games, movies, etc; and a much faster system.

PS3

The PS3 only compition is the xbox 360, but the main competion is between blue-ray and HD-DVD. I think neither will win but that is just me.

PS3 is loosing in the short term but they will win in the long term, unless microsoft releases a new system to blow sony away!