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

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I just got a new powered PCI-e riser with molex and it seems the power is going through the GPU when plugged into the Akitio PCIe.

When I plug in the TB cable to the Mac the blue light blinks and the GPU fans struggle to spin.

This has been happening for a while and I'm not too sure what I'm doing wrong. I installed windows 8.1 boot camp then did the paper clip trick to my PSU and everything else that's required for the Mac to read the eGPU but as of right now that's not happening for me.

I start up the eGPU and I then turn on the Mac and boots up to windows. I still can't get the Mac to read it. Not too sure what's going >.<

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I just got a new powered PCI-e riser with molex and it seems the power is going through the GPU when plugged into the Akitio PCIe.

When I plug in the TB cable to the Mac the blue light blinks and the GPU fans struggle to spin.

This has been happening for a while and I'm not too sure what I'm doing wrong. I installed windows 8.1 boot camp then did the paper clip trick to my PSU and everything else that's required for the Mac to read the eGPU but as of right now that's not happening for me.

I start up the eGPU and I then turn on the Mac and boots up to windows. I still can't get the Mac to read it. Not too sure what's going >.<

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Blinking blue light is a very bad sign, in other words you have destroyed the TB card and it's useless as back powered. The other power direction still might work, but I would contact AKiTiO if they can arrange a replacement.

Making a molex-to-barrel adapter involves high risks. People who use risers and barrel adapters should first learn the concepts of polarity and continuity, always use a multimeter to test whether the riser is back powered or not, make initial continuity tests when the setup is not powered (adapter has separated +12V and GND wires and thick enough), then with a computer fan & "paper clip" powered ATX PSU to confirm the correct voltage and polarity of the barrel plug. After done, you are ready to switch on the eGPU from a power strip.

It's greater propability to get the GPU recognised when not using a powered riser at all. AKiTiO's 60W power adapter might be ok for driver installing, but not much more.

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Blinking blue light is a very bad sign, in other words you have destroyed the TB card and it's useless as back powered. The other power direction still might work, but I would contact AKiTiO if they can arrange a replacement.

Making a molex-to-barrel adapter involves high risks. People who use risers and barrel adapters should first learn the concepts of polarity and continuity, always use a multimeter to test whether the riser is back powered or not, make initial continuity tests when the setup is not powered (adapter has separated +12V and GND wires and thick enough), then with a computer fan & "paper clip" powered ATX PSU to confirm the correct voltage and polarity of the barrel plug. After done, you are ready to switch on the eGPU from a power strip.

It's greater propability to get the GPU recognised when not using a powered riser at all. AKiTiO's 60W power adapter might be ok for driver installing, but not much more.

Thanks for the fast reply

When I first plugged in the Akitio with my first molex riser (only had the yellow wire not the black GRND wire) the blue light started blinking and this was way before with the molex-to-barrel mod.

But when I plug in the GPU directly onto the Akitio board the blue light stays on constantly with no flashing.

I'll try to contact Akitio but they probably won't replace it since I'm tampering with the board so I'm not too sure with it.

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Here is the final mod done. Plugged the akitio PSU and it did not blow up.

Haven't tried to put the graphic card yet.

Here are some pictures, please comment because I had a really hard time removing solder for the 4pin connector. I hope it will be fine.

Did continuity test and looked fine. I have put a lot of glue gun over the scratched back after photos. Wish I had a spare graphic card to try first...

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I did exactly like yours and my LED working, GPU fan blowing but can't be detected in DIY eGPU Setup. I then desolder it and use the same raiser with molex everything run fine again.

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Mine was detected in mac osx peripherals. Haven't plugged the GPU yet. I need to disassemble my pc first...

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@Oscar J informed me that he got the his second Gigabyte 7970 OC working perfectly stable without a powered riser + 650M equipped MBP on OS X. The first Gigabyte 7970 was identical but crashed after 5 minutes with the Indigo renderer. I suspect the reason could be different firmware or BIOS chip. I’ve been tracking down the reason for both the black screen and booting issues of the different architecture GPUs, and I bet that the common factor is EFI version:

Just to clarify: my MPB is equipped with the AMD 6750M graphics, and not Nvidia GT 650M. Not sure if it matters though. Also it might be too early to say it's perfectly stable, since I haven't been benchmarking it much yet. Will try to run some more test this weekend. Still waiting for Indigo 4 in order to really utilise the raw OpenCL power the card possesses - will be interesting. Furthermore, the Indigo developers are working on a benchmarking application (probably similar to Luxmark), which will allow easy comparing between different CPU's and GPU's in Windows, Mac and Linux.

About the OpenCL performance: AMD have a history of being stronger in that departement, though apparently extra cache memory in the Maxwell cards give them impressive performance - including midrange cards like the 750 Ti. Read more here: Indigo Renderer Forum • View topic - Really pure GPU rendering due to slow CPU

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I think you need to put the GPU in to test whether it's working or not.

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Hey, guys!

I have some problems right now.

I update OS X to 10.10.3, my macbook 2013 Late with 750m had recognize the eGPU Zotac 970, but cannot recognize the output monitor via HDMI. And the output monitor worked well with 750m. Anyone knows how to fix it?

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Finally worked after reset smc :Banane47:

@328115208, can you confirm that your 750m rMBP is consistently recognizing and outputting to a monitor attached to your 970? Many, like myself, have had issues with 750m macbook pro's not consistently recognizing Maxwell GPU's such as the 970. I for example usually have to power cycle my laptop several times before it recognizes the eGPU properly.

If a simple SMC reset solves this issue, that's big.

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@328115208, can you confirm that your 750m rMBP is consistently recognizing and outputting to a monitor attached to your 970? Many, like myself, have had issues with 750m macbook pro's not consistently recognizing Maxwell GPU's such as the 970. I for example usually have to power cycle my laptop several times before it recognizes the eGPU properly.

If a simple SMC reset solves this issue, that's big.

My laptop is 2013 late rMBP with 750m, it can recognize Zotac 970 and output to a monitor every time, and both OS X 10.10.3 and Win 8.1 works great. What I'm trying to do next is to purchase the Dell P2715Q 4k monitor.

Does anyone have tried a 4k monitor :beguiled: with eGPU?

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@328115208, thanks. @MVC @goalque, can others test whether the SMC reset fixes the Maxwell/750m issues? It seems, initially, to have worked for me but I need to test more to confirm.

Incidentally, @328115208, I'm running a 4K display on my 970. Works like a charm, athough I'd suggest adjusting the scaling options up one notch because the OS X UI elements are a little too large for my tastes by default on a 4K display. See attached.

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Hey,

So by putting my akitio back together after the mod in the hope of giving Egpu another try I noticed that my Molex to Barrell adaptor actually almost melted from my previous attempt (before the mod)

Funny enough only the "Domino joint" melted on the yellow side only.. Im really confused on why since nothing else did melt; cables and molex plug are fine. Some heavy current draw somehow ? bad idea to use this kind of jointer ?

I need to remake mine so any comments would be very much welcome.

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Wow... good you saw that early enough. Maybe better use 2wires for yellow and 2wires for black on that joint with 4 rows each side.

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You're not the only one. Two days ago I noticed that the yellow-side part of my molex connector from my powered riser got molten as well... The plastic tubing around the cable was still intact though. Weirdly though, I noticed a burning scent a few weeks ago, but hadn't had any problems with powering or stability. So I thought that the smell came from somewhere else. Only when I noticed two days ago that the molex got burned, I took it apart for a checkup to see whether nothing else was damaged, it refused to power up afterwards...

So, while waiting for a new riser, I made a new molex-to-barrel, this time with a little more attention to detail, thicker wires and a better soldering job. So I hope this will do the trick in keeping my eGPU going for a while.

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Thanks junior. I think I'm going to solder the adaptor directly on the PCB.

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INFO: The AKITiO 25W slot specification demystified

 

An AKiTiO engineer has answered this, quoted below with reference to the 75W bypass mod.

 

AKiTiO Engineer said:
We implemented the x16 PCIe slot although we only use x4 lanes signal that Thunderbolt can support. By spec the x16 PCIe slot is capable of 75W power while the x4 is spec’ed at 25W.. That means, if the user uses a power supply that is big enough, there is no problem that our design can support x16 PCIe card that requires 75W power. I do not know why this post described that many complicated HW reworks. The fact is, no rework is needed. That is the reason why OWC’s PCIe Box has the identical PCBAs as ours but they shipped with the 120W power supply.

By the requirement of Intel/Apple, we need to reserve 30W power for the Thunderbolt circuits because it may need to provide power to the bus-powered downstream devices. That’s why we use 60W power supply but we only leave 25W for the PCIe card. For the eGPU application, users do not connect anything else to the Thunderbolt daisy-chain. In such case 10W for the Thunderbolt circuits should be enough and there is 50W to the PCIe card. In order to support 75W power to the PCIe card, users can simply upgrade the power to 90W or larger.

 

What can we take from this? Firstly, we require an upgraded PSU since the supplied 60W one is insufficient. Consider a US$17.50-shipped 120W AC adapter or ATX PSU (with http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html )to provide power to the the DC jack. Either of these will methods will provide power the slot + TB circuitry with the ATX PSU preferred if your video card has additional 6P-75W or 8P-150W PCIe power connectors. An ATX PSU can supply.

 

See http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/9951-low-profile-pcie-connectors-discussion.html for low profile 90-degree PCIe power extenders if you are trying to fit the AKITiO case over your card with PCIe power connectors attached.

 

Video card too long to fit the AKiTiO chassis?

 

For video cards that do not fit the chassis, the user can opt to open the chassis (preferred) or run the internal boards outside the chassis (2nd preference). A user can choose to use a PCIe riser to extend outside the chassis however the additional connectors introduce signal degradation and so is not recommended for reliable operation.

Furthermore, a correction to an earlier post where I stated that the 22AWG yellow/black cable between the TB board and the x4 slot board would be of insufficient gauge to safely pass 75W slot power. This is incorrect. 22AWG can carry 7A (according to http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm">this) as open-air chassis wiring noting goalque's point about shielding it if your video card is very hot below:

 

goalque said:
Exactly what my power consumption numbers indicated, x4 is spec’ed at 25W but can easily pass 75W, and the TB card draws 10W. This doesn’t rule out the fact that the yellow/black cable bent on the back of the GPU will melt if you use a reference GTX 980 which has target temperature at 80C.

The engineer didn’t say anything about x16 PCIe cards consuming more than 75W or PCIe auxiliary power connectors. In any case, I suppose that for a high-end GPU the only mods we need are ATX PSU, some shield between the cable and the GPU, and a molex-to-barrel adapter. No need for a powered riser or 75W bypass mod.

 


 

220W Dell DA-2 AC adapter powering a AKiTiO Thunder2

 

In case anybody missed it, I've posted http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/9426-220w-dell-da-2-ac-adapter-discussion.html#post127735">INFO: Using a BPlus SWEX to create a Dell DA-2 to 6P+8P PCIe + DC barrel adapter. There I'm powering a MSI GTX970 in a AKiTiO Thunder2 using a cost effective, quiet and portable 220W Dell DA-2 AC adapter.

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What can we take from this? Firstly, we require an upgraded PSU that can supply more than 90W to the DC jack to power the slot + TB circuitry. For video cards that do not fit the chassis, the user can opt to open the chassis (preferred) or run the internal boards outside the chassis (2nd preference). A user can choose to use a PCIe riser to extend outside the chassis however each connector can introduce signal degradation and so is not recommended for reliable operation.

Furthermore, a correction to an earlier post where I stated that the 22AWG yellow/black cable between the TB board and the x4 slot board would be of insufficient gauge to safely pass 75W slot power. This is incorrect. 22AWG can carry 7A (according to this) as open-air chassis wiring.

Exactly what my power consumption numbers indicated, x4 is spec’ed at 25W but can easily pass 75W, and the TB card draws 10W. This doesn’t rule out the fact that the yellow/black cable bent on the back of the GPU will melt if you use a reference GTX 980 which has target temperature at 80C.

The engineer didn’t say anything about x16 PCIe cards consuming more than 75W or PCIe auxiliary power connectors. In any case, I suppose that for a high-end GPU the only mods we need are ATX PSU, some shield between the cable and the GPU, and a molex-to-barrel adapter. No need for a powered riser or 75W bypass mod. The stability issue with some non-Maxwell GPUs remains a mystery.

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Exactly what my power consumption numbers indicated, x4 is spec’ed at 25W but can easily pass 75W, and the TB card draws 10W. This doesn’t rule out the fact that the yellow/black cable bent on the back of the GPU will melt if you use a reference GTX 980 which has target temperature at 80C.

The engineer didn’t say anything about x16 PCIe cards consuming more than 75W or PCIe auxiliary power connectors. In any case, I suppose that for a high-end GPU the only mods we need are ATX PSU, some shield between the cable and the GPU, and a molex-to-barrel adapter. No need for a powered riser or 75W bypass mod. The stability issue with some non-Maxwell GPUs remains a mystery.

I've previously been advise that 120W is the maximum power that can be supplied via the DC jack here. So if added the J6 connector to split that to provide PCIe power, allowing 10W for the TB circuit then you could power a card up to 110W.

Of course, if your card has PCIe power connectors which it should if it draws > 75W and your PSU has PCIe connectors then you can simply provide 75W+10W slot/TB circuit power via the DC jack and then connect your PCIe power connectors.

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I would like to add to this as well:

I also bought a Thunder2 in anticipation of the Titan X I just preordered. I tested it with my 780 Ti using a powered (not back-powered) riser and a barrel plug, and using the taping technique on the riser I experience no crashes when running Unigine Valley for 6-7 hours. This is the same GPU that would crash after an hour when using with a Sonnet SEL with the same type of riser and a barrel plug.

My laptop is the 15 inch MacBook Pro (Retina, late 2013) with the 750M dGPU.

When my Titan (eventually) arrives, I will test it on my Sonnet III-D first (which is most likely to fail anyway), then test it with the Akitio with a direct PSU-to-barrel plug, and if it crashes, make the modifications everyone has been making. I would prefer to not have to do some soldering!

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Hello i've been reading for the past few days but I am so lost i've had to make an account.

I have a mid 2014 top end rMBP with the 750m, but i've just ordered a late 2012 mac mini (wanted the quad and upgradeabillity). Im looking into the eGPU for the mac mini, I understand that my mini has thunderbolt 1 where as my macbook is thunderbolt 2.

So far from what I've managed to understand is that I would need to buy the Akitio case but from what i've read above, would i not need to mess around soldering anything? I was looking at this GPU Asus GTX 970 mini.. although i'll probably end up going for a cheaper one.

Because thats smaller I wouldn't need the powered riser? Or is the revelation above that you don't need a powered riser at all? Also how do you get power to the graphics card?

Basically I just need a step by step dummies edition of the whole process. Im not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn some new skills, but the only thing that is putting me off is doing it wrong and blowing an expensive graphics card...

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Because thats smaller I wouldn't need the powered riser? Or is the revelation above that you don't need a powered riser at all? Also how do you get power to the graphics card?

Basically I just need a step by step dummies edition of the whole process. Im not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn some new skills, but the only thing that is putting me off is doing it wrong and blowing an expensive graphics card...

All you need is:

* AKiTiO Thunder2

* ATX PSU

* http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html to provide power to the AKiTiO + slot (75W + 10W) from ATX PSU via the AKiTiO DC jack

* PCIe power leads from your ATX PSU to power the video card 6P (75W) or 8P (150W) leads

If the card is wider than AKITiO chassis, then open up the right side as explained at http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7205-us%24189-akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-16gbps-tb2-113.html#post128029 .

Recommend the EVGA SSC/FTW+ or MSI 4G Gaming GTX970 cards for best performance while still a reasonable size. Both are 10.5" long requiring the chassis to be opened up this way. The EVGA being short enough to still allow the AKITiO top cover to cover over most of the card for say transport reasons.

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