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US$189 AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box (16Gbps-TB2)

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Well some plastics can have electrostatic charges, but should be fine in general.

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The graphics card is delivered, however I have to wait until 3 o'clock to test it, I'll post results then.

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INFO: Opening up the AKiTiO Thunder2 chassis to fit unlimited length cards

Given the AKiTiO can deliver 75W power to it's PCIe slot with an uprated PSU as discussed, I wasn't going to use a powered PCIe riser for power. Nor was I going to use a PCIe riser to extend the x16 slot outside of the chassis limitations. A PCIe riser introduces Gen2 PCIe signal degradation. Instead, I elected to open the chassis to accomodate unlimited length cards.

One unmentioned hindrance to the process is the bottom ride side of the chassis has two welded points against the base. The examples of opening the chassis using vise grips giving a lumpy looking result. 

@eeevan has so far found the easiest solution giving the cleanest result in breaking those welds using jeweller's screwdrivers and a hammer. Info posted *after* I fumbled my way through finally dislodging by pinning the chassis down with a large concrete paver and twisting to force break the welds. Did the job however there is again the lumpy result across the weld points from them holding tight till the end. My results are in the spoiler. Had I known about those two challenging welded spots and eeevan's method from the get to get his smooth result. 

I had the option of having the AKiTiO fan on. The hum was a bit annoying at idle seeing the GTX970 fans were off. Doesn't really help with the cooling so I just disabled it but left it as it act as a perfect spacer between the AKiTiO chassis and the GTX970. It also covers the fan hole nicely smile.png


10.59" long MSI GTX970 in AKiTiO Thunder2 opened by pinning the card down with a concrete paver and rotating around the edge

Spoiler



eeevan's method to open the AKiTiO right side by breaking the two welds using a jeweller's screwdriver set + hammer 
 

Quote

Hi,

I built an external gpu combo this afternoon and encountered the same issue with the welded points. I have a slightly different solution that required far less effort; 

I went to the dollar store and bought a set of cheap jewelers screwdriver then used a hammer and the flathead tool to pry it open and break open the welded spots. Start with the smallest flathead to get some leverage then use the bigger one to crack it open 

It'll take a few minutes but it's not hard. Here was the end result of my build, I used lots of 3M double-sided foam tape 
Thx for all the great posts, Nando- I would have posted a guide, but I finished before your request.
 

post-33851-14494999689282_thumb.jpg

post-33851-14494999688926_thumb.jpg

 

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Hi,

I built an external gpu combo this afternoon and encountered the same issue with the welded points. I have a slightly different solution that required far less effort;

I went to the dollar store and bought a set of cheap jewelers screwdriver then used a hammer and the flathead tool to pry it open and break open the welded spots. Start with the smallest flathead to get some leverage then use the bigger one to crack it open :)

It'll take a few minutes but it's not hard. Here was the end result of my build, I used lots of 3M double-sided foam tape :)

Thx for all the great posts, Nando- I would have posted a guide, but I finished before your request.

post-33851-14494999689282_thumb.jpg

post-33851-14494999688926_thumb.jpg

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Wow, that look really cool. The only drawback is that yellow-black cable will get melt.

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Wow, that look really cool. The only drawback is that yellow-black cable will get melt.

Fantastic job. Love it. Now wanting to backtrack and apply eeevan's which is now the 'best practice' in the previous post, linked from the opening page.

Definitely. The yellow/black cable is too low gauge to safely pass 75W slot power. The fix is apply the mod at INFO: passing 75W slot power without a PCIe power. That is, solder two yellow cables 18AWG cables on the reverse of the J6 location and apply cellophane to first 6 pins of the x4 board.

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The only drawback is that yellow-black cable will get melt.

Sorry, which cable will melt?

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Sorry, I meant Nando's photo (though I still didn't notice that he already bypass the cable too). But yours are so cool too

My bad. T_T

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Ok so I read the guide on how to modify the Akitio to pass 75w clean to the pci-e port.

http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7205-us%24189-akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-16gbps-tb2-98.html#post122901

Today I soldered and from what I can tell I did an alright job but after doing some continuity tests I have some bizarre things happening. I attached photos and a diagram showing where I found continuity. Continuity are the purple lines.

Still I plugged the board with the akitio PSU and nothing blew out so I am confused. Can someone help? I am reluctant to put my GTX 970 in there right now.

Nextstep is to put the capacitors tomorrow.

post-31956-14494999694647_thumb.jpg

post-31956-1449499969305_thumb.jpg

post-31956-1449499969359_thumb.jpg

post-31956-14494999694123_thumb.jpg

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Precise work! The J6 +12V spot needs some electrical tape, so that it won’t accidentally connect to the J6 GND spot which is very nearby on the right side. All those x16 slot rear side +12V spots are connected as shown with red circles, the yellow is not connected and blacks are ground.

post-28870-14494999695159_thumb.jpg

The three +12V corner spots is the easiest area, that's my latest mod with a single thick cable.

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I ran separate power to those same pins and neither saw an increase or decrease in stability using NVIDIA cards.

Last night I played Far Cry 4 for 2 hours straight at 4K 60hz using Akitio power on the plug and a separate PSU for Titan X. Was rock solid, I ran a full 3D Mark, no issues.

The Titan-X got hot but the Mini stayed cool.

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@MVC Well, I already bought a PC because my previous attempts were unsuccessful but the akitio is sitting there,I can't sell it and I have nothing to loose (apart from frying my 970) so will give it a try. Also I hate having a desktop PC haha

@goalque Thanks for the infos. So if all the red are connected then my continuity tests are good. Still don't understand why both wires are connected but still it did not blow up with the PSU connected (no graphic card yet) I guess thats ok.. ?

Will try to get the capacitors on the board tomorrow.

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@w4vz: If you had an unstable card, this would be very worthwhile testing to see if it makes any difference with those additional capacitors, but GTX 970 is reported to be very stable, so no need to void your warranty.

And so is Titan X, stays clearly under 75W limit value (measured with oscilloscope):

“Last, but not least, Nvidia should be commended for limiting GeForce Titan X to 75W from the motherboard slot. Higher spikes, which we've seen from more mainstream graphics cards, don't show up at all. The dynamic load distribution across the rails works flawlessly.”

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X Power Consumption Results

As a cautionary example, “Asus GTX 960 Strix leaves the motherboard connector to deal with unprecedented unfiltered power spikes all on its own”:

Power Consumption Details - Nvidia GeForce GTX 960: Maxwell In The Middle

Therefore, if someone wants to use a GPU directly mounted on the x16 slot, bypassing 75W is indeed recommended to make AKiTiO more compatible and safe to use regardless of the GPU model or manufacturer. Buzzing AKiTiO board and PSU is likely result sooner or later if you use AKiTiO’s 60W PSU. A molex-to-barrel adapter with the ATX PSU alone is the way to go.

One additional benefit: you can completely detach the 4-pin yellow/black cable that may melt at higher temperatures. TB card will be back powered.

EDIT: and please be very careful with the capacitors if you still want to do that - it does matter which way (+/-) you put them there and confirm with the multimeter from the both sides that there isn't continuity (only a short beep sound).

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@goalque

yes I had big instability troubles. as I left it I thought that it is because of Mac OS X. Seems more stable with windows but I don't want to bootcamp.

You say I can disconnect the 4 pin to get the thunderbolt card back powered ? I did not see that in the guide. As you can see in the photo I taped the thunderbolt card connections so if I remove the cable where does it get power ?

post-31956-14494999698398_thumb.jpg

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For this build, I've been following goalque's and Dschijn's implementation guide.

Parts listed here:

-Late 2013 rMBP 13" model

-EVGA 500B PSU

-Akitio Thunder2 PCIE Box

-Powered 16x Riser

-EVGA GTX 970 SC

-720p HDTV (using as an external monitor)

I'm having a problem of starting up the GPU and the Akitio.

I plugged everything in and I did the "paper clip trick" to the PSU and that is working fine.

I'm not too sure if it's the riser that's causing the problem or not.

When I directly plug in the GPU into the Akitio 16x slot, green and blue light pops up while using Akitio's own PSU (I know it's bad to have 2 PSU's connected to the Akitio)

But when I connect the powered 16x riser to the Akitio with the GPU and the PSU, nothing turns on (I'm not using Akitio's own PSU)

I then took off the GPU from the riser and I connected the molex from the EVGA PSU onto the powered riser molex and no lights pop up.

post-33911-14494999697381_thumb.jpg

I think it may be from the powered riser due there only being one yellow wire, but I'm not too sure.

I also read on a forum that there's no need for a powered riser but I can't remember where I read it from.

Hopefully I get this situated.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I followed all the steps on goalques implementation guide and I'm updated with Windows 8.1 and Bootcamp drivers. Sorry about that!

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@goalque

yes I had big instability troubles. as I left it I thought that it is because of Mac OS X. Seems more stable with windows but I don't want to bootcamp.

You say I can disconnect the 4 pin to get the thunderbolt card back powered ? I did not see that in the guide. As you can see in the photo I taped the thunderbolt card connections so if I remove the cable where does it get power ?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]14460[/ATTACH]

Well, that explains it, but I think that as you have a Maxwell card, there shouldn't be stability problems with the AKiTiO. How the instability appears on OS X and what's your Mac? Do you have a molex-to-barrel adapter?

The right method is through the 4-pin cable as Nando said with the taping trick, but just wanted to say that it's possible also without taping anything, trusting to the back power (TB card eats under 10W). That's my current method and stable with Nvidia (as before), but unfortunately it didn't help with the Asus R9 series cards.

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Well, that explains it, but I think that as you have a Maxwell card, there shouldn't be stability problems with the AKiTiO. How the instability appears on OS X and what's your Mac? Do you have a molex-to-barrel adapter?

Thanks for the support. If you want to read my previous failed experiment it is all here. I hope you find it interesting: http://forum.techinferno.com/provisional-guides/8876-2012-15-macbook-pro-gtx970%4010gbps-tb1-akitio-thunder2-osx10-10-%5Bw4vz%5D.html#post122711

Edit: Actually you I realised you already commented on it at the time so you must be familiar with it :)

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I think it may be from the powered riser due there only being one yellow wire, but I'm not too sure.

I also read on a forum that there's no need for a powered riser but I can't remember where I read it from.

Your powered riser is not "back powered", I can see that from the picture. Use a molex-to-barrel adapter with this kind of riser, or get a new powered riser which has two yellow +12V and two black GND wires, and no looped yellow wire.

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for the support. If you want to read my previous failed experiment it is all here. I hope you find it interesting: http://forum.techinferno.com/provisional-guides/8876-2012-15-macbook-pro-gtx970%4010gbps-tb1-akitio-thunder2-osx10-10-%5Bw4vz%5D.html#post122711

Edit: Actually you I realised you already commented on it at the time so you must be familiar with it :)

Yep, I already forgot that :D I guess the dGPU is the culprit.

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Humm if the dgpu is the issue then this mod is not going to help :(

I guess ill try anyway

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I ran separate power to those same pins and neither saw an increase or decrease in stability using NVIDIA cards.

Last night I played Far Cry 4 for 2 hours straight at 4K 60hz using Akitio power on the plug and a separate PSU for Titan X. Was rock solid, I ran a full 3D Mark, no issues.

The Titan-X got hot but the Mini stayed cool.

That may very well be the case. Just be aware that the yellow/black cable supplied with the AKiTiO is using 22AWG cable. This is fine for the specced 25W slot power + 2x10W TB power (45W total). When you are carrying 75W + up to 2x10W TB power, it's being overdriven. The danger is the yellow insulator may melt. The aforementioned mod corrects this by using 18AWG cable. In addition, by isolating the first 6 pins on the x4 board it also ensures that power is passed directly to the PCIe slot rather than via the TB board that's been engineered to provide 25W slot power.

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Well, I just fried part of Akitio's board by using the molex-to-barrel adapter(I know it was fault and responsibility for frying it).

The first time I plugged it in it was fine and everything. Green and blue lights came on.

Second time I plugged it in I hear a sound of flickering and see a small fire come out of the small spot (in the red square/rectangle)

post-33911-14494999734685_thumb.jpg

I unplugged the riser, gpu, and thunderbolt cable to test if it still works.

So far the green and blue lights still pop up but other than that I don't know.

Really frustrated with this build, got the wrong riser and burnt my Akitio board:mad:

Not sure if Akitio will replace part of the board or not but I will email them soon about the problem.

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PurpDank, sorry to hear of these troubles.

Would be helpful if you knew what exactly you did wrong so we can avoid burning up more of these.

Was something plugged in incorrectly? PCB resting on metal?

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Well, when I saw the flicker, the molex from the PCI-e riser was resting on that little spot, but the plastic was only touching it. But I'm pretty sure that's what caused the small fire.

I just put up everything so I don't burn anything else lol. But I plan on buying another riser like goalque said.

But I do know that green and blue light still pop up. Just hoping that it still works.

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