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2013 13" MBP + GTX780Ti-SLI@16Gbps-TB2 (Sonnet EE SEL) + Win8.1 [squinks]

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7-Jan-2015 Tech Inferno Fan>> originally it was thought that this configuration would provide 32Gbps of performance. Unfortunately that is not the case due to the Thunderbolt chip being hosted off a x4 2.0 bus, limiting performance to 16Gbps as noted.



I'm excited to unveil the first ever (to my knowledge) eGPU SLI configuration. 2x 780 Ti's + 2x Sonnet SEL's running on a 2013 MacBook Pro. This was thought to be impossible, in fact Nando and I were certain it was a lost cause, but I was determined to prove otherwise. Thousands of dollars and months later, it happened.

There are a number of factors that went into making this possible. The combination of hardware is the most important. The other key ingredients include software and a particular boot process that until discovered almost put an end to the whole project. As much as I would enjoy keeping this information to myself, I will happily disclose everything I know for any other lunatics out there that want to create the ultimate eGPU solution.


Configuration:

2013 13" MacBook Pro (15" preferred) *Iris-only graphics required!
2x EVGA 780 Ti (Any matching EVGA GTX cards should work)
2x Sonnet SEL
Corsair RM450 PSU w/2x 8pin to 8+6pin
Windows 8.1
External display (Optimus is not an option with SLI)
*Secret step for SLI (revealed below)
*Secret boot process (revealed below)
 


uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWVWw1V1hMeVBTeDg
uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWWThnUzEzT3NpZVk

 


uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWNk5zWGdxWVl0SDQ
uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWVVdJMEZZakoxU0U

 


uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWcWMwTXNQby1CM2s





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uc?id=0Bwe8SFneDiWWWTFzUjQ5dmYzalU

Performance Results –



3DMark 11
SLI Graphics score: 22095 link
Single 780Ti score: 12576

3DMark - Fire Strike
SLI Graphics score: 19395 link
Single 780Ti score: 10410

3DMark06
*Older benchmarks would not run with both GPUs

Games
Almost every game experienced CPU bottleneck on the 13" MBP
The above benchmarks provided static rendering and thus realistic SLI results

*Please do not request benchmarks on specific games, I do not
have a 15" Iris-only MBP to give you a legitimate GPU-centric result,
however, just like the benchmarks, I'm confident the results would be impressive


CUDA-Z Bandwidth (TB Device 1 and 2)

Host to Device: ~1250 MiB/s
Device to Host: ~1360 MiB/s
Device to Device: ~135 GiB/s



– The Secret Sauce –

1. HyperSLI 1.0 (installation is simple, adds a boot option)
2. Boot process:
- Shutdown (not a restart)
- Unplug TB cables
- Wait 10 seconds
- Plug in TB cable #1
- Wait 10 seconds
- Boot Mac and hold alt
- Wait 5-10 seconds
- Plug in TB cable #2
- Select Windows and choose HyperSLI boot option
- Should work! Open Nvidia Control Panel and enable SLI


– Limitations –

- CPU. 15" w/maximum quad-core CPU will provide the best SLI performance
- Games that require more CPU will experience capped FPS quickly
- GPUs in SLI crunch massive amounts of data @32Gbps and low-spec CPUs will not keep up
- MBPs w/Iris-only graphics is required. MBP w/discrete GPU + 2 eGPUs will not boot or will result in a Code 12
- External display required
- Optimus is not an option. Believe me, I tried

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Nice work, But that physics score :|

Are you gonna get a 15" or stick with this?

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Nice work, But that physics score :|

Are you gonna get a 15" or stick with this?

I have a 15" MBP but not an Iris-only. The project was merely to prove what was thought to be impossible. The 13" MBP is what it is. Most importantly, doors have been opened for the future of eGPU.

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Nice! Do you use a fixed 90 degree riser card PCIe x8 to x16?

I just used standard risers. A tight fit when the cards are upright but options were limited.

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Wow such priceless setup and effort buddy!

Perhaps a video would make this project more desirable of the people who does not know yet such setup can and could exist!

Just a dream to me...

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@entzoe Don't want to hijack squinks thread, but I daisy chained a GTX970 and GTX980Ti with two AKiTiOs in OSX.

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And SLI works in OSX? Rendering only or including games? Thanks! Very nice development....

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No SLI tested, only tested to use 8 displays and rendering on that two GPUs.

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