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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Ensure Windows is updated to at least 1803. Restart if necessary.
- With the eGPU not plugged in, run DDU and remove the pre-installed AMD Radeon driver. Restart.
- While the MacBook is powering on, plug in the eGPU
- Upgrade/install the graphics driver
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.
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?