The cheapest eGPU setup for a Macbook Pro
Since moving into my home 2 months ago I have felt that the biggest thing missing was a desktop computer. With computer parts prices being ridiculously high I came up with an alternate solution that has so far worked pretty well.
My current laptop is a 2016 Macbook pro with 16gb ram, 256 ssd, built in gpu and connected to ultrawide 32 inch LG. No issues even with the 4 year old Intel CPU except for the fact that any sort of intense video processing or playing games is impossible. Rather than building an entire desktop for my new place I figured why not tack on a GPU to my laptop and that should handle everything I need at least for the next year or two.
A great resource for this is https://egpu.io They have a lot of handy guides for specific builds. To my dismay, a lot of guides involve things like a Mantiz (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0745GHN53/) or the Razer Core X (https://www.amazon.com/Razer-Chroma-Aluminum-External-Enclosure/dp/B07Q78VMPW/ref=sr_1_1_sspa) which seem to run around 300-400$ at minimum. Even more expensive options are buying an enclosure that comes with a GPU. While not a bad solution these seemed overpriced considering I already had a spare PSU and GPU (GTX2070). Also my GPU would be high on a shelf and I didn’t need the protection of an enclosure.
That’s when I stumbled upon the ADT-link R43SG-TB3. A no frills thunderbolt 3 adapter where you supply your own GPU and PSU. At a fraction of the cost of other solutions on Ali-express (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001134268895.html) this seemed like the perfect fit. I’d be lying if I didn’t have my hesitations about this working but I went ahead and ordered one. Getting it connected was a little bit weird so I followed this image:
After getting it setup you’ll have to follow some specific instructions as to what windows version you can use and driver specific things which you can find on egpu.io. After I had done that I haven’t had much of an issue. Running RPSC3 is a challenge but the bottleneck is my CPU. I was capable of setting up the index and playing Half Life Alyx without any issue.
If you decide to do something similar to this, my only suggestion would be is to get an AMD GPU instead of NVIDIA as it makes switching between OSX and Bootcamp easier and you can use the AMD GPU natively on OSX.