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

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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.

Thanks, Nando, for the advice. Seeing as how my late 2012 Ivybridge iMac isn't on the list, should I follow the recommendations that apply to the GT 650M-equipped rMBPs of the same model year?

So, HDMI to pass signal from the 960 to an HDMI-equipped monitor. From my iMac, what should I use to connect to the GPU? One of the 2 Thunderbolt 1 ports I've got? Then adapt it to either HDMI or Displayport to the 960?

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If you read the first page of this thread you will see multiple compatible cards, even GTX 970! You could consider modifying a 220W Dell DA-2 like here: http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/9426-220w-dell-da-2-ac-adapter-discussion.html

Additional PSUs have to be placed "naked" next to the AKiTiO or can be put into a case like in my Guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/8571-%5Bguide%5D-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-a.html

A list of cases can be found here: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/8675-egpu-cases.html

The PSU you linked is weak and only has 1x6-Pin PCIe, that might limit you if you consider upgrading your GPU later and might not be enough for GTX 960 with 1x8-Pin PCIe.

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Gents,

I did not find straight tests, but having Thunderbolt 1 on MacBook Pro 2011-2012 years, what maximum graphic card makes sense to use to utilize max throughput and don't waste money?

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Imho a GTX 960 or 970 is good, even for TB1. Any faster card would perform better, but the performance drop might be too much (especially with Optimus).

BUT, if you want to play new games in Retina resolutions (or anything higher than 1080p) you need a GPU with 3-4GB of VRAM. Some GTX 960 offer 4GB and all GTX 970 have 3.5GB+0.5GB (the last 0.5GB is a bit slower).

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... Any faster card would perform better, but the performance drop might be too much (especially with Optimus)

That's exactly what I worry about. I do not waste 50-70 euro for performance sake of which I will never get with bottleneck as TB1 is vs TB2.

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If you read the first page of this thread you will see multiple compatible cards, even GTX 970! You could consider modifying a 220W Dell DA-2 like here: http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/9426-220w-dell-da-2-ac-adapter-discussion.html

Additional PSUs have to be placed "naked" next to the AKiTiO or can be put into a case like in my Guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/8571-%5Bguide%5D-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-a.html

A list of cases can be found here: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/8675-egpu-cases.html

The PSU you linked is weak and only has 1x6-Pin PCIe, that might limit you if you consider upgrading your GPU later and might not be enough for GTX 960 with 1x8-Pin PCIe.

Okay, I've been checking up on PSUs from Newegg, Amazon and Best Buy, and came up with these possibilities:

http://www.amazon.com/Rosewill-ARC-M450-Bronze-ATX12V/dp/B00LMNVKN0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429804543&sr=8-1&keywords=Rosewill+ARC+M450+80+Plus+Bronze+450W+ATX12V+v2.31+%26+EPS12V+v2.92+PFC+Power+Supply

The specs don't include an 1x8 pin PCIe but the images on the product page do. Thoughts?

Same on this one:

Amazon.com: Lepa MaxBron 450W 80PLUS Bronze Hybrid Modular ATX Power Supply (B450-MB): Computers & Accessories

If I wanted to pursue eGPU solutions that would avoid soldering, would that change anyone's recommendations so far?

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@Irishman: Both PSUs seem to have just one 6+2-Pin. That can be used as a 6-Pin or as a 8-Pin. Guess a Corsair CX Series 500 would be better: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Builder-Watt-EPS%C2%A0-CX500/dp/B0092ML0MY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1429805538&sr=8-4&keywords=corsair+450w

Thanks!

So, I want to warn everyone that I will be asking a lot of stupid questions through this process. Thanks in advance for all the patient help! :)

The PSU would be perfectly safe sitting exposed on the desktop next to the Akitio enclosure?

A half length GTX 960 would fit entirely inside the Akitio?

Since I'm going to be using this eGPU with a 21.5" iMac, once I've gotten it up and running Yosemite, can I push my iMac back towards the wall and place the monitor in front of it?? In other words, once I'm using the eGPU monitor, will I need to go back and forth to the iMac screen? I'm looking at one of these:

BenQ 27" LED HD Monitor Black RL2755HM - Best Buy

ASUS VS278Q-P Black 27" 1ms (GTG) HDMI Widescreen LED Backlight LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 80,000,000:1 Built-in Speakers - Newegg.com

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Any screen will be fine… and a PSU will be fine too, as long as you don't try to open it.

Small GTX 960 can fit into the AKiTiO, but cards like Gigabyte or Asus are too wide to close the case. But with a "half open" case it is possible.

You can place the eGPU anywhere you want, just keep in mind the cable length (TB) and from cable from the eGPU to the Display.

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Any screen will be fine… and a PSU will be fine too, as long as you don't try to open it.

Small GTX 960 can fit into the AKiTiO, but cards like Gigabyte or Asus are too wide to close the case. But with a "half open" case it is possible.

You can place the eGPU anywhere you want, just keep in mind the cable length (TB) and from cable from the eGPU to the Display.

Any recommendations for small 960s that will let me close the case?

And finally (for today) is this possible without soldering? And what is the "paperclip trick"?

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The EVGA GeForce GTX 960 Superclocked seems slim. <strike>Without soldering into the AKiTiO? No!</strike>

<strike>An option without soldering is by using an open setup and a Molex powered riser, but that isn't recommended anymore. You might have a PCIe singal degeneration.</strike>

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So what exactly needs to be soldered and how??

Nothing! Only thing you need to make is a molex-to-barrel adapter so can power the AKiTiO DC jack with your ATX PSU. Can make one without any soldering involved using the linked connector with screw in terminals: http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html

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And what is the "paperclip trick"?

The paperclip trick is used to start a PC PSU. Without that, the PSU will not provide power to your system.

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Nothing! Only thing you need to make is a molex-to-barrel adapter so can power the AKiTiO DC jack with your ATX PSU. Can make one without any soldering involved using the linked connector with screw in terminals: http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html

Thank you, Nando! This will be a big help for me in identifying parts to buy.

Still reading the thread you linked to. In it, another poster identified a pre-made pack of 4 of these. Is there any reason

other than cost not to avail myself of that pre-made pack?

- - - Updated - - -

The paperclip trick is used to start a PC PSU. Without that, the PSU will not provide power to your system.

So, continuing in my trend of stupid questions that make you lose faith in humanity - has everyone who has successfully gotten this to work had to use a paper clip? It seems like there's an obvious fault in the design of their plugs (that a paperclip would be required to pass power).

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So, continuing in my trend of stupid questions that make you lose faith in humanity - has everyone who has successfully gotten this to work had to use a paper clip? It seems like there's an obvious fault in the design of their plugs (that a paperclip would be required to pass power).

See http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8441-%5Bguide%5D-switching-atx-psu-using-paperclip-trick-swex.html

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I found this randomly on Ebay

It turns the Dual 4 pins for CPU into Dual 6 pins for PCIE cards.

Would be good thing for people using PC PSU to drive GPUs as these 12 Volt lines are sitting unused otherwise.

If I find these in quantity I will link.

Would be great if Monoprice carries them or some other source.

post-31171-14494999834506_thumb.jpg

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I've been learning a lot from this community and am getting ready to finally put together an eGPU setup for myself!

My goals for my build are:

Budget friendly

Clean/Compact

Portable

I plan to post an implementation guide eventually once I have completed it but I have a few uncertainties and I'm hoping to get some feedback from the community before I purchase everything.

Proposed hardware:

AKiTiO Thunder2

EVGA GeForce GTX 960 Superclocked

Corsair CX430M (Modular, for cleanliness)

Plan to power the Thunder2 with a Molex to Barrel cable

I chose the EVGA GeForce GTX 960 Superclocked, as opposed to the SuperSC models because the Superclocked model is smaller and can definitely fit completely inside the Thunder2 enclosure. Also, the GTX 960 is fantastic value.

My biggest problem currently is that I'm also considering the ASUS Strix GTX 960, which has better cooling by not being an ITX card and has higher clock speeds. I'd like to get this better performance if I can fit it inside the enclosure.

On the ASUS website, it states that the card is 21.52cm (215.2mm) in length. I've seen the post about the internal space of the Thunder2 being 217mm, meaning this card would potentially leave 1.8mm. I've seen posts of the ZOTAC (GTX970?) card fitting inside this enclosure by removing the shroud and was wondering if anyone thought I'd also be able to do this. Keep in mind that I'm hoping to close up the entire enclosure after installing the card, which means I'd like to slide the whole setup back into the larger Thunder2 case.

So basically, my questions are:

1. Could I fit the ASUS Strix card into the Thunder2 enclosure and close it all back up? Does the internal 217mm measurement include the AKiTiO fan or would I have to remove that too?

2. Am I missing anything important to my setup / any other advice?

Thanks in advance!

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Hi everyone,

I'm getting ready to purchase parts for my build, which I am hoping to fit completely inside the Thunder2 enclosure with the outside black case included.

I've decided to get a GTX 960, and EVGA, ASUS, and Gigabyte all have ITX cards which will definitely fit, but the ASUS Strix GTX 960 is more powerful and I'd prefer to use that instead. The ASUS website states that its length is 21.52cm (215.2mm), and I've seen the other post about the AKiTiO enclosure being 217mm in length. Do you guys think I could fit the Strix card inside the enclosure completely? And does anyone know if the 217mm measurement includes the Thunder2 fan or not? Ideally I'd like to be able to close the entire box back up.

Thanks for the input,

Honsta

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@Honsta: Why not getting a small GTX 970 if you want performance?

Using only the internal 60mm fan of AKiTiO will definitely be NOT enough to cool you card! Imho: If you want to close the case, you need to modify it to provide some/better cooling.

Also be aware that small ITX cards are too wide to fit into the AKiTiO!

Good cards might be Zotac and Galay/KFA2 with their GTX 960/970 cards. The Galax/KFA2 card is 180mm "short":

Here you can see the "width problem":

Source: Computerbase.de

Galax or KFA2 GeForce GTX 970 Gamer OC:

6-1080.2247060994.jpg

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Mini:

5-1080.2361543620.jpg

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Well, almost a month after I preordered it, my Titan has arrived! The first thing I did obviously is test it with the Sonnet III-D. Like the 980 I had a few months ago, it did not boot up (i.e. black screen, pressing alt to get to the boot selection screen did nothing, etc.). I tested it with my Akitio chassis (by opening up the front of the enclosure) with a barrel plug that I made for the SEL. Ran Unigine Valley for an hour without crashing and only crashed when I overclocked it. Otherwise, very stable at stock speeds. Once I make custom PCI-e cables and an EPS-to-barrel plug, and maybe even do something about closing up the chassis by extending it, I will post a guide. But for now, here's this:

post-28266-14494999835016_thumb.png

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@Honsta: Why not getting a small GTX 970 if you want performance?

Using only the internal 60mm fan of AKiTiO will definitely be NOT enough to cool you card! Imho: If you want to close the case, you need to modify it to provide some/better cooling.

Also be aware that small ITX cards are too wide to fit into the AKiTiO!

Good cards might be Zotac and Galay/KFA2 with their GTX 960/970 cards. The Galax/KFA2 card is 180mm "short":

Thanks for the input.

I'm aiming to base my build off benchallenger's build here:

http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides-apple/9074-2014-13-mbp-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-tb-display-win8-1-%5Bbenchallenger.html

or Phantron's build here:

http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides-apple/8882-2014-13-macbook-pro-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-handle-win8-1-%5Bphantron.html

They were both able to close up their cases all the way. I do plan on adding some fans like him to increase cooling efficiency.

So as far as the "width" problem goes, does this mean, for example, this EVGA card wouldn't fit due to the part I highlighted in red?

post-35170-14494999836286_thumb.jpg

Can someone post the internal measurements in 3 dimensions of the internal Thunder2 case with the outside case on?...

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The EVGA GTX 960 should be indeed fine as I am owning a Gigabyte GTX 960 OC which is by far the only model which doesn't fit into the Thunder2. Still the part of which is too much is really really short and measures only few mm.

All the other models which fit into the Thunder2 by length are also thin or small enough.

With the described Dell DA-2 mod I'll possibly try another GTX 960 together with the Dell PSU. This is still by far the most comfortable solution.

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