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

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Hi all - been following the forums for a while - have gone ahead and ordered the Akitio to go with my Mid 2014 15" rMBP!

While it ships, I've been looking in to getting a suitable 5.5/2.5mm barrel connector to hook up to a Molex connector from my ATX PSU - but I have a concern that Google hasn't yet alleviated - the connectors that I can find don't seem to be rated to take the Amps that will be passed through them if a Gfx card is taking 75W at the slot.

I might be doing the maths wrong - but at 12v, to get ~85watts (75+10), that will be 7+ amps?

Most of the 5.5/2.5 connectors seem to be for lower power devices.

The power supply that comes with the Akitio is good for 5Amps, so assume the barrel connector on it is too - but what about 7? Or have I entirely lost the plot?

I'm totally open to being called out as an idiot on this.

Has anyone got any recommendations for a suitable barrel and molex connector? I'm in the UK which seems to make things like this even harder to find.

Thank you!

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Hi all - been following the forums for a while - have gone ahead and ordered the Akitio to go with my Mid 2014 15" rMBP!

While it ships, I've been looking in to getting a suitable 5.5/2.5mm barrel connector to hook up to a Molex connector from my ATX PSU - but I have a concern that Google hasn't yet alleviated - the connectors that I can find don't seem to be rated to take the Amps that will be passed through them if a Gfx card is taking 75W at the slot.

I might be doing the maths wrong - but at 12v, to get ~85watts (75+10), that will be 7+ amps?

Most of the 5.5/2.5 connectors seem to be for lower power devices.

The power supply that comes with the Akitio is good for 5Amps, so assume the barrel connector on it is too - but what about 7? Or have I entirely lost the plot?

I'm totally open to being called out as an idiot on this.

Has anyone got any recommendations for a suitable barrel and molex connector? I'm in the UK which seems to make things like this even harder to find.

Thank you!

See http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html#post113069

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Can anyone recommended good Thunderbolt 2M cable? Looks like my from Apple dead within a couple days without any reason.. Blue light is on but mac didn't see AKiTiO. One side is working another side is not... Chip is dead.

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Can anyone recommended good Thunderbolt 2M cable? Looks like my from Apple dead within a couple days without any reason.. Blue light is on but mac didn't see. One side is working another side is not... Chip is dead.

Apple, DeLock or Lindy are the only ones I can find in germany. If you are in the US you could consider OWC: OWC 2.0 Meter Thunderbolt Cable - Black in stock at OWC

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Which is the best in term of quality? When I plugged my Apple Thunderbolt cable to Mac mini 2012 (Thunderbolt 1), after a minutes it heated up to 50-60 Celsius degree. Doesn't matter which side I connect, only the mac mini side got to hot. Original AKiTiO thunderbolt cable always stay cold, even under GPU stress test.

I can buy it from US then send it to Uzbekistan. Thanks for the recommendation, maybe someone tested OWC cable? Is it going to hot?

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It is normal to get hot, because there are active chips in the cable ends. Maybe the AKiTiO cable isn't getting hot, because it is so short and doesn't need extra power to transfer the signal.

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The AKITiO 25W slot specification demystified

This is great clarification.

I have been posting for last few weeks that I found the riser not only unnecessary, but in fact more likely than not to CREATE instability.

For some time I was running against the current of thoughts here but this would seem to be the final nail in the coffin of risers, powered or otherwise.

In mods such as current state of eGPU it is important to respect past results, but to also continue to evaluate them.

The "powered riser is a needed part" mantra got set in stone and was more than likely hindering development.

I would like to question one other (crucial) piece of past knowledge. The mods we do to OS X have remained constant for awhile now.

And I can state with great certainty that they work beautifully with my 2012 rMBP on TB1. But the same OS X mods give black screen and GPGPU only usage from nMP, 2014 Mini, and rMBP 2014 with no dGPU. These 3 machines all behave identically in OS X, they can see the eGPU, they can access it via GPGPU, but they can not connect to a display connected to it. I originally assumed that this was due to TB2, but there are some folks using other TB2 machines who have reported being able to get display output in OS X. I have a thread that is attempting to nail down the differences but another thought has occurred to me. I am able to get a single display connected to Kepler eGPUs when they connect during EFI boot phase.

What if there is some new piece of hardware in the affected machines that requires that an additional kext to get the PCI tunnel compatible mod done? I don't know the exact history of how mod was found and how it got narrowed down to the specific kexts. Is there a way we could determine if there are other kexts that need this mod for these newer machines?

Anyhow, wandered off topic, I am glad that the powered riser has been taken off the list.

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The AKITiO 25W slot specification demystified

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

What can we take from this? Firstly, we require an upgraded say 120W AC adapter 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.


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

In case anybody missed it, I've posted 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.

Hi nando, is your Akitio using the modification to supply 75W through the slot?

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Hi nando, is your Akitio using the modification to supply 75W through the slot?

Only modification to my AKiTiO is opening up the chassis to allow my 10.59" long MSI GTX970 Gaming 4G card to fit. The internal electronics are all as delivered from the factory apart from two mods to mute it. I disconnected the noisy fan and removed the LED that sits on the plate that was opened.

I'm powering the AKITiO using a 220W Dell DA-2 AC adapter with a modified SWEX providing a DC barrel plus and 6P+8P PCIe connectors as explained.

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Thanks! - I've been over that thread before - it took me a short time to realise you had updated with eBay links.

Is anyone able to share an opinion on the rating of those terminal/barrel connectors? Should they be up to the task for passing the ~85W @12v?

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Thanks! - I've been over that thread before - it took me a short time to realise you had updated with eBay links.

Is anyone able to share an opinion on the rating of those terminal/barrel connectors? Should they be up to the task for passing the ~85W @12v?

I'm using the green terminal barrel connector. Work great with my MSI GTX970 with PCIe slot draw power set to 75W (max) + ~10W for the TB board. See http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/9426-220w-dell-da-2-ac-adapter-discussion.html#post127735

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It's correct. Mine took almost a week for the respond. Anyway I found one seller from eBay that sell Akitio TB2+shipping (outside US) cheaper than Akitio sales team so I bought from that seller instead.

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Anyone interested in buying my Akitio setup? I have implemented the box into the Cooler Master 110 Elite case. Bought in February 2015.

- AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box (247 euro paid, bought on 12-02-2015 invoice included, original packaging included, bought from format.de)

- Cooler Master Elite 110 Case (40 euro paid, new, modded.)

- Seasonic M12II Evo 520W PSU (65 euro paid, invoice included, motherboard cable not included, original packaging included.)

- Revoltec 80MM Blue Led fan (15 euro paid)

Everything is complete. I have sold my Macbook, so I don't have any use for this.

See pictures:

Postimage.org / gallery - image1, image2, image3

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Akitio Thunder2 stocks dwindling?

Hi all. I've been lurking for a few weeks, reading **tonnes** - which I think has paid off because I if I had dived in too early I would have ended up with a Sonnet ECHOPRO-based solution for my Mac mini. It's been really interesting watching the developments, especially the very recent change of direction following helpful inside information from AKiTiO themselves.

There are lots of really helpful people on this forum but I'd particularly like to thank Tech Inferno Fan for being so active and answering others' questions so clearly and patiently.

So: I have my graphics card now and my GPU. While waiting for my AKiTiO I have also obtained a powered PCIe riser (which I now know I'm not going to use unless I really need to experiment down that path) and I've made a molex-barrel-plug cable (which I now know I'm not going to use because it'll be better to attach my barrel plug to the spare non-molex power line on my PSU which has two yellow leads and should share the load better, etc.).

The main thing I wanted to say is that I think I detect a bit of a supply issue with the AKiTiO Thunder2 units. As far as I can see there is only one reseller here in the UK - scan.co.uk. I originally ordered from them earlier in April but the AKiTiO Thunder2 was already on back-order - overdue since 31st of March. I'm not sure whether they're getting a trickle in from time to time and filling orders on a first-come, first-served basis or what, but after a couple of weeks of being thoroughly messed around by them (telling me they had one in stock, that they would send it out, then someone else saying that was a stock error, etc.) I never did get to the bottom of it and I cancelled the order in frustration. They still say they're out of stock. Next I tried a French reseller (Macway.com), and testing my GCSE French I managed to place an order just fine. But after a bit of a wait and making an enquiry with them, it transpired they, too, were waiting for stock from AKiTiO and didn't know when they would be arriving. So again I cancelled my order.

Finally, begrudgingly, I ordered from the only place that seemed to actually have some stock: a US company selling via eBay's Global Shipping Program:

Akitio 155191 Case T2pc-tia-aktu Thunder2 Pcie Box Without Pci Express Card | eBay

In case anyone is interested, the price is $229 / £161. After adding the shipping and handling / customs fees ($79 / £55) , the total I paid was $308 / £216

(The cost of my cancelled order from Scan.co.uk was £183... interestingly I see they are now quoting £199 even though they still don't have them in stock.)

So, OK - I still don't have my AKiTiO and I'm watching it crawl achingly slowly by UPS to the US-based Global Shipping centre but it turns out the cost of getting a unit here in England is going to be about £200 minimum no matter how you do it. And I'm really looking forward to putting it all together, after which I'll report back here and hope to produce a guide for others wanting a similar build.

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A breakdown of the publicly listed AKiTiO Thunder2 eGPU implementations

Of the 35 AKiTiO eGPU implementations listed with PSU, riser, ITX/size details http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt

  • 0% used the supplied 60W AC adapter to power their implementation exclusively
    <br>
  • 94% (33) were powered by an ATX or SFX PSU, 1 by a Dell DA-2 AC adapter and 1 by a HDPLEX PSU
    <br>
  • 14% (5) used ITX video cards that can fit in the chassis yet 2 implementations still used a PCIe riser rather than using a molex-to-barrel adapter to power them.
    <br>
  • 86% (30) implementations were with video cards longer than the chassis. A limit overcome either by:
    29% (10) either opened the chassis or removed the electronics (naked) from the chassis
    57% (20) used risers extending outside of the chassis which also supplied 75W slot power

Concern about the overuse of PCIe risers

The use of a riser with 2 new connectors introduces GEN2 signal degradation, something @MVC has been commenting on!

That high 57% use of risers is probably because it's only within the last month that we've been being advised that the AKiTiO DC jack and slot itself can handle 75W power here, extending upon the 25W in the public specification.

If you are using a riser to provide slot power and extend outside of the chassis limits then consider changing your implementation with the following to *IMPROVE* your eGPU stability and provide a more compact solution:

- create a molex-to-barrel adapter to provide the 75W slot power (+10W for TB board)

- open the AKiTiO chassis to accomodate your video card as discussed

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Should it be concerned that putting GPU straight to the Akitio might melt down the yellow/black cable?

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I’m considering an eGPU solution because my late 2012 iMac with GT 650M w/ 512MB VRAM is getting long in the tooth, graphically. I know my iMac only has Thunderbolt 1, which has less throughput than TB 2.

DISCLAIMER: I have never built a Mac or PC!

When I’ve sat down and thought about what I want to be able to do with an upgraded GPU it basically comes down to these:

1. 1080p

2. 60fps minimum in modern OSX games (I’m not considering Bootcamp at this point)

3. Hardware Accelerated PhysX if support for it ever comes to OS X

4. High or Ultra settings in games

5. Has to do the above with demanding new or upcoming games like Metro Redux (2033 and Last Light just being made available for Mac on Steam) AND Unreal Tournament – whenever it ships.

It appears that – from the hardware perspective, there are three main components (main referring to price) that would be needed:

1. A Thunderbolt GPU

2. A Thunderbolt Monitor

3. A Chassis to contain the parts and make it look somewhat like you intended for it to be there

In terms of parts I’ve read about it this thread, and other eGPU threads in MR, I’m considering the following:

1. EVGA GTX 960 2GB card $196.99 from Best Buy

2. Asus VE278Q 27” Thunderbolt monitor (2ms) $245.99 from Amazon

3. Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box $216.99 from Amazon

Given the parts outlined above, are any problems you can see that might make me steer in other directions? Alternate parts? Additional parts? I don’t know what I don’t know, so there are very likely vital parts I’m not considering because I’ve never done this kind of project before. (Just about the most “hacky” thing I’ve done on my Mac is to play around in Terminal when making a USB key for installing Mavericks)

The other part where I am completely clueless would be editing Kernel Extensions. I can kind of wrap my mind around why it needs to be done – ie so your Mac OS install thinks the external TB GPU is actually a PCIe GPU installed inside your Mac – but beyond that, I don’t know what I don’t know. Any tips on the software side given the hardware I’ve expressed interest in above??

Thank you all so much in advance!!

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There is no need for a Thunderbolt Monitor! Any Monitor with displayport is just fine and can be connected to the Mac and/or the eGPU directly.

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There is no need for a Thunderbolt Monitor! Any Monitor with displayport is just fine and can be connected to the Mac and/or the eGPU directly.

Thanks for that! It's helpful.

Any insight into the other major components I'm looking at?

What PSUs should I consider? Will it come with all necessary cabling? Again, consider I am a newb! :)

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It depends how your setup should look like… case? Bend open AKiTiO?

Because you want a powerful GPU you need a powerful PSU as well. So it should be a PC PSU. There are two different sizes larger&cheap=ATX or small&pricy=SFX-L.

Powerful cards are currently GTX970 or GTX980 from Nvidia and need 2x6-Pin PCIe or 1x6-Pin&1x8-Pin PCIe power connectors. Most PSUs starting from 450W+ should have that connectors that are needed.

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Thanks for that! It's helpful.

Any insight into the other major components I'm looking at?

What PSUs should I consider? Will it come with all necessary cabling? Again, consider I am a newb! :)

Please review the existing TB implementations reading the blurb about AKiTiO enclosures and PCIe risers at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt .

It is recommended you NOT get a Thunderbolt display. Instead get a LCD with HDMI or Displaypoint input that attaches directly to your video card. That way you will get maximum performance. A Thunderbolt display requires NVidia Optimus which your system may not engage if it doesn't have an iGPU and furthermore, it's slower since displaytraffic is sent back across the TB eGPU link for the iGPU to then display to it's attached LCD.

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It depends how your setup should look like… case? Bend open AKiTiO?

Because you want a powerful GPU you need a powerful PSU as well. So it should be a PC PSU. There are two different sizes larger&cheap=ATX or small&pricy=SFX-L.

Powerful cards are currently GTX970 or GTX980 from Nvidia and need 2x6-Pin PCIe or 1x6-Pin&1x8-Pin PCIe power connectors. Most PSUs starting from 450W+ should have that connectors that are needed.

I'm thinking I would prefer something that fits within the Akitio enclosure. I understand that will limit my 960 GPU options to half-length cards? Something like these, I've been told:

http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Overclocked-GDDR5-Graphics-GV-N960IXOC-2GD/dp/B00SD9KZ96/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429369289&sr=8-1&keywords=Gigabyte+GTX+960+Mini+ITX

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-GTX960-MOC-2GD5-ASUS-Graphics-Cards/dp/B00SX4WZGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429369053&sr=8-1&keywords=ASUS+GTX960-MOC-2GD5

When you say I need a PC PSU, do you mean any modular PC PSU 450W or more? Could I get away with something a little lower-powered, like this?

Thermaltake 430W TR2 ATX Power Supply Black W0070RUC - Best Buy

Will it come with all the cables I need?

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