Jump to content
EwinRacing Flash Series Gaming Chairs
  • 2015 15" MBP Iris + Zotac GTX 970 + Akitio Thunder 2 - OSX El Capitan


    HammerFET

    I've been sitting on this build for a while, meaning to make a build log but its been so long I've forgotten most of it! :eagerness:

    So here's the short and sweet version!

     

    m3uazH7.jpg

     

    My previous build with this card was a water-cooled wall mounted windows gaming machine. This was a great rig for a former student just having started a new job with still a fair bit of time on his hands... Then things got busy, and the water beast became stagnant. Long story short, I converted to mac mostly due to requiring portability yet still wanting a powerful machine that wasn't a total door stop to carry around.

     

     

    So it became that a GTX 970 soon found its way on my book shelf in a nice compact case. Just for kicks, heres my old rig!

     

    zmjNuqT.jpg

     

    Firstly, why did i drop the water-cooling? The original plan was to make a similar wall mounted eGPU. After some pondering I came to the conclusion that this particular card I owned wasn't much of an overclocker. I hadn't actually bothered unlocking the card or overclocking it a whole lot. I had planned to do it, but it had never happened. For 5 months I had used the card running on stock power and it was still maxing out games on my 2560x1080 ultra wide. 

     

    I went ahead a bought the Akitio thunder 2 off a german website, delivered to the UK within two days for a very good price!

     

    I initially used a 120W 12V power brick to run the card, clearly this didn't cut it, and the card would die instantly on load. I resorted to grabbing a Dell DA2 18A power brick and things started working great!

     

    This post by dschjin inspired me to try the noctua fans with the stock heatsink. To my surprise they worked very well and I was getting great temps under load. I could even hold my previous water-cooled overclock and it would hang around 75 degrees C.

     

    I then proceeded to create a funky case cooling design, and two days of drilling later I ended up with this!

     

    5DVPqrz.jpg

     

    It looked great! But it was an awful cooling solution... absolutely useless, wouldn't even hold stock settings before throttling...

     

    I then decided to cut out the entire side and top panel with the idea of finding a grill/mesh material to put in its place. I ended up going with a desktop wire magazine holder like this one:

     

    61cr%2BnJnCgL._SY355_.jpg

     

    Here it is cut out

     

    qbtjIT9.jpg

     

    I then cut it to size and slid it between the fans and the edge of the aluminium case. Its all very much a tight fit and required a lot of effort to close while keeping everything in place.

     

    I used some PCIe power extenders that plugged on the top of the card as two six pin power. They required trimming of the plastic and heat shrink to get the clearance:

     

    J9j28L3.jpg

     

    As you can see the sharp inside of the aluminium enclosure already mangled the nice new heat shrink!

     

    The fans are also just about held in place with some bits of plastic. Due to the design of the heatsink, the fans couldn't be sat flush without having to cut some metal tabs and bending things. the way it is now lets the fans sit tight between the mesh and the heatsink. Once the case is closed, nothing can move.

     

    nRUHuQj.jpg

     

    I then added a power switch with LED (switch contacts go on the dell PSU and led goes to the existing led pins on the Akitio motherboard.

     

    uejRlHW.jpg

     

    hsNJrPV.jpg

     

    chopped up 24pin ate connector is in there as a total bodge job. The wires are breaded in pairs and simply pass through the vent holes of the card. Too easy! The wires are stiff enough that it doesn't really matter anyway.

     

    lyzAyLB.jpg

    qZ5L26S.jpg

    HAhpSC1.jpg

     

    xsv26kP.jpg

    aySqMvd.jpg

     

    Finally, here are a few of my favourite things!

    XY0b6Wn.jpg

    Electrical tape to cover up sharp edges of steel.

    3M VHB tape can stick anything to anything like foam tape! Then come off like it was never there. I swear by this stuff!

    sharpie to coverup dings and dents

    Wago wire to wire clamps, these things are quicker and much more reliable than terminal blocks if you're too lazy to solder wires together. Like me!

    stick on foam to space out bits of floating mesh grill and make a snug fit

    mains powered dremel with EZ click metal cutting disk. This thing makes short work of thick aluminium.

     

    And don't forget boys and girls, always wear protection!

    vAjyK7r.jpg

     

     

    Software woes

     

    Lets just say the hardware was the easy bit.. I started out with a bootcamp of Windows 10 and the card would just about start. It seemed very unreliable, sometimes it would work everytime, then I'd get home one day and the thing just didn't want to start..

     

    Optimus made everything worse, though it was great when it worked.

     

    I ended up going to several installs of windows 10 and 8.1, even a UEFI rebuild..

     

    Finally I gave in a resorted to OSX drivers. Automate GPU is fantastic and it just works. I've been very surprised how well most of my steam library works on OSX. I had a nice surprise the other day when I found out Thief was available for OSX and that sold it to me. I got rid of my windows partition and all my gaming is done in OSX now.

     

    Overall this seems to be a great solution for portable computing and still having the ability to run desktop graphics. I've been very surprised and look forward to Thunderbolt 3 where this should be natively supported!

     

    For those interested, I did manage to get a fair bit of overclocking done within windows when I had it working, here are the results:

     

    CPU temps:

    Zj4y2KS.png

     

    Card info:

    hlb3ZlN.png

     

    Over thunderbolt:

    3Viese5.png

     

    running this card on a Z77 desktop motherboard with i5 3570k @ 4.2GHz gave :

    90OdYXf.png

     

    In OSX again:

    YevlY1v.png


    • Thumbs Up 3
      Report Article


    User Feedback


    Hey HammerFET, nice work.
    You mentioned you got the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe box for a good price from Germany, well I am looking to purchase a box (I am in the UK). Could you tell me where you bought yours from and how much it was? (inc postage).

     

    Thanks!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By svl7
      NVIDIA 'Maxwell' VBIOS mods
       
       
      Here you find modified VBIOS versions for the mobile parts of the Nvidia 'Maxwell' series.
      The VBIOS versions in this post are tweaked for performance and versatility. You'll get almost complete control over the performance parameters of your GPU.
      List of available VBIOS mods:
       
      Nvidia GTX 970m - 'OC edition' rev0 - >> 6 GB Version << - modified by @johnksss & svl7 -> see attachments Nvidia GTX 980m - 'OC edition' rev0 - >> 8 GB Version << - modified by @johnksss & svl7 -> see attachments  
      Screenshot demonstrating the capabilities of the 970m versions:

      >> Read the instructions carefully before flashing! <<
      If anything is unclear after reading or if you have additional remarks, please post in the thread.
       
      Flashing:
       
      - Go to the device manager -> 'Display Adapters' -> chooser your GPU, right click on it and choose disable
      - Flash the VBIOS with mnvflash, a modified version of nvflash (see attachments). Here are detailed instructions for nvflash in case you aren't familiar with it.
      - After the flashing is done: Enable the GPU once again in the device manager.
      - Reboot
       
      Do NOT use driver 347.09, it's broken and useless and won't allow you to overclock, even with the stock firmware.
      Don't distribute the files hosted here outside of Tech|Inferno. Don't modify the files you download here.
       
      Donation link in case you want to buy me a beer

      Thanks and cheers!
    • By Hax
      I have tried to update nvidia drivers of my notebook ge72vr6rf apache pro. The only drivers that works are the ones provided by the msi. The problem is that they haven't updated those since 2016 and I can't play newer games. 
       
      Some say you need to mod your 1060 drivers, which I have no idea how to some says you need to update the flags in ini files. So please help me
       
      Thanks for your time.
    • By damianalex
      Hi,
      I want to show you my new project.
      I bought my laptop about 5 years ago.  It was never speed deamon, but for every day use, it was enough to me.
       
      Its specification:
      Intel i7-4700MQ
      Nvidia GeForce GT745M
      16GB RAM
      512 SSD Adata SU800

       
      Yesterday I bought Witcher 3. Of course on 1080p it's impossible to play, because of about 10fps
       
      So I make a decision to buy external grahpic card.
      I choose GTX970 and now I am looking for occasion to buy it.
       
      I've already bought EXP GDC v8.4d mPCI-E. It is used and cost about 30$.

       
      I will use ATX PSU to supply graphic card, because I have old desktop PSU at home.
       
      My plan:
      1) unlock bios
      2) buy GTX 970
      3) enjoy Witcher 3!
       
      BTW I try to cool down my laptop, so I replaced thermal paste to Kryonout Thermal Grizzly and make some tests. Temperatures and fps are on screenshots.
       
      1) laptop on table, playing GTA V 1080p

       
      - first minute (GPU core 1045MHz)

       
      -after some time, because of high temperature and GPU throlttling (GPU core drop down even to 400MHz)

       
      2) with thermalpad Glacier NC400 SilentiumPC

      - 30 minute and longer (GPU core drop to about 900MHz)
       
      3) without down case of laptop (like on picture with thermal paste) on thermalpad.
      Here laptop never drops down MHz and max temp are about 72 Celsius degrees.

       
       
      Bacause of that I bought second down case for my laptop and I will cut there additional holes.
       
      Greetings!
       
      I will describe next step when I get all stuff I need!
       
       
    • By Brian
      Following the release of NVIDIAs new 436.02 driver which I mentioned in an earlier article here, I've decided to make a quick and dirty video showing off NVIDIAs new Sharpen filter which is part of their Game Filter feature. It works with the most popular APIs including DX 9, 11, 12 and Vulkan and can be set on a per-game basis with granular settings of 0-100 unlike AMDs RIS which is limited to Navi and lacks DX 11 support.
       
       

      View full article
    • By Brian
      Following the release of NVIDIAs new 436.02 driver which I mentioned in an earlier article here, I've decided to make a quick and dirty video showing off NVIDIAs new Sharpen filter which is part of their Game Filter feature. It works with the most popular APIs including DX 9, 11, 12 and Vulkan and can be set on a per-game basis with granular settings of 0-100 unlike AMDs RIS which is limited to Navi and lacks DX 11 support.
       
       
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.