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oripash

2013 11" MBA + GTX660Ti@10Gbps-TB1 (Sonnet EE Pro) + Win8 [oripash]

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Hey guys

Just moved my old Windows 8 EFI (from my old mac built using my good'ol howto: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/2494-%5Bguide%5D-2012-11-macbook-air-11-gtx-660ti%40x2-2-win8-efi-th05.html) ... to the new one.

After a lengthy dd command and 5 minutes on the phone with MS re-activating windows, re-downloading the appropriate driver package from apple via the boot camp assistant in OSX, I found out that:

1. The SSD gives 710MByte/sec write speed and 730MByte/sec read spead (using black magic disk speed test on OSX). Holy cr@p. That's screaming fast.

2. Apple's main windows driver installer (that installs all other driver installers) doesn't work on win8-64/efi/mba2013. Have to install the individual drivers all one-by-one.

3. Intel HD5000 works (woo!)

4. The Cirrus Logic sound card works (woo!)

5. The bluetooth controller doesn't work and the bluetooth driver in the driver pack doesn't recognise the MBA2013 bluetooth chip. Meh.

6. The keyboard brightness and audio functions work! Yay.

7. Processor subscore went from 7.2 to 7.1 (that's the 1.7GHz haswell taking the place of the 2.0GHz ivy bridge from last year). A bit slower. Pretty much everything else is faster. Primary hard disk got 8.2.

8. Neither 3DMark nor 3DMark11 agreed to run in 64-bit mode. Both ran in 32-bit mode.

9. 3DMark11 gave the 2013 1.7ghz i7 haswell a score of P5690. Contrast with the 2012 2.0ghz i7 ivy bridge that got P5802. This year's is a little bit slower.

10. 3DMark: post-7708-1449499568029_thumb.png

post-7708-1449499568029_thumb.png

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Good stuff mate.

Was this with the TH05 or your Sonnet Echo Express Pro? I really want to do an eGPU on my next laptop (TBD) and think that Thunderbolt is the way to go. Have you tried on your internal LCD too?

Cheers

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I use both.

In my home office, it's the sonnet for the ~12% higher performance.

On the go it's a cute little pack that has the GPU, two 12V/7A bricks and an ipod charger (5V rail) that supply power to the TH05 and auxillary input on the GPU. (And it all jacks into a hotel TV, assuming it's not crippled)

When you're running Windows 8 EFI, you don't have all that TH05 nonsense - so long as your power feeds are all live, it just works . (Ok. Almost. Sometimes when you boot windows with an egpu after you were booted without an egpu, you need to click the "eject" button in the system tray as you would a usb media, eject the thunderbolt (the GPU spins down), and reboot).

I haven't bothered trying to feed it back in. I don't see myself gaming on an 11'' display. I know that can be done if you have two thunderbolt ports - toms did this with a desktop mobo once (MBA only has one port so this method won't work for me), and it might be doable with nVidia's optimus, which I haven't tried to get to work.

Thunderbolt - and Windows in EFI mode - are DEFINITELY the way to go imho. I can drive the heaviest game engines in HDTV res on my 30'' with all bells and whistles turned on and totally decent, rock-solid frame rates. I don't care much for gaming an hyper-resolutions.

Once you got it working and worked through how to turn the beast on and off, it's a very powerful rig. More powerful than a pro gaming laptop, and on-par with a desktop PC (unless you want to drive stupid-crazy multi-big@ss-screen resolutions). Never mind the bragging rights that come with being able to outperform decent gaming rigs with an 11'' ultraportable. Apple's high-end option isn't matched by any other vendors (i7 option, 8GB RAM and now the totally rabid SSD speed on the 240 and 500GB models)... and obviously you need a laptop with that big thunderbolt I/O pipe... which I haven't seen in non-apple PC laptops (..only in some exotic desktop motherboards..).

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Thanks @oripash.

I think you can use Optimus compression to use the internal LCD but @Nando can confirm.

It seems that @MrHaPPyPiLLs is having trouble with the rMBP (http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/3909-rmbp-15-sonnet-echo-express-pro-%3D-no-joy.html) so maybe not 100% 'it just works' quite yet but it still looks like the best option. I am hoping that the new Lenovos might have a Thunderbolt port but not holding my breath. Intel certainly botched this Thunderbolt launch.

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From my playing with five different MacBook Pro/Air models, EFI install is a breeze on any single GPU system. e.g. 13" or below.

Early 2011 15" MacBook Pro will not take an EFI install of Windows at all.

Any dual GPU system will give you an IRQ NOT EQUAL blue screen error while installing.

Late 15" or 17" 2011 MacBook Pro's will take an EFI Windows install but you need to install on a PC and then transfer the Hard Disk into the MacBook. It might take several attempts to get it to work.

Mid 2012 15" MacBook Pro will take an EFI Windows install but will take lots of patience and repeated reboots.

Early 2013 15" Retina MacBook Pro will take an EFI Windows install but again takes lots of patience and reboots.

Summary: Unless you really really want the bigger laptop screen, stick with the 13" or below models.

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Yep, I saw the Geekbench uploads yesterday afternoon - excellent news in my opinion (although Im sure others will disagree). If this does come true and they retain the upgradability that is missing from the rMBPs, I will be ditching my early 2011 15" MBP for one of these...

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Let's hope the MacBook Pros will have only the Iris Pro (no discrete GPU) and Thunderbolt 2.0. Then it will be game on (literally).

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Can your Fedora install leverage thunderbolt and the eGPU? I'd like to install CUDA utils and also run a triple boot if that is possible. If not I'll just stick with a VM in fusion.

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