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2015 13" MBP + GTX1070FE@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [Creativie]

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Hello, I've decided to upgrade my eGPU set up with a new card GTX 1070 FE. I thought I'd share some benchmarks and my booting process with the forum to let you guys know that 2015 Macbook Pro 13" eGPU setup works!

 

As stated on the nVidia website, the FE GTX 1070 TDP is 150W, so I thought I'd give it a try with my previous dell DA-2. I bought the components off of eBay so setting up hardware was mainly plug & play. It was pretty simple to set up, but as many of you already know, 2015 Macbook Pro 13" is pain in the ass to get the drivers working (ie. get past the spinning wheel)

 

Hardware:

AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box - I bent the chassis to fit the FE GTX 1070

EVGA GTX 1070 FE

Dell DA-2 AC Adapter

Akitio Egpu 8 Pin to 2 x PCI E 6 Pin Super Low Profile No Latch 1 x Barrel | eBay (This is not for sale anymore)

LG 22MP67HQ External Monitor (But this setup works with internal display as well)

Hardware Preparation

1. Open and slide out the AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe box and insert desired GPU (GTX 1070 in my case)
2. Plug the cables into appropriate pins

3. Do not power on the eGPU or connect it to your Macbook until you have everything set up on the software side of things on Windows 10

 

Software Preparation

1. Install Windows 10 via Boot Camp - Internal drive worked fine for me
2. Install Boot Camp drivers

3. Update Windows 10 to the latest version via Windows Update

4. Update Apple software

5. Download the latest nvidia software (368.39 when this was written)

 

Please read the following before you proceed with your set up.

Let's Connect (Only Applicable to 2015 13" Macbook Pro's)

1. Power on the eGPU (Plug it to power)

2. Boot Macbook 13" to Windows 10 by pressing alt after the chime.

2. Once startup is complete, plug the TB2 connector to the Macbook

3. Open Device Manager to check if the thunderbolt hardware is detected. (It should say Microsoft Basic Display Adapter)

5. Once you check that the Macbook detects your eGPU, open up the driver .exe that you downloaded and run it as administrator. 

6. Press Agree Terms of Service, and click Custom Installation. Make sure you've checked everything and press Install.

7. Once the installation is complete, the driver wizard will ask you to restart your computer. Press "Restart now"
8. Wait until it restarts. (Always press Alt after to get into boot selection menu)

** Now this step is very tricky. For Windows 8.1 users, the computer should restart without touching any of the connection, but for windows 10, the restart might freeze at a black screen. 

        - If your computer freezes (ie. black screen, but your backlit keyboard is still lit), then force shutdown the Macbook.
        - Turn off the eGPU  and make sure it's completely off. (ie. no green light from Thunder2) Do not disconnect your TB2.

        - Wait 10-15s and power on the eGPU
        - Turn on your Macbook and go to boot selection (If your Macbook does not boot, force shutdown and unplug the eGPU from power. Then, boot into Mac OSX by pressing alt after the chime. Log in, then press apple logo -> shutdown)

        - You may get stuck at the spinning wheel. If this happens to you just force shutdown and repeat the above process again (force shutdown, power off eGPU, wait 5-10s, power on eGPU, boot by pressing alt and selecting windows 10)

**If you get stuck at the spinning wheel more than two times, the windows will automatically put the system under automatic repair. Let it proceed and do not unplug thunderbolt cable, then restart. Sometimes this allows the Macbook to boot successfully.

**If nothing works after 2-3 tries, turn off eGPU and unplug thunderbolt. Then boot into windows 10 and uninstall nvidia drivers. Try again from the top.

9. If everything works, then your Macbook should be able to detect your GPU with a proper driver. Check this under device manager.

 

Now, some of you may ask how they will be able to go back and forth between OS X and windows, here are the steps that I took.

 

Windows -> OS X

1. Click "Shutdown" (DO NOT CLICK "RESTART" - This gave me a bad result, causing me to reinstall Windows again)

2. Power off the eGPU once the Macbook is fully shutdown

3. Unplug TB2 connector once the AkiTiO box is fully powered off

4. Turn on and boot into OS X via boot selection

 

OS X -> Windows

1. Power on your eGPU

2. Turn on your Macbook and go to the boot selection

3. Select Windows and wait until the spinning wheel shows up.

4. As soon as it shows up, plug in the TB2 (The timing is crucial)

(** If you have a infinite spinning wheel, simply try again, but ideally this should not happen)

 

Alternative Booting Method

I've noticed relatively high failure rate using my OS X -> Windows booting or just a simple booting method, so I've tried this alternative and it seems to be working successfully.

This only applies if your eGPU was able to set up successfuly before after the installation of nVidia drivers.

 

1) Plug TB2 Cable to Macbook (make sure it was to the port where you originally plugged in your eGPU)

2) Power on Akitio eGPU

3) Power on Macbook 

4) Boot via boot selection menu

 

If there is no chime, or there is an infinite spinning wheel, consult to my troubleshooting section.

 

Benchmarks

All done on my external monitor (1080p)

3Dmark on 4K LG 27UD68-W monitor: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/13925733

 

Troubleshooting

The idea is to crash the system (ie. BSOD) to initiate the Automatic Diagnostics by windows 10 when booting up. This will reset if your driver didn't load after the bootup or have an infinite spinning wheel.

 

If you encounter the infinite spinning wheel...

1) Power off the Macbook

2) Unplug power for your eGPU and wait 5-10s

3) Turn eGPU back on

4) Power on the Macbook and boot to windows via boot selection screen (alt)

 

The problem will only solve once the Automatic Diagnostic tool asks you to restart the computer.

 

5) Press restart and boot via boot selection

     - If the Macbook does not power on, simply force power off and repeat steps 1-4 again

6) After few tries from steps 1-5, you should be able to reboot into windows with nVidia Drivers loaded. Be patient and make sure not to uninstall the driver if it fails to load.

 

If it fails to load the drivers...

1) Press Restart 

2) Boot via boot selection

     - If it doesn't boot (ie. no chime) at all, force power off and proceed to steps 1-5 mentioned above.

     - Be patient!!!

 

Good luck!!

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers!

Creativie 

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Edited by Creativie
added 3dmark benchmark
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1 hour ago, Lossy said:

is your 1070 working fine on OS X?

 

No OSX drivers yet!

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I just noticed that the GPU memory showing in your benchmark is 4GB? is this just the Unigine thing?

 

 

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5 hours ago, entzoe said:

 

I just noticed that the GPU memory showing in your benchmark is 4GB? is this just the Unigine thing?

 

 

I noticed that too, I checked with GPU-Z and it has 8 GB. I think it's just the unigine thing.

15 hours ago, Lossy said:

is your 1070 working fine on OS X?

I have not tried connecting to OS X since I read that the support is not there...

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I am preparing a similar setup:

 

Macbook Pro 15" late 2013 running Windows10 from external USB SSD

AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box 

Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 Mini (See http://www.tomshardware.com/news/zotac-nvidia-gtx-1060-amp,32227.html)

Dell DA-2 AC Adapter

DIY eGPU Setup 1.30 

 

Still looking for PCIe power cabling. I am willing to solder, but lacking any PC hardware, I don't even have 6-PIN power plugs. Does anybody know a cheap source for sockets or Y-adapters in Germany?

 

I want to avoid bending and leaving open the beautiful Akitio box, so I am going for the "mini" version of the 1060. On this photo, the card looks a little too high (above the slot) to fit into the box. What do you think?

 

Can't wait for the release!

Edited by orkus

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46 minutes ago, orkus said:

On this photo, the card looks a little to high (above the slot) to fit into the box. What do you think?

It has the same height as zotac gtx 970 dual fan (that is fitted into Akitio box w/o cooling system cover), but radiator on gtx1060 is a bit higher than PCB and at first look it might be a little problem.

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6 hours ago, doginpants said:

Do you bottleneck a lot in games?

I play SC2, DotA 2, Overwatch, and GTA 5. I think there is a bottleneck when playing GTA 5, but for the other 3, it is fairly good.

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can you play games properly in windows and osx with internal monitor? cuz another monitor is too costly and retina screen is enough for me.

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8 hours ago, spacecraft5 said:

can you play games properly in windows and osx with internal monitor? cuz another monitor is too costly and retina screen is enough for me.

There is currently no pascal driver support for macOS. Under Windows 10, the games run fine on the retina display.

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thank you. but how can you use your egpu not dgpu? i saw many people still cannot use egpu in gaming even dgpu driver is disabled. one thing to mention, they just have other labtops like dell rather than macs

Edited by spacecraft5
reason

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12 hours ago, spacecraft5 said:

thank you. but how can you use your egpu not dgpu? i saw many people still cannot use egpu in gaming even dgpu driver is disabled. one thing to mention, they just have other labtops like dell rather than macs

Retina Macbook Pro 13" does not have a dGPU (Only has Intel Iris 6200). I didn't tweak any to disable my Iris graphics since nVidia has an optimus support. 

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2015 MBPr 13" with iris6100... I'm attempting this now with an EVGA 1070 FTW643dfedf47e12c8448339964dfac3f30.jpg

... Will post results tomorrow * fingers crossed

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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On 14. Juli 2016 at 4:09 PM, devild said:

It has the same height as zotac gtx 970 dual fan (that is fitted into Akitio box w/o cooling system cover), but radiator on gtx1060 is a bit higher than PCB and at first look it might be a little problem.

 

Well, in the meantime the card (Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 mini) has been released. I bought it and I can say, it fits! The only problem is the 6-PIN connector on top. I haven't tried to close the box yet, but I think, it should be possible.

Edited by orkus

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9 hours ago, orkus said:

 

Well, in the meantime the card (Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 mini) has been released. I bought it and I can say, it fits! The only problem is the 6-PIN connector on top. I haven't tried to close the box yet, but I think, it should be possible.

I wouldn't close the case if you don't have any ventilation. From what I know, I think you need to modify the case in order for the 6pin connector to fit without too much bending.

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I got the Evga 1070ftw to work on win 10 with my 2015 MBPr 13", after a couple unsuccessful boots after installing drivers it decided to work. Played bf4 at retina resolution on ultra with 8xaa at a decent 70-130 fps. Done for the night. Hopefully it will boot again tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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20 hours ago, mrburns05 said:

I got the Evga 1070ftw to work on win 10 with my 2015 MBPr 13", after a couple unsuccessful boots after installing drivers it decided to work. Played bf4 at retina resolution on ultra with 8xaa at a decent 70-130 fps. Done for the night. Hopefully it will boot again tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I am noticing a lower success rate in my booting method... I will look into this tomorrow and see if i can increase this

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I got the Evga 1070ftw to work on win 10 with my 2015 MBPr 13", after a couple unsuccessful boots after installing drivers it decided to work. Played bf4 at retina resolution on ultra with 8xaa at a decent 70-130 fps. Done for the night. Hopefully it will boot again tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I am noticing a lower success rate in my booting method... I will look into this tomorrow and see if i can increase this

Lol. I haven't gotten it to boot a second time... Keep getting endless spinning dots at boot.

After enough fiddling I'm sure it will boot again but being this much trouble- I think I'll just build a desktop computer to put the card in once Kaby lake CPUs get released

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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2 hrs of rebooting with and without egpu and disabling NVStrSrvc and some boot logging and I finally got it to boot again... Needless to say I'm leaving the laptop on all weekend

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edit* it finally booted after plugging in the egpu right as the boot selection menu appeared, counted to 3 in my head and selected Windows

There has to be a way to make this more reliable for this model MBPr .. Where is a computer God when you need one? Somebody please provide us with some hope

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Still waiting for the first working boot. I have never observed a single frame leave my 1060. is it my deep hate for Windows, that I always have to suffer?



If you find any hope, please share it with me...

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11 hours ago, mrburns05 said:

 

2 hrs of rebooting with and without egpu and disabling NVStrSrvc and some boot logging and I finally got it to boot again... Needless to say I'm leaving the laptop on all weekend

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edit* it finally booted after plugging in the egpu right as the boot selection menu appeared, counted to 3 in my head and selected Windows

There has to be a way to make this more reliable for this model MBPr .. Where is a computer God when you need one? Somebody please provide us with some hope

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I've added an alternative in the guide, have that a try for the next time you boot up. 

7 hours ago, orkus said:

Still waiting for the first working boot. I have never observed a single frame leave my 1060. is it my deep hate for Windows, that I always have to suffer?

 


If you find any hope, please share it with me...

 

What problem are you facing? Is this happening right after your installation restart?

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On 7/28/2016 at 4:58 AM, orkus said:

 

Well, in the meantime the card (Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 mini) has been released. I bought it and I can say, it fits! The only problem is the 6-PIN connector on top. I haven't tried to close the box yet, but I think, it should be possible.

I bought that same card! Mine won't be in until Tuesday. In the meantime, I got my Akitio Thunder case in early, so I was testing out an old 740, but I haven't gotten it to work yet. Attempting to boot with it on results in no boot from all of my TB devices. I tried a 2014 15" MBP, 2015 iMac 27", XPS 13 9350, and a 13" 2011 MBP without any luck. Also tried to turn on after boot, but that just locks up the EFI. The card is acting weird as well. If the fans don't spin up to a medium speed, it won't get detected. Once it gets into the state where the fans only spin to low, I have to unplug it from the board and wait. The best I've gotten so far is the GPU to show up when hotplugged. No luck on boot. Hopefully my 1060 does better!

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I would like to add.. I have gotten it to boot yet a third time... I plug in the 1070 (akitio tb2) just as the boot selection screen appears... I'd like to point out that when you plug in the card, the fans twitch, then about 4 seconds later they spin up.. So I timed it this way

1. Have eGPU turned on

2. Plug it in the moment you see the boot menu appearing (a second or two after you notice the display power on

3. Count to 3 (1 second before the fans spin up on the card) and plug in the card - at this exact moment you'll need to hit enter on the Windows entry to boot.

This has worked for me 3 times now.

Side note- I went to services and disabled Nvidia's streaming services, there are two entries in there I believe one was Called "NvStrSrvc" the other one is the entry right below it. Sorry I'm not home to check them ATM, just read what they are when you do this (if you do this) - not sure if it helped but when checking boot logs before, this service is where booting froze and went to endless spinning dots

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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