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archagon

Late-2013 15" MBP GT750M + GTX1050Ti (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [hassle-free build]

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I admit this is a little different from what's usually posted here! Instead of optimizing for power, my goal was to make a build that's as "default" as possible: no third-party code, no custom drivers or Windows installations, no scripts, no case modding. The closer I could get to plug-and-play, the better. External monitor with BootCamp was fine.

 

(Prerequisites: I already had BootCamp with the latest Windows 10 installed.)

 

I figured a slot-powered card would let me get away with a lot, so I bought the most powerful one I could find: an EVGA GTX 1050 Ti. (Somebody mentioned in an article that EVGA cards handled boot timing issues a bit better. Dunno if true or not, but boot has not been an issue at all for me at all.) The card fit into my Thunder2 with room to spare.

 

After learning that I could just use a 12V/10A DC power adaptor instead of hacking up a PSU, I started scouring Amazon for one. This voltage/amperage combo wasn't particularly common: the vast majority of adaptors that matched this spec were model # CT-1250, whose looks and reviews did not inspire confidence. Eventually, I found a seller who was offering a model # CD120100A. This one looked a bit more professional and I knew that it was being used in at least one other closed-case eGPU build.

 

egpu.jpg

 

Boot turned out to be completely painless: plug in the TB2 cable, turn on the computer, and hold the Alt button for the boot menu. If the menu shows up (95% likely) everything will work fine. The only software thing I had to do was install the latest NVIDIA drivers and set my display settings to only use the external monitor (or to extend the desktop and use the external monitor as the main display).

 

Benchmarks indicate a 4x improvement over the 750M, exactly as expected when factoring in ~20% performance loss from the TB2 link. No heat or stability issues, even with the factory overclock. Played a bunch of Crysis 3 and Far Cry 4 over the past few days and it's been great! Not a bad upgrade for ~$400. (Or even as low as $300 if you wait for rebates, etc.)

 

You can find my full writeup on my blog. Not sure if this post is valuable to the community or not, but I couldn't find very many other users who were making low-maintenance builds like mine! :)

 

egpu2.jpg

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